[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 197 (Thursday, October 11, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 61835-61894]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24466]



[[Page 61835]]

Vol. 77

Thursday,

No. 197

October 11, 2012

Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species 
Status for Cape Sable Thoroughwort, Florida Semaphore Cactus, and 
Aboriginal Prickly-Apple, and Designation of Critical Habitat for Cape 
Sable Thoroughwort; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0076; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-AY08


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species 
Status for Cape Sable Thoroughwort, Florida Semaphore Cactus, and 
Aboriginal Prickly-Apple, and Designation of Critical Habitat for Cape 
Sable Thoroughwort

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list 
Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable thoroughwort), Consolea corallicola 
(Florida semaphore cactus), and Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal 
prickly-apple) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species 
Act, and we propose to designate critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata. We have determined that designation of critical habitat is 
not prudent for Consolea corallicola and H. aboriginum. These are 
proposed regulations, and if finalized, their effect will be to add all 
three species to the List of Endangered or Threatened Plants and to 
designate critical habitat for one species under the Endangered Species 
Act.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
December 10, 2012. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 
11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests 
for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in the FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by November 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the search box, enter Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-
2012-0076, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, click 
the Search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment 
Now!'' If your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please 
use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most 
compatible with our comment review procedures. If you attach your 
comments as a separate document, our preferred file format is Microsoft 
Word. If you attach multiple comments (such as form letters), our 
preferred format is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2012-0076; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Information Requested section below for more information).
    The coordinates, or plot points, or both, from which the critical 
habitat maps are generated are included in the administrative record 
for this rulemaking and are available at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0076, and at 
the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or supporting information 
that we have used for this rulemaking will also be available at the 
Fish and Wildlife Service Web site and Field Office set out above, and 
may also be included in the preamble of this proposed rule or at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Williams, Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, 
1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960; by telephone 772-562-3909; or 
by facsimile 772-562-4288. Persons who use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document consists of: (1) A proposed 
rule to list Chromolaena frustrata Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum as an endangered species; and (2) a proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata.

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act 
(Act), a species may warrant protection through listing if it is an 
endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum are highly restricted in their ranges and the 
threats occur throughout their ranges; therefore, these species qualify 
for listing. We are proposing to list these plants as endangered 
species. Their protection under the Act can only be done by issuing a 
rule.
     Chromolaena frustrata has been extirpated (no longer in 
existence) from half of the islands where it occurred in the Florida 
Keys, and threats of competition from nonnative plants and habitat loss 
still exist in the remaining populations.
     Consolea corallicola has been extirpated from half of the 
islands where it occurred in the Florida Keys, and threats of poaching, 
predation by a nonnative moth, competition from nonnative plant 
species, and habitat loss still exist in the remaining populations.
     Harrisia aboriginum has been extirpated from the northern 
extent of its range in Manatee County, and threats of poaching, 
competition from nonnative plant species, and habitat loss still exist 
in the remaining populations.
    The basis for our action. Under the Act, a species may be 
determined to be an endangered or threatened species based on any of 
five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, 
or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) 
disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its 
continued existence.
    We have determined that threats to Chromolaena frustrata include 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; 
inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms; and other natural or man-
made factors, including climate change (sea level rise), small 
populations, and competition from nonnative plant species.
    We have determined that threats to Consolea corallicola include 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; 
overuse (poaching) and predation; inadequate existing regulatory 
mechanisms; and other natural or man-made factors, including climate 
change (sea level rise), small populations, low genetic diversity, and 
competition from nonnative plant species.
    We have determined that the threats to Harrisia aboriginum include 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; 
overuse (poaching); inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms; and 
other natural or man-made factors, including climate change (sea level 
rise), small populations, and competition from nonnative plant species.

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    This rule proposes to designate critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata.
     In total, approximately 3,466 hectares (8,565 acres) are 
being proposed for designation as critical habitat for C. frustrata. 
The proposed critical habitat is located in Miami-Dade and Monroe 
Counties, Florida.
     The proposed designation includes both occupied and 
unoccupied critical habitat, although those areas are not 
differentiated in the proposed rule or on the maps. Where the unit is 
not occupied by Chromolaena frustrata, we have concluded that the area 
is essential for the conservation of the species because the 
designation would allow for the expansion of Chromolaena frustrata`s 
range and reintroduction of individuals into areas where the species 
previously occurred.
    This rule does not propose critical habitat for Consolea 
corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum. We have determined that designation 
of critical habitat would not be prudent for either species.
     Designation would increase the likelihood and severity of 
illegal collection of C. corallicola and H. aboriginum, and in doing so 
make enforcement of take prohibitions more difficult.
     These threats outweigh the benefits of designation for the 
two species.

Peer Review

    We are seeking comments from knowledgeable individuals with 
scientific expertise to review our technical assumptions, analysis of 
the best available science, and application of that science and to 
provide any additional scientific information to improve this proposed 
rule.

Information Requested

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or information from other concerned governmental agencies, 
Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any 
other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly 
seek comments concerning:
    (1) The species' biology, range, and population trends, including:
    (a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;
    (b) Genetics and taxonomy;
    (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns;
    (d) Historical and current population levels, and current and 
projected trends; and
    (e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its 
habitat, or both.
    (2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing 
determination for a species under section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), which are:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (c) Disease or predation;
    (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    (3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threats (or lack thereof) to these species and existing regulations 
that may be addressing those threats.
    (4) Additional information concerning the historical and current 
status, range, distribution, and population size of these species, 
including the locations of any additional occurrences or populations of 
these species.
    (5) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of 
these species and ongoing conservation measures for these species and 
their habitats.
    (6) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), including whether there are threats to all the species from 
human activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to 
the designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the 
benefit of designation such that the designation of critical habitat is 
not prudent.
    (7) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of Chromolaena frustrata habitat;
    (b) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are 
currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the 
conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and 
why;
    (c) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of the species and why.
    (8) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
areas occupied by Chromolaena frustrata or proposed to be designated as 
critical habitat, and possible impacts of these activities on the 
species and proposed critical habitat.
    (9) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
climate change on Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum, and proposed critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata.
    (10) Probable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts that may result from designating any area that may be included 
in the final designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts 
on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas 
from the proposed designation that are subject to these impacts.
    (11) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be 
improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concerns and comments.
    (12) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation 
of critical habitat and how the consequences of such reactions, if 
likely to occur, would relate to the conservation and regulatory 
benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We request 
that you send comments only by the methods described in the ADDRESSES 
section.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including any personal identifying information--will 
be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy 
that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the 
top of your document that we withhold this information from public 
review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We 
will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. 
Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.

[[Page 61838]]

    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, Vero Beach, 
Florida (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

    Consolea corallicola was first recognized as a candidate species 
(under the species' former name Opuntia spinosissima) on September 27, 
1985 (50 FR 39526). It was removed from the candidate list from 1996 to 
1998 because there was not sufficient information on the species' 
biological vulnerability and threats to support issuance of a proposed 
rule. The 1999 Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) published in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1999 (64 FR 57534) included C. 
corallicola (under the species' previous name Opuntia corallicola) as a 
candidate for listing under the Act. We determined that listing was 
warranted, but was precluded due to workloads and priorities, and we 
assigned a listing priority number (LPN) of 5 to the species (64 FR 
57534). Candidate species are assigned LPNs based on immediacy and 
magnitude of threats, as well as taxonomic status. The lower the LPN, 
the higher priority that species is for us to determine appropriate 
action using our available resources. In 2001, C. corallicola (under 
the species' previous name Opuntia corallicola) remained a candidate 
species with the LPN of 5 (66 FR 54808, October 30, 2001). In the 2002 
CNOR published on June 13, 2002 (67 FR 40657), and under the name 
Consolea (opuntia) corallicola, we changed the LPN of the species from 
a 5 to a 2 because the threats to the species were found to be more 
imminent than previously known. Consolea corallicola retained the LPN 
of 2 in the 2004 CNOR published on May 4, 2004 (69 FR 24876). We 
published a finding for the species in the 2005 CNOR on May 11, 2005 
(70 FR 24869) in response to a petition received on May 11, 2004. The 
species remained on the candidate list as published in the CNORs from 
2006 to 2011 with the LPN of 2 (71 FR 53756, September 12, 2006; 72 FR 
69034, December 6, 2007; 73 FR 75176, December 10, 2008; 74 FR 57804, 
November 9, 2009; 75 FR 69222, November 10, 2010; 76 FR 66370, October 
26, 2011).
    Chromolaena frustrata was first recognized as a candidate species 
in the 1999 CNOR published in the Federal Register on October 25, 1999 
(64 FR 57534). We determined that listing was warranted, but was 
precluded due to workloads and priorities, and we assigned a LPN of 5 
to the species (64 FR 57534). In 2001, C. frustrata remained on the 
candidate species with the LPN of 5 (66 FR 54808, October 30, 2001). In 
the 2002 and 2004 CNORs (67 FR 40657, June 13, 2002; 69 FR 24876, May 
4, 2004) C. frustrata retained the LPN of 5. We published a finding for 
the species in the 2005 CNOR on May 11, 2005 (70 FR 24869), in response 
to a petition received on May 11, 2004. We also changed the LPN of C. 
frustrata from a 5 to a 2 because the threats to the species were found 
to be more imminent than previously known. The species remained on the 
candidate list as published in the CNORs from 2006 to 2011 with the LNP 
of 2 (71 FR 53756, September 12, 2006; 72 FR 69034, December 6, 2007; 
73 FR 75176, December 10, 2008; 74 FR 578040, November 9, 2009; 75 FR 
69222, November 10, 2010; 76 FR 66370, October 26, 2011).
    The Service first recognized Harrisia aboriginum as a candidate 
species in the CNOR published on September 12, 2006, and we assigned an 
LPN of 5 (71 FR 53756). We determined that listing was warranted, but 
was precluded due to workloads and priorities. Harrisia aboriginum 
retained its candidate status in 2007 (72 FR 69034, December 6, 2007) 
and an LPN of 5. In the CNOR published on December 10, 2008 (73 FR 
75176), we changed the LPN of H. aboriginum from a 5 to a 2 because the 
threats to the species were found to be more imminent than previously 
known. The species remained on the candidate list as published in the 
CNORs from 2009 to 2011 with the LNP of 2 (74 FR 57804, November 9, 
2009; 75 FR 69222, November 10, 2010; 76 FR 66370, October 26, 2011).
    On May 10, 2011, the Service announced a work plan to restore 
biological priorities and certainty to the Service's listing process. 
As part of an agreement with one of the agency's most frequent 
plaintiffs, the Service filed a work plan with the U.S. District Court 
for the District of Columbia. The work plan will enable the agency to, 
over a period of 6 years, systematically review and address the needs 
of more than 250 species listed within the 2010 Candidate Notice of 
Review, including Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum, to determine if these species should be added to 
the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. 
This work plan will enable the Service to again prioritize its workload 
based on the needs of candidate species, while also providing state 
wildlife agencies, stakeholders, and other partners clarity and 
certainty about when listing determinations will be made. On July 12, 
2011, the Service reached an agreement with a second frequent plaintiff 
group and further strengthened the work plan, which will allow the 
agency to focus its resources on the species most in need of protection 
under the Act. These agreements were approved on September 9, 2011. The 
timing of this proposed listing is, in part, therefore, an outcome of 
the work plan.

Status Assessment for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum

Background

    It is our intent to discuss below only those topics directly 
relevant to the listing of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, 
and Harrisia aboriginum as endangered in this section of the proposed 
rule.
Chromolaena frustrata
General Biology
    Chromolaena frustrata (Family: Asteraceae) is a perennial herb. 
Mature plants are 15 to 25 centimeters (cm) (5.9 to 9.8 inches ((in)) 
tall with erect stems. The leaves and stems are covered in short, fuzzy 
hairs. The leaves have three distinct veins, are roughly oval or egg 
shaped, and have toothed edges. The blue to lavender flowers are borne 
in heads usually in clusters of two to six. Flowers are produced mostly 
in the fall, though sometimes year round (Nesom 2006, pp. 544-545).
Taxonomy, Life History, and Distribution
    Chromolaena frustrata was first reported by Chapman in 1886, from 
the Florida Keys, who called it Eupatorium heteroclinium (Chapman 1889, 
p. 626). Early authors assigned the species to the genus Osmia (Small 
1913, p. 147; 1933, p. 1320). In 1970, R.M. King and H.E. Robinson 
placed this species in the genus Chromolaena (King and Robinson 1970, 
p. 201). Some authors continued to assign the species to the genus 
Eupatorium (i.e., Long and Lakela 1971, p. 873 and Cronquist 1980, p. 
185). The authors of Vascular Plants of Florida recognize Chromolaena 
frustrata (Wunderlin and Hansen 2008, pp. 1-2). The Integrated 
Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (2012, p. 1) indicates that the 
taxonomic standing for C. frustrata (B.L. Robinson) King and H.E. 
Robinson is accepted. Synonyms include Eupatorium frustratum B.L. 
Robinson

[[Page 61839]]

