[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 91 (Thursday, May 10, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27386-27403]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11229]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2011-0019: 4500030113]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List the Arapahoe Snowfly as Threatened or Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list the Arapahoe snowfly (Capnia 
arapahoe) as endangered and to designate critical habitat under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of the 
best available scientific and commercial information, we find that 
listing the Arapahoe snowfly as threatened or endangered is warranted. 
Currently, however, listing the Arapahoe snowfly is precluded by higher 
priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition 
finding, we will add the Arapahoe snowfly to our candidate species 
list. We will develop a proposed rule to list the Arapahoe snowfly as 
our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical 
habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim 
period, we will address the status of the candidate taxon through our 
annual Candidate Notice of Review.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on May 10, 2012.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R6-ES-2011-0019. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Field Office, 134 Union Blvd., 
Suite 670, Lakewood, CO 80228. Please submit any new information, 
materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding to the above 
street address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Linner, Field Supervisor, 
Colorado Field Office (see ADDRESSES); by telephone at 303-236-4773, or 
by facsimile at 303-236-4005. If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Threatened and 
Endangered Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or 
commercial information that listing a 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 that the petitioned action is: (1) Not 
warranted, (2) warranted, or (3) 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. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we 
treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be 
warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such 
finding, that is, requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 
months. We must publish these 12-month findings in the Federal 
Register.

Previous Federal Actions

    On July 30, 2007, we received a petition from Forest Guardians (now 
WildEarth Guardians), requesting that the Service consider for listing 
as either endangered or threatened 206 species in our Mountain-Prairie 
Region ranked as G1 or G1G2 by the organization NatureServe (except 
those that are currently listed, proposed for listing, or candidates 
for listing). The Arapahoe snowfly was 1 of the 206 species included in 
the petition. On March 19, 2008, WildEarth Guardians filed a complaint 
indicating that the Service failed to make a preliminary 90-day finding 
on their two multiple-species petitions--one for mountain-prairie 
species, and one for southwestern species. We subsequently published 
two 90-day findings, including one on February 5, 2009 (74 FR 6122) for 
the mountain-prairie species. That finding concluded that the petition 
did not present substantial scientific or commercial information 
indicating that listing may be warranted for 165 of the 206 species, 
including the Arapahoe snowfly.
    On April 6, 2010, we received a petition, of the same date, from 
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Dr. Boris 
Kondratieff, Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper,

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Cache la Poudre River Foundation, WildEarth Guardians, and Center for 
Native Ecosystems, requesting that the Arapahoe snowfly be listed as 
endangered and that critical habitat be designated under the Act. 
Supporting information regarding the species' taxonomy and ecology, 
population distribution and status, and actual and potential causes of 
decline was included in the petition. We acknowledged the receipt of 
the petition in a letter to Scott Hoffman Black and the other 
petitioners dated April 13, 2010. In that letter, we stated that 
issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the species under 
section 4(b)(7) of the Act was not warranted. We also stated that, due 
to previously received petitions, court orders, other listing actions 
with statutory deadlines, and judicially approved settlement agreements 
that would take the remainder of Fiscal Year 2010 to complete, we 
anticipated responding to the petition in Fiscal Year 2011. On December 
1, 2010 the petitioners filed a Notice of Intent to sue regarding our 
failure to complete a 90-day finding concerning their April 6, 2010, 
petition to list the Arapahoe snowfly.
    On April 26, 2011, we published a 90-day finding for the Arapahoe 
snowfly (76 FR 23256). In that finding, we found that the petition 
presented substantial information to indicate that listing the species 
may be warranted. On June 27, 2011, we received a Notice of Intent to 
sue from Mile High Law Office for not completing a 12-month finding on 
the April 6, 2010, petition to list the species. This Notice of Intent 
to sue was submitted on behalf of WildEarth Guardians, Save the Poudre: 
Poudre Waterkeeper, Center for Native Ecosystems, and Colorado State 
University. On September 9, 2011, a settlement agreement with WildEarth 
Guardians was approved in U.S. District Court that included a multiyear 
listing workplan for several species, including a commitment to 
complete a 12-month finding for the Arapahoe snowfly in Fiscal Year 
2012. This notice constitutes the 12-month finding on the April 6, 
2010, petition to list the Arapahoe snowfly as endangered and fulfills 
our commitment for the Arapahoe snowfly under the September 9, 2011, 
settlement agreement.

Species Information

Taxonomy
    The Arapahoe snowfly is an insect in the order Plecoptera 
(stonefly), the family Capniidae (small winter stonefly), and the genus 
Capnia (snowfly) (NatureServe 2009, p. 1; Integrated Taxonomic 
Information System 2010, p. 1). In North America, there are 674 known 
species of stoneflies, including 56 species of Capnia (Stark et al. 
2009, pp. 3-4). The nearest relatives of the Arapahoe snowfly are the 
Utah snowfly (C. utahensis) and the Sequoia snowfly (C. sequoia), both 
of which are a minimum of 400 miles (mi) (640 kilometers (km)) from the 
known locality for Arapahoe snowfly (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 
79). The Arapahoe snowfly was first discovered in 1986 and identified 
as a new species in 1988 (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 77). The 
scientific community accepts the current taxonomic status of the 
Arapahoe snowfly (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 77; Nelson and 
Baumann 1989, p. 314; Stark et al. 2009, p. 3; Integrated Taxonomic 
Information System 2010, p. 1). Consequently, we conclude that the 
Arapahoe snowfly is a valid species and, therefore, a listable entity 
under section 3(16) of the Act.
Species Description
    Stoneflies are distinguished by the ability to fold their two pairs 
of wings back along the abdomen; however, none fly well (Williams and 
Feltmate 1992, pp. 33 and 35). Most stoneflies are inconspicuous 
insects that fly clumsily (Hynes 1976, p. 135). Species of Capnia are 
typically distinguished from other genera by physical characteristics 
of the epiproct (a projection at the end of the abdomen) (Nelson and 
Baumann 1989, p. 312). The Arapahoe snowfly adult is dark colored and 
has a body length of approximately 0.2 inches (in.) (5 millimeters 
(mm)) and a wing length of also approximately 0.2 in. (5 mm) (Nelson 
and Kondratieff 1988, p. 77). The immature (nymph) stage has not been 
described.
Habitat
    The Arapahoe snowfly has been documented only in two streams: Young 
Gulch and Elkhorn Creek in Colorado (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 
77). Both streams are small tributaries of the Cache la Poudre River 
and are typical of streams in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of 
Colorado in that they are characterized by intermittent flow and a 
substrate of pebble, cobble, and bedrock (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, 
p. 79). Upper reaches of both streams are typified by steep slopes with 
ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 79). 
Lower reaches near the confluences with the Cache la Poudre River, 
where the species has been collected, have gentler slopes, with 
cottonwood (Populus angustifolia), willow (Salix spp.), Rocky Mountain 
maple (Acer glabrum), chokecherry (Padus virginiana), and alder (Alnus 
incana) trees along the stream margins (Colorado State University 2010, 
p. 1). Elevations at collection sites are 5,800 feet (ft) (1,768 meters 
(m)) at Young Gulch and 6,600 ft (2,010 m) at Elkhorn Creek (Nelson and 
Kondratieff 1988, p. 77). Both stream reaches with records of Arapahoe 
snowfly are within the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt 
National Forest and managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). There 
also are some private land holdings in upstream reaches of both 
drainages.
    Stoneflies are primarily associated with clean, cool, running 
waters (Surdick and Gaufin 1978, p. 3; Brittain 1990, p. 1; Williams 
and Feltmate 1992, p. 35; Palma and Figueroa 2008, p. 81; Stewart and 
Stark 2008, p. 311). Water temperature is a major influence on stonefly 
growth and development (Brittain 1983, p. 445). Stonefly nymphs tend to 
have specific water temperature, substrate type, and stream size 
requirements that are reflected in their distribution along stream 
courses and the timing of their emergence in the spring (Stewart and 
Stark 2008, p. 311). Their restriction to cool, clean habitats with 
considerable water movement, all of which contribute to high dissolved 
oxygen concentrations, is thought to be connected to high dissolved 
oxygen requirements of the nymphs (Williams and Feltmate 1992, p. 39; 
Heinold 2010, p. 17). Winter stonefly nymphs undergo diapause 
(dormancy) in the hyporheic zone-an active interface between the 
surface stream and groundwater with exchanges of water, nutrients, and 
dissolved oxygen (Boulton et al. 1998, p. 59; Hancock 2002, p. 763). 
The hyporheic zone is vulnerable to changes in the quality and quantity 
of both surface water and groundwater (Hancock 2002, p. 763). Exchange 
between surface water and groundwater may be the most important 
regulator of biological activity in the hyporheic zone; without flow to 
renew nutrients and oxygen and flush wastes, the sediments become 
unsuitable habitat (Hancock 2002, p. 764). Human activities that can 
impact the hyporheic zone include water diversions, sedimentation from 
roads and trails, wastewater inputs, and livestock grazing (Hancock 
2002, p. 765).
    The species of aquatic macroinvertebrates present in a watershed 
are an important indicator of the long-term health of that watershed 
(Fleming 1999, pp. 93-94; DeWalt et al. 2005, p. 942). Stoneflies are 
considered the order of insects most sensitive to habitat alteration, 
pollution, and siltation, and are the best insect

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indicators of aquatic environmental quality (Baumann 1979, p. 241; 
Rosenberg and Resh 1993, p. 354; Fleming 1999, p. 94; Heinold 2010, p. 
18). With increased stream disturbances, the number of stonefly taxa 
has been shown to decrease (Barbour et al. 1999, pp. 7.15-7.16). 
Fleming (1999, p. 94) developed a tolerance index for aquatic 
macroinvertebrates from 1 to 10, with 10 being most tolerant. 
Stoneflies were the least tolerant to stream perturbation, with a 
tolerance index ranging from 1.7 to 4.4 for the various families 
(Fleming 1999, p. 94). The family of small winter stoneflies, of which 
the Arapahoe snowfly is a member, was in the mid-range, with a 
tolerance index of 3.0 (Fleming 1999, p. 94).
    We are not aware of any surface water quality data for Young Gulch, 
and there is minimal data for Elkhorn Creek. After work on this finding 
was initiated, the Service and the USFS undertook a cooperative effort 
to collect field data for both streams. However, Young Gulch was dry at 
the time of sampling (December 8, 2011). Consequently, data was only 
collected for Elkhorn Creek. Sampling was just above the confluence of 
the creek with the Cache la Poudre River. The winter season and the 
need for a short turn-around time on laboratory results in order to 
meet publication deadlines for the 12-month finding limited the amount 
of data collected. However, from what we know of winter stoneflies, the 
parameters shown in Table 1 appear adequate to support the species 
during early winter. These data are described in the following table 
(Sanchez 2011a, p. 2; 2011b, pp. 2, 14).

                   Table 1--Water Quality Data Collected From Elkhorn Creek (December 8, 2011)
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              Parameter                                               Measurement
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Water temperature...................  32.5 [deg]F (0.3 [deg]C).
Conductivity........................  150.9 microsiemens per centimeter ([micro]s/cm).
pH..................................  6.46.
Dissolved oxygen....................  11.18 milligrams per liter (mg/L) (>90%).
Total inorganic nitrogen............  <0.21 mg/L.
Ammonium............................  <0.10 mg/L.
Total suspended solids..............  <5 mg/L.
Total dissolved solids..............  88-96 mg/L.
Total coliform......................  present.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A study that included the Cache la Poudre River tested for the 
presence of 271 compounds, including volatile organic compounds, 
pesticides, wastewater compounds, and Escherichia coli (Collins and 
Sprague 2005, p. 1). Most (257) of these compounds were not detected in 
the river, and all concentrations detected were less than established 
water quality standards (Collins and Sprague 2005, p. 1). The river is 
considered generally pristine (Medley and Clements 1998, p. 632; George 
Weber Environmental, Inc. 2007, p. 7). Based upon what is known 
regarding habitat requirements of the Arapahoe snowfly, the mainstem of 
the Cache la Poudre River is not likely to be habitat for the species 
due to the fact that known and historical occurrences were both found 
in small, intermittent streams.
Life History
    Few studies have been conducted on the Arapahoe snowfly due to its 
rarity and relatively recent discovery. Sampling for adult specimens is 
limited to late winter/early spring when adults are present above 
ground. Snowflies generally cannot be identified at the species level 
during most of their life history stages, including the nymph stage. 
The difficulties in distinguishing among species of snowfly nymphs and 
sampling under ice in winter have largely precluded the study of 
individual species (Stewart and Stark 2002, p. 122). Detailed life 
histories are well known for less than 5 percent of stonefly species 
(Stewart and Stark 2002, p. 23). Therefore, most of the information 
below comes from knowledge about stoneflies (order Plecoptera) in 
general, other members of the small winter stonefly family, and other 
species of the genus Capnia. We expect that the life history of the 
Arapahoe snowfly would be similar to these closely related species.
    Stoneflies have a complex lifecycle that requires terrestrial 
habitat during the adult phase and aquatic habitat during the nymph 
phase (Lillehammer et al. 1989, p. 183; Williams and Feltmate 1992, p. 
33). Having both a terrestrial and aquatic phase creates dependence on 
two different environments (Brittain 1990, p. 1). The majority of the 
stonefly life cycle is spent as a developing nymph in the aquatic 
environment, while their brief terrestrial adult stage of 3 to 4 weeks 
is primarily focused on reproduction (Brittain 1990, p. 1; Williams and 
Feltmate 1992, p. 33). Winter stoneflies have a univoltine (1-year) 
life cycle (Hynes 1976, pp. 146-147).
    As water levels fall through late winter, adult winter stoneflies 
emerge from the space that forms under stream ice and crawl onto the 
snow or nearby vegetation (Hynes 1976, pp. 135-36). Winter streamflow 
is essential for successful egg deposition (Jacobi and Cary 1996, p. 
696). Water temperature also is important, with emergence occurring 
earlier in warmer years (Hynes 1976, p. 137). Arapahoe snowfly adults 
have been collected only in late March and early April (Mazzacano 
undated, p. 2). After emergence, winter stonefly males drum (beat their 
abdomen on the ground or on vegetation) to search for mates, with a 
frequency that is species and sex specific (Hynes 1976, p. 139). 
Unmated females reply, the males approach and drum again, and the 
process repeats until they meet and mate (Hynes 1976, p. 139). Mating 
occurs on the ground or on vegetation adjacent to the aquatic habitat 
(Brittain 1990, p. 1). Females release eggs over the surface of the 
flowing stream, and the eggs attach to the cobble and gravel in the 
stream substrate (Stewart and Stark 2008, p. 311).
    Most stoneflies lay 100 to 2,000 eggs (Brittain 1990, p. 4). Winter 
stonefly eggs hatch within 3 to 4 weeks (Stewart and Stark 2008, p. 
312). Hatching success is high within a water temperature range of 41 
to 59 [deg]F (5 to 15 [deg]C) (Brittain 1990, p. 5). Most stoneflies 
show rapidly decreasing hatching success over 68 [deg]F (20 [deg]C) 
(Brittain 1990, p. 5). As water temperatures rise, nymphs burrow into 
the streambed and undergo summer diapause (Harper and Hynes 1970, pp. 
925-926; Williams and Feltmate 1992, p. 39; Stewart and Stark 2002, p. 
34; Mazzacano undated, p. 2). This behavior enables winter stoneflies 
to inhabit streams that may reach unsuitably high

[[Page 27389]]

temperatures or dry up during the summer (Harper and Hynes 1970, pp. 
925-926; Stewart and Stark 2002, p. 34). Diapause also may be a 
mechanism for synchronizing the timing of feeding with leaf drop in the 
fall (Stewart and Stark 2002, p. 35). As water temperatures drop in the 
fall, nymphs emerge from the hyporheic zone into the stream water and 
become more active. Most winter stonefly nymphs are shredders (feeding 
on organic detritus such as falling leaves that is deposited into 
streams), and active nymphs are usually found in leafy or woody stream 
debris (Short and Ward 1981, p. 341; Mazzacano undated, p. 2; Stewart 
and Stark 2008, p. 379).
    Stoneflies have limited dispersal capability (Brittain 1990, pp. 2 
and 10). This lack of mobility prevents them from crossing even small 
ecological barriers and has led to a high degree of local speciation 
(Hynes 1976, p. 135). A study in the United Kingdom that collected more 
than 22,500 adult stoneflies of 15 different species found that half of 
all stoneflies were taken within 59 ft (18 m) of the stream channel, 
and 90 percent traveled less than 197 ft (60 m) (Petersen et al. 2004, 
pp. 934, 938, and 942). Most studies also suggest a low tendency of in-
stream drift for stonefly nymphs (Stewart and Szczytko 1983, p. 117).
Historical Distribution
    Many snowflies are endemic species, with a narrow range limited to 
a small geographical or ecological area (Nebeker and Gaufin 1967, p. 
416; Nelson and Baumann 1989, p. 292; Nelson 2008, pp. 178-179; 
Kondratieff and Baumann 2002, p. 399). Similarly, the Arapahoe snowfly 
appears to have a highly restricted distribution. It is historically 
known from only two small tributaries of the Cache la Poudre River in 
northern Colorado--Young Gulch and Elkhorn Creek (Nelson and 
Kondratieff 1988, p. 77; Heinold and Kondratieff 2010, p. 282). Habitat 
where the species has been collected extends from the confluences with 
the river to approximately 1,640 ft (500 m) upstream for both streams 
(Heinold 2011a, unpaginated). Searches further upstream have failed to 
locate the species (Heinold 2011a, unpaginated). Approximately 5 mi (8 
km) separates these two streams. The species was first discovered in 
March 1986 in Young Gulch, but, despite repeated searches during most 
of the past 25 years, it has not been found again in that locale 
(Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 77; Heinold 2011b and 2011c, 
unpaginated). In April 1987, the species was first located in Elkhorn 
Creek and has been found in subsequent searches in this stream (Nelson 
and Kondratieff 1988, p. 77). Repeated searches (at least 17 searches 
in the past 16 years) also have been conducted in 11 additional nearby 
waterways with similar ecological characteristics; however, the species 
has not been located in any of these streams (Heinold 2011b, 
unpaginated). Thus, the species is currently known from just one extant 
location and we consider it to be extirpated from Young Gulch.
    Since the species was collected in Young Gulch only on one 
occasion, we do not know if there was actually a historical population 
there, what the size of that population was, or why it was extirpated. 
However, Young Gulch has several characteristics that may make it less 
desirable than Elkhorn Creek as Arapahoe snowfly habitat. Young Gulch 
is a shorter stream, which originates at a lower elevation (7,500 ft 
(2,290 m)) than Elkhorn Creek (10,000 ft (3,050 m)). Thus, any 
accumulated snowfall in the upper reaches of the drainage will melt 
sooner and more quickly, which in turn would result in the drying of 
the stream earlier in the year than Elkhorn Creek. There is no minimum 
flow water right on Young Gulch, as there is on Elkhorn Creek (Colorado 
Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and Colorado Division of Water 
Resources (CDWR) 2011, unpaginated). As noted above, when water samples 
were collected from Elkhorn Creek in Arapahoe snowfly habitat on 
December 8, 2011, Young Gulch was dry.
    The other major difference between the two streams is the amount of 
recreational use. Young Gulch has a well-developed trailhead off of 
Highway 14 that, according to the USFS, experiences heavy, year-round 
usage, including hikers, bikers, backpackers, and horseback riders 
(USFS 2011c, pp. 1, 2). The 4.5-mi (7.2-km) trail follows Young Gulch 
and includes approximately 45 stream crossings (Casamassa 2011, p. 4). 
Aquatic macroinvertebrate species present at a given stream site are 
related to the number of stream crossings above that site, with the 
total number of larval species (including stoneflies) negatively 
related to the number of stream crossings (Gucinski et al. 2001, p. 
26). The amount of usage and the number of stream crossings likely 
contribute to a high sediment load, which may have factored into the 
extirpation of the species at this location.
Current Distribution, Abundance, and Trends
    The species is known from 1 male specimen collected in 1986 in 
Young Gulch, 1 male in 1987, 10 males and 2 females in 2009, and 1 male 
in 2011, all in Elkhorn Creek (Heinold and Kondratieff 2010, p. 281; 
Heinold 2011d, unpaginated). We consider Elkhorn Creek to be the only 
currently occupied habitat. During a search of Elkhorn Creek on March 
17, 2009, approximately 500 specimens of 4 species in the genus Capnia 
were collected, but only 5 of those specimens were Arapahoe snowfly 
(Heinold 2011a, unpaginated). We consider this low degree of detection 
to indicate rarity of the Arapahoe snowfly at the only known remaining 
location for the species.
    Given the low numbers of individuals that have been collected over 
the years, we have no information available regarding population trends 
for the Arapahoe snowfly. However, we consider it extirpated from one 
of the two streams where it was historically known to occur. It appears 
to currently have an extremely narrow distribution near the confluence 
of one small stream, and it is rare within its only known occupied 
habitat.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and implementing regulations 
(50 CFR 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or threatened 
based on any of the following 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.
    In making this finding, information pertaining to the Arapahoe 
snowfly in relation to the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act is discussed below. In considering what factors might 
constitute threats to a species, we must look beyond the exposure of 
the species to a particular factor to evaluate whether the species may 
respond to that 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

[[Page 27390]]

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 in 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 these factors are 
operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species 
may meet the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act.

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

    Under this factor we evaluate climate change, recreation, 
development, forest management, and grazing.
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). ``Climate'' refers to the mean and variability 
of different types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being 
a typical period for such measurements, although shorter or longer 
periods also may be used (IPCC 2007, p. 78). The term ``climate 
change'' thus refers to a change in the mean or variability of one or 
more measures of climate (e.g., temperature or precipitation) that 
persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer, whether 
the change is due to natural variability, human activity, or both (IPCC 
2007, p. 78). Various types of changes in climate can have direct or 
indirect effects on species. These effects may be positive, neutral, or 
negative and they may change over time, depending on the species and 
other relevant considerations, such as the effects of interactions of 
climate with other variables (e.g., habitat fragmentation) (IPCC 2007, 
pp. 8-14, 18-19). In our analyses, we use our expert judgment to weigh 
relevant information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of 
various aspects of climate change.
Stream Effects
    The western United States is being affected by climate change more 
than any other part of the United States outside of Alaska (Saunders et 
al. 2008, p. iv). The hydrological cycle of the western United States 
changed significantly over the second half of the 20th century (Barnett 
et al. 2008, p. 1080). Numerous studies show more winter precipitation 
falling as rain instead of snow, earlier snowmelt, and associated 
changes in river flow (Barnett et al. 2008, p. 1080). Between 1978 and 
2004, the spring pulse (onset of streamflow from melting snow) in 
Colorado shifted earlier by 2 weeks (Ray et al. 2008, p. 2). Although 
there is no identified decrease in runoff to date, average annual 
runoff is projected to decrease significantly for the South Platte 
River basin (which includes Elkhorn Creek) over the next 50 to 60 years 
(U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) 2011, p. 94). A decline of 8 percent 
is projected by the 2020s, 14 percent by the 2050s, and 17 percent by 
the 2070s, due primarily to increased temperatures and little projected 
change in precipitation (BOR 2011, p. 94).
    A precipitous decline in lower elevation snowpack below 8,200 ft 
(2,500 m) elevation is predicted to occur across the western United 
States by the middle of the 21st century, and modest declines of 10 to 
20 percent are projected to occur in snowpack above 8,200 ft (2,500 m) 
elevation (Regonda et al. 2005, p. 376; Ray et al. 2008, p. 1). The 
headwaters of Elkhorn Creek approach 10,000 ft (3,050 m) elevation, 
indicating that Elkhorn Creek may begin to experience some effects from 
reduced snowpack within the next 50 years.
    A local habitat that depends on snowmelt to maintain a sufficient 
quantity of in-stream flows is likely to be sensitive to projected 
reductions in average snowpack, as well as to changes in the timing and 
intensity of precipitation (Glick et al. 2011, p. 20). Species that 
breed in intermittent streams are likely to be highly susceptible to 
climate impacts from changes such as rising temperature regimes; winter 
precipitation arriving more frequently as rain than snow; and shifts in 
the timing of snowmelt, runoff, and peak stream flows (Glick et al. 
2011, p. 41). Species that are poor dispersers also may be more 
susceptible as they will be less able to move from areas where the 
effects of climate change render those areas unsuitable and into areas 
that become newly suitable (Glick et al. 2011, p. 49). The Arapahoe 
snowfly is found in a localized habitat, breeds in an intermittent 
stream, and is considered a poor disperser. Consequently, it may be 
particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
    Temperature has critical effects on aquatic macroinvertebrates 
through its combined influences on dissolved oxygen and metabolic 
activity (Durance and Ormerod 2007, p. 943). The stonefly's restriction 
to cool, clean habitats with considerable water movement is thought to 
be connected to high dissolved oxygen requirements of the nymphs 
(Williams and Feltmate 1992, p. 39; Heinold 2010, p. 17). Stoneflies' 
adaptation to cold environments places them at a competitive 
disadvantage in warmer climates (Brittain 1990, p. 9; Haiderkker and 
Hering 2007, p. 473). A study in the United Kingdom found that spring 
macroinvertebrate abundance declined by an average rate of 21 percent 
across all species for every 1.8 [deg]F (1 [deg]C) rise in stream 
temperature in circumneutral (pH near neutral) streams (Durance and 
Ormerod 2007, p. 942). Sixteen species of stoneflies were among the 84 
macroinvertebrate species noted in these streams (Durance and Ormerod 
2007, p. 951). Air temperatures in the northern Front Range of Colorado 
increased 2.5 [deg]F (1.4 [deg]C) in the period 1977-2006 (Ray et al. 
2008, p. 10). Stream temperatures also are expected to increase as the 
climate warms (Ray et al. 2008, p. 41).
    In a study conducted over a 25-year period in the United Kingdom, 
scarcer taxa of macroinvertebrates disappeared in circumneutral (pH 
near 7) streams that showed progressive temperature increases (Durance 
and Ormerod 2007, p. 943). There is limited pH data specific to Elkhorn 
Creek. However, in 1973 the USFS recorded a pH of 7.5 in Elkhorn Creek 
headwaters and also near the confluence of Elkhorn Creek with the Cache 
la Poudre River (USFS 1973, p. 1). More recently, a pH of 6.46 was 
recorded in Elkhorn Creek near the confluence with the Cache la Poudre 
River (Sanchez 2011, p. 2). These pH values are circumneutral, and 
similar to pH values in the study. Thus, currently observed increasing 
trends in temperature for Elkhorn Creek might adversely impact the 
Arapahoe snowfly.
    A laboratory study found that larval growth of one species of 
stonefly (Leuctra nigra) increased with increasing water temperature 
from 43 to 68 [deg]F (5.9 to 19.8 [deg]C); however, mortality also 
increased, resulting in only 7 to 10 percent of individuals completing 
their life cycle at the three higher temperatures, compared with 23 to 
27 percent at the three lower temperatures (Elliot 1987, p. 181). The 
number of eggs laid also decreased at higher temperatures (Elliot 1987, 
p. 181). As previously noted, air temperatures in the northern Front 
Range of Colorado increased 2.5 [deg]F (1.4 [deg]C) in the period 1977-
2006 and stream temperatures also are expected to increase (Ray et al. 
2008, pp. 10 and 41). This suggests that water temperatures in Elkhorn 
Creek could increase to levels harmful to sensitive taxa such as the 
Arapahoe snowfly.