and Osmia frustrata (B.L. Robinson) Small.
Climate
    The climate of south Florida where Chromolaena frustrata occurs is 
classified as tropical savanna and is characterized by distinct wet and 
dry seasons, a monthly mean temperature above 18 [deg]C 
(64.4[emsp14][deg]F) in every month of the year, and annual rainfall 
averaging 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 in) (Gabler et al. 1994, p. 211). 
Freezes can occur in the winter months, but are very infrequent at this 
latitude in Florida.
Habitat
    Chromolaena frustrata grows in open canopy habitats, including 
coastal berms and coastal rock barrens, and in semi-open to closed 
canopy habitats, including buttonwood forests and rockland hammocks.
Coastal Berm
    Coastal berms are landscape features found along low-energy 
coastlines in south Florida and the Florida Keys. Coastal berm is a 
short forest or shrub thicket found on long, narrow, storm-deposited 
ridges of loose sediment formed by a mixture of coarse shell fragments, 
pieces of coralline algae, and other coastal debris. These ridges 
parallel the shore and may be found on the seaward edge or landward 
edge of the mangroves or farther inland depending on the height of the 
storm surge that formed them. They range in height from 30 to 305 cm (1 
to 10 feet (ft)). Structure and composition of the vegetation is 
variable depending on height and time since the last storm event. The 
most stable berms may share some tree species with rockland hammocks, 
but generally have a greater proportion of shrubs and herbs. Tree 
species may include Bursera simaruba (gumbo limbo), Coccoloba uvifera 
(seagrape), Coccothrinax argentata (silver palm), Guapira discolor 
(blolly), Drypetes diversifolia (milkbark), Genipa clusiifolia (seven 
year apple), and Metopium toxiferum (poisonwood). Characteristic tall 
shrub and short tree species include Eugenia foetida (Spanish stopper), 
Ximenia americana (hog plum), Randia aculeata (white indigoberry), 
Pithecellobium keyense (Florida Keys blackbead), and Sideroxylon 
celastrinum (saffron plum). Short shrubs and herbs include Hymenocallis 
latifolia (perfumed spiderlily), Capparis flexuosa (bayleaf capertree), 
Lantana involucrata (buttonsage), and Rivina humilis (rougeplant). More 
seaward berms or those more recently affected by storm deposition may 
support a suite of plants similar to beaches, including shoreline 
Sesuvium portulacastrum (sea purslane), Distichlis spicata (saltgrass), 
and Sporobolus virginicus (seashore dropseed), or scattered to dense 
shrub thickets with Conocarpus erectus (buttonwood), stunted Avicennia 
germinans (black mangrove), Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove), 
Laguncularia racemosa (white mangrove), Suriana maritima (bay cedar), 
Manilkara jaimiqui (wild dilly), Jacquinia keyensis (joewood), and 
Borrichia frutescens (bushy seaside oxeye) (Florida Natural Areas 
Inventory (FNAI) 2010a, p. 1).
    Coastal berms are deposited by storm waves along low-energy coasts. 
Their distance inland depends on the height of the storm surge. Tall 
berms may be the product of repeated storm deposition. Coastal berms 
that are deposited far enough inland and remain long-undisturbed may in 
time succeed to hammock. This is a structurally variable community that 
may appear in various stages of succession following storm disturbance, 
from scattered herbaceous beach colonizers to a dense stand of tall 
shrubs (FNAI 2010a, p. 2).
Coastal Rock Barren
    Also known as Keys tidal rock barren or Keys cactus barren, coastal 
rock barren is confined to the Florida Keys on limestone bedrock along 
shores facing both Florida Bay and the Straits of Florida. Coastal rock 
barrens are flat rocklands with much exposed and eroded limestone, 
little soil or leaf litter, and a sparse cover of stunted halophytic 
herbs and shrubs in tidal rock barrens (FNAI 2010b, p. 1), or a wide 
variety of herbs and succulents in cactus barrens (FNAI 2010c, p. 1). 
The amount of exposed rock varies from practically 0 to over 50 percent 
of the area.
    In tidal rock barrens, patches of low, salt-tolerant herbaceous 
species include Borrichia frutescens and B. arborescens (seaside 
oxeye), Sarcocornia perennis (perennial glasswort), Batis maritima 
(saltwort), Monanthochloe littoralis (shoregrass), Distichlis spicata, 
Sporobolus virginicus, and Fimbristylis spadicea (marsh fimbry). 
Conocarpus erectus is the dominant woody plant and varies from stunted, 
sprawling, multi-stemmed shrubs to tree size. Other typical woody 
species are Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia 
racemosa, and Lycium carolinianum (christmasberry). At the transition 
to upland vegetation C. erectus may be joined by a variety of shrubs 
and stunted trees of inland woody species, including Sideroxylon 
celastrinum, Gossypium hirsutum (wild cotton), Pithecellobium keyense, 
Suriana maritima, Randia aculeata, Manilkara jaimiqui, Metopium 
toxiferum, Jacquinia keyensis, Maytenus phyllanthoides (Florida 
mayten), and Acanthocereus tetragonus (barbed-wire cactus) (FNAI 2010b, 
p. 1).
    In cactus barrens, the vegetation consists of a wide variety of 
herbaceous and succulent species which characteristically includes 
cacti, agaves, and several rare herbs. Among the latter are Evolvulus 
convolvuloides (dwarf bindweed), Cienfuegosia yucatanensis (Yucatan 
flymallow), Jacquemontia pentanthos (skyblue clustervine), and 
Indigofera mucronata var. keyensis (Florida Keys indigo). These 
frequently occur with grasses and sedges, such as Leptochloa dubia 
(green sprangletop), Paspalidium chapmanii (coral panicum), and Cyperus 
elegans (royal flatsedge). Spiny species, particularly the rare Opuntia 
triacantha (three-spined pricklypear), are characteristic but their 
abundance is variable. Other spiny species include Agave decipiens 
(false sisal), Acanthocereus tetragonus, and Opuntia stricta (erect 
pricklypear). Scattered clumps of stunted trees may be present, 
including Bursera simaruba, Conocarpus erectus, Eugenia foetida, and 
Pithecellobium unguis-cati (catclaw blackbead) (FNAI 2010c, p. 1).
    Coastal rock barren occurs above the daily tidal range, but is 
subject to flooding by seawater during extreme tides and storm events. 
Salt spray from coastal winds, as well as shallow soils, may limit 
height growth of woody plants. Aside from bare rock substrate, 
discontinuous patches of thin marl soils may be present. Fires are rare 
to non existent in this community (FNAI 2010b, p. 2). The natural 
process giving rise to cactus barrens is not known, but because they 
occur on sites where the thin layer of organic soil over limestone 
bedrock is missing, they may have formed by soil erosion following 
destruction of the plant cover by fire, storm, or artificial clearing 
(FNAI 2010c, p. 2).
    At its seaward edge, coastal rock barren borders mangrove swamp or 
salt marshes that are regularly inundated. At its upland edge, coastal 
rock barrens may grade into rockland hammock or pine rockland (FNAI 
2010b, p. 2; 2010c, p. 2).
Buttonwood Forest
    Forests dominated by buttonwood often exist in upper tidal areas, 
especially where mangrove swamp transitions to rockland hammock. These 
buttonwood forests have canopy dominated by Conocarpus erectus and 
often have an understory dominated by Borrichia frutescens, Lycium

[[Page 61840]]

carolinianum, and Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender) (FNAI 2010d, p. 
4).
    Temperature, salinity, tidal fluctuation, substrate, and wave 
energy influence the size and extent of buttonwood forests (FNAI 2010e, 
p. 3). Buttonwood forests often grade into salt marsh, coastal berm, 
rockland hammock, and coastal rock barren (FNAI 2010d, p. 5).
Rockland Hammock
    Rockland hammock is a species-rich tropical hardwood forest on 
upland sites in areas where limestone is very near the surface and 
often exposed. The forest floor is largely covered by leaf litter with 
varying amounts of exposed limestone and has few herbaceous species. 
Rockland hammocks typically have larger, more mature trees in the 
interior, while the margins can be almost impenetrable in places with 
dense growth of smaller shrubs, trees, and vines. Typical canopy and 
subcanopy species include Bursera simaruba, Lysiloma latisiliquum 
(false tamarind), Coccoloba diversifolia (pigeon plum), Sideroxylon 
foetidissimum (false mastic), Ficus aurea (strangler fig), Piscidia 
piscipula (Jamaican dogwood), Ocotea coriacea (lancewood), Drypetes 
diversifolia, Simarouba glauca (paradisetree), Sideroxylon salicifolium 
(willow bustic), Krugiodendron ferreum (black ironwood), Exothea 
paniculata (inkwood), Metopium toxiferum, and Swietenia mahagoni (West 
Indies mahogany). Mature hammocks can be open beneath a tall,well-
defined canopy and subcanopy. More commonly, in less mature or 
disturbed hammocks, dense woody vegetation of varying heights from 
canopy to short shrubs is often present. Species that generally make up 
the shrub layers within rockland hammock include several species of 
Eugenia (stoppers), Thrinax morrisii and T. radiata (thatch palms), 
Amyris elemifera (sea torchwood), Ardisia escallonioides (marlberry), 
Psychotria nervosa (wild coffee), Chrysophyllum oliviforme (satinleaf), 
Sabal palmetto (cabbage palm), Guaiacum sanctum (lignum-vitae), Ximenia 
americana, Colubrina elliptica (soldierwood), Pithecellobium unguis-
cati and Pithecellobium keyense, Coccoloba uvifera, and Colubrina 
arborescens (greenheart). Vines can be common and include Toxicodendron 
radicans (eastern poison ivy), Smilax auriculata (earleaf greenbrier), 
Smilax havanensis (Everglades greenbrier), Parthenocissus quinquefolia 
(Virginia creeper), Hippocratea volubilis (medicine vine), and Morinda 
royoc (redgal). The typically sparse short shrub layer may include 
Zamia pumila (coontie) and Acanthocereus tetragonus. Herbaceous species 
are occasionally present and generally sparse in coverage. 
Characteristic species include Lasiacis divaricata (smallcane), 
Oplismenus hirtellus (basketgrass), and many species of ferns (FNAI 
2010e, p.1).
    Rockland hammock occurs on a thin layer of highly organic soil 
covering limestone on high ground that does not regularly flood, but it 
is often dependent upon a high water table to keep humidity levels 
high. Rockland hammocks are frequently located near wetlands; in the 
Everglades they can occur on organic matter that accumulates on top of 
the underlying limestone; in the Keys they occur inland from tidal 
flats (FNAI 2010e, p.1).
    Rockland hammock is susceptible to fire, frost, canopy disruption, 
and ground water reduction. Rockland hammock can be the advanced 
successional stage of pine rockland, especially in cases where rockland 
hammock is adjacent to pine rockland. In such cases, when fire is 
excluded from pine rockland for 15 to 25 years, it can succeed to 
rockland hammock vegetation. Historically, rockland hammocks in south 
Florida evolved with fire in the landscape, fire most often 
extinguished near the edges when it encountered the hammock's moist 
microclimate and litter layer. However, rockland hammocks are 
susceptible to damage from fire during extreme drought or when the 
water table is lowered. In these cases, fire can cause tree mortality 
and consume the organic soil layer (FNAI 2010e, p.2).
    Rockland hammocks are also sensitive to the strong winds and storm 
surge associated with infrequent hurricanes. Canopy damage often 
occurs, which causes a change in the microclimate of the hammock. 
Decreased relative humidity and drier soils can leave rockland hammocks 
more susceptible to fire. Rockland hammock can grade into glades marsh, 
mangrove swamp, salt marsh, coastal rock barren, pine rockland, 
maritime hammock, or marl prairie (FNAI 2010e, p. 2).
    The sparsely vegetated edges or interior portions laid open by 
canopy disruption are the areas of rockland hammock that have light 
levels sufficient to support Chromolaena frustrata. However, the 
dynamic nature of the habitat means that areas not currently open may 
become open in the future as a result of canopy disruption from 
hurricanes, while areas currently open may develop more dense canopy 
over time, eventually rendering that portion of the hammock unsuitable 
for C. frustrata.
    The ecological communities and substrate upon which Chromolaena 
frustrata is found differ between the mainland populations and those in 
the Florida Keys. The mainland populations occur only in Everglades 
National Park (ENP), where C. frustrata occurs in rockland hammocks and 
buttonwood forest, often occupying the transitional areas (ecotone) 
between these habitats and salt marsh dominated by Conocarpus erectus 
and salt-tolerant species, on marl (an unconsolidated sedimentary rock 
or soil consisting of clay and lime) substrate (Sadle 2008 and 2012, 
pers. comm.). In the Florida Keys, C. frustrata occurs on coastal rock 
barrens, coastal berms, and rockland hammocks on exposed bare limestone 
rock or with a thin layer of leaf litter (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 
37). Chromolaena frustrata is often found in the shade of associated 
canopy and subcanopy plant species; these canopies buffer C. frustrata 
from full exposure to the sun (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 37).
Historical Range
    Chromolaena frustrata was historically known from Monroe County, 
both on the Florida mainland and the Keys, and in Miami-Dade County 
along Florida Bay (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 36). In mainland Monroe 
County, C. frustrata was known from the Flamingo area to the Madeira 
Bay area in what is now ENP. In the Florida Keys, C. frustrata was 
known from Key Largo to Boca Grande Key (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 36; 
Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 2). The species was observed historically on 
Big Pine Key, Boca Grande Key, Fiesta Key, Key Largo, Key West, 
Knight's Key, Lignumvitae Key, Long Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, and Lower 
Matecumbe Key (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 36; Bradley and Gann 2004, pp. 
4-7).
    The common name of Chromolaena frustrata, Cape Sable thoroughwort, 
places it in a locality where it may have never occurred. Usage of this 
place name may have been referring to the greater Cape Sable-Flamingo 
area, and not specifically to Cape Sable itself. No additional 
specimens or verifiable reports have documented it on Cable Sable 
proper. Other reports of C. frustrata are also suspect. It was reported 
from ``Turner's River Hammock'' in Collier County and the Ten Thousand 
Islands area of ENP, but no voucher specimen has ever been located for 
these collections (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 7).

[[Page 61841]]

Current Range
    In ENP, the species appears to have a distribution approaching what 
was reported historically. Eleven populations supporting approximately 
1,500 to 2,500 plants occur in buttonwood forests and rockland hammocks 
from the Coastal Prairie Trail near the southern tip of Cape Sable to 
Madeira Bay (Sadle 2007 and 2012, pers. comm.).
    In the Florida Keys, Chromolaena frustrata has been extirpated from 
half of the islands where it occurred (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 4). It 
no longer occurs on Key Largo, Big Pine Key, Fiesta Key, Knight's Key, 
or Key West (Bradley and Gann 2004, pp. 4-6). The current range of C. 
frustrata includes a small portion of ENP, and six islands in the 
Florida Keys (Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Lignumvitae 
Key, Long Key, Big Munson Island, and Boca Grande Key) (Bradley and 
Gann 2004, pp. 3-4). Extant populations of C. frustrata are identified 
in Table 1 and discussed below.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Population                      Ownership         Size  Numbers of plants          Habitat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everglades National Park--Flamingo     Federal--National Park   1634-2633 (Sadle 2012,   Buttonwood forest,
 District.                              Service.                 pers. comm.).            rockland hammock.
Upper Matecumbe--Choate Tract........  State--Florida           18 (Bradley and Gann     Coastal rock barren,
                                        Department of            2004, pp. 3-6).          rockland hammock.
                                        Environmental
                                        Protection.
Lower Matecumbe--Klopp Tract.........  State--Florida           15 (Duquesnel 2012,      Coastal rock barren,
                                        Department of            pers. comm.).            rockland hammock.
                                        Environmental
                                        Protection.
Lignumvitae Key......................  State--Florida           81 (Bradley and Gann     Rockland hammock.
                                        Department of            2004, pp. 3-6).
                                        Environmental
                                        Protection.
Long Key State Park..................  State-Florida            200 (Bradley and Gann    Coastal rockland
                                        Department of            2004, pp. 3-6).          barren.
                                        Environmental
                                        Protection.
Long Key--North Layton Hammock.......  State--Florida           162 (Bradley and Gann    Coastal rock barren,
                                        Department of            2004, pp. 3-6).          rockland hammock.
                                        Environmental
                                        Protection--and
                                        Private.
Big Munson Island....................  Private................  4,500 (Bradley and Gann  Rockland hammock.
                                                                 2004, pp. 3-6).
Key West National Wildlife Refuge--    Federal--Fish and        25 (Bradley and Gann     Rockland hammock.
 Boca Grande Key.                       Wildlife Service.        2004, pp. 3-6).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Demographics
    Little is known about the long-term demographics or population 
trends of Chromolaena frustrata. Populations may experience declines 
due to the effects of hurricanes and storm surges, but the species 
appears to be able to rebound at affected sites within a few years. For 
example, after Hurricane Wilma in 2005, some populations of C. 
frustrata vanished and the habitat at these sites was significantly 
altered due to hurricane storm surge (Duquesnel 2005, pers. comm.; 
Bradley 2007, pers. comm.; Maschinski 2007, pers. comm.). However, it 
appears that the species is returning at these locations (Bradley 2009, 
pers. comm.). Furthermore, canopy disturbance may also benefit the 
species, as it has been speculated that the large number of plants 
observed at Big Munson Island in 2003 was due to thinning of the 
hammock canopy caused by Hurricane Georges in 1998 (Bradley and Gann 
2004, p. 4).
Reproductive Biology and Genetics
    The reproductive biology and genetics of Chromolaena frustrata have 
not been studied (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 37). We have no other 
information available regarding the ecology of the species beyond the 
habitat preferences and demographic trends discussed above.
Consolea corallicola
    Consolea corallicola (Family: Cactaceae) is a tree-like cactus; 
mature plants grow 2 meters (m) (6 feet (ft)) tall with an erect main 
trunk, which is elliptical or oval in cross section and armed with 
spines. Near the top of the plant there is a dense cluster of branches. 
The stem branches (pads) are green, elliptical, relatively thin, often 
curved, and 12 to 30 cm (5 to 12 in) long. The spines are in clusters 
of five to nine, 7 to 11 cm (2.8 to 4.7 in) long, needle-like, with one 
of the spines much longer than the others. Spines on the main stems of 
older plants are enlarged. The flowers are bright red and 1.3 to 1.9 cm 
(0.50 to 0.75 in) wide, and the fruits are yellow, egg-shaped, and 2.5 
to 5.1 cm (1 to 2 in) long (Small 1930, pp. 25-26; Anderson 2001, pp. 
170-171).
Taxonomy
    John Kunkel Small discovered and described Consolea corallicola in 
1930 (Small 1930, pp. 25-26). In 1971, Long and Lakela (1971, p. 626) 
reassigned the plants occurring in the Florida Keys to Opuntia 
spinosissima Miller, a species restricted to the Blue Hills of south 
coastal Jamaica. Austin et al. (1998, pp. 151-158) determined that the 
plants in Florida are morphologically distinct from O. spinosissima and 
retained them as O. corallicola. Genetic studies by Gordon and Kubisiak 
(1998, p. 209) confirmed that the Florida plants are a genetically 
distinct species. Recent taxonomic treatments accept the genus Consolea 
and apply the name C. corallicola to the Florida species (Areces-Mallea 
1996, pp. 224-226; Anderson 2001, pp. 170-171; Parfitt and Gibson 
2004a, pp. 92-94). Synonyms include Opuntia corallicola (Small) 
Werdermann (Parfitt and Gibson 2004, p. 94).
Climate
    The climate of south Florida where Consolea corallicola occurs is 
classified as tropical savanna, as described above for Chromolaena 
frustrata.
Habitat
    Consolea corallicola occurs in rockland hammocks near sea level 
(Small 1930, pp. 25-26; Benson 1982, p. 531) and in buttonwood forests 
in the transitional area between rockland hammocks and mangrove swamps 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Gann et al. 2002, p. 480; Higgins 2007, 
pers. comm.). These community types are described above for Chromolaena 
frustrata. Consolea corallicola occurs on sandy soils and limestone 
rockland soils with little organic matter (Small 1930, pp. 25-26) and 
seems to prefer areas where canopy cover and sun exposure are moderate 
(Grahl and Bradley 2005, p. 4).