[[Page 27391]]

Terrestrial Effects
    Disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfire are likely to 
intensify in a warmer future with drier soils and longer growing 
seasons (Field et al. 2007, p. 619; Karl et al. 2009, p. 82). Ongoing 
outbreaks of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in Colorado 
are probably caused primarily by climate, specifically drought and high 
temperature (Romme et al. 2006, p. 4; Black et al. 2010, p. 1). 
Mountain pine beetles typically exist as small populations that feed on 
the innermost bark layer of trees that have been weakened by disease or 
injury (Black et al. 2010, p. 7). However, they can erupt to epidemic 
levels if stand structure and climatic conditions are appropriate and 
overcome the defenses of even healthy trees, leading to widespread 
mortality of host species (Field et al. 2007, p. 623; Black et al. 
2010, p. 7).
    Ponderosa pine is the dominant vegetation in the upper watershed of 
Elkhorn Creek (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 79). Mountain pine 
beetle infestations are building in ponderosa pine forests along the 
Front Range of Colorado, with an outbreak detected in northern Larimer 
County (Ciesla 2010, pp. 2, 10, and 34). This outbreak encompasses the 
range of the Arapahoe snowfly. Infestations in ponderosa pine along the 
Northern Front Range increased by more than 10-fold from 2009 to 2010, 
from 22,000 acres (ac) (8,903 hectares (ha)) to 229,000 ac (92,673 ha) 
(Ciesla 2011, pp. 6-7). Mountain pine beetle activity is expected to 
increase in the Front Range over the next several years (Ciesla 2011, 
p. 8). The mountain pine beetle outbreak in northern Colorado could 
affect water quantity and quality. As trees die and fall, forest cover 
becomes less dense, allowing greater exposure of snowpack to solar 
radiation, causing faster, earlier runoff and a resultant potential 
increase in soil erosion (Ciesla 2010, p. 17).
    Epidemics that kill trees over large areas also provide dead, 
desiccated fuels for large wildfires (Field et al. 2007, p. 623). A 
warming climate encourages wildfires through a longer summer period 
that dries fuels, promoting easier ignition and faster spread (Field et 
al. 2007, p. 623). In the last 3 decades, the wildfire season in the 
western United States increased by 78 days (Saunders et al. 2008, p. 
20). Fire suppression during the 20th century is believed to have 
created a high hazard of catastrophic fire in ponderosa pine forests of 
the northern Front Range in Colorado (Veblen et al. 2000, p. 1178). 
Catastrophic fire can impact aquatic macroinvertebrates. For example, 
following fires in Yellowstone National Park in 1988, there was a 
change in aquatic macroinvertebrates from shredder and collector 
species (such as snowflies) to scraper and filter-feeding species 
(Neary et al. 2009, p. 142). Similarly, following the 1996 Dome 
wildfire in New Mexico, aquatic macroinvertebrate shredders (including 
winter stoneflies) common in pre-fire years were reduced or eliminated, 
and had not recovered by 5 years post-fire (Vieira et al. 2004, pp. 
1243 and 1251). Taxa with weak dispersal abilities and specialized 
feeding requirements (including winter stoneflies) became rare after 
the Dome wildfire (Vieira et al. 2004, p. 1256). A wildfire in the 
Elkhorn Creek watershed has a similar potential to eliminate rare 
macroinvertebrates such as the Arapahoe snowfly.
    In conclusion, the effects of climate change will likely modify 
Arapahoe snowfly habitat in several ways including: (1) The predicted 
significant reduction in snowpack; (2) the present increase in 
temperature as well as continued threatened increases in future years; 
(3) the present and increasing outbreak of mountain pine beetle in 
ponderosa pine; and (4) the threatened increased likelihood of 
wildfire. Although available information indicates that climate change 
could potentially be modifying the species' habitat at the present 
time, we do not have any information that indicates this is currently 
threatening the species. However, the impacts from each of these 
stressors are reasonably expected to increase into the future, and the 
species' limited distribution and life history characteristics make it 
extremely vulnerable to the predicted impacts. Therefore, we consider 
modification of habitat as a result of climate change to be a threat to 
the species.
Recreation
    Recreation has been increasing in the northern Front Range as a 
result of increasing population growth in Colorado (USFS 2009b, p. 1). 
The nearest city is Fort Collins, Colorado, approximately 31 mi (50 km) 
from Elkhorn Creek. Fort Collins' population has grown rapidly in 
recent years. The 2006 population estimate was 129,467, an 8.7 percent 
increase from 2000 (City of Fort Collins 2008b, unpaginated). The 2010 
population estimate was 143,986, an 11.2 percent increase from 2006 
(City of Fort Collins 2011, unpaginated). Usage of trail systems 
throughout the Cache la Poudre River canyon will likely increase as the 
population continues to grow.
    Specific information on the types of recreational usage for Elkhorn 
Creek is not available, but we expect that there would be similar usage 
patterns to nearby Young Gulch, where the USFS estimates that 
approximately 83 percent of recreational users were day-hikers, 10 
percent bicyclists, 4 percent back-packers, and 1 percent horseback 
riders (Casamassa 2011, p. 5). Dogs are often allowed off-leash on USFS 
trails, including Elkhorn Creek trails (Casamassa 2011, p. 5). Common 
environmental impacts associated with trail usage include vegetation 
loss, soil compaction, erosion, muddiness, degraded water quality, and 
disruption of wildlife (International Mountain Biking Association 
(IMBA) 2007, p. 1; Marion and Wimpey 2007, unpaginated). The 
environmental degradation caused by hikers and mountain bikers is 
similar; both are substantially less than degradation caused by horses 
(Marion and Wimpey 2007, unpaginated). Eroded soils that enter streams 
increase sedimentation that can impact habitat directly or contribute 
to algae blooms that deplete dissolved oxygen (IMBA 2007, p. 8). Even 
localized disturbance can harm rare species (Marion and Wimpey 2007, 
unpaginated). Since Arapahoe snowfly nymphs require high dissolved 
oxygen levels (see Habitat section), algal blooms could indicate 
dissolved oxygen levels unsuitable for Arapahoe snowfly habitation.
    A new trailhead was completed midway along Elkhorn Creek in 2010 
that expanded the parking area and improved trail access (USFS 2009b, 
p. 4). Consequently, trail usage is likely to increase along the lower 
section of Elkhorn Creek in and near Arapahoe snowfly habitat. There 
are several areas along upper sections of Elkhorn Creek where trails 
are causing increased run-off and erosion (USFS 2009a, p. 48). 
Consequently, the USFS has identified 14 stream crossings for 
improvement (Casamassa 2011, p. 3). These trails originate 6 to 7 mi 
(10 to 11 km) upstream from where the Arapahoe snowfly has been found 
and progress further upstream, away from known Arapahoe snowfly 
habitat. We have no information at this time to indicate that 
sedimentation from these trails is impacting downstream Arapahoe 
snowfly habitat. Therefore, at present, we do not consider recreational 
use within the Elkhorn Creek watershed to be a threat to the species.
Development
    The number of species of stoneflies as well as the percentage of 
stoneflies compared with all insect species

[[Page 27392]]