[[Page 61842]]

Historical Range
    Consolea corallicola was known historically from three islands of 
the Florida Keys in Monroe County (Small 1930, pp. 25-26) and one small 
island in Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County (Bradley and Woodmansee 
2002, p. 810). A population on the southeast portion of Big Pine Key in 
the Florida Keys (Small 1921, p. 50) was extirpated by the 1960s, as a 
result of road building and ``collecting by cactus enthusiasts'' 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77). A population known from Key Largo in 
the Florida Keys was also extirpated, although the cause of its loss is 
unknown (Bradley and Woodmansee 2002, p. 810).
Current Range
    The current range of Consolea corallicola includes two naturally 
occurring populations, one in Biscayne National Park (BNP; Miami-Dade 
County) and one on a small island in the Florida Keys (Monroe County) 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Bradley and Woodmansee 2002, p. 810). 
These naturally occurring populations account for fewer than 1,000 
plants. Consolea corallicola was also reintroduced at several sites in 
the Florida Keys, and plants survive at two of these sites on State-
owned lands (Stiling 2009, pers. comm.; Stiling 2010, p. 1; Duquesnel 
2011a,b, pers. comm.). Both sites together represent fewer than 50 
plants. A survey of other areas containing suitable habitat in BNP was 
undertaken in 2002 and 2003, to locate additional populations, but none 
were found (Bradley and Koop 2003, p. 2).
    Extant populations of Consolea corallicola are provided in Table 2 
and are discussed below.

                               Table 2--Extant Populations of Consolea corallicola
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Population                  Ownership             Size               Habitat              Trend
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Biscayne National Park..........  Federal--National   600 (McDonough      rockland hammock    Stable.
                                   Park Service.       2010a, pers.
                                                       comm.).
Island in Florida Keys..........  Private--The        9 to 11 adults,     rockland hammock,   Declining.
                                   Nature              100s of juveniles   rockland hammock-
                                   Conservancy.        (Gun 2012, pers.    buttonwood forest
                                                       comm.).             ecotone.
Island in Florida Keys            State--Florida      40 juveniles        buttonwood forest-  Declining.
 (reintroduced).                   Department of       (Duquesnel 2011a,   saltmarsh
                                   Environmental       pers. comm.).       ecotone, coastal
                                   Protection.                             rock barren.
Island in Florida Keys            State--Florida      7 juveniles         Unknown             Declining.
 (reintroduced).                   Fish and Wildlife   (Stiling 2010,
                                   Conservation        p.1).
                                   Commission.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reintroductions
    Experimental plantings of Consolea corallicola were conducted at 
several sites on State and Federal conservation lands in the Florida 
Keys from 1996 to 2004. However, these plantings were largely 
unsuccessful (with most plants succumbing to Cactoblastis moth damage 
or rot), and plants currently remain at only two of these sites, one of 
which is inundated too frequently during high tides to be favorable for 
population expansion (Duquesnel 2008, 2009, 2011a,b, pers. comm.; 
Stiling 2007, p. 2; Stiling 2009, pers. comm.; Stiling 2010, pp. 2, 
193-194).
Reproductive Biology and Genetics
    Consolea corallicola flowering occurs throughout the year, but 
peaks in February and March (Bradley and Koop 2003, p. 2). Plants of C. 
corallicola are functionally dioecious (i.e., with male and female 
flowers on separate plants), but the flowers give the appearance of a 
species that is hermaphroditic with perfect flowers (i.e., each flower 
produces stamens and ovules) (Negr[oacute]n-Ortiz and Strittmatter 
2004, p. 22; Negr[oacute]n-Ortiz 2007a, p. 3; 2007b, p. 1362).
    Sexual reproduction has not been observed in Consolea corallicola. 
All documented C. corallicola reproduction has been vegetative 
(clonal), with new plants originating from pads that fall from larger 
plants and take root (Negr[oacute]n-Ortiz 1998, p. 208). Survival rates 
of fallen pads in research populations are low due to rot and 
Cactoblastis moth damage (Stiling 2010, p. 193; see Summary of Factors 
Affecting the Species below). Production of seeds is rare and the few 
seeds that have been observed are thought to be the product of asexual 
seed reproduction (agamospermy) (Negr[oacute]n-Ortiz 1998, p. 211). Two 
hypotheses have been suggested to explain the lack of seed production 
of C. corallicola. The first hypothesis is that the species is a 
sterile polyploid (abnormal cell division that results in more than two 
sets of chromosomes) (Negr[oacute]n-Ort[iacute]z 1998, p. 212). An 
alternative hypothesis is the dioecious breeding system of C. 
corallicola. All plants in the known populations produce only male 
flowers, and no female individuals have ever been located. As a result, 
all existing occurrences of C. corallicola appear to be incapable of 
sexual reproduction at this time (Negr[oacute]n-Ortiz and Strittmatter 
2004, p. 22).
    Cariaga et al. (2005, pp. 225-230) found no genetic diversity 
within the two remaining wild populations of Consolea corallicola and 
concluded that all plants within each population are likely derived 
clonally from a single parent plant. These data support asexual 
propagation as the reproductive strategy of C. corallicola. However, 
there is a small amount of variation between the two remaining wild 
populations, suggesting the possibility that they originated from 
different parent plants (Lewis 2007, p. 3). Likewise, Cariaga et al. 
(2005, p. 225) found that a single plant collected by George Avery in 
1963 from Big Pine Key and maintained at Fairchild Tropical Botanical 
Gardens was a unique genotype, but Lewis (2007, pp. 6-7) found it to be 
identical to the plants from the other populations. Thus, C. 
corallicola has extremely limited genetic diversity, consisting of just 
one to three genetic lines.
Demographics
    Annual monitoring has provided a perspective on the population 
structure and dynamics of Consolea corallicola. The wild population at 
BNP was monitored from 2002 to 2005. At the beginning of the study, the 
population consisted of 655 plants. At the end of the 3-year study in 
2005, 594 plants were alive, and 61 had died (9 percent decline). Only 
8 percent of plants produced flowers, and plants grew very slowly 
(about 1.2 cm (0.5 in) per year) (Grahl and Bradley 2005, pp. 4-5). 
From 2008 to 2010, the population was estimated to number approximately 
600 individuals (McDonough 2010a, pers. comm.). Annual fluctuations in 
the number of plants is largely due to mortality of branches (pads) 
that fall from the larger plants but fail to

[[Page 61843]]

permanently establish (McDonough 2010a, pers. comm.). Overall, the 
number of plants comprising this population appears to be stable 
(Bradley and Koop 2003, p. 2; Grahl and Bradley 2005, p. 2; McDonough 
2010a, pers. comm.).
    Population decline has been shown in a wild population on an island 
in the Florida Keys, which now consists of 9 to 11 adult plants 
(defined as plants greater than 91.4 cm (3 ft) tall) and hundreds of 
small juveniles originating from fallen pads. Overall, the number of 
adult plants in this population has declined more than 50 percent over 
the past 10 years, due to crown rot and damage caused by the 
Cactoblastis moth and hurricanes (Higgins 2007, pers. comm.; Gun 2012, 
pers. comm.; see Summary of Factors Affecting the Species below).
Harrisia aboriginum
Description
    Harrisia aboriginum (Family: Cactaceae) is a sprawling cactus, 
usually with multiple stems arising from a single base. The stems are 
erect, slender, and cylindrical. They possess 9 to 11 longitudinal 
ribs, and may reach 6 m (20 ft) in height. Spines are 1.0 cm (0.4 in) 
long and originate in clusters of seven to nine spines. Flowers are 
funnel-shaped, white, up to 15 cm (5.9 in) long, and have a slight 
scent. The inside of the flower is lined with stiff, brown hairs. 
Fruits are yellow, round in shape, and 6.1 to 7.6 cm (2.4 to 3.0 in) in 
diameter (Small in Britton and Rose 1920, p. 154; Anderson 2001, p. 
370; Parfitt and Gibson 2004b, p. 153). Each fruit contains hundreds of 
small black seeds. Plants in full to partial sun typically consist of 
several stems from a single base. Plants shaded by overstory vegetation 
usually have stems that tend to be slender and taller. These slender 
stems will topple over and eventually recorrect their growth upward, or 
they may reproduce new upright stems along the prostrate stems. Some of 
the prostrate stems deteriorate over time, obscuring the clonal origin 
(single source) of upright stems. This results in more diffuse 
groupings of clonal stems leaning at various angles (Bender 2011, p. 
18).
Taxonomy
    Harrisia aboriginum was described by John Kunkel Small, after he 
discovered it in Manatee County in 1919 (Small in Britton and Rose 
1920, p. 154). This name is still in use (Parfitt and Gibson 2004b, p. 
153; Wunderlin and Hansen 2008, pp. 1-2), although possible alternative 
names for the species have been proposed over the years. The genus-
level placement of H. aboriginum and other Florida relatives has been 
in flux since they were first described, with some authors placing them 
in the large and variable genus Cereus (i.e. Benson 1969, p. 126), and 
others segregating them into the smaller Harrisia genus. Recent authors 
have included the Florida species in the genus Harrisia (Hooten 1991, 
pp. 64-66; Anderson 2001, p. 370; Ward 2004, pp. 365-371; Parfitt and 
Gibson 2004b, pp. 150-153; Wunderlin and Hansen 2008, pp. 1-2).
    Based upon the best available scientific information, Harrisia 
aboriginum is a distinct taxon, endemic to the west coast of Florida. 
Synonyms include Cereus aboriginum (Small ex Britton and Rose) Little, 
C. gracilis var. aboriginus (Small ex Britton and Rose) L. D. Benson, 
and Harrisia donae-antoniae Hooten (Parfitt and Gibson 2004b, p. 153).
Climate
    The climate of south Florida where Harrisia aboriginum occurs is 
classified as tropical savanna as described above for Chromolaena 
frustrata.
Habitat
    Harrisia aboriginum occurs on coastal berms, coastal strand, 
coastal grasslands and maritime hammocks, with a sand substrate. It 
also occurs on shell mounds with a calcareous shell substrate (Bradley 
et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). The coastal berm community is described above 
for Chromolaena frustrata. Harrisia aboriginum growing in coastal berm 
habitat sometimes occur close to the mangrove zone, but never within 
it.
Coastal Strand
    Coastal strand is an evergreen shrub community growing on 
stabilized coastal dunes. It is usually the first woody plant community 
inland from the coast. On the southwest Gulf coast of Florida, coastal 
strand is patchily distributed. It usually develops as a band between 
dunes dominated by Uniola paniculata (sea oats) along the immediate 
coast, and maritime hammock, scrub, or mangrove swamp communities 
farther inland. On broad barrier islands, it may also occur as patches 
of shrubs within a coastal grassland matrix (FNAI 2010f, p. 2).
    On the southwest Gulf coast of Florida, the species composition of 
coastal strand consists of tropical plant species, including Coccoloba 
uvifera, Forestiera segregata (Florida swampprivet), Rapanea punctata 
(myrsine), Lantana involucrata, Randia aculeata, Chiococca alba 
(snowberry), Eugenia foetida, Guapira discolor, Zanthoxylum fagara 
(wild lime), Pithecellobium keyense, Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum), 
Dalbergia ecastaphyllum (coinvine), Sophora tomentosa var. truncata 
(yellow necklacepod), Caesalpinia bonduc (gray nicker), Sideroxylon 
celastrinum, and Jacquinia keyensis, (FNAI 2010f, p. 2).
    Soils are deep, well-drained sands and may be somewhat alkaline, 
consisting of quartz sand mixed with varying proportions of shell 
fragments (FNAI 2010f, p. 2).
    Storm waves periodically destroy dunes and the coastal strand 
behind them, with the resulting bare area being recolonized first by 
pioneer beach species and then by coastal grassland. The resulting 
coastal grassland is in turn invaded by patches of woody species, which 
eventually coalesce into a continuous woody community of coastal 
strand. Natural disturbances, such as strong winds and storm surge 
associated with hurricanes, or hard freezes, serve to open up coastal 
strand canopies. There is little information on natural fire frequency 
in coastal strand (FNAI 2010f, p. 2).
    Coastal strand is distinguished from maritime hammock by the 
absence of distinct tree canopy and understory layers. It is 
distinguished from coastal berm and shell mound by its occurrence on 
sand deposits along a high-energy sandy coast, rather than on shell 
deposits along a low-energy, mangrove-dominated coast. It is 
distinguished from coastal grassland by the dominance of woody, rather 
than herbaceous, species.
Coastal Grassland
    Coastal grassland is a predominantly herbaceous community occupying 
the drier portions of the transition zone between beach dunes on the 
immediate coast and communities dominated by woody species, such as 
coastal strand or maritime hammock, farther inland. It occurs primarily 
on the broader barrier islands and capes along the sandy coasts of 
Florida. The specialized dune building grasses of the beach dune 
community, Uniola paniculata, Panicum amarum (bitter panicgrass), and 
Spartina patens (saltmeadow cordgrass), are usually present, along with 
a variety of other herbaceous species typically found on more stable 
soils, such as Andropogon and Schizachyrium (bluestem grasses), 
Heterotheca subaxillaris (camphorweed), and Smilax auriculata. On the 
southwest Gulf coast, a distinctive coastal grassland community is 
found on the broad barrier islands such as Cayo Costa, North Captiva, 
and