decreases with increasing stream perturbations (Barbour et al. 1999, 
pp. 7.15-7.16). Roads, water diversions, and wastewater inputs are the 
primary development activities occurring in the Elkhorn Creek 
watershed.
Roads
    Road construction and use can result in large increases in 
suspended sediments, with potentially detrimental effects on water 
quality and aquatic macroinvertebrates (Anderson and Potts 1987, p. 
681; Gucinski et al. 2001, p. vii; Grace 2002, p. 13; Angermeir et al. 
2004, p. 19). A number of studies have demonstrated declines in 
invertebrate densities and biomass following sedimentation events by 
directly affecting aspects of their physiology or by altering their 
habitat (Anderson 1996, p. 8). Arapahoe snowfly nymphs inhabit the 
hyporheic zone in spaces between and beneath large substrate particles 
such as pebbles and cobbles. Sediment can clog these spaces, cementing 
the stream bottom, inhibiting the flow of dissolved oxygen, and making 
the habitat unsuitable for macroinvertebrate species such as stoneflies 
(Furniss et al. 1991, p. 302; Waters 1995, p. 65; Anderson 1996, pp. 6 
and 8; Grace 2002, pp. 24-25). The aquatic macroinvertebrate species 
present at a given stream site are inversely related to the number of 
stream crossings above that site, with the total number of larval 
species (including stoneflies) decreasing with an increasing number of 
stream crossings (Gucinski et al. 2001, p. 26).
    There are several areas along Elkhorn Creek where roads are causing 
increased run-off and erosion into the stream; consequently, the USFS 
rates the watershed as Class II or ``at risk'' (exhibiting moderate 
integrity relative to its potential condition and at risk of being able 
to support its beneficial uses) (USFS 2009a, p. 48). Unpaved roads 
create compacted, bare areas that increase runoff and erosion (USFS 
2009a, p. 48). In addition, some road segments near Elkhorn Creek are 
steep and severely eroded (USFS 2009a, p. 48). Road density in the area 
averages 3.5 mi of roads per square mi (2.2 km per square km); a road 
density of 3.7 mi per square mi (2.3 km per square km) is considered 
high (USFS 2009a, p. A-1). Unpaved roads and jeep trails cross the 
Elkhorn Creek watershed approximately 20 times, according to 
topographic maps. One additional road crossing is by a paved road. 
Unpaved roads, constructed of native materials (such as gravel and 
sand), are more erosion prone than paved roads. All unpaved road 
crossings are upstream from Arapahoe snowfly habitat. The closest 
stream crossing by an unpaved road is approximately 5 to 6 mi (8 to 10 
km) upstream of known occupied habitat for the species. Given the 
distance of the unpaved road crossings from the species' habitat, the 
sediment may be settling out before reaching occupied habitat. 
Additionally, during the winter, there is likely less traffic and the 
ground is frozen, both of which may result in less sediment erosion. We 
cannot identify any impacts to the species from the available water 
quality information.
    Road salts are a common pollutant in regions with snowy winters and 
can enter air, soil, groundwater, and surface water from runoff, 
surface soils, or wind-borne spray (Center for Environmental Excellence 
2009, p. 3; Silver et al. 2009, p. 942). Stoneflies are very sensitive 
to water salinity, with adverse effects apparent at low salinities 
(Hart et al. 1991, p. 136). However, the Colorado Department of 
Transportation concluded that magnesium chloride (the road salt used in 
Colorado Mountains) is highly unlikely to cause environmental damage at 
distances greater than 59 ft (18 m) from a roadway (Lewis 1999, p. vii; 
Center for Environmental Excellence 2009, p. 4). Highway 14 crosses 
Elkhorn Creek at its confluence with the Cache la Poudre River. Habitat 
for the Arapahoe snowfly extends from the confluence with the river to 
approximately 1,640 ft (500 m) upstream (Heinold 2011a, unpaginated). 
Therefore, based on the Colorado Department of Transportation's 
conclusion, approximately 3.6 percent of potential habitat may be 
impacted by the use of road salt. Sampling on December 8, 2011, within 
this 1,640-ft (500-m) reach in Elkhorn Creek detected very low salinity 
levels (Sanchez 2001b, p. 2). Based upon the small percentage of stream 
habitat that could potentially be impacted and the low salinity levels 
detected during the one sampling event, we do not consider the use of 
road salt to be a threat to the Arapahoe snowfly.
    In conclusion, roads are contributing to an unacceptable sediment 
load resulting in the Elkhorn watershed being rated as Class II or ``at 
risk.'' However, these roads are a minimum of 5 mi (8 km) upstream of 
the species' occupied habitat, and we have limited downstream water 
quality information in the vicinity of Arapahoe snowfly habitat to 
confirm or refute impacts. We believe that use of road salts causes 
minimal impact to the species' habitat. Therefore, at present, we do 
not consider roads to be a threat to the species.
Water Diversions
    Elkhorn Creek and 2 of its tributaries contain 35 water diversion 
structures, 23 of which have active water rights (CWCB and CDWR 2011, 
unpaginated). Diversion rights totaling rates of approximately 50 cubic 
feet per second (cfps) (1.4 cubic meters per second (cmps)) plus an 
additional volume of approximately 205 acre-feet (252,800 cubic meters) 
are permitted (CWCB and CDWR 2011, unpaginated). A minimum flow of 2 
cfps (0.06 cmps) for Elkhorn Creek is included among the active water 
rights (CWCB and CDWR 2011, unpaginated). This minimum flow indirectly 
provides some protection to habitat of the Arapahoe snowfly. However, 
Elkhorn Creek is described as an intermittent stream (Nelson and 
Kondratieff 1988, p. 79), and during periods of low precipitation it 
may be dry, despite in-stream flow water rights. The species' life 
history includes a diapause stage that allows it to inhabit streams 
which may become dry during the year due to high temperatures or low 
flows (Harper and Hynes 1970, pp. 925-926; Stewart and Stark 2002, p. 
34).
    In the upstream reach of the Cache la Poudre River that includes 
the confluence of Elkhorn Creek, water inputs and outputs tend to 
balance out (City of Fort Collins 2008a, p. 5). Further downstream, 
below the mouth of the Cache la Poudre Canyon, there are numerous water 
depletions (City of Fort Collins 2008a, pp. 5-6). However, the 
downstream river reach does not have an impact on the amount of water 
in Elkhorn Creek.
    Several water diversions on Elkhorn Creek or its tributaries have 
modified or curtailed habitat for the Arapahoe snowfly. However, a 
minimum flow of 2 cfps for Elkhorn Creek is included among the active 
water rights, and information on other species of winter stoneflies 
indicates that diapause enables them to withstand naturally dry summer 
conditions. Therefore, at present, we do not consider water diversions 
to be a threat to the species.
Wastewater
    The two largest known wastewater inputs within the Elkhorn Creek 
watershed are a Boy Scout camp (camp) located approximately 5 to 6 mi 
(8 to 10 km) upstream of known occupied habitat for the Arapahoe 
snowfly and a meditation and yoga retreat (retreat) located 
approximately 6 to 7 mi (10 to 11 km) upstream. Both facilities have 
septic tanks and constructed wetlands or evaporation ponds for treating 
wastewater prior to discharge into the groundwater basin within the 
Elkhorn

[[Page 27393]]

Creek watershed (North Front Range Water Quality Planning Association 
2011, unpaginated). Both the camp and the retreat are building 
treatment facilities that will further reduce the possibility of 
wastewater entering Elkhorn Creek (North Front Range Water Quality 
Planning Association 2011, unpaginated). With these precautions, we 
conclude that contamination of the Arapahoe snowfly habitat by 
wastewater from the camp or retreat is unlikely and therefore, not a 
threat to the species.
    None of the streams in the project area are listed on the State 
Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list as impaired. However, 
groundwater monitoring wells installed both up-gradient and down-
gradient from the retreat's wastewater treatment site show that all 
parameters, with the exception of chloride, had their lowest values 
(i.e., highest water quality) in groundwater up-gradient of the 
wastewater treatment site and their highest values (i.e., worst water 
quality) down-gradient of the wastewater treatment site (Zigler 2010, 
p. 5; Campbell 2011, unpaginated). Data submitted for June 2010, 
through July 2011, measured the following water quality parameters:

                         Table 2--Water Quality From Groundwater Monitoring Wells (mg/L)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Parameter                Lowest recorded value                  Highest recorded value
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Inorganic Nitrogen.........  0.09 (up-gradient well)..  10.77 (down-gradient well).
Total Coliform...................  Less than 1 (both wells).  46 (down-gradient well).
Chloride.........................  6 (up-gradient well).....  43.9 (up-gradient well).
Sulfate..........................  16.8 (up-gradient well)..  132.2 (down-gradient well).
Total Dissolved Solids...........  142 (up-gradient well)...  400 (down-gradient well).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Contaminant inputs can move from groundwater into surface water 
through the hyporheic zone (Boulton et al. 1998, p. 73). Although down-
gradient concentrations are elevated, none of the pollutants measured 
are priority pollutants under the CWA. We cannot make firm conclusions 
regarding the extent of contamination in the species' habitat caused by 
wastewater discharge into groundwater 5 to 7 mi (8 to 11 km) upstream 
without corresponding surface-water quality measurements taken during 
the summer in lower Elkhorn Creek near known Arapahoe snowfly occupied 
habitat, when human use upstream is much greater than occurred during 
the recent winter sampling period. None of the groundwater or surface-
water quality information available indicates that nutrient enrichment 
(high levels of nitrogen or phosphorus), which could lead to algal 
blooms and decreased dissolved oxygen, is occurring. Wastewater inputs 
may have modified habitat through nutrient inputs into groundwater 
within the Elkhorn Creek watershed that could impact the hyporheic zone 
where Arapahoe snowfly nymphs undergo diapause. However, these inputs 
occur 5 to 7 mi (8 to 11 km) upstream, and we have only limited water-
quality information in the vicinity of the species' known habitat. This 
data does not indicate nutrient enrichment, but sampling occurred on 
only one date during the winter, when wastewater inputs are minimal. At 
present, based upon the best available information, we do not consider 
wastewater a threat to the species.
Forest Management
    In this section we discuss management by the USFS to address the 
mountain pine beetle; specifically, spraying trees with carbaryl to 
protect against mountain pine beetle attack and removal of hazardous 
trees.
    Carbaryl is considered one of the most effective and 
environmentally safe insecticides used to prevent mountain pine beetle 
attack (Hastings et al. 2001, p. 803). Nevertheless, carbaryl poses 
ecological risks, particularly to honey bees and aquatic invertebrates 
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2004, p. 1). It is rated as 
``very highly toxic'' to aquatic invertebrates, with one of the test 
organisms a species of stonefly (Chloroperla grammatica) (EPA 2004, p. 
46). Despite no-spray buffer zones around aquatic habitats, pesticides 
such as carbaryl may be deposited by drift or mobilized by runoff from 
upland areas (Beyers et al. 1995, p. 27). A study described by Beyers 
et al. (1995, p. 32) found that virtually all stoneflies collected from 
a stream following carbaryl spraying were dead; however, mortality was 
likely ameliorated by colonization from unaffected organisms of the 
same species in the substrate or living upstream. In recent years, the 
USFS has been spraying carbaryl on thousands of individual trees in the 
Canyon Lakes Ranger District in an effort to control the ongoing 
mountain pine beetle outbreak (USFS 2009c, 2010b, 2011a, unpaginated). 
However, none of the sites sprayed to date are within the Elkhorn Creek 
watershed (Casamassa 2011, pp. 5-6). Pesticide drift into Arapahoe 
snowfly habitat is not likely due to the distance from sites that are 
sprayed. We have no information indicating that the Forest Service 
intends to spray carbaryl in the Elkhorn Creek watershed in the future, 
and they are committed to following label restrictions whenever using 
this pesticide. Therefore, at present, we do not consider spraying with 
carbaryl a threat to the species.
    The USFS has been removing hazardous trees within the Canyon Lakes 
Ranger District that have been killed as a result of the mountain pine 
beetle outbreak (USFS 2009c, 2010b, 2011a, unpaginated). Hazardous 
trees in this area represent an imminent threat to public health and 
safety, and largely consist of lodgepole and ponderosa pine. The high 
percentage of dead trees also increases the amount of forest fuels 
available during a potential wildfire (USFS 2010a, p. 1). The USFS 
estimates that approximately 85 percent (48,000 ac (19,000 ha)) of the 
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests have been infested by mountain 
pine beetles (USFS 2010a, p. 1). Some restrictions regarding tree 
removal exist within critical habitat for the threatened Preble's 
meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei). Designated critical 
habitat for the mouse includes the downstream reaches of both Elkhorn 
Creek and Young Gulch that contain potential habitat for the Arapahoe 
snowfly. Mechanical vegetation and slash treatments within critical 
habitat will occur only during the mouse's hibernation period (November 
1-April 30) (USFS 2010a, p. 15). Hand (chainsaw) treatment of 
vegetation and slash can occur at any time (USFS 2010a, p. 15). No new 
stream crossings would be allowed in critical habitat (USFS 2010a, p. 
16). Adult Arapahoe snowflies have been collected in late March and 
early April (Mazzacano undated, p. 2), and could potentially be

[[Page 27394]]