[[Page 61844]]

formerly Captiva and Sanibel. It consists of a short, dense sward (a 
portion of ground covered with grass) of Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy 
grama). Other species present include Ernodea littoralis (beach 
creeper), Opuntia stricta, and Lantana depressa var. sanibelensis (Gulf 
Coast Florida lantana) (FNAI 2010g, entire).
    Coastal grassland develops either as a barrier island builds 
seaward, developing new dune ridges along the shore that protect the 
inland ridges from sand burial and salt spray, or as a beach recovers 
after storm overwash and a new foredune ridge builds up along the 
shore, protecting the overwashed area behind it from sand burial and 
salt spray. As time passes, absent further storms, the coastal 
grassland community itself will gradually be replaced by woody species 
to form scrub, coastal strand, or maritime hammock communities (FNAI 
2010g, entire).
    Fire is naturally rare and localized in this community, with water 
barriers and sparse fuels combining to limit its spread (FNAI 2010g, 
entire).
    Coastal grassland is distinguished from the beach dune community by 
its position inland from the immediate coastline and the presence of a 
variety of grasses, forbs, and pioneer dune-building grasses. It 
differs from coastal berm in its position on a sandy coast, rather than 
on a storm-deposited shell ridge on a mangrove-dominated shoreline. 
Coastal grassland is distinguished from coastal strand and maritime 
hammock in being dominated by herbaceous, rather than woody, species 
(FNAI 2010g, entire).
Maritime Hammock
    Maritime hammock is a predominantly evergreen hardwood forest 
growing on stabilized coastal dunes lying at varying distances from the 
shore. On the southwest Gulf coast of Florida, most of the barrier 
islands and peninsulas are long and narrow with correspondingly small, 
narrow areas of hammock. Maritime hammock is best developed on the few 
broad islands, including Caladesi, Cayo Costa, North Captiva, and the 
inner barrier islands at Stump Pass and Keewaydin Island (FNAI 2010h, 
entire).
    Canopy species include Cococarpus erectus, Piscidia piscipula, 
Bursera simaruba, Sideroxylon foetidissimum, Exothea paniculata, 
Eugenia axillaris (white stopper), Ficus aurea, Coccoloba uvifera, 
Eugenia foetida, and Pithecellobium keyense; shrubs include Rapanea 
punctata, Myrcianthes fragrans (Simpson's stopper), Ardisia 
escallonioides, Psychotria nervosa, Chiococca alba, and Randia 
aculeata. Cacti and other spiny species, such as Agave sisalana (sisal) 
and Acanthocereus tetragonus, may also be present. The herb layer is 
sparse to absent (FNAI 2010h, entire).
    Maritime hammock occurs on deep, well-drained, acid quartz sands, 
or well-drained, moderately alkaline, quartz sands mixed with shell 
fragments (FNAI 2010h, entire).
    Due to their coastal location with water barriers on at least one, 
if not two sides, fire was probably naturally rare and very spotty in 
maritime hammock, especially on the narrower barrier islands. Maritime 
hammocks are principally influenced by wind-borne salt spray, storm 
waves, and sand burial. If storm waves destroy the protective dunes 
seaward of the hammock, sand can blow inland, burying the trees. In 
addition to physical destruction by storm waves, hammock trees are 
susceptible to being killed by standing salt water deposited in low 
areas by storm surge (FNAI 2010h, entire).
    Tropical maritime hammock can be distinguished from rockland 
hammock by their occurrence on sand substrate, rather than limestone. 
They may be similar in species composition to coastal berm, being 
distinguished primarily by location along a high wave energy sandy 
coast, rather than a low-energy, mangrove-dominated coast, and the 
presence of a distinct canopy layer. They are very similar to shell 
mounds in species composition, being distinguished by their occurrence 
on a natural sand deposit rather than on pure shell (FNAI 2010h, 
entire).
Shell Mound
    Shell mounds are small hills, usually in coastal locations, 
composed entirely of shells (clams, oysters, whelks) discarded by 
generations of Native Americans. Shell mounds are found along the coast 
throughout Florida and range westward and northward along the 
coastlines of the southeastern United States. Originally, there were 
many such shell mounds along coastal lagoons and at the mouths of 
rivers, but most were destroyed for road building in the early part of 
the last century. A rich, calcareous soil develops on the deposited 
shells, which supports a diverse hardwood forest on undisturbed mounds. 
Several shell mounds are now surrounded by mangroves, evidence that 
they were built when sea level was lower than today (FNAI 2010i, 
entire).
    The plant species composition of shell mound forests tends to be 
more strictly tropical than that of maritime hammocks on sandy 
substrates in the same region. South Florida shell mounds are often 
characterized by tropical tree species such as Bursera simaruba, 
Eugenia axillaris, Amyris elemifera, Zanthoxylum fagara, Sideroxylon 
foetidissimum, Exothea paniculata, Ficus aurea, and Ocotea coriacea. 
Characteristic shrub species include Chiococca alba, Forestiera 
segregata, and Sideroxylon celastrinum. Shell mounds may have 
vegetation similar to tropical or temperate types of maritime hammock, 
but differ in that they grow on pure shells rather than sand or sand 
mixed with shell fragments (FNAI 2010i, entire).
    In the habitats described above, Harrissia aboriginum seems to 
prefer areas where canopy cover is open to partially closed (Fellows et 
al. 2001, p. 3; Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 115). Mortality of plants 
growing in deep shade under fully closed canopy has been observed 
(Bradley et al. 2004, p. 11; Bender 2011, p. 5). Plants growing in open 
to partially closed canopy sites tend to be more robust and produce 
more flowers and fruits (Bender 2011, p. 17; Conrad 2012, pers. comm.).
Historical Range
    Harrisia aboriginum was known historically from coastal areas of 
southwest Florida along the Gulf coast in Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, 
and Lee Counties. The species was documented on six keys along 
approximately 125 km (78 mi) of Gulf coastline. Populations reported 
for Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, San Marco Island, Fort Pierce, and 
ENP are considered unsubstantiated (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 5-6).
Current Range
    A 2004 status survey confirmed 10 extant populations along a 100-km 
(62-mile) stretch of coast (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 8), one of which 
has since been extirpated (Nielsen 2009, pers. comm.). The species is 
extirpated in the northern extent of its historic range in Manatee 
County (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 3, 8-9). Currently 12 sites support 
extant populations. Plants occur on seven public and private 
conservation areas, four County parcels not managed for conservation, 
and at least three unprotected private parcels. In total, the species 
was represented by an estimated 300 to 500 individuals in 2007 
(Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 87). Besides a few anecdotal accounts, 
population trends were unknown prior to 2004. Extant populations of 
Harrisia aboriginum are provided in Table 3.

[[Page 61845]]



                               Table 3--Extant Populations of Harrisia aboriginum
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Size (Number of
         Population No.               Ownership             plants)               Trend             Habitat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  Private             5 (Woodmansee et al.  declining.........  maritime hammock.
                                  conservation.       2007, p. 87).
2..............................  Private             5 (Woodmansee et al.  declining.........  shell mound.
                                  conservation.       2007, p. 87).
3..............................  Sarasota County...  50-75 (Woodmansee et  declining.........  coastal strand,
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).                         coastal berm.
4..............................  Sarasota County...  3 (Bender 2011, pp.   unknown...........  spoil mound.
                                                      9-12).
5..............................  Private...........  at least 13           declining.........  coastal strand,
                                                      (Woodmansee et al.                        coastal berm.
                                                      2007, p. 87).
6..............................  State--Florida      27 (Woodmansee et     declining.........  coastal berm,
                                  Department of       al. 2007, p. 87).                         shell mound.
                                  Environmental
                                  Protection.
7..............................  Private and         approx. 10 (Bradley   unknown...........  coastal berm.
                                  Charlotte County.   et al. 2004, pp. 10-
                                                      37).
8..............................  Private             1 (Bradley et al.     unknown...........  coastal berm.
                                  Conservation.       2004, pp. 10-37).
9..............................  Lee County........  1 (Woodmansee et al.  stable............  spoil mound.
                                                      2007, p. 87).
10.............................  Lee County........  4 (Woodmansee et al.  declining.........  coastal berm.
                                                      2007, p. 87).
11.............................  Lee County........  300-400 (Woodmansee   stable............  coastal berm.
                                                      et al. 2007, p. 87).
12.............................  Federal--Fish and   100-200 (Bradley et   stable............  coastal berm.
                                  Wildlife Service.   al. 2004, pp. 10-
                                                      37).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reproductive Biology and Population Genetics
    There has been little research into the reproductive biology of 
Harrisia aboriginum. Flowers are produced May through September. Ripe 
fruits have been observed from June through October. In some 
populations, fruits are frequently removed from plants by unknown 
animals (Fellows et al. 2001, p. 2). Observations suggest that 
establishment of new plants is likely an infrequent event. Seedlings 
are rarely observed. Plant fragmentation has been observed, suggesting 
that this could be a dispersal mechanism. New clonal plants are 
observed to arise from small stem fragments ranging from 5.1 to 7.6 cm 
(2 to 3 in) in length (Bender 2011, p. 17). Establishment from plant 
fragments is probably more frequent than from seed (Fellows et al. 
2001, p. 2). There have been no genetic studies of H. aboriginum.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424 set forth the procedures for adding 
species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species 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; and (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be 
warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination. Each of these factors as applied to these three plants is 
discussed below.

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

Human Population Growth and Development
    Destruction and modification of habitat are a threat to Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum. Terrestrial 
ecosystems of south Florida have been heavily impacted by humans, 
through widespread clearing for agricultural, residential, commercial, 
and infrastructure development. Extensive areas of rockland hammock, 
pine rockland, and other ecosystems have been lost (Solecki 2001, p. 
350; Hodges and Bradley 2006, p. 6). Because of their proximity to the 
beach and relatively higher elevations, coastal hammocks, strands, and 
berms have been heavily impacted by residential and tourism 
development. As a result, only isolated fragments of these habitats 
remain (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 3-4). Loss and modification of coastal 
habitat due to development is expected to continue and increase in the 
coming decades in Florida (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 13). Species 
populations are more secure on public lands than on private lands, but 
still face the threats of habitat loss and modification through 
development of public facilities such as new buildings, parking lots, 
and other associated facilities and through recreational opportunities 
to support visitor services. Impacts to each of the species are 
discussed below.
Chromolaena frustrata
    Habitat destruction and modification resulting from development are 
considered a major threat to Chromolaena frustrata throughout the 
species' range (Gann et al. 2002, p. 387). The populations on Fiesta 
Key, Knights Key, Key Largo, and Key West were lost due to development. 
Fiesta Key is completely developed as a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) 
campground and is devoid of native plant communities. Knights Key is 
almost completely developed and has no remaining suitable habitat 
(Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 5). Key Largo has undergone extensive 
disturbance and development. Although suitable coastal berm and 
rockland hammock habitat are still located in State and Federal 
conservation sites on Key Largo (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 8), despite 
extensive surveys of the island C. frustrata has not been located 
(Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 5).
    Two Chromolaena frustrata populations, including the largest 
population, are located on privately owned sites, which are vulnerable 
to further development (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 7; Table 1). The 
statewide population of C. frustrata was estimated at fewer than 5,000 
plants in 2004, but 4,500 plants (90 percent) are located at a single, 
privately owned, unprotected site (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 7). The 
site, Big Munson Island, is owned by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) 
and is utilized as a Boy Scout Camp. Scout campsites have been 
established along the coastal berm (Hodges and Bradley 2006, p. 10), 
and recreation development (campsites) and possibly recreational 
activities (trampling) potentially remain a threat to C. frustrata at 
this site. At this time, we do not believe that this site faces threats 
from residential or commercial development. However, if development 
pressure and BSA recreational usage increase, this largest population 
may face threats from habitat loss and modification.

[[Page 61846]]

    The population on Long Key at Layton Hammock is vulnerable to 
commercial or residential development (Bradley and Gann 2004, pp. 3-
20). In addition, development remains a threat to any suitable rock 
barren or rockland hammock habitat on private lands within the species' 
historic range. Overall, the human population in Monroe County is 
expected to increase from 79,589 to more than 92,287 people by 2060 
(Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 21). All vacant land in the Florida Keys is 
projected to be developed by then, including lands not currently 
accessible by automobile (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 14).
    Chromolaena frustrata populations in conservation areas have been 
impacted and may continue to be impacted by development with increased 
public use. Mechanical disturbances such as trail construction in 
coastal berms may have exacerbated nonnative plant invasions (see 
Factor E discussion below) (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 4). C. frustrata 
has been impacted by park development on State lands, and habitat 
modifications such as mowing and trail maintenance remain a threat 
(Gann et al. 2002, p. 391; Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 6; Hodges and 
Bradley 2006, p. 30).
Consolea corallicola
    Destruction and modification of habitat from development throughout 
the species' range continue to be a threat to Consolea corallicola. 
Unoccupied suitable habitat throughout the species' former range is 
under intense development pressure. Development and road building were 
the causes of this species' original extirpation on Big Pine Key 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Bradley and Woodmansee 2002, p. 810). 
Residential and commercial development and roadway construction 
continue to occur throughout Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. 
Both remaining wild populations are secure from habitat destruction 
because they are located within private and Federal conservation areas. 
However, at one State-owned site where a reintroduction was attempted, 
all of the plants were accidentally destroyed by the expansion of a 
trail.
Harrisia aboriginum
    Destruction and modification of habitat from development throughout 
the species' range continue to be a threat to Harrisia aboriginum. The 
coastal habitats of this species have been heavily impacted by 
development over the past 50 years (Morris and Miller 1981, pp. 1-11; 
Bradley et al. 2004, p. 3). Shell mounds created by Native Americans 
were among the first areas colonized by early Western Europeans because 
of their higher elevation and were later extensively utilized for 
construction material, in some cases resulting in the complete 
destruction of the habitat. Coastal hammocks, strands, and berms, 
because of their proximity to the beach and higher elevations, were 
also used for coastal residential construction. Only isolated fragments 
of suitable habitat for H. aboriginum remain (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 
3).
    The species was extirpated from the northern extent of its range in 
Manatee County by the 1970s, due to urbanization (Morris and Miller 
1981, p. 2; Austin 1984, p. 69). Despite the recent downturn in 
residential construction, coastal development is ongoing in the habitat 
of H. aboriginum. Populations on private land or non-conservation 
public land are most vulnerable to habitat loss. Threats include 
residential development, road widening, and landscape maintenance 
(Morris and Miller 1981, pp. 2-11; Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 36-37). 
Suitable habitat within the species' range was recently destroyed by 
encroachment from a private development onto State land (FNAI 2011a, 
pp. 207-208). The threats of habitat loss, modification, and 
degradation are expected to increase with increased human population, 
development pressure, and infrastructure needs. Sarasota, Charlotte, 
and Lee Counties, where this plant currently occurs, are expected to 
build out before 2060 (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 13), placing further 
pressure on remaining natural areas.
    Populations located on public lands are better protected than those 
on private land, but still may face the threat of habitat loss through 
development of park facilities such as new buildings, parking lots, and 
trails (Morris and Miller 1981, p. 4). Construction of new bathrooms in 
2011 at a site owned by Sarasota County eliminated a portion of the 
coastal berm habitat, and parking lot renovations are planned for 2012 
at a second County site where Harrisia aboriginum occurs (Bender 2011, 
p. 11). Not all land managers are aware of the presence of H. 
aboriginum at sites under their jurisdiction; for example, managers at 
one site in Charlotte County were unaware of H. aboriginum on county 
lands (Bender 2011, p. 13). Nevertheless, the population has persisted, 
probably due to its anonymity and difficulty of access. The lack of 
management, however, has allowed a heavy infestation of nonnative 
plants, which have modified the habitat and are shading out H. 
aboriginum (Bender 2011, p. 13). Portions of at least two populations 
located on public land also extend onto adjacent unprotected, private 
lands (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 16, 36).
    Populations on privately owned conservation sites may have 
inadequate protection from habitat loss or modification as well. One 
such site that was declared a ``Preserve'' in 1992 as part of a 
residential community has no formal protection; it was partially 
bulldozed and landscaped with native species within the past 10 years 
(Bradley et al. 2004, p. 10). The number of plants observed at this 
``Preserve'' site decreased from 226 plants in 1981 (Morris and Miller 
1981, p. 5), to 5 plants in 2006 (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 87). 
Another site is owned by a nonprofit organization and managed for 
historical preservation. The site is severely disturbed from a long 
history of human activity and is currently open to public visitation 
(Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 103). This population has declined over the 
past 30 years from 21 stems comprising 7 plants in 1981 (Morris and 
Miller 1981, p. 4), to only 3 plants in 2003 (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 
13). Development of the site for public visitation likely played a role 
in the decline (Morris and Miller 1981, p. 4).
Other Conservation Efforts
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 and the 
Fish and Wildlife Service Manual (601 FW 3, 602 FW 3) require 
maintaining biological integrity and diversity, comprehensive 
conservation planning for each refuge, and set standards to ensure that 
all uses of refuges are compatible with their purposes and the Refuge 
System's wildlife conservation mission. The comprehensive conservation 
plans (CCP) address conservation of fish, wildlife, and plant resources 
and their related habitats, while providing opportunities for 
compatible wildlife-dependent recreation uses. An overriding 
consideration reflected in these plans is that fish and wildlife 
conservation has first priority in refuge management, and that public 
use be allowed and encouraged as long as it is compatible with, or does 
not detract from, the Refuge System mission and refuge purpose(s).
    The CCP for the Lower Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges 
(National Key Deer Refuge, Key West National Wildlife Refuge, and Great 
White Heron National Wildlife Refuge) provides a description of the 
environment and priority resource issues that were considered in 
developing the objectives and strategies that guide management over the 
next 15 years. The CCP promotes the enhancement of wildlife populations 
by