active during removal of hazardous trees.
    Ponderosa pines are more common in the upper reaches of Elkhorn 
Creek than in downstream reaches (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 79). 
This lessens the likelihood of tree removal occurring in lower stream 
reaches in the vicinity of Arapahoe snowfly habitat. Nevertheless, 
upstream removal of hazardous trees for reasons of public safety and 
fuel reduction could increase erosion and sediment loading due to soil 
disturbance near riparian areas (USFS 2010a, p. 40). However, leaving 
dead trees in place would increase the likelihood of large-scale or 
high-intensity wildfires due to increased fuel loads (USFS 2010a, p. 
44). A wildfire in the vicinity of Arapahoe snowfly habitat could 
result in extirpation of the species through loss of streamside 
vegetation important for adult Arapahoe snowfly habitat and as a food 
source for nymphs and increased sedimentation. Therefore, at present, 
we do not consider removal of hazardous trees to be a threat to the 
species as this activity lessens the risk of wildfire. Furthermore, any 
removal of hazardous trees would likely occur upstream of Arapahoe 
snowfly habitat.
    In conclusion, spraying of carbaryl is currently not implemented 
within the Elkhorn Creek watershed and, therefore, it is not currently 
a threat to the Arapahoe snowfly. Removal of hazardous trees may occur 
in upstream reaches of Elkhorn Creek and could potentially contribute 
to sediment loading in this stream. However, this activity could be 
more benefit than harm to the species as it reduces the risk of 
wildfire. Therefore, at present, we do not consider the forest 
management practice of hazardous tree removal to be a threat to the 
species.
Grazing
    The USFS manages one active cattle grazing allotment in the Elkhorn 
Creek watershed (Elkhorn-Lady Moon allotment) (Casamassa 2011, p. 5). 
The Elkhorn-Lady Moon allotment permits stocking of 75 cow-calf pairs 
from June 1 through September 30 (USFS 2006a, p. 4). Grazing has been 
discontinued on a second allotment (Seven Mile allotment) that also 
includes part of the Elkhorn Creek watershed (USFS 2006a, p. 9).
    The effects of cattle grazing on streams have been well documented 
in the western United States (Clary and Webster 1989, p. 1; Chaney et 
al. 1993, p. 6; Fleischner 1994, p. 629; Belsky et al. 1999, p. 419; 
Agouridis et al. 2005, p. 592; Coles-Ritchie et al. 2007, p. 733). 
Cattle are attracted to, and tend to loaf in riparian areas (Roath and 
Krueger 1982, p. 100; Chaney et al. 1993, p. 6; Fleischner 1994, p. 
629; Leonard et al. 1997, p. 11; Coles-Ritchie et al. 2007, p. 738). 
Grazing cattle can change watershed hydrology, alter stream channel 
morphology, erode soils, destroy riparian vegetation, impair water 
quality, and negatively affect aquatic species (Fleischner 1994, p. 
635; Agouridis et al. 2005, p. 592). Water quality impacts can include 
increased nutrient levels, bacteria counts, protozoa, sediment loads, 
and water temperatures and decreased levels of dissolved oxygen (Belsky 
et al. 1999, p. 421). Cattle-impacted streams usually have unstable, 
trampled streambanks that become significant sources of sediments when 
they erode, resulting in sediment filling the spaces between cobble in 
the streambed (embedded streambed), which results in less accessibility 
to macroinvertebrates, like the Arapahoe snowfly, that use streambed 
habitat (Braccia and Voshell 2007, p. 198). Stream channel morphology 
impacts can include decreased channel and streambank stability during 
floods, and decreased bed gravel. Hydrology impacts can include 
decreased late-season flows and water table levels (Belsky et al. 1999, 
pp. 421-422). Impacts to riparian vegetation can include decreased 
abundance of submerged and emergent higher plants and increased algae 
(Belsky et al. 1999, p. 422). All of these changes can alter the 
diversity, abundance, and species composition of invertebrate 
populations, particularly those that require cleaner and colder waters 
and coarser substrates (Belsky et al. 1999, p. 424).
    The percentage of stoneflies and other sensitive taxa in a stream 
has a negative relationship with cattle density (Braccia and Voshell 
2007, p. 196; McIver and McInnis 2007, pp. 298 and 301). Higher 
stocking rates result in greater impacts to streams. Livestock 
excrement elevates stream water concentrations of inorganic phosphorus 
and nitrogen, which increases growth of filamentous algae and 
production by microbes that can reduce dissolved oxygen concentrations 
(Strand and Merrit 1999, p. 17). Reduced concentrations of dissolved 
oxygen can adversely affect stonefly nymphs, which have high dissolved 
oxygen requirements (Williams and Feltmate 1992, p. 39).
    A Colorado study in the South Platte River watershed (which 
includes the Cache la Poudre River) found significantly higher counts 
of fecal bacteria in stream water at stocking rates of 0.38 cow per ac 
(0.94 cow per ha) or more (Gary et al. 1983, p. 128). As stated above, 
the grazing allotment on Elkhorn Creek has a much lower stocking rate 
that permits stocking 75 cow-calf pairs from June 11 through September 
30 on 11,605 ac (4,700 ha), or 0.006 cow-calf pair per ac (0.02 cow-
calf pair per ha) (USFS 2006b, p. 34; 2007, p. 12; 2011b, p. 1). If 
only primary range (1,975 ac (800 ha)) within the Elkhorn-Lady Moon 
allotment, where the majority of grazing occurs, is considered, the 
stocking rate is higher (0.04 cow-calf pair per ac (0.09 cow-calf pair 
per ha)), but still much less than the stocking rate of 0.38 cow per ac 
(0.94 cow per ha) from the study. Therefore, fecal bacteria counts in 
Elkhorn Creek may not be as elevated as at the study site. Low 
concentrations (less than established water quality standards) of E. 
coli bacteria have been detected in the Cache la Poudre River during 
the summer, perhaps due to increased recreation and cattle grazing in 
the watershed, combined with warmer stream water temperatures that can 
enhance bacterial survival (Collins and Sprague 2005, p. 1). However, 
the source of E. coli detected in the river is not known.
    The Elkhorn-Lady Moon allotment management plan states: (1) 
Livestock will graze a pasture only once in any given year; (2) 
livestock will be removed when utilization reaches 45 percent on 
satisfactory upland range or 30 percent on unsatisfactory range; (3) 
livestock will be removed when stream reaches rated as functional-at-
risk reach an average of 6 in. (150 mm) stubble height on tall sedges; 
and (4) livestock will be removed when streambank disturbance 
(trampling, exposed soils) reaches 20 to 25 percent of the key area 
stream reach (USFS 2007, p. 3; 2011b, pp. 1-3). The current grazing 
plan allows for a five-pasture rotational system (USFS 2007, p. 4). The 
allotment plan notes that lower reaches of Elkhorn Creek within the 
allotment have varying degrees of grazing impacts including heavily 
grazed sedges and hoof shearing along portions of the streambank, 
resulting in a marginal proper functioning rating (USFS 2007, p. 10). 
At its closest point, the Elkhorn-Lady Moon allotment is approximately 
6 to 7 mi (10 to 11 km) upstream from where the Arapahoe snowfly has 
been found. Without surface-water quality measurements, taken during 
the summer grazing season and collected in lower Elkhorn Creek where 
there is known Arapahoe snowfly habitat, we cannot make firm 
conclusions regarding the extent of contamination in the species' 
habitat caused by grazing 6 to 7 mi (10 to 11 km) or further upstream.
    In conclusion, grazing may have modified habitat through sediment 
loading and nutrient inputs into upstream reaches of the Elkhorn Creek

[[Page 27395]]

watershed. However, stocking rates are light, these inputs occur at 
least 6 to 7 mi (10 to 11 km) upstream from where the Arapahoe snowfly 
has been found, and there is no water quality information from the 
summer grazing season in the vicinity of the species' known habitat to 
confirm or refute nutrient enrichment. Therefore, at present, we do not 
consider grazing to be a threat to the species.
Management Plans and Other Conservation Measures
    In some instances, there may be conservation measures or management 
plans that are non-regulatory in nature which may provide benefits to a 
species.
    The CNHP has proposed a Potential Conservation Area (PCA) for the 
species that would encompass approximately 5,000 ac (2,000 ha) and 
include downstream portions of both Elkhorn Creek and Young Gulch 
(Colorado State University 2005, p. 2). This PCA has a Biodiversity 
Significance Rank of B1 for outstanding biodiversity significance. This 
is the highest level of biological diversity that can be assigned to a 
site. A PCA can provide planning and management guidance, but infers no 
legal status, and this PCA has only been proposed.
    The State of Colorado has had minimum in-stream flow water rights 
of 2 cfps (0.06 cmps) in Elkhorn Creek since 1978 (CWCB 2010, p. 10). 
This minimum flow indirectly provides some protection to habitat of the 
Arapahoe snowfly. However, Elkhorn Creek is described as an 
intermittent stream (Nelson and Kondratieff 1988, p. 79), and during 
periods of low precipitation it may be dry, despite in-stream flow 
water rights. Therefore, minimum flow requirements may be of limited 
benefit to the species.
    Both stream reaches where the Arapahoe snowfly has been located are 
included in critical habitat for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, 
designated on December 15, 2010 (75 FR 78430). Critical habitat extends 
394 ft (120 m) from the edges of both streams, and is part of the Cache 
la Poudre River unit of critical habitat encompassing approximately 
4,929 ac (1,995 ha) and 51 mi (82 km) of the river and its tributaries. 
Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with us 
on any action funded, authorized, or carried out by a Federal agency 
that is likely to adversely affect the continued existence of the mouse 
or its designated critical habitat. Examples of specific activities 
that may adversely affect critical habitat and, therefore, require 
consultation include: Land clearing; road construction; bank 
stabilization; intensive grazing; water diversions; changes to inputs 
of water, sediment, and nutrients; or any activity that significantly 
and detrimentally alters water quantity.
    This designation currently provides some indirect protection to the 
Arapahoe snowfly. The bodies of the streams are not included as 
critical habitat, although activities in the streams such as water 
diversions and changes to inputs of water, sediment, and nutrients such 
as might be caused by hazardous tree removal will require consultation 
if those activities may adversely affect critical habitat. Actions that 
do not affect the Preble's meadow jumping mouse or its habitat, or do 
not involve a Federal agency action, would not require consultation. 
Federal actions that occurred prior to 2003 did not require 
consultation because critical habitat for the mouse had not yet been 
designated. Designation of critical habitat for the Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse does not protect Arapahoe snowfly occupied habitat from 
the potential future effects of climate change, nor does it protect the 
body of Elkhorn Creek from some impacts to water quality that could 
likely occur without impacting designated critical habitat.
Summary of Factor A
    Potential present and threatened future habitat modification caused 
by climate change is a threat to the Arapahoe snowfly. Climate change 
is potentially modifying Arapahoe snowfly habitat in several ways 
including: (1) The threatened reduction in snowpack; (2) the present 
increase in temperature as well as continued threatened increases in 
future years; (3) the present outbreak of mountain pine beetle in 
ponderosa pine; and (4) the threatened increased likelihood of 
wildfire. Although available information indicates that climate change 
could potentially be modifying the species' habitat, we do not have any 
information that indicates this is currently threatening the species. 
However, the impacts from each of these stressors are expected to 
increase into the future. Therefore, we consider threatened habitat 
modification due to climate change to be a threat to the species.
    Development in the Elkhorn Creek watershed includes the 
construction and use of numerous roads and trails, causing 
sedimentation that has resulted in a watershed rated as Class II or 
``at risk.'' Water diversions from Elkhorn Creek and wastewater inputs 
into groundwater in the Elkhorn Creek watershed also may be impacting 
Arapahoe snowfly habitat. However, the extent of impact in the 
downstream reach where the species occurs has not been determined. 
Therefore, at present, we do not consider development a threat to the 
species.
    Forest management by the USFS regarding the ongoing mountain pine 
beetle epidemic includes carbaryl spraying of lodgepole and ponderosa 
pines to prevent infestations and removal of dead trees that are a 
potential hazard. However, carbaryl spraying is not occurring in the 
Elkhorn Creek watershed, and we consider tree removal to pose less of a 
threat to the Arapahoe snowfly than the increased risk from wildfire if 
dead trees are not removed. Therefore, at present, we do not consider 
forest management practices to be a threat to the species.
    Some grazing occurs in upstream reaches of the Elkhorn Creek 
watershed. However, stocking rates are light, these inputs occur at 
least 6 to 7 mi (10 to 11 km) upstream from where the Arapahoe snowfly 
has been found, and we have no water quality information in the 
vicinity of the species' known habitat to confirm or refute nutrient 
enrichment. Therefore, at present, we do not consider grazing to be a 
threat to the species.
    There are management plans or other conservation measures that 
directly or indirectly protect the species, to some degree. However, 
these cannot protect against habitat modification due to climate 
change.

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

    We are not aware of any threats due to overutilization of the 
Arapahoe snowfly for any commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes at this time. We are aware that specimens have 
been collected for scientific purposes to describe the species and 
determine its distribution and abundance (Heinold and Kondratieff 2010, 
p. 281; Heinold 2011d, unpaginated). However, we have no information 
that suggests these collections were or are occurring at a level that 
impacts the overall status of the species. Therefore, at present, we do 
not consider overutilization to be a threat to the species.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    We are not aware of any diseases that affect the Arapahoe snowfly. 
Therefore, at present, we do not consider disease to be a threat to the 
species. We presume that Arapahoe snowfly nymphs and adults may 
occasionally be subject to predation by certain fish species, such as 
brook trout (Salvelinus

[[Page 27396]]

fontinalis) or by certain bird species, such as the American dipper 
(Cinclus mexicanus). Both of these species are known to be present in 
Elkhorn Creek and to consume invertebrates (USFS 2006b, p. 69; eBird 
2011, unpaginated). However, nymphs may be protected from most 
predation due to burrowing into the streambed to undergo diapause, 
leaving terrestrial adults as the most likely potential prey. However, 
we have no information that any predation is a threat to the species. 
Therefore, at present, we do not consider predation to be a threat to 
the species.

Factor D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Act requires us to examine the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms with respect to ongoing and foreseeable threats that place 
the Arapahoe snowfly at risk of becoming either endangered or 
threatened. The species currently receives no direct protection under 
Federal, State, or local law.
    The Arapahoe snowfly is designated as ``critically imperiled'' at 
both the State and global level by Colorado's Natural Heritage Program 
(CNHP) and NatureServe, respectively (NatureServe 2009, p. 1). However, 
this designation does not provide any legal protection for the species 
or its habitat. See Factor A for a discussion of the CNHP. The Arapahoe 
snowfly is designated as a ``species of greatest conservation need'' by 
the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW), based upon its global and 
State ranking by NatureServe and the CNHP (CDOW 2006, pp. 17 and 20). 
However, this designation also confers no protection to the species 
from the threats identified in Factors A and E.
    The Arapahoe snowfly occurs on USFS lands and is indirectly 
protected by Federal laws and regulations mandating how USFS lands are 
managed. The Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) for the Arapaho 
and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland was 
prepared in accordance with the National Forest Management Act of 1976 
(NFMA), the regulatory mechanism directing the administration and 
management of national forests. One of the goals of the LRMP is to 
restore, protect, and enhance habitats for endangered, threatened, and 
proposed species listed in accordance with the Act, as well as 
sensitive species appearing on the regional sensitive species list to 
contribute to their stabilization and full recovery (USFS 1997, p. 17). 
Habitat on USFS lands is managed to help assure that species whose 
viability is a concern survive throughout their range, that populations 
increase or stabilize, or that threats are eliminated (USFS 1997, p. 
7). However, the species is not currently listed under the Act, and it 
is not on the USFS sensitive species list. Consequently, it currently 
receives no direct protection under the USFS LRMP. The management 
authorities that USFS has available are not adequate to protect the 
species from the primary threats of climate change and small population 
size (see Factor E).
    All Federal agencies are required to adhere to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for 
projects they fund, authorize, or carry out. The Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500-
1518) state that when preparing environmental impact statements, 
agencies must include a discussion on the environmental impacts of the 
various project alternatives, any adverse environmental effects that 
cannot be avoided, and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of 
resource involved. Additionally, activities on non-Federal lands are 
subject to NEPA if there is a Federal action. The NEPA is a disclosure 
law, and does not require subsequent minimization or mitigation 
measures by the Federal agency involved. Although Federal agencies may 
include conservation measures for sensitive species as a result of the 
NEPA process, any such measures are typically voluntary in nature and 
not required by the statute.
    On December 15, 2009, the EPA published in the Federal Register (74 
FR 66496) a rule titled, ``Endangerment and Cause or Contribute 
Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air 
Act.'' In this rule, the EPA Administrator found that the current and 
projected concentrations of the six long-lived and directly emitted 
greenhouse gases--carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, 
hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride--in the 
atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future 
generations; and that the combined emissions of these greenhouse gases 
from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the 
greenhouse gas pollution that threatens public health and welfare (74 
FR 66496). In effect, the EPA has concluded that the greenhouse gases 
linked to climate change are pollutants, whose emissions can now be 
subject to the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; see 74 FR 66496). 
However, specific regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions were 
only proposed in 2010 and, therefore, cannot be considered an existing 
regulatory mechanism. At present, we have no basis to conclude that 
implementation of the Clean Air Act in the foreseeable future (40 
years, based on global climate projections) will substantially reduce 
the current rate of global climate change through regulation of 
greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, we conclude that the Clean Air Act is 
not designed to address the primary threats to the Arapahoe snowfly, 
namely the anticipated loss of thermally and hydrologically suitable 
habitat as a result of increasing water temperatures and reduced 
snowpack changes that result from climate change in the Elkhorn Creek 
watershed, Colorado.
    Combined with the threats discussed under Factor A, the species' 
small population size makes the species more vulnerable to extinction 
due to demographic stochasticity, environmental stochasticity, and 
random catastrophe (discussed under Factor E). We are not aware of any 
regulatory mechanisms that address threats caused by small population 
size for this species.
Summary of Factor D
    There are no regulatory mechanisms that directly protect the 
Arapahoe snowfly at the Federal, State, or local level. The species is 
indirectly protected by Federal laws and regulations mandating how USFS 
lands are managed. These regulatory mechanisms cannot protect against 
climate change or a small population size (discussed under Factor E). 
We consider habitat loss and modification resulting from the 
environmental changes due to climate change to constitute a primary 
threat to the species. The United States is only now beginning to 
address global climate change through the regulatory process (e.g., 
Clean Air Act). We have no information on what regulations may 
eventually be adopted and when implemented. We are not aware of any 
regulatory mechanisms that address the changes in Arapahoe snowfly 
habitat that are occurring or likely to occur in the future. 
Additionally, we are not aware of any regulations that address threats 
caused by small population size.

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

    Under this factor we consider the small population size of the 
Arapahoe snowfly. As discussed in the section on Historic Distribution, 
the species has been extirpated from Young Gulch, one of the two 
streams where it was known to occur. Based upon the best available

[[Page 27397]]

information, it appears to currently have an extremely narrow 
distribution near the confluence of Elkhorn Creek with the Cache la 
Poudre River, and appears rare within its only known occupied habitat.
    A species may be considered rare because of a limited geographical 
range, specialized habitat, or small population size (Primack 1998, p. 
176). The Arapahoe snowfly appears to have a very limited occupied 
range (approximately 1,640 ft (500 m) along 1 stream) and a very small 
population size (13 males and 2 females have been collected in the past 
25 years). It has several characteristics typical of species vulnerable 
to extinction including: (1) A very narrow geographical range; (2) only 
one known population; (3) a small population size; (4) an ineffective 
disperser; (5) a seasonal migrant depending on two or more distinct 
habitat types to complete its life cycle; and (6) characteristically 
found in stable, pristine environments (Primack 1998, pp. 178-187).
    Extinction may be caused by demographic stochasticity due to chance 
realizations of individual probabilities of death and reproduction, 
particularly in small populations (Shaffer 1981, p. 131; Lande 1993, 
pp. 911-912). Environmental stochasticity can result in extinction 
through a series of small or moderate perturbations that affect birth 
and death rates within a population (Shaffer 1981, p. 131; Lande 1993, 
p. 912). Lastly, extinction can be caused by random catastrophes 
(Shaffer 1981, p. 131; Lande 1993, p. 912). The Arapahoe snowfly is 
vulnerable to extinction due to: (1) Demographic stochasticity due to 
its small population size; (2) environmental stochasticity due to 
continued small perturbations caused by ongoing modification and 
curtailment of its habitat and range; and (3) the chance of random 
catastrophe such as wildfire.
    Small populations also can be vulnerable due to a lack of genetic 
diversity (Shaffer 1981, p. 132). We have no information regarding 
genetic diversity of the Arapahoe snowfly. A minimum viable population 
(MVP) will vary depending on the species. An MVP of 1,000 may be 
adequate for species of normal genetic variability, and an MVP of 
10,000 should permit long-term persistence and continued genetic 
diversity (Thomas 1990, p. 325). These estimates should be increased by 
at least 1 order of magnitude (to 10,000 and 100,000) for insects 
because they usually have greater population variability (Thomas 1990, 
p. 326). Based upon available information, the Arapahoe snowfly likely 
does not meet these minimum population criteria for maintaining genetic 
diversity.
Summary of Factor E
    We consider the Arapahoe snowfly to be rare due to its extremely 
limited range, a single known extant population, and its small 
population size. It also is an ineffective disperser, a seasonal 
migrant depending on two or more distinct habitat types to complete its 
life cycle, and it requires a pristine environment to carry out life 
history functions. The restricted range of the species does not 
necessarily constitute a threat in itself. However, combined with the 
threats discussed under Factor A, the species' small population size 
makes the species more vulnerable to extinction due to demographic 
stochasticity, environmental stochasticity, and random catastrophe. The 
presence of specific threats including climate change increases the 
vulnerability of this small population. Therefore, at present, we 
consider its small population size to be a threat to the species.

Finding

    As required by the Act, we considered the five factors in assessing 
whether the Arapahoe snowfly 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 species. We reviewed the petition, information available 
in our files, other available published and unpublished information, 
and we consulted with recognized species experts and other Federal and 
State agencies.
    This status review identified threats to the Arapahoe snowfly 
attributable to Factors A, D, and E. Potential present and threatened 
habitat modification caused by climate change is impacting the Elkhorn 
Creek watershed. We also find that the species is at risk due to its 
small population size. Existing regulatory mechanisms are not designed 
to protect the species from threats identified under Factors A and E. 
The following table summarizes the conclusions from our five factor 
analysis:

   Table 3--Summary of the Act's Five Factor Analysis for the Arapahoe
                         Snowfly, Elkhorn Creek
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Factor/stressor                     Threat conclusion
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Factor A:
    Climate Change:
        Reduced Snowpack...............  Future threat.
        Increased Temperature..........  Ongoing and future threat.
        Mountain Pine Beetle...........  Ongoing and future threat.
        Wildfire.......................  Future threat.
    Recreational Use...................  Present, but not a threat.
    Development:
        Roads..........................  Present, but not a threat.
        Water Diversions...............  Present, but not a threat.
        Wastewater Inputs..............  Present, but not a threat.
    Forest Management:
        Carbaryl Spraying..............  Not present, not a threat.
        Hazardous Tree Removal.........  Present, but not a threat.
        Grazing........................  Present, but not a threat.
Factor B:
    Overutilization....................  Present, but not a threat.
Factor C:
    Disease............................  Not present, not a threat.
    Predation..........................  Present, but not a threat.
Factor D:
    Inadequate Regulatory Mechanisms...  No mechanisms existing or
                                          designed to address threats.
Factor E:

[[Page 27398]]

 
    Small Population Size..............  Ongoing and future threat.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available, we find that the petitioned action is warranted. We will 
make a determination on the status of the species as threatened or 
endangered when we do a proposed listing determination. However, as 
explained in more detail below, an immediate proposal of a regulation 
implementing this action is precluded by higher priority listing 
actions, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove 
qualified species from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife 
and Plants.
    We reviewed the available information to determine if the existing 
and foreseeable threats render the species at risk of extinction now 
such that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the 
Arapahoe snowfly under section 4(b)(7) of the Act is warranted. We 
determined that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the 
species is not warranted for this species at this time, because the 
species is not under immediate threat of extinction. Impacts from 
climate change, a small population size, and lack of adequate 
regulatory mechanisms are cumulative, and will develop in intensity and 
scope over time. However, if at any time we determine that issuing an 
emergency regulation temporarily listing the Arapahoe snowfly is 
warranted, we will initiate this action at that time.

Listing Priority Number

    The Service adopted guidelines on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 43098), 
to establish a rational system for utilizing available resources for 
the highest priority species when adding species to the Lists of 
Endangered or Threatened Wildlife and Plants or reclassifying species 
listed as threatened to endangered status. These guidelines, titled 
``Endangered and Threatened Species Listing and Recovery Priority 
Guidelines,'' address the magnitude and immediacy of threats and the 
level of taxonomic distinctiveness by assigning priority in descending 
order to monotypic genera (genus with one species), full species, and 
subspecies (or equivalently distinct population segments of 
vertebrates). Listing Priority Numbers (LPNs) range from 1 to 12, with 
an LPN of 1 representing the highest priority. We assign the Arapahoe 
snowfly an LPN of 5 based on our finding that this is a species facing 
threats that are of high magnitude, but those threats are not imminent. 
These threats include the present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat, the inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms, and its small population size. Our rationale for 
assigning the Arapahoe snowfly an LPN of 5 is outlined below.
    Under the Service's LPN Guidance, the magnitude of threat is the 
first criterion we look at when establishing a listing priority. The 
guidance indicates that species with the highest magnitude of threat 
are those species facing the greatest threats to their continued 
existence. These species receive the highest priority. Threats to the 
Arapahoe snowfly are of high magnitude because climate change, 
inadequate regulatory mechanisms, and a small population size occur 
throughout the range of the species. The species has not been located 
in Young Gulch since 1986 and, despite repeated searches, has not been 
located in other nearby tributaries, leaving one small known population 
along a reach of Elkhorn Creek of approximately 1,640 ft (500 m).
    Under our LPN Guidance, the second criterion we consider in 
assigning a listing priority is the immediacy of threats. This 
criterion is intended to ensure that the species facing actual, 
identifiable threats are given priority over those species for which 
threats are only potential or species that are intrinsically 
vulnerable, but are not known to be presently facing such threats. We 
consider the threats to the Arapahoe snowfly overall to be non-imminent 
because: (1) Although increases in temperature in excess of those known 
to adversely impact stoneflies have been documented in the northern 
Front Range of Colorado, we have no information to indicate that the 
species has actually been adversely affected by these temperatures; and 
(2) a single small population with a very limited range results in 
increased vulnerability to extirpation caused by threats from climate 
change and sedimentation; however, the species has been located in 
Elkhorn Creek on three occasions since 1987. While regulatory 
mechanisms are currently inadequate to protect the species from the 
previously described threats, these impacts do not appear to be 
affecting the existing population in Elkhorn Creek, though they may be 
precluding reestablishment in the Young Gulch watershed.
    These actual, identifiable threats are covered in detail under the 
discussion of Factors A, D, and E of this finding. We previously 
acknowledged that few studies have been conducted on the Arapahoe 
snowfly due to its rarity, the difficulties in distinguishing among 
species of snowfly nymphs, and difficulties of sampling under ice in 
winter. Consequently, most of the best available information regarding 
specific impacts caused by the various threats comes from our knowledge 
about stoneflies (order Plecoptera) in general, other members of winter 
stonefly (family Capniidae), and other species of snowfly (genus 
Capnia). Due to the extreme rarity of the Arapahoe snowfly, species-
specific research is not likely to be conducted, and we do not consider 
it appropriate to defer this finding until research is conducted. The 
available data shows adverse impacts from these threats for closely 
related species.
    The third criterion in our LPN guidance is intended to devote 
resources to those species representing highly distinctive or isolated 
gene pools as reflected by taxonomy. The Arapahoe snowfly is a valid 
taxon at the species level and, therefore, receives a higher priority 
than a subspecies, but a lower priority than a species in a monotypic 
genus. The Arapahoe snowfly faces high-magnitude, nonimminent threats, 
and is a valid taxon at the species level. Thus, in accordance with our 
LPN guidance, we have assigned the Arapahoe snowfly an LPN of 5.
    We will continue to monitor the threats to the Arapahoe snowfly and 
the species' status on an annual basis, and should the magnitude or the 
imminence of the threats change, we will revisit our assessment of the 
LPN.
    Work on a proposed listing determination for the Arapahoe snowfly 
is precluded by work on higher priority listing actions with absolute 
statutory, court-ordered, or court-approved deadlines and final listing 
determinations for those species that were proposed for listing with 
funds from Fiscal Year 2012. This work includes all the actions listed 
in the

[[Page 27399]]

tables below under expeditious progress.