[[Page 61847]]

maintaining and enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for 
native plants and animals, especially imperiled species that are only 
found in the Florida Keys. The CCP also provides for obtaining baseline 
data and monitoring indicator species to detect changes in ecosystem 
diversity and integrity related to climate change. In the Lower Key 
Refuges CCP management objective no. 16 provides specifically for 
maintaining and expanding populations of candidate plant species 
including Chromolaena frustrata and
Consolea corallicola
    Special Use Permits (SUPs) are also issued by the Refuges as 
authorized by the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-ee) as amended, and the Refuge Recreation Act (16 
U.S.C. 460k-460k-4). The SUPs cover commercial activities (such as 
guiding hunters, anglers or other outdoor users, commercial filming, 
agriculture, cabins, and trapping); research and monitoring by 
students, universities, or other non-Service organizations; and general 
use (woodcutting, miscellaneous events (fishing tournaments, one-time 
events, other special events), cabins/subsistence cabins, education 
activity). The Service has no information concerning the effects of the 
issuance of SUPs for any of the three species.
Summary of Factor A
    In summary, the decline of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum habitat is the result of threats 
that have operated in the past, are impacting these species now, and 
will continue to impact these species in the future. It is reasonable 
to conclude that the changes in the habitats historically and currently 
occupied by the species are the cause of observed population-level 
declines. The decline of these species is primarily the result of the 
long-lasting effects of habitat loss, degradation, and modification 
from human population growth and associated development. Thus, we 
believe these changes in the species' historic or current range will 
not be ameliorated in the future; therefore, we find it reasonably 
likely that the effects on the species will continue at current levels 
or potentially increase.

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

    Overutilization (collection by hobbyists, also known as poaching) 
is a major threat to Consolea corallicola (Gann et al. 2002, p. 440) 
and Harrisia aboriginum (Austin et al. 1980, p. 2; Morris and Miller 
1981, pp. 1-11; Gann et al. 2002, p. 481; Bradley et al. 2004, p. 6; 
Bender 2011, p. 5). Cactus poaching is an international phenomenon. 
Cacti are frequently impacted at sites that are known and easily 
accessed by poachers (Anderson 2001, pp. 73-78). The rarity of C. 
corallicola and H. aboriginum, coupled with their showy flowers, make 
these cacti particularly desirable to collectors. Seeds of H. 
aboriginum and H. fragrans (the fragrant prickly-apple, a federally 
listed endangered cactus (listed as Cereus eriophorus var. fragrans) 
from Florida's east coast) are currently offered for sale by online 
plant distributors, demonstrating that a demand exists for these cacti 
from collectors. The severity of the threat of poaching is exacerbated 
by the fact that some populations of these cacti are limited to just a 
few individual plants. These smaller populations could easily be 
extirpated by a single poaching episode.
Consolea corallicola
    Collecting by cactus hobbyists is suspected to have played a part 
in the extirpation of Consolea corallicola from Big Pine Key and Key 
Largo in the late 1970s, and poaching remains a major threat to this 
species (Gann et al. 2002, p. 481). Other species of Consolea are 
currently offered for sale by online plant distributors. Probable 
evidence of poaching activity was observed at a site in Monroe County 
on multiple occasions, and caused the death of one C. corallicola plant 
(Slapcinsky et al. 2006, p. 3). Although the remaining populations are 
somewhat protected due to their location on conservation lands, these 
plants remain vulnerable to illegal collection because the sites are 
remote and not patrolled regularly by enforcement personnel.
    Collection for scientific and recovery purposes has so far relied 
on the harvesting of cuttings from plants growing in botanical garden 
and private collections. We expect that collection for the purposes of 
recovery will continue and ultimately be beneficial in augmenting and 
reintroducing C. corallicola at suitable sites. We have no evidence 
that collection for scientific or recovery purposes is a threat to the 
species at this time.
Harrisia aboriginum
    Poaching of Harrisia aboriginum is a major threat (Morris and 
Miller 1981, pp. 1-11; Gann et al. 2002, p. 440; Bradley et al. 2004, 
p. 6). Damage and evidence of H. aboriginum poaching was reported by 
Morris and Miller (1981, pp. 1-11) at several sites. Evidence of 
poaching was recently observed at a site in Sarasota County that has 
high public visitation. At that site, there was evidence that cuttings 
had been removed from multiple H. aboriginum plants at numerous 
different times (Bender 2011, pp. 5-6).
Chromolaena frustrata
    We have no evidence suggesting that overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes are a threat to 
Chromolaena frustrata. Except for its rarity, the species does not 
possess any attributes that would make it desirable to collectors, such 
as showy foliage or flowers, and there are no known medicinal, 
culinary, or religious uses for this species.
Summary of Factor B
    In summary, based on our analysis of the best available scientific 
and commercial information we find that collecting for commercial or 
scientific reasons or recreational activities is not a threat to 
Chromolaena frustrata in any portion of its range at this time and is 
not likely to become so in the future.
    We find that overutilization by poachers is a major threat to 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. There is a current market 
for these cacti and evidence of ongoing collecting activity such that 
it is reasonable to conclude that collecting has caused declines and 
extirpation of populations. All populations of C. corallicola and H. 
aboriginum are vulnerable to this ongoing threat; however, populations 
at sites that are easily accessible to the public likely face the 
greatest threat from collectors. The small number of remaining plants 
at most sites exacerbates this threat; smaller populations could be 
completely lost to a single collection episode. The areas that support 
these cacti are somewhat remote, making enforcement extremely 
difficult. These threats have operated in the past, are impacting these 
species now, and are expected to continue into the future. Based on our 
analysis of the best available information, we find that 
overutilization is a threat to these species throughout their entire 
range. We believe that overutilization will not be ameliorated in the 
future; therefore, we find it reasonably likely that the effects on the 
species will continue at current levels or potentially increase.

C. Disease or Predation

Chromolaena frustrata
    On Big Munson Island, much of the Chromolaena frustrata population 
was

[[Page 61848]]

observed to suffer from severe herbivory in 2004. No insects were 
observed on any plants, and the endangered Key deer (Odocoileus 
virginianus clavium) was the suspected culprit (Bradley and Gann 2004, 
p. 4). The significance of herbivory on C. frustrata population 
dynamics is unknown. No diseases have been reported for C. frustrata.
Consolea corallicola
    A fungal pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum, can infect Consolea 
corallicola, causing crown rot, a disease in which plants rot near 
their base (Slapcinsky et al. 2006, p. 2; Stiling 2010, p. 191). Cacti 
in the Florida Keys populations that are affected by this disease have 
also tested positive for a fungus, Phomopsis sp. (Slapcinsky et al. 
2006, p. 3). This disease was largely responsible for the high 
mortality rates in some reintroduced populations in the Florida Keys 
(Stiling 2010, p. 193). At present, crown rot does not appear to be 
affecting the population at BNP.
    Predation by the moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: 
Pyralidae) is considered a significant threat to Consolea corallicola 
(Stiling et al. 2000, pp. 2, 6; Gann et al. 2002, p. 481; Wright and 
Maschinski 2004, p. 4; Grahl and Bradley 2005, pp. 2, 7; Slapcinsky et 
al. 2006, pp. 2-4). Native to South America, Cactoblastis cactorum was 
introduced to Australia in 1925, as a biological control agent for 
nonnative species of Opuntia. Adult moths deposit eggs on the branches 
of host species. When these eggs hatch, larvae then burrow into the 
cacti and feed on the inner tissue of the plant's stems. The larvae 
then pupate, and the cycle repeats. Cactoblastis cactorum was extremely 
effective as a biological control agent, and credited with reclaiming 
6,474,970 ha (16,000,000 ac) of land infested with Opuntia species in 
Australia alone. The moth also has been an effective control agent for 
Opuntia species in Hawaii, India, and South Africa. It was introduced 
to a few Caribbean islands in the 1960s and 1970s, and rapidly spread 
throughout the Caribbean. The effectiveness of C. cactorum at 
controlling Opuntia populations is described as ``rapid and 
spectacular'' (Habeck and Bennett 1990. p. 1). The moth had spread to 
Florida by 1989, prompting the Florida Department of Agriculture and 
Consumer Services (FDACS) to issue an alert that C. cactorum, along 
with another unidentified species of moth, had the potential to 
adversely impact Opuntia populations due to the high rate of Opuntia 
infestation and mortality, as demonstrated in other localities in the 
Caribbean and elsewhere (Habeck and Bennett 1990. p. 1). Among local 
cactus species in the Florida Keys, C. corallicola is a preferred host 
(Stiling 2010, p. 190). Between 1990 and 2009, the moth infested and 
damaged multiple C. corallicola plants in the Florida Keys' wild 
populations, killing one plant and damaging others (Gun 2012 pers.comm. 
Fortunately, these infestations were detected very early and controlled 
before C. cactorum could kill multiple plants and fully spread 
throughout the population. Planted C. corallicola populations in the 
Florida Keys fared much worse; at one planting site, 90 individuals (50 
percent of those planted) were killed by C. cactorum over a 4-year 
period (Stiling 2010, p. 193). To date, C. cactorum has not been 
observed in BNP (McDonough 2010a, pers. comm.). Even if the moth has 
not yet reached the Park, it likely will, based on its rapid spread in 
the Caribbean and Florida. This threat has the potential to cause steep 
declines in populations of Consolea corallicola if they become 
infested. No satisfactory method of large-scale control is known at 
this time (Habeck et al. 2009, p. 2). Potential impacts to C. 
corallicola at the population level as a result of predation by C. 
cactorum are severe. As stated above, experts are certain of the 
potential for the moth to cause massive mortality in populations of C. 
corallicola if they become infested and the infestation is not caught 
early and aggressively controlled.
    Predation by the Cuban garden snail (Zachrysia provisoria) has been 
observed at one Consolea corallicola reintroduction site (Duquesnel 
2008, pers. comm.). The population-level impact of the Cuban garden 
snail is not known.
Harrisia aboriginum
    An as yet unidentified pathogen can attack Harrisia aboriginum and 
cause stems to rot and die within about a week (Austin 1984, p. 2; 
Bradley 2005, pers. comm.). However, no signs of this disease were 
observed at several sites visited in 2011 (Bender 2011, p. 19).
    Herbivory of flowers by iguanas (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 30) and 
stems by gopher tortoises (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 108) has been 
noted. Scale insects have been observed in some H. aboriginum 
populations, occasionally causing severe damage to plants (Bradley 
2005, pers. comm.).
    Overall, evidence indicates disease and predation are relatively 
minor stressors to H. aboriginum at present, but could become threats 
in the future if they become more prevalent in the cacti populations.
Summary of Factor C
    In summary, Chromolaena frustrata does not appear to be affected by 
disease or predation; disease and predation have been reported 
occasionally for Harrisia aboriginum. We have no evidence that the 
severity of either stressor has affected either species at a population 
level. Though it is possible the amount of disease or predation may 
increase in the future, there is no evidence that this stressor is 
growing in extent. Thus, based on our analysis of the best available 
scientific and commercial data available, we find that disease or 
predation is not a significant stressor to the overall status of C. 
frustrata or H. aboriginum at current levels, though these stressors 
could potentially become a threat in the future if these pests become 
more prevalent.
    Disease and predation are severe threats to Consolea corallicola. 
Threats from disease include a pathogen that can cause crown rot and 
predation by the nonnative moth, Cactoblastis cactorum. Both are severe 
and pervasive threats, and it is reasonable to conclude that disease 
and predation have caused population declines. We have no reason to 
believe that diseases or predation will be ameliorated in the future; 
therefore, we find it reasonably likely that the effects on C. 
corallicola will continue at current levels or potentially increase in 
the future.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Under this factor, we examine whether existing regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate to address the threats to the species 
discussed under the other factors. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act 
requires the Service to take into account ``those efforts, if any, 
being made by any State or foreign nation, or any political subdivision 
of a State or foreign nation, to protect such species * * *.'' In 
relation to Factor D, we interpret this language to require the Service 
to consider relevant Federal, State, and tribal laws, plans, 
regulations, and other such mechanisms that may minimize any of the 
threats we describe in threat analyses under the other four factors, or 
otherwise enhance conservation of the species. We give strongest weight 
to statutes and their implementing regulations and to management 
direction that stems from those laws and regulations. An example would 
be State governmental actions enforced under a State statute or 
constitution, or Federal action under statute.

[[Page 61849]]

State
    Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum are listed on the Regulated Plant Index as endangered under 
Chapter 5B-40, Florida Administrative Code. The Regulated Plant Index 
also includes all federally listed endangered and threatened plant 
species. Florida Statutes 581.185 sections (3)(a) and (b) prohibit any 
person from willfully destroying or harvesting any species listed as 
endangered or threatened on the Index, or growing such a plant on the 
private land of another, or on any public land, without first obtaining 
the written permission of the landowner and a permit from the Florida 
Department of Plant Industry (DPI). The statute also requires that 
collection permits issued for species listed under the Act must be 
consistent with Federal standards (i.e., only the Service can issue 
permits to collect plants on Federal lands). The statute further 
provides that any person willfully destroying or harvesting; 
transporting, carrying, or conveying on any public road or highway; or 
selling or offering for sale any plant listed in the Index must have a 
permit from the State at all times when engaged in any such activities. 
However, despite these regulations, recent poaching is evident, and 
threats to the three species (particularly the two cacti) remain. Lack 
of implementation or compliance with existing regulations may be a 
result of funding, work priorities, or staffing.
    In addition, subsections (8)(a) and (b) of the statute waive State 
regulation for certain classes of activities for all species on the 
Regulated Plant Index, including the clearing or removal of regulated 
plants for agricultural, forestry, mining, construction (residential, 
commercial, or infrastructure), and fire-control activities by a 
private landowner or his or her agent. However, section (10) of the 
statute provides for consultation similar to section 7 of the Federal 
Act for listed species by requiring the Department of Transportation to 
notify the FDACS and the Endangered Plant Advisory Council of planned 
highway construction at the time bids are first advertised, to 
facilitate evaluation of the project for listed plants populations, and 
to ``provide for the appropriate disposal of such plants'' (i.e., 
transplanting,). The Service has no information concerning the State of 
Florida's implementation of the enforcement of these statutes. However, 
it is clear that illegal collection and vandalism of cacti are both 
occurring, despite these and other provisions that specifically 
prohibit these activities. Insufficient implementation or enforcement 
of these statutes constitutes a threat to both Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum as they continue to decline in numbers.
    Shell mounds on State land, some of which support populations of 
Harrisia aboriginum, are protected as historical resources under 
Florida Statute 267.13, sections (1)(a) and (b). Despite these 
protections, there is a long history of utilization and excavation of 
shell mounds by artifact hunters in Florida, causing erosion and 
opening areas for invasion by invasive plants (FNAI 2010i, p.3).
    The Florida Division of Forestry (FDOF) administers Florida's 
outdoor burning and forest fire laws. Florida Statute 590.08 prohibits 
any person to willfully or carelessly burn or cause to be burned, or to 
set fire to or cause fire to be set to, any forest, grass, woods, 
wildland, or marshes not owned or controlled by such person. Despite 
this protection, unauthorized bonfires have been documented at sites 
supporting Harrisia aboriginum (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 108; Bender 
2011, pp. 5-6).
Federal
    National Park Service (NPS) regulations at 36 CFR 2.1 prohibit 
visitors from harming or removing plants, listed or otherwise, from ENP 
or BNP.
    The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) (16 
U.S.C. 470aa-470mm) protects archaeological sites, including shell 
mounds, on Federal lands. Shell mounds are known from the area of ENP 
where Chromolaena frustrata occurs; however the Service has no specific 
information regarding illegally excavated or vandalized shell mounds at 
ENP.
    The Service has no information concerning ENP's or BNP's 
implementation or the enforcement of these Federal regulations 
protecting the plants and their habitats from harm. Insufficient 
implementation or enforcement could become a threat to the two species 
in the future if the species continue to decline in numbers.
Summary of Factor D
    In summary, there are currently State regulatory mechanisms and NPS 
regulatory mechanisms that provide for the conservation of Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum. Despite the 
existing regulatory mechanisms, these species continue to decline due 
to the effects of a wide array of threats, and it is reasonable to 
conclude that the limitations of current regulatory mechanisms have 
allowed population declines of Chromolaena frustrata and Consolea 
corallicola due to habitat loss and modification and declines of 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum due to poaching, 
vandalism, and illegal bonfires.
    Based on our analysis of the best available information, we find 
that existing regulatory mechanisms, due to their inherent limitations 
and constraints, are inadequate to address threats to these species 
throughout their ranges. We have no information to indicate that 
poaching, unauthorized fires, or habitat loss will be ameliorated in 
the future by enforcement of existing regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, 
we find it reasonably likely that the effects on Chromolaena frustrata, 
Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum will continue at current 
levels or potentially increase in the future.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Their Continued Existence

Wildfire
    Wildfire, whether naturally ignited or caused by unauthorized 
burning, such as bonfires, is a threat to Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum. In general these plants do not survive fires, 
making this a severe threat to remaining populations and occupied 
sites. At a site in Sarasota County, a large illegal bonfire pit is 
located within the habitat that supports one of the larger populations 
of H. aboriginum. The bonfires occur just a few yards from the plants 
(Bender 2011, pp. 5-6). At least one plant was killed by an escaped 
fire that affected part of this site in 2006 (Woodmansee et al. 2007, 
p. 108) and should another fire escape into occupied habitat in the 
future, it is reasonable to conclude this could result in the loss of 
individuals or extirpation of populations.
Nonnative Plant Species
    Nonnative, invasive plant species are a threat to all three species 
(Morris and Miller 1981, pp. 1-11; Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 6, 25; 
Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 91; Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 8; Bradley 
2007, pers. comm.; Sadle 2010, pers. comm.; McDonough 2010b, pers. 
comm.). They compete with native plants for space, light, water, and 
nutrients, and they have caused population declines in all three 
species.
    Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper), a nonnative, invasive 
tree, occurs in all of the habitats of the three species. Schinus 
terebinthifolius forms dense thickets of tangled, woody stems that 
completely shade out and displace

[[Page 61850]]

native vegetation (Loflin 1991, p. 19; Langeland and Craddock-Burks 
1998, p. 54). Schinus terebinthifolius can dramatically change the 
structure of rockland hammocks, coastal berms, and shell mounds, making 
habitat conditions unsuitable for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum, which prefer moderate to full sun 
exposure. For example, at more than one site, numerous H. aboriginum 
plants occurring in the shade of S. terebinthifolius were observed to 
have died (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 10; Bender 2011, pp. 5, 13). By the 
mid-1990s, S. terebinthifolius had spread dramatically and had become a 
dominant woody species at sites known to support H. aboriginum (Morris 
and Miller 1981, pp. 5, 10; Loflin 1991, p. 19; Herwitz et al. 1996, 
pp. 705-715; Bradley et al. 2004, p. 7). Schinus terebinthifolius is a 
threat to populations of Chromolaena frustrata along the Coastal 
Prairie Trail in ENP (Sadle 2010, pers. comm.) and is invading the 
habitat of Consolea corallicola (McDonough 2010b, pers. comm.).
    Colubrina asiatica (lather leaf), a nonnative shrub, has invaded 
large areas of coastal berm and coastal berm edges (Bradley and Gann 
2004, p. 4). Colubrina asiatica also forms dense thickets and mats, and 
is of particular concern in coastal hammocks (Langeland and Craddock-
Burks 1998, p. 122). Colubrina asiatica is invading large areas of 
hammocks within ENP along the edge of Florida Bay (Bradley and Gann 
1999, p. 37). Populations of Chromolaena frustrata along the Coastal 
Prairie Trail and habitat within ENP face threats from Colubrina 
asiatica (Sadle pers. comm. 2010). Colubrina asiatica is also present 
in BNP in areas supporting Consolea corallicola (McDonough 2010b, pers. 
comm.).
    Casuarina equisetifolia (Australian pine) invades coastal berm and 
is a threat to suitable habitat at most sites that could support all 
three species (FNAI 2010a, p. 2). Casuarina equisetifolia forms dense 
stands that exclude all other species through dense shade and a thick 
layer of needles that contain substances that leach out and suppress 
the growth of other plants. Coastal strand habitat that once supported 
Harrisia aboriginum has experienced dramatic increases in C. 
equisetifolia over the past 30 years (Loflin 1991, p. 19; Herwitz et 
al. 1996, pp. 705-715).
    Other invasive plant species that are a threat to Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum include 
Scaevola taccada (beach naupaka), Neyraudia reynaudiana (Burma reed), 
Cupaniopsis anacardioides (carrotwood) Thespesia populnea (Portia 
tree), Manilkara zapota (sapodilla), Hibiscus tiliaceus (hau), and 
Hylocereus undatus (night blooming cactus) (FNAI 2010f, p. 4; Bradley 
et al. 2004, p. 13; McDonough 2010b, pers. comm.;).
Vandalism
    Vandalism is a threat to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum, and has caused population declines in both species. For 
Consolea corallicola, vandalism has been documented twice. In 1990, 
branches were cut off plants at one site, but instead of being taken 
(as would be the case for poaching), the cut stems were left at the 
base of plants. In 2003, vegetative recruits and pads were damaged by 
unauthorized removal of protective cages from plants (Slapcinsky et al. 
2006, p. 3). At a Sarasota County site, the Service has documented 
numerous H. aboriginum plants that have been uprooted, trampled, and 
hacked with sharp implements. This population is impacted by people who 
use the coastal berm and hammock interface to engage in a variety of 
recreational (including unauthorized) activities as evidenced by a very 
large bonfire site and vast quantities of garbage, bottles, and 
discarded clothing (Bender 2011, p. 5).
    Due to their historic significance and possible presence of 
artifacts, shell mounds are susceptible to vandalism by artifact 
hunters. Despite regulations that protect these sites on State lands 
(Florida Statute 267. 13), there is a long history of artifact hunters 
conducting unauthorized excavation of shell mounds in Florida, 
including some mounds where Harrisia aboriginum has been found, causing 
erosion and opening areas for invasion by nonnative plants (FNAI 2010i, 
p.3).
Recreation
    Recreational activities may inadvertently impact some populations 
of Chromolaena frustrata. These activities may affect some individual 
plants in some populations but have not likely caused significant 
population declines in the species. Foot traffic and campsites at Big 
Munson Island may be a threat to Chromolaena frustrata. Recreation is a 
threat to some populations of Harrisia aboriginum. Coastal berms and 
dunes are impacted by recreational activities that cause trampling of 
plants, exacerbate erosion, and facilitate invasion by nonnative 
plants. As noted above, in 2011, numerous plants at a Sarasota County 
site were observed to be intentionally uprooted, hacked, and trampled, 
and there was a large amount of trash deposited nearby. At the same 
site, there is an ongoing problem with recreational bonfires in the 
coastal berm habitat just a few yards from H. aboriginum plants 
(Bradley et al. 2004, p. 16; Woodmansee et al. 2007, p.108; Bender 
2011, pp. 5-6). One escaped bonfire has the potential to destroy this 
entire population.
Hurricanes, Storm Surge, and Extreme High Tide Events
    Hurricanes, storm surge, and extreme high tide events are natural 
events that can pose a threat to all three species. Hurricanes and 
tropical storms can modify habitat (e.g., through storm surge) and have 
the potential to destroy entire populations. Climate change may lead to 
increased frequency and duration of severe storms (Golladay et al. 
2004, p. 504; McLaughlin et al. 2002, p. 6074; Cook et al. 2004, p. 
1015). All three species experienced these disturbances historically, 
but had the benefit of more abundant and contiguous habitat to buffer 
them from extirpations. With most of the historical habitat having been 
destroyed or modified, the few remaining populations of these species 
could face local extirpations due to stochastic events.
    The Florida Keys were impacted by three hurricanes in 2005: Katrina 
on August 26th, Rita on September 20th, and Wilma on October 24th. 
Hurricane Wilma had the largest impact, with storm surges flooding much 
of the landmass of the Keys. The vegetation in many areas was top-
killed due to salt water inundation (Hodges and Bradley 2006, p. 9).
Chromolaena frustrata
    The ecology of coastal rock barrens is poorly understood. Periodic 
storm events may be responsible for maintaining the community (Bradley 
and Gann 1999, p. 37). There is some evidence that, over the long term, 
hurricanes can be beneficial to the species by opening up tree canopies 
allowing more light to penetrate, thereby creating the necessary 
conditions for growth (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 115). The large 
population of Chromolaena frustrata observed at Big Munson Island in 
2004 suggests that this species may respond positively to occasional 
hurricanes or tropical storms that thin hammock canopies, providing 
more light (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 8). Populations of C. frustrata 
in ENP initially appeared to have been eliminated by storm surge during 
Hurricane Wilma in 2005 (Bradley 2007, pers. comm.; Duquesnel 2005, 
pers.

[[Page 61851]]

comm.), and habitat was significantly altered (Maschinski 2007, pers. 
comm.). All communities where C. frustrata was found showed impacts 
from the 2005 hurricane season, primarily thinning of the canopy and 
numerous blow downs (Sadle 2007, pers. comm.). However, it appears that 
the species has returned to some locations (Bradley 2009, pers. comm.). 
The population of C. frustrata in ENP may have benefited from 
hurricanes; surveys at some sites in ENP in 2007 detected more plants 
than ever previously reported (Sadle 2007, pers. comm.). However, if 
nonnative, invasive plants are present at sites when a storm hits, they 
may respond similarly, becoming dominant and not allowing for a pulse 
in the population of native species. This may radically alter the long-
term population dynamics of C. frustrata, keeping population sizes 
small or declining, until they eventually disappear (Bradley and Gann 
2004, p. 8).
Consolea corallicola
    Suitable habitat such as coastal rock barrens on Key Largo have 
been inundated with saltwater during spring and fall high tides over 
the past 5 to 10 years; these extreme events killed planted Consolea 
corallicola at one location (Duquesnel 2011a, pers. comm.). In the 
future, sea level rise could cause increases in flooding frequency or 
duration, prolonged or complete inundation of plants, and loss of 
suitable habitat (see Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, below for more 
information).
Harrisia aboriginum
    In 2004, Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane, passed within 8 
km (5 miles) of seven populations of Harrisia aboriginum and within 29 
km (18 miles) of all populations (Bradley and Woodmansee 2004, p. 1). 
Several populations suffered damage and loss of plants (Nielsen 2007, 
pers. comm.; Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 85) due to fallen limbs and 
shock caused by the sudden increase in sun exposure when the canopy was 
opened. However, some plants damaged by Hurricane Charley in 2004 have 
since recovered and seem to be thriving (Nielsen 2009, pers. comm.).
Freezing Temperatures
    Occasional freezing temperatures that occur in south Florida are a 
threat to Chromolaena frustrata (Bradley 2009, pers. comm.; Sadle 2011, 
pers. comm.) and Harrisia aboriginum (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 91). 
Under normal circumstances, occasional freezing temperatures would not 
result in a significant impact to these species; however, the small 
size of some populations makes impacts from freezing more significant.
Effects of Small Population Size and Isolation
    Endemic species whose populations exhibit a high degree of 
isolation are extremely susceptible to extinction from both random and 
nonrandom catastrophic natural or human-caused events. Species that are 
restricted to geographically limited areas are inherently more 
vulnerable to extinction than widespread species because of the 
increased risk of genetic bottlenecks, random demographic fluctuations, 
climate change, and localized catastrophes such as hurricanes and 
disease outbreaks (Mangel and Tier 1994, p. 607; Pimm et al. 1988, p. 
757). These problems are further magnified when populations are few and 
restricted to a very small geographic area, and when the number of 
individuals is very small. Populations with these characteristics face 
an increased likelihood of stochastic extinction due to changes in 
demography, the environment, genetics, or other factors (Gilpin and 
Soule 1986, pp. 24-34).
    Small, isolated populations often exhibit reduced levels of genetic 
variability, which diminishes the species' capacity to adapt and 
respond to environmental changes, thereby decreasing the probability of 
long-term persistence (e.g., Barrett and Kohn 1991, p. 4; Newman and 
Pilson 1997, p. 361). Very small plant populations may experience 
reduced reproductive vigor due to ineffective pollination or inbreeding 
depression. Isolated individuals have difficulty achieving natural 
pollen exchange, which limits the production of viable seed. The 
problems associated with small population size and vulnerability to 
random demographic fluctuations or natural catastrophes are further 
magnified by synergistic interactions with other threats, such as those 
discussed above (Factors A, B, and C).
Chromolaena frustrata
    The current range of Chromolaena frustrata includes eight 
populations spread across 209 km (130 mi) between ENP and Boca Grande 
Key; four of eight C. frustrata populations consist of fewer than 100 
individuals (see Table 1). These populations may not be viable in the 
long term due to their small number of individuals. Threats exacerbated 
by small population size include hurricanes, storm surges, freezing 
temperatures, and recreation impacts.
Consolea corallicola
    The two natural populations of Consolea corallicola are spread 
across 193 km (120 mi) between Biscayne Bay and Big Pine Key. One of 
the two remaining natural populations of C. corallicola consists of 
fewer than 20 adult plants (see Table 2). Threats exacerbated by small 
population size include hurricanes, storm surges, and poaching. 
Populations can also be impacted by demographic stochasticity, where 
populations are skewed toward either male or female individuals by 
chance. This may be the case with C. corallicola, in which the two 
remaining populations do not contain any female plants. While the 
species may continue to reproduce indefinitely by clonal means, 
populations may not be viable over the long term due to a lack of 
genetic mixing and thus the potential to adapt to environmental 
changes.
Harrisia aboriginum
    The current range of Harrisia aboriginum spans such a small 
geographic area (100-km (62-mi)) stretch of coastline north to south) 
that all populations could be affected by a single event (e.g., 
hurricane). Six of the 12 remaining populations have 10 or fewer 
individual plants (see Table 3). Threats exacerbated by small 
population size include hurricanes, storm surges, freezing 
temperatures, recreation impacts, wildfires, and poaching.
    Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum have restricted geographic distributions, and few 
populations, some or all of which are relatively small in number and 
extent. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the habitats upon which 
they depend, which require protection from disturbance caused by 
development, recreational activities and facilities maintenance, 
nonnative species, or a combination of these. Due to ongoing and 
pervasive threats, the number and size of existing populations of these 
species are probably not sufficient to sustain them into the future.
Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
    Climatic changes, including sea level rise, are major threats to 
south Florida and Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum. Our analyses under the Act include consideration 
of ongoing and projected changes in climate. The terms ``climate'' and 
``climate change'' are defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on 
Climate Change (IPCC). ``Climate'' refers to the mean and variability 
of different types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being 
a typical period for such