Preclusion and Expeditious Progress

    Preclusion is a function of the listing priority of a species in 
relation to the resources that are available and the cost and relative 
priority of competing demands for those resources. Thus, in any given 
fiscal year (FY), multiple factors dictate whether it will be possible 
to undertake work on a listing proposal regulation or whether 
promulgation of such a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing 
actions. We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis 
to ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed 
first and also because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide 
basis.

Available Resources

    Congress identified the availability of resources as the only basis 
for deferring the initiation of a rulemaking that is warranted. The 
Conference Report accompanying Public Law 97-304 (Endangered Species 
Act Amendments of 1982), which established the current statutory 
deadlines and the warranted-but-precluded finding, states that the 
amendments were ``not intended to allow the Secretary to delay 
commencing the rulemaking process for any reason other than that the 
existence of pending or imminent proposals to list species subject to a 
greater degree of threat would make allocation of resources to such a 
petition [that is, for a lower-ranking species] unwise.'' Although that 
statement appeared to refer specifically to the ``to the maximum extent 
practicable'' limitation on the 90-day deadline for making a 
``substantial information'' finding, that finding is made at the point 
when the Service is deciding whether or not to commence a status review 
that will determine the degree of threats facing the species, and 
therefore the analysis underlying the statement is more relevant to the 
use of the warranted-but-precluded finding, which is made when the 
Service has already determined the degree of threats facing the species 
and is deciding whether or not to commence a rulemaking.
    The resources available for listing actions are determined through 
the annual Congressional appropriations process. The appropriation for 
the Listing Program is available to support work involving the 
following listing actions: Proposed and final listing rules; 90-day and 
12-month findings on petitions to add species to the Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists) or to change the 
status of a species from threatened to endangered; annual 
``resubmitted'' petition findings on prior warranted-but-precluded 
petition findings as required under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act; 
critical habitat petition findings; proposed and final rules 
designating critical habitat; and litigation-related, administrative, 
and program-management functions (including preparing and allocating 
budgets, responding to Congressional and public inquiries, and 
conducting public outreach regarding listing and critical habitat). The 
work involved in preparing various listing documents can be extensive 
and may include, but is not limited to: Gathering and assessing the 
best scientific and commercial data available and conducting analyses 
used as the basis for our decisions; writing and publishing documents; 
and obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating public comments and peer 
review comments on proposed rules and incorporating relevant 
information into final rules. The number of listing actions that we can 
undertake in a given year also is influenced by the complexity of those 
listing actions; that is, more complex actions generally are more 
costly. The median cost for preparing and publishing a 90-day finding 
is $39,276; for a 12-month finding, $100,690; for a proposed rule with 
critical habitat, $345,000; and for a final listing rule with critical 
habitat, $305,000.
    We cannot spend more than is appropriated for the Listing Program 
without violating the Anti-Deficiency Act (see 31 U.S.C. 
1341(a)(1)(A)). In addition, in FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since 
then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds that may be expended 
for the Listing Program, equal to the amount expressly appropriated for 
that purpose in that fiscal year. This cap was designed to prevent 
funds appropriated for other functions under the Act (for example, 
recovery funds for removing species from the Lists), or for other 
Service programs, from being used for Listing Program actions (see 
House Report 105-163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 1997).
    Since FY 2002, the Service's budget has included a critical habitat 
subcap to ensure that some funds are available for other work in the 
Listing Program (``The critical habitat designation subcap will ensure 
that some funding is available to address other listing activities'' 
(House Report No. 107-103, 107th Congress, 1st Session, June 19, 
2001)). In FY 2002 and each year until FY 2006, the Service has had to 
use virtually the entire critical habitat subcap to address court-
mandated designations of critical habitat, and consequently none of the 
critical habitat subcap funds have been available for other listing 
activities. In some FYs since 2006, we have been able to use some of 
the critical habitat subcap funds to fund proposed listing 
determinations for high-priority candidate species. In other FYs, while 
we were unable to use any of the critical habitat subcap funds to fund 
proposed listing determinations, we did use some of this money to fund 
the critical habitat portion of some proposed listing determinations so 
that the proposed listing determination and proposed critical habitat 
designation could be combined into one rule, thereby being more 
efficient in our work. At this time, for FY 2012, we are using some of 
the critical habitat subcap funds to fund proposed listing 
determinations.
    Through the listing cap, the critical habitat subcap, and the 
amount of funds needed to address court-mandated critical habitat 
designations, Congress and the courts have in effect determined the 
amount of money available for other listing activities nationwide. 
Therefore, the funds in the listing cap, other than those needed to 
address court-mandated critical habitat for already listed species, set 
the limits on our determinations of preclusion and expeditious 
progress.

Preclusion

    For FY 2012, on December 23, 2011, Congress passed a Consolidated 
Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 112-74) which provides funding through the 
end of the fiscal year. The Service has $20,902,000 for the listing 
program. Of that, no more than $7,472,000 is available for 
determinations of critical habitat for already listed species. In 
addition, while no more than $1,500,000 can be used for listing, 
delisting, and reclassification actions for foreign species, $500,000 
is being allocated for work on foreign species. The Service thus has 
$12,930,000 available to fund work on listing actions other than 
critical habitat designation and work on foreign species. The following 
are categories of work for which listing funds are being used: (1) 
Compliance with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements 
requiring that petition findings or listing determinations be completed 
by a specific date; (2) section 4 (of the Act) listing actions with 
absolute statutory deadlines; and (3) essential litigation-related, 
administrative, and listing program-management functions. In FY 2010, 
the Service received many new petitions and a single petition to list 
404 species, increasing our workload significantly. Additionally, as a 
result of a settlement agreement, we are

[[Page 27400]]

implementing a work plan that establishes a framework and schedule for 
resolving by September 30, 2016, the status of all of the species that 
the Service had determined to be qualified as of the 2010 Candidate 
Notice of Review. The Service submitted such a work plan to the U.S. 
District Court for the District of Columbia in In re Endangered Species 
Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation, No. 10-377 (EGS), MDL Docket No. 
2165 (D. DC May 10, 2011), and obtained the court's approval. In FY 
2012, our entire listing budget has been allocated for work in the 
above categories, primarily including work under this settlement 
agreement. The budget allocations for each specific listing action are 
identified in the Service's FY 2012 Allocation Tables (part of our 
record). Thus, funding a proposed listing determination for the 
Arapahoe snowfly is precluded by our lack of available resources.
    Based on our September 21, 1983, guidelines for assigning an LPN 
for each candidate species (48 FR 43098), we assign each candidate an 
LPN of 1 to 12, depending on the magnitude of threats (high or moderate 
to low), immediacy of threats (imminent or nonimminent), and taxonomic 
status of the species (in order of priority: Monotypic genus (a species 
that is the sole member of a genus); species; or part of a species 
(subspecies, or distinct population segment)). The lower the listing 
priority number, the higher the listing priority (that is, a species 
with an LPN of 1 would have the highest listing priority). A species 
with a higher LPN would generally be precluded from listing by species 
with lower LPNs, unless work on a proposed rule for the species with 
the higher LPN can be combined with work on a proposed rule for other 
high-priority species. This is not the case for Arapahoe snowfly. Thus, 
in addition to being precluded by the lack of available resources, the 
Arapahoe snowfly with an LPN of 5 is also precluded by work on proposed 
listing determinations for those candidate species with a higher 
listing priority.
    Finally, proposed rules for reclassification of threatened species 
to endangered species are lower priority, because as listed species, 
they are already afforded the protections of the Act and implementing 
regulations. However, for efficiency reasons, we may choose to work on 
a proposed rule to reclassify a species to endangered if we can combine 
this with work that is subject to a court-determined deadline.
    With our workload much larger than the amount of funds we have to 
accomplish it, it is important that we be as efficient as possible in 
our listing process. Therefore, as we implement our listing work plan 
and work on proposed rules for the highest priority species in the next 
several years, we are preparing multi-species proposals when 
appropriate, and these may include species with lower priority if they 
overlap geographically or have the same threats as a species with an 
LPN of 2. In addition, we take into consideration the availability of 
staff resources when we determine which high-priority species will 
receive funding to minimize the amount of time and resources required 
to complete each listing action.

Expeditious Progress

    As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but 
precluded must also demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made 
to add and remove qualified species to and from the Lists of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. As with our ``precluded'' finding, 
the evaluation of whether progress in adding qualified species to the 
Lists has been expeditious is a function of the resources available for 
listing and the competing demands for those funds. (Although we do not 
discuss it in detail here, we are also making expeditious progress in 
removing species from the list under the Recovery program in light of 
the resource available for delisting, which is funded by a separate 
line item in the budget of the Endangered Species Program. To date, 
during FY 2012, we completed delisting rules for one species.) Given 
the limited resources available for listing, we find that we are making 
expeditious progress in FY 2012 in the Listing Program. This progress 
included preparing and publishing the following determinations:

                                        FY 2012 Completed Listing Actions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Publication date                Title                  Actions                       FR pages
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/4/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 61298-61307.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              Lake Sammamish          warranted.
                              Kokanee Population of
                              Oncorhynchus nerka as
                              an Endangered or
                              Threatened Distinct
                              Population Segment.
10/4/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 61307-61321.
                              Petition to List        petition finding, Not
                              Calopogon               warranted.
                              oklahomensis as
                              Threatened or
                              Endangered.
10/4/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 61321-61330.
                              Petition To List the    petition finding, Not
                              Amargosa River          warranted.
                              Population of the
                              Mojave Fringe-toed
                              Lizard as an
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened Distinct
                              Population Segment.
10/4/2011..................  Endangered Status for   Proposed Listing        76 FR 61482-61529.
                              the Alabama             Endangered.
                              Pearlshell, Round
                              Ebonyshell, Southern
                              Sandshell, Southern
                              Kidneyshell, and
                              Choctaw Bean, and
                              Threatened Status for
                              the Tapered Pigtoe,
                              Narrow Pigtoe, and
                              Fuzzy Pigtoe; with
                              Critical Habitat.
10/4/2011..................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        76 FR 61532-61554.
                              Petition To List 10     Petition Finding,
                              Subspecies of Great     Substantial and Not
                              Basin Butterflies as    substantial.
                              Threatened or
                              Endangered with
                              Critical Habitat.
10/5/2011..................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        76 FR 61826-61853.
                              Petition to List 29     Petition Finding,
                              Mollusk Species as      Substantial and Not
                              Threatened or           substantial.
                              Endangered With
                              Critical Habitat.
10/5/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 61856-61894.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              Cactus Ferruginous      warranted.
                              Pygmy-Owl as
                              Threatened or
                              Endangered with
                              Critical Habitat.
10/5/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 61896-61931.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              Northern Leopard Frog   warranted.
                              in the Western United
                              States as Threatened.
10/6/2011..................  Endangered Status for   Final Listing,          76 FR 61956-61978.
                              the Ozark Hellbender    Endangered.
                              Salamander.
10/6/2011..................  Red-Crowned Parrot....  Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62016-62034.
                                                      petition finding,
                                                      Warranted but
                                                      precluded.
10/6/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62166-62212.
                              Petition to List        petition finding,
                              Texas Fatmucket,        Warranted but
                              Golden Orb, Smooth      precluded.
                              Pimpleback, Texas
                              Pimpleback, and Texas
                              Fawnsfoot as
                              Threatened or
                              Endangered.

[[Page 27401]]

 
10/6/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62214-62258.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              Mohave Ground           warranted.
                              Squirrel as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
10/6/2011..................  Partial 90-Day Finding  Notice of 90-day        76 FR 62260-62280.
                              on a Petition to List   Petition Finding, Not
                              404 Species in the      substantial.
                              Southeastern United
                              States as Threatened
                              or Endangered With
                              Critical Habitat.
10/7/2011..................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62504-62565.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              Black-footed            warranted.
                              Albatross as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
10/11/2011.................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62722-62740.
                              Petition to List        petition finding, Not
                              Amoreuxia gonzalezii,   warranted.
                              Astragalus hypoxylus,
                              and Erigeron
                              piscaticus as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
10/11/2011.................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62740-62754.
                              Petition and Proposed   petition finding,
                              Rule to List the        Warranted, Propose
                              Yellow-Billed Parrot.   Listing, threatened.
10/11/2011.................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 62900-62926.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              Tehachapi Slender       warranted.
                              Salamander as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
10/11/2011.................  Endangered Status for   Final Listing,          76 FR 62928-62960.
                              the Altamaha            Endangered.
                              Spinymussel and
                              Designation of
                              Critical Habitat.
10/11/2011.................  12-Month Finding for a  Notice of 12-month      76 FR 63094-63115.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding, Not
                              California Golden       warranted.
                              Trout as Endangered.
10/12/2011.................  12-Month Petition       Notice of 12-month      76 FR 63420-63442.
                              Finding, Proposed       petition finding,
                              Listing of              Warranted, Proposed
                              Coqu[iacute] Llanero    Listing, Endangered.
                              as Endangered, and
                              Designation of
                              Critical Habitat for
                              Coqu[iacute] Llanero.
10/12/2011.................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 63444-63478.
                              Petition to List        petition finding, Not
                              Northern Leatherside    warranted.
                              Chub as Endangered or
                              Threatened.
10/12/2011.................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 63480-63508.
                              Petition to List Two    petition finding, Not
                              South American Parrot   warranted.
                              Species.
10/13/2011.................  12-Month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      76 FR 63720-63762.
                              Petition to List a      petition finding,
                              Distinct Population     Warranted but
                              Segment of the Red      precluded.
                              Tree Vole as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
12/19/2011.................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        76 FR 78601-78609.
                              Petition To List the    Petition Finding,
                              Western Glacier         Substantial.
                              Stonefly as
                              Endangered With
                              Critical Habitat.
1/3/2012...................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        77 FR 45-52.
                              Petition to List        Petition Finding,
                              Sierra Nevada Red Fox   Substantial.
                              as Endangered or
                              Threatened.
1/5/2012...................  Listing Two Distinct    Proposed                77 FR 666-697.
                              Population Segments     Reclassification.
                              of Broad-Snouted
                              Caiman as Endangered
                              or Threatened and a
                              Special Rule.
1/12/2012..................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        77 FR 1900-1908.
                              Petition To List the    Petition Finding,
                              Humboldt Marten as      Substantial.
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
1/24/2012..................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        77 FR 3423-3432.
                              Petition to List the    Petition Finding,
                              `I'iwi as Endangered    Substantial.
                              or Threatened.
2/1/2012...................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        77 FR 4973-4980.
                              Petition to List the    Petition Finding,
                              San Bernardino Flying   Substantial.
                              Squirrel as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened With
                              Critical Habitat.
2/14/2012..................  Determination of        Final Listing           77 FR 8632-8665.
                              Endangered Status for   Endangered.
                              the Rayed Bean and
                              Snuffbox Mussels
                              Throughout Their
                              Ranges.
2/17/2012..................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        77 FR 9618-9619.
                              Petition to List the    Petition Finding, Not
                              Thermophilic Ostracod   substantial.
                              as Endangered or
                              Threatened.
3/13/2012..................  Determination of        Final Listing,          77 FR 14914-14949.
                              Endangered Status for   Endangered.
                              the Sheepnose and
                              Spectaclecase Mussels
                              Throughout Their
                              Range.
4/2/2012...................  12-month Finding on a   Notice of 12-month      77 FR 19756--19797.
                              Petition to List the    petition finding,
                              San Francisco Bay-      Warranted but
                              Delta Population of     precluded.
                              the Longfin Smelt as
                              Endangered or
                              Threatened.
4/6/2012...................  Listing of the Miami    Final Listing,          77 FR 20948-20986.
                              Blue Butterfly as       Endangered.
                              Endangered Throughout
                              Its Range; Listing of
                              the Cassius Blue,
                              Ceraunus Blue, and
                              Nickerbean Blue
                              Butterflies as
                              Threatened Due to
                              Similarity of
                              Appearance to the
                              Miami Blue Butterfly
                              in Coastal South and
                              Central Florida.
4/12/2012..................  90-Day Finding on a     Notice of 90-day        77 FR 21920-21936.
                              Petition to List        Petition Finding,
                              Either the Eastern      Substantial.
                              Population or the
                              Southern Rocky
                              Mountain Population
                              of the Boreal Toad as
                              an Endangered or
                              Threatened Distinct
                              Population Segment.
4/17/2012..................  Determination of        Final Listing,          77 FR 23060-23092.
                              Endangered Status for   Endangered and
                              Three Forks             Threatened.
                              Springsnail and
                              Threatened Status for
                              San Bernardino
                              Springsnail
                              Throughout Their
                              Ranges and
                              Designation of
                              Critical Habitat for
                              Both Species.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Our expeditious progress also includes work on listing actions that 
we funded in previous fiscal years and in FY 2012 but have not yet been 
completed to date. These actions are listed below. Actions in the top 
section of the table are being conducted under a deadline set by a 
court through a court order or settlement agreement. The Service had 
already begun to implement our work plan submitted as part of the MDL 
settlement case (see above) last FY and we continue to work on these 
actions. Many of these initial actions in our work plan include work on 
proposed rules for candidate species with an LPN of 2 or 3. As 
discussed above, selection of the order in which

[[Page 27402]]

these species are worked on is partially based on available staff 
resources, and when appropriate, include species with a lower priority 
if they overlap geographically or have the same threats as the species 
with the high priority. Including these species together in the same 
proposed rule results in considerable savings in time and funding, when 
compared to preparing separate proposed rules for each of them in the 
future. Actions in the lower section of the table are being conducted 
to meet statutory timelines, that is, timelines required under the Act.

   Actions Funded in Previous FYs and in FY 2012 But Not Yet Completed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Species                               Action
------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Actions Subject to Court Order/Settlement Agreement
------------------------------------------------------------------------
4 parrot species (military macaw,  12-month petition finding.
 yellow-billed parrot, scarlet
 macaw) \5\.
20 Maui-Nui candidate species \2\  Proposed listing.
 (17 plants, 3 tree snails) (14
 with LPN = 2, 2 with LPN = 3, 3
 with LPN = 8).
Umtanum buckwheat (LPN = 2) and    Proposed listing.
 white bluffs bladderpod (LPN =
 9) \4\.
Grotto sculpin (LPN = 2) \4\.....  Proposed listing.
2 Arkansas mussels (Neosho mucket  Proposed listing.
 (LPN = 2) & Rabbitsfoot (LPN =
 9)) \4\.
Diamond darter (LPN = 2) \4\.....  Proposed listing.
Gunnison sage-grouse (LPN = 2)     Proposed listing.
 \4\.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger        Proposed listing.
 Beetle (LPN = 2) \5\.
Lesser prairie chicken (LPN = 2).  Proposed listing.
4 Texas salamanders (Austin blind  Proposed listing.
 salamander (LPN = 2), Salado
 salamander (LPN = 2), Georgetown
 salamander (LPN = 8), Jollyville
 Plateau (LPN = 8)) \3\.
West Texas aquatics (Gonzales      Proposed listing.
 Spring Snail (LPN = 2), Diamond
 Y springsnail (LPN = 2), Phantom
 springsnail (LPN = 2), Phantom
 Cave snail (LPN = 2), Diminutive
 amphipod (LPN = 2)) \3\.
2 Texas plants (Texas golden       Proposed listing.
 gladecress (Leavenworthia
 texana) (LPN = 2), Neches River
 rose-mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx)
 (LPN = 2)) \3\.
4 AZ plants (Acuna cactus          Proposed listing.
 (Echinomastus erectocentrus var.
 acunensis) (LPN = 3), Fickeisen
 plains cactus (Pediocactus
 peeblesianus fickeiseniae) (LPN
 = 3), Lemmon fleabane (Erigeron
 lemmonii) (LPN = 8), Gierisch
 mallow (Sphaeralcea gierischii)
 (LPN = 2)) \5\.
FL bonneted bat (LPN = 2) \3\....  Proposed listing.
3 Southern FL plants (Florida      Proposed listing.
 semaphore cactus (Consolea
 corallicola) (LPN = 2),
 shellmound applecactus (Harrisia
 (= Cereus) aboriginum (=
 gracilis)) (LPN = 2), Cape Sable
 thoroughwort (Chromolaena
 frustrata) (LPN = 2)) \5\.
21 Big Island (HI) species \5\     Proposed listing.
 (includes 8 candidate species--6
 plants & 2 animals; 4 with LPN =
 2, 1 with LPN = 3, 1 with LPN =
 4, 2 with LPN = 8).
12 Puget Sound prairie species (9  Proposed listing.
 subspecies of pocket gopher
 (Thomomys mazama ssp.) (LPN =
 3), streaked horned lark (LPN =
 3), Taylor's checkerspot (LPN =
 3), Mardon skipper (LPN = 8))
 \3\.
2 TN River mussels (fluted         Proposed listing.
 kidneyshell (LPN = 2), slabside
 pearlymussel (LPN = 2)) \5\.
Jemez Mountain salamander (LPN =   Proposed listing.
 2) \5\.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Actions With Statutory Deadlines
------------------------------------------------------------------------
5 Bird species from Colombia and   Final listing determination.
 Ecuador.
Queen Charlotte goshawk..........  Final listing determination.
6 Birds from Peru & Bolivia......  Final listing determination.
Loggerhead sea turtle (assist      Final listing determination.
 National Marine Fisheries
 Service) \5\.
Platte River caddisfly (from 206   12-month petition finding.
 species petition) \5\.
Ashy storm-petrel \5\............  12-month petition finding.
Honduran emerald.................  12-month petition finding.
Eagle Lake trout \1\.............  90-day petition finding.
Spring Mountains checkerspot       90-day petition finding.
 butterfly.
Aztec gilia \5\..................  90-day petition finding.
White-tailed ptarmigan \5\.......  90-day petition finding.
Bicknell's thrush \5\............  90-day petition finding.
Sonoran talussnail \5\...........  90-day petition finding.
2 AZ Sky Island plants             90-day petition finding.
 (Graptopetalum bartrami & Pectis
 imberbis) \5\.
Desert massasauga................  90-day petition finding.
Alexander Archipelago wolf \5\...  90-day petition finding.
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake..  90-day petition finding.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Funds for listing actions for these species were provided in
  previous FYs.
\2\ Although funds for these high-priority listing actions were provided
  in FY 2008 or 2009, due to the complexity of these actions and
  competing priorities, these actions are still being developed.
\3\ Partially funded with FY 2010 funds and FY 2011 funds.
\4\ Funded with FY 2010 funds.
\5\ Funded with FY 2011 funds.

    We have endeavored to make our listing actions as efficient and 
timely as possible, given the requirements of the relevant law and 
regulations, and constraints relating to workload and personnel. We are 
continually considering ways to streamline processes or achieve 
economies of scale, such as by batching related actions together. Given 
our limited budget for implementing section 4 of the Act, these actions 
described above collectively constitute expeditious progress.
    The Arapahoe snowfly will be added to the list of candidate species 
upon publication of this 12-month finding. We will continue to monitor 
the status

[[Page 27403]]

of this species as new information becomes available. This review will 
determine if a change in status is warranted, including the need to 
make prompt use of emergency listing procedures.
    We intend that any proposed listing action for the Arapahoe snowfly 
will be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we will continue to accept 
additional information and comments from all concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this finding.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Colorado Field 
Office (see ADDRESSES section).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Colorado Field Office and the Mountain-Prairie Regional Office.

Authority

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

    Dated: May 1, 2012.
David L. Cottingham,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-11229 Filed 5-9-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P