[[Page 61852]]

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.
    Projected changes in climate and related effects can vary 
substantially across and within different regions of the world (e.g., 
IPCC 2007a, pp. 8-12). Thus, although global climate projections are 
informative and in some cases are the only or the best scientific 
information available, to the extent possible we use ``downscaled'' 
climate projections, which provide higher resolution information that 
is more relevant to the spatial scales used to assess effects to a 
given species (see Glick et al. 2011, pp. 58-61 for a discussion of 
downscaling).
    With regard to our analysis for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum, downscaled projections suggest 
that sea-level rise is the largest climate-driven challenge to low-
lying coastal areas and refuges in the subtropical ecoregion of 
southern Florida (U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) 2008, pp. 
5-31, 5-32). The long-term record at Key West shows that sea level rose 
on average 0.224 cm (0.088 in) annually between 1913 and 2006 (National 
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2008, p. 1). This 
equates to approximately 22.3 cm (8.76 in) over the last 100 years 
(NOAA 2008, p. 1). IPCC (2008, p. 28) emphasized it is very likely that 
the average rate of sea level rise during the 21st century will exceed 
that rate, although it was projected to have substantial geographical 
variability.
    Other processes expected to be affected by climate change include 
temperatures, rainfall (amount, seasonal timing, and distribution), and 
storms (frequency and intensity). Temperatures are projected to rise 
from 2 [deg]C to 5 [deg]C (35.6 [deg]F to 41.5 [deg]F) for North 
America by the end of this century (IPCC 2007, pp. 7-9, 13).
    The Nature Conservancy (TNC) modeled several scenarios for the 
Florida Keys, and predicted that sea level rise will first result in 
the conversion of habitat, and eventually the complete inundation of 
habitat. In the best-case scenario, by the year 2100, a rise of 18 cm 
(7 in) would result in the inundation of 745 ha (1,840 acres) (34 
percent) of Big Pine Key and the loss of 11 percent of the island's 
upland habitat (TNC 2010, p. 1). In the worst-case scenario, a rise of 
140 cm (4.6 ft) would result in the inundation of about 2,409 ha (5,950 
acres) (96 percent) and the loss of all upland habitat on the Key (TNC 
2010, p. 1).
    Hydrology has a strong influence on plant distribution in these and 
other coastal areas (IPCC 2008, p. 57). Such communities typically 
grade from salt to brackish to freshwater species. From the 1930s to 
1950s, increased salinity of coastal waters contributed to the decline 
of cabbage palm forests in southwest Florida (Williams et al. 1999, pp. 
2056-2059), expansion of mangroves into adjacent marshes in the 
Everglades (Ross et al. 2000, pp. 9, 12-13), and loss of pine rockland 
in the Keys (Ross et al. 1994, pp. 144, 151-155). The possible effects 
of sea level rise were noted in the 1980s, at a site supporting 
Harrisia aboriginum (Morris and Miller 1981, p. 10), and recent deaths 
of cabbage palms at this location suggest that this is a continuing 
threat (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 7). Furthermore, Ross et al. (2000, pp. 
109-111) suggested that interactions between sea level rise and pulse 
disturbances (e.g., storm surges) can cause vegetation to change sooner 
than projected based on sea level alone. Patterns of development will 
also likely be significant factors influencing whether natural 
communities can move and persist (IPCC 2008, p. 57; CCSP 2008, p. 7-6).
    Most populations of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, 
and Harrisia aboriginum are located just slightly above mean sea level, 
and the effects of sea level rise are expected to be a continual 
problem for coastal species and habitats (Gann et al. 2002, p. 391, 
481; Bradley et al. 2004, p. 7; Sadle 2007, pers. comm.; Higgins 2007, 
pers. comm.; Duquesnel 2008, pers. comm.). Research on C. corallicola 
(Stiling 2010, p. 2) and other Florida cacti suggests that increased 
soil salinity levels can cause mortality of these plants (Goodman et 
al. 2012, pp. 9-11). Natural populations of Harrisia aboriginum and 
Consolea corallicola do not occur on saturated soils (fresh or saline) 
and would likely be extirpated at sites affected by sea level rise.
    Similarly, the extant populations of Consolea corallicola occur 
near sea level in a transitional zone between mangrove and hardwood 
hammock habitats. Populations at two sites have been declining for 
years, and this may be partially attributed to rising sea level, as 
most of the cacti are on the edge of the hammock and buttonwood 
transition zone or directly in the transition zone (Higgins 2007, pers. 
comm.; Duquesnel 2008, 2009, pers. comm.).
Summary of Factor E
    In summary, Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum are vulnerable to a wide array of threats from 
human activities; invasive, nonnative plant species; small population 
sizes; weather events, and climate change, which have operated in the 
past, are impacting these species now, and have caused population 
declines in all three species. Based on our analysis of the best 
available information, these threats are likely to continue in the 
future at current levels or potentially increasing.
Cumulative Effects of Threats
    The limited distributions and small population sizes of Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum make them 
extremely susceptible to further habitat loss and competition from 
nonnative species. Poaching, vandalism, and wildfires are additional 
threats to C. corallicola and H. aboriginum. Mechanisms leading to the 
decline of these species as discussed above, range from local (e.g., 
poaching, vandalism, wildfire), to regional (e.g., development, 
nonnative species), to global (e.g., climate change, sea level rise). 
The synergistic (interaction of two or more components) effects of 
threats (such as hurricane effects on a species with a limited 
distribution consisting of just a few small populations) make it 
difficult to predict population viability. While these stressors may 
act in isolation, it is more probable that many stressors are acting 
simultaneously (or in combination) on populations of Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and H. aboriginum.

Proposed Determination

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum. Section 3(6) of the Act defines an endangered species as 
``any species that is in danger of

[[Page 61853]]

extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,'' and 
section 3(20) of the Act defines a threatened species as ``any species 
that is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range within the foreseeable future.''
    As described in detail above, these three species are currently at 
risk throughout all of their respective ranges due to the immediacy, 
severity, and scope of threats from habitat destruction and 
modification (Factor A), inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms 
(Factor D), and other natural or manmade factors affecting their 
continued existence (Factor E). Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum are currently at risk throughout all of their respective 
ranges due to the immediacy, severity, and scope of threats from 
overutilization (Factor B), and C. corallicola is immediately 
threatened by disease or predation (Factor C). Although there are 
ongoing actions to alleviate some threats, there appear to be no 
populations without current significant threats. Current State and 
Federal regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are inadequate to protect 
Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum 
from taking and habitat loss. Despite the existing regulatory 
mechanisms, Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and H. 
aboriginum continue to decline. In particular, poaching remains a 
concern for Consolea corallicola, and H. aboriginum. Habitat loss or 
modification from development (Factor A) and sea level rise, 
competition from nonnative plants, small population sizes, and 
restricted range (Factor E) are threats to all three species. 
Hurricanes, storm surge, and future sea level rise are threats to all 
three species through direct mortality of individuals and modification 
of habitat. The majority of the remaining C. frustrata, C. corallicola, 
and H. aboriginum populations are generally small and geographically 
isolated. The narrow distribution of their populations in hurricane-
prone south Florida makes them more susceptible to extirpation from a 
single catastrophic event. Furthermore, this level of isolation makes 
natural recolonization of extirpated populations virtually impossible 
without human intervention.
Chromolaena frustrata
    Chromolaena frustrata has been extirpated (no longer in existence) 
from half of the islands in the Florida Keys where it historically 
occurred, and threats of competition from nonnative, invasive plants 
(Factor E) and habitat loss (Factor A) are currently active in the 
remaining populations. Populations of Chromolaena frustrata are 
isolated from one another, and the species has a limited ability to 
recolonize suitable habitat between populations. Because of the current 
condition of the populations and life-history traits of the species, it 
is vulnerable to natural or human-caused changes in its currently 
occupied habitats. Significant threats are occurring now and are likely 
to continue in the foreseeable future, at a high intensity, and across 
the species' entire range; therefore, we have determined the species is 
currently on the brink of extinction. Because these threats are placing 
the species in danger of extinction now and not only at some point in 
the foreseeable future, we find this species meets the definition of an 
endangered species versus a threatened species. Therefore, we are 
proposing to list it as an endangered species. We are not proposing 
threatened species status for C. frustrata due to the high level of 
continuing threats described above. These threats described above are 
currently active, and will continue to affect the populations of C. 
frustrata into the foreseeable future, and these threats will 
individually and collectively contribute to the species' local 
extirpation and potential extinction.
Consolea corallicola
    Consolea corallicola has been extirpated from half of the islands 
in the Florida Keys where it historically occurred. Threats of poaching 
and vandalism (Factor B), predation by a nonnative moth, disease 
(Factor C), competition from nonnative, invasive plant species and 
wildfire (Factor E), and habitat loss (Factor A) still exist in the 
remaining populations. Additionally, low genetic diversity and lack of 
sexual reproduction are threats to C. corallicola. Because there are 
only a few small populations of this cactus, and the remoteness of 
occupied habitat that makes enforcement difficult, collection has and 
continues to be a significant threat to the species. Existing 
regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) at the State level are inadequate to 
protect the species from poaching or vandalism. Because populations are 
isolated and the species has a limited ability to recolonize suitable 
habitats, it continues to be vulnerable to natural or human-caused 
changes in its habitats. As a result, impacts from continuing threats, 
singly or in combination, are likely to result in the extinction of 
this species. Significant threats are occurring now and are likely to 
continue in the foreseeable future, at a high intensity, and across the 
species' entire range; therefore, we have determined the species is 
currently on the brink of extinction. Because these threats are placing 
the species in danger of extinction now and not only at some point in 
the foreseeable future, we find this species meets the definition of an 
endangered species, versus a threatened species. Therefore, we are 
proposing to list it as an endangered species. We are not proposing 
threatened status for C. corallicola due to the severity of the threats 
described above. These threats described above are currently active, 
and will continue to affect the populations of C. corallicola into the 
foreseeable future, and these threats will individually and 
collectively contribute to the species' local extirpation and potential 
extinction.
Harrisia aboriginum
    Harrisia aboriginum has been extirpated from the northern extent of 
its range in Manatee County, and threats of poaching (Factor B), 
competition from nonnative, invasive plant species, wildfire (Factor 
E), disease, predation (Factor C), vandalism (Factor B), and habitat 
loss (Factor A) still exist in the remaining populations. Because there 
are only a few small populations of this cactus, and the remoteness of 
occupied habitat that makes enforcement difficult, collection has and 
continues to be a significant threat to this species. Existing 
regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) at the State level are inadequate to 
protect this species from poaching or vandalism. Because populations 
are isolated and the species has a limited ability to recolonize 
historically occupied habitats, it is vulnerable to natural or human-
caused changes in its habitats. As a result, impacts from increasing 
threats, singly or in combination, are likely to result in the 
extinction of the species. Significant threats are occurring now and 
are likely to continue in the foreseeable future, at a high intensity, 
and across the species' entire range; therefore, we have determined the 
species is currently on the brink of extinction. Because these threats 
are placing the species in danger of extinction now and not only at 
some point in the foreseeable future, we find this species meets the 
definition of an endangered species, versus a threatened species. 
Therefore, we are proposing to list it as an endangered species. We are 
not proposing threatened status for H. aboriginum due to the severity 
of the threats described above. These threats described above are 
currently active, and will continue to affect the populations of H. 
aboriginum into the foreseeable future, and these threats will

[[Page 61854]]

individually and collectively contribute to the species' local 
extirpation and potential extinction.

Significant Portion of Its Range

    We evaluated the current range of the Chromolaena frustrata, 
Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum to determine if there is 
any apparent geographic concentration of potential threats for either 
species. All three species are highly restricted in their ranges, and 
the threats occur throughout their ranges. We considered the potential 
threats due to habitat loss or modification from development and sea 
level rise, competition from nonnative plants, hurricanes, storm surge, 
small populations, and restricted range. We found no concentration of 
threats because of the species' limited and curtailed ranges, and 
uniformity of the threats throughout their entire ranges. Having 
determined that Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum are endangered throughout their entire ranges, it 
is not necessary to evaluate whether there are any significant portions 
of their ranges.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing encourages and results in public 
awareness and conservation by Federal, State, and local agencies; 
private organizations; and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation 
with the States and requires that recovery actions be carried out for 
all listed species. The protection required of Federal agencies and the 
prohibitions against take and harm are discussed, in part, below.
    The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered 
and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The 
ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these 
listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of 
the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act requires the Service to develop and 
implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and 
threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the 
identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the 
species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and 
recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a 
point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning 
components of their ecosystems.
    Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline 
shortly after a species is listed and after preparation of a draft and 
final recovery plan. The recovery outline guides the immediate 
implementation of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to 
be used to develop a recovery plan. Revisions of the plan may be done 
to address continuing or new threats to the species, as new substantive 
information becomes available. The recovery plan identifies site-
specific management actions that set a trigger for review of the five 
factors that control whether a species remains endangered or may be 
down listed or delisted, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. 
Recovery plans also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate 
their recovery efforts and provide estimates of the cost of 
implementing recovery tasks. Recovery teams (comprising species 
experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and 
stakeholders) are often established to develop recovery plans. When 
completed, the recovery outline, draft recovery plan, and the final 
recovery plan will be available on our Web site (http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from our South Florida Ecological Services Office (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the 
participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal 
agencies, States, Tribal, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, 
and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat 
restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive 
propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The 
recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on 
Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-
Federal lands. Achieving recovery of these species requires cooperative 
conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands.
    If these species are listed, funding for recovery actions will be 
available from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State 
programs, and cost share grants for non-Federal landowners, the 
academic community, and non-governmental organizations. In addition, 
under section 6 of the Act, the State of Florida would be eligible for 
Federal funds to implement management actions that promote the 
protection and recovery of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, 
and Harrisia aboriginum. Information on our grant programs that are 
available to aid species recovery can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Although Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum are only being proposed for listing under the Act at this 
time, please let us know if you are interested in participating in 
recovery efforts for this species. Additionally, we invite you to 
submit any new information on this species whenever it becomes 
available and any information you may have for recovery planning 
purposes (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Federal agencies are required to confer with us informally on any 
action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a 
proposed species. Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer 
with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a species proposed for listing or result in 
destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a 
species is listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal 
agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out 
are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action 
may adversely affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the 
Service.
    Federal agency actions within these species' habitats that may 
require conference or consultation or both as described in the 
preceding paragraph include, but are not limited to, the funding of, 
carrying out or issuance of permits for resource management activities, 
development of facilities, road and trail construction, recreational 
programs, and any other any landscape-altering activities on Federal 
lands administered by the Department of Defense, NPS, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, and U.S. Forest Service; or the issuance of Federal permits 
under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) by 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; construction and management of gas 
pipeline and power line rights-of-way by the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission; and construction and maintenance of roads or highways by 
the Federal Highway Administration.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to endangered plants. 
All prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, implemented by 50 CFR 
17.61, apply. These prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for any 
person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to import or 
export, transport in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a

[[Page 61855]]

commercial activity, sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign 
commerce, or remove and reduce the species to possession from areas 
under Federal jurisdiction. In addition, for plants listed as an 
endangered species, the Act prohibits the malicious damage or 
destruction on areas under Federal jurisdiction and the removal, 
cutting, digging up, or damaging or destroying of such plants in 
knowing violation of any State law or regulation, including State 
criminal trespass law. Certain exceptions to the prohibitions apply to 
agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
    Preservation of native flora of Florida (Florida Statutes 581.185) 
sections (3)(a) and (b) provide limited protection to species listed in 
the State of Florida Regulated Plant Index including Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum, as described 
under Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms.
    Federal listing increases protection by for these species by making 
violations of Section 3 of the Florida Statute punishable as a Federal 
offense under section 9 of the Act. This provides increased protection 
from unauthorized collecting and vandalism for the plants on State and 
private lands, where they might not otherwise be protected by the Act, 
and increases the severity of the penalty for unauthorized collection, 
vandalism, or trade in these species.
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered and threatened plant species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.62 for endangered plants, and at 50 CFR 17.72 for threatened plants. 
With regard to endangered plants, a permit must be issued for the 
following purposes: For scientific purposes or to enhance the 
propagation or survival of the species.
    The Service acknowledges that it cannot fully address some of the 
natural threats facing Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum (e.g., hurricanes, tropical storms) or even some of 
the other significant, long-term threats (e.g., climatic changes, sea 
level rise). However, through listing, we provide protection to the 
known population(s) and any new population of the species that may be 
discovered (see discussion below). With listing, we can also influence 
Federal actions that may potentially impact the species (see discussion 
below); this is especially valuable if it is found at additional 
locations. With this action, we are also better able to deter illicit 
collection and trade.
    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at 
the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed 
listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of species 
proposed for listing. The following activities could potentially result 
in a violation of section 9 of the Act; this list is not comprehensive:
    (1) Import any such species into, or export any such species from, 
the United States;
    (2) Remove and reduce to possession any such species from areas 
under Federal jurisdiction; maliciously damage or destroy any such 
species on any such area; or remove, cut, dig up, or damage or destroy 
any such species on any other area in knowing violation of any law or 
regulation of any State or in the course of any violation of a State 
criminal trespass law;
    (3) Deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or 
foreign commerce, by any means whatsoever and in the course of a 
commercial activity, any such species;
    (4) Sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any 
such species;
    (5) Introduce any nonnative wildlife or plant species to the State 
of Florida that compete with or prey upon Chromolaena frustrata, 
Consolea corallicola, or Harrisia aboriginum;
    (6) Release any unauthorized biological control agents that attack 
any life stage of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, or 
Harrisia aboriginum;
    (7) Modify the habitat of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, or Harrisia aboriginum on Federal lands that is 
unauthorized or not covered under the Act for impacts to these species.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Field 
Supervisor of the Service's South Florida Ecological Services Office 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Requests for copies of 
regulations regarding listed species and inquiries about prohibitions 
and permits should be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Ecological Services Division, Endangered Species Permits, 1875 Century 
Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30345 (Phone 404-679-7140; Fax 404-679-7081).
    If Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum are listed under the Act, the State of Florida's Endangered 
Species Act (Florida Statutes 581.185) is automatically invoked, which 
would also prohibit take of these species and encourage conservation by 
State government agencies. Further, the State may enter into agreements 
with Federal agencies to administer and manage any area required for 
the conservation, management, enhancement, or protection of endangered 
species (Florida Statutes 581.185). Funds for these activities could be 
made available under section 6 of the Act (Cooperation with the 
States). Thus, the Federal protection afforded to these species by 
listing them as endangered species would be reinforced and supplemented 
by protection under State law.

Critical Habitat Designation for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum

Background

    It is our intent to discuss below only those topics directly 
relevant to the designation of critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aborigiunum in this 
section of the proposed rule.
    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which 
are found those physical or biological features
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation, and, in the

[[Page 61856]]

extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem 
cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency 
funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species 
or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or 
adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but 
to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.

Prudency Determination

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable, the Secretary designate critical habitat at 
the time we determine that a species is endangered or threatened. Our 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that the designation of 
critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following 
situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or other 
human activity, and identification of critical habitat can be expected 
to increase the degree of threat to the species; or (2) such 
designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species. 
This determination involves a weighing of the expected increase in 
threats associated with a critical habitat designation against the 
benefits gained by such designation. We have determined that for 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum, identification of 
critical habitat can be expected to increase the degree of threat to 
the species from over utilization by collectors and poachers and that 
the benefits of designating critical habitat are minimal.

Increased Threat to the Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum by 
Designating Critical Habitat

    Rare cacti are highly desirable to collectors and often targeted 
for collection in the wild (Anderson 2001, pp. 73-78). The Service has 
documented unauthorized collection of both Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum on public lands in Florida. Collection appears to 
be ongoing, prevalent, and damaging (see Factor B analysis above for 
specific cases). In addition, we are aware that a market exists for 
trade in rare, imperiled, and federally-listed cacti, including those 
in south Florida (see Factor B analysis above). For example, there is 
currently a demand for Harrisia fragrans, a rare cactus from south 
Florida that is listed (under the scientific name Cereus eriophorus 
var. fragrans) as an endangered species under the Act, and that closely 
resembles H. aboriginum. Websites currently offer for sale seeds of C. 
corallicola and H. aboriginum. It is clear that a demand currently 
exists for specimens of both cacti.
    Due to the low number of populations, small population sizes, 
restricted range, and remoteness of occupied habitat (which makes 
enforcement difficult), we believe that collection is a significant and 
continuing threat to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. Even 
limited collection from the remaining populations (or other 
populations, if discovered) could have significant and long-lasting 
deleterious effects on reproductive and genetic viability and thus 
could contribute to the extinction of these cacti. Identification of 
critical habitat units would increase the severity of this threat by 
describing the exact locations where the species may be found and more 
widely publicizing this information, exposing small, isolated 
populations and habitat to greater risks of collection and vandalism.
    Designation of critical habitat requires the publication of maps 
and a narrative description of specific critical habitat units in the 
Federal Register. The degree of detail in those maps and boundary 
descriptions would be greater than what is currently available to the 
public. Thus, designation of critical habitat could more widely 
announce the exact location of the two cacti to collectors and 
poachers, and further encourage and facilitate unauthorized collection 
and trade. Due to their extreme rarity (a low number of individuals, 
combined with small areas inhabited by the remaining populations), 
these cacti are highly vulnerable to collection. We believe that these 
threats would be exacerbated by the publication of maps and 
descriptions outlining the specific locations of these cacti in the 
Federal Register, on Service Web sites, and in local newspapers.
    Identification and publication of critical habitat for Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum would also likely increase 
enforcement problems. Although take prohibitions exist, effective 
enforcement is difficult. As discussed under Factors B, D, and E and 
elsewhere above, the threats of collection and inadvertent impacts from 
human activities exists and areas where the species currently exist are 
already difficult to patrol due to the remoteness of those areas. Many 
of the areas supporting the cacti are remote and accessible mainly by 
boat, making them difficult for law enforcement personnel to patrol and 
monitor, and more desirable for illegal activities. Limited patrolling 
is available for resource protection on the lands supporting Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. We believe that designation of 
critical habitat would facilitate further use and misuse of sensitive 
habitats and resources, creating additional difficulty for law 
enforcement personnel in an already challenging environment. Overall, 
we believe that designation of critical habitat would increase the 
likelihood and severity of the threats of illegal collection of C. 
corallicola and H. aboriginum, as well as exacerbate enforcement 
issues.

Benefits to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum From Critical 
Habitat Designation

    The principal benefit of including an area in critical habitat is 
the requirement for agencies to ensure actions they fund, authorize, or 
carry out are not likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of any designated critical habitat, the regulatory 
standard of section 7(a)(2) of the Act under which consultation is 
completed. Critical habitat provides protections only where there is a 
Federal nexus, that is, those actions that come under the purview of 
section 7 of the Act. Critical habitat designation has no application 
to actions that do not have a Federal nexus. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
mandates that Federal agencies, in consultation with the Service, 
evaluate the effects of its their proposed actions on any designated 
critical habitat. Similar to the Act's requirement that a Federal 
agency action not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species, 
Federal agencies have the

[[Page 61857]]

responsibility not to implement actions that would destroy or adversely 
modify designated critical habitat.
    Federal actions affecting the species even in the absence of 
designated critical habitat areas would still benefit from consultation 
pursuant under to section 7(a)(2) of the Act and may still result in 
jeopardy findings. However, the analysis of effects of a proposed 
project on critical habitat is separate and distinct from that of the 
effects of a proposed project on the species itself. The jeopardy 
analysis evaluates the action's impact to survival and recovery of the 
species, while the destruction or adverse modification analysis 
evaluates the action's effects to the designated habitat's contribution 
to conservation of the species. Therefore, the difference in outcomes 
of these two analyses represents the regulatory benefit of critical 
habitat. This would, in some instances, lead to different results and 
different regulatory requirements. Thus, critical habitat designations 
may provide greater benefits to the recovery of a species than would 
listing alone.
Consolea corallicola
    All areas known to support populations of Consolea corallicola are 
on Federal, State, or private conservation lands; these areas are 
currently being managed at some level for the species. Management 
efforts include nonnative species control and efforts to detect and 
control Cactobalastis cactorum. These efforts are consistent with, and 
tailored for, C. corallicola conservation, and such efforts are 
expected to continue in the future. Because C. corallicola is 
restricted to two small natural populations, with by far the largest 
occurring on NPS land, any future activity involving a Federal action 
that would destroy or adversely modify occupied critical habitat would 
also be expected to jeopardize the species' continued existence (see 
Jeopardy Standard within proposed rule). On the other hand, designation 
of unoccupied critical habitat for C. corallicola would provide a 
measureable regulatory benefit in those instances when a Federal action 
occurred in only unoccupied critical habitat. Because C. corallicola 
has been extirpated from half of the islands where it occurred in the 
Florida Keys, designation of critical habitat for this species could 
cover a large area. Thus, for the species if consultation on the 
Federal action was found to likely destroy or adversely modify 
unoccupied critical habitat but not jeopardize the continued existence 
of the species, a measurable regulatory benefit would be realized. In 
the absence of a critical habitat designation, Federal lands that 
support C. corallicola would continue to be subject to conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act and to the 
regulatory protections by the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy standard 
consultation requirements and may still result in jeopardy findings. 
Therefore, designation of specific areas as critical habitat that are 
currently occupied is unlikely to provide a measurable benefit to the 
species while designation of unoccupied areas as critical habitat could 
provide a measurable benefit to the species.
Harrisia aboriginum
    All Harrisia aboriginum populations are at least in part on 
protected Federal, State, County, and private conservation lands. A few 
plants are located on private non-conservation parcels adjacent to 
larger populations on protected conservation sites. Most, but not all, 
of the protected sites are currently being managed at some level for 
the species. Management efforts are limited to nonnative species 
control at this time. These efforts are expected to continue in the 
future. The Federal listing of the species regardless of critical 
habitat designation, could result in increased enforcement efforts and 
population augmentation, although to what extent is unknown. One of the 
12 sites where H. aboriginum occurs is on Federal lands and represents 
approximately one third of all existing individuals and would be 
subject to section 7(a)(2) consultation requirements of the Act. 
However, Harrisia aboriginum has been extirpated from the northern 
extent of its range in Manatee County. There are a few small County-
owned and private land parcels that are occupied and not currently 
being managed for the species; and these lands would not be subject the 
requirements of section 7 consultation without a Federal nexus. 
Designation of these small parcels as occupied critical habitat would 
provide limited additional to H. aboriginum because a Federal nexus 
would still be needed to trigger consultation and it is unlikely the 
loss of the habitat would have an adverse effect on the conservation of 
the species. If unoccupied critical habitat were designated for H. 
aboriginum, additional habitat could be protected from adverse habitat 
modification or destruction on State, county, or private land if a 
Federal nexus were present and the action rose to the level of 
adversely modifying the critical habitat. Additional unoccupied habitat 
may be necessary for the recovery of C. corallicola and H. aboriginum, 
as areas targeted for reintroduction would likely be on existing State, 
Federal, or county conservation lands. However, the identification of 
these lands would increase the risk of poaching in the future at these 
reintroduced sites.
    In summary, for both Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum, 
consultation with respect to critical habitat would provide additional 
protection to a species if the agency action would result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of the critical habitat but would 
not jeopardize the continued existence of the species. In the absence 
of a critical habitat designation, areas that support C. corallicola 
and H. aboriginum would continue to be subject to conservation actions 
implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act. Also, Federal actions 
affecting C. corallicola and H. aboriginum in the absence of designated 
critical habitat areas would still benefit from consultation pursuant 
under to section 7(a)(2) of the Act and may still result in jeopardy 
findings. Therefore, although designation of specific areas as critical 
habitat that is currently occupied, recently occupied, or unoccupied 
would provide some additional protections under the Act, that 
protection is likely to be minimal.
    Another potential benefit to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum from designating critical habitat is that it could serve to 
educate private landowners, and Federal State, and local government 
agencies, Refuge, or Park visitors, and the general public regarding 
the potential conservation value of the area for the species. Through 
the processes of listing the cacti under the State of Florida's 
endangered species statute and the recognition of the C. corallicola 
and H. aboriginum as a Federal candidate species in 2005 and 2006, 
respectively, much of this educational component is already in effect. 
Agencies, organizations, and stakeholders are actively engaged in 
efforts to raise awareness for these cacti and their conservation 
needs, including the need to deter poaching of wild specimens, 
designation of critical habitat would help in increasing the awareness. 
In addition, designation of critical habitat could inform State 
agencies and local governments about areas that could be conserved 
under State laws, local ordinances, or land management initiatives by 
State, local, and Federal agencies. However, nearly all land managers 
responsible for sites supporting Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum are now aware the presence of these species. Designation of 
critical habitat that is occupied would

[[Page 61858]]

likely provide benefits concerning awareness by private entities where 
management for the species could be enhanced or initiated.

Increased Threat to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum 
Outweighs the Benefits of Critical Habitat Designation

    Upon reviewing the available information, we have determined that 
the designation of critical habitat would increase the threat to 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum from unauthorized 
collection and trade, and may further facilitate inadvertent or 
purposeful disturbance and vandalism to the cacti's habitat. We believe 
that designation of occupied critical habitat is likely to confer only 
an educational benefit to these cacti beyond that provided by listing. 
Alternatively, the designation of unoccupied critical habitat for 
either species could provide an educational and at least some 
regulatory benefit for each species. However, we believe that the risk 
of increasing significant threats to the species by publishing more 
specific location information in a critical habitat designation greatly 
outweighs the benefits of designating critical habitat.
    In conclusion, we find that the designation of critical habitat is 
not prudent, in accordance with 50 CFR 424.12(a)(1), because Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum are threatened by collection and 
habitat destruction, and designation can reasonably be expected to 
increase the degree of these threats to these species and their 
habitats. Critical habitat designation could provide some benefit to 
these species, but these benefits are significantly outweighed by the 
increased risk of collection pressure and enforcement problems that 
could result from depicting, through publicly available maps and 
descriptions, exactly where these extremely rare cacti and their 
habitat can be found.

Determination of Prudency for Chromolaena frustrata

    In contrast to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum, 
Chromolaena frustrata is not sought after by collectors and there is no 
evidence that the designation of critical habitat would result in an 
increased threat from taking (particularly poaching) or other human 
activity for this species. On the other hand, as for these other 
species, we find that the designation of critical habitat for C. 
frustrata, as for the other two species, is likely to provide at least 
some benefit to the species by serving to focus conservation efforts on 
the restoration and maintenance of ecosystem functions that are 
essential for attaining its recovery and long-term viability. 
Similarly, the designation of critical habitat could serve to inform 
management and conservation decisions by identifying any additional 
physical and biological features of the ecosystem that may be essential 
for the conservation of the species. We therefore find that designation 
of critical habitat for C. frustrata is prudent.

Critical Habitat Determinability

    Having determined that designation of critical habitat is prudent 
for Chromolaena frustrata, under section 4(a)(3) of the Act, we must 
find whether critical habitat is determinable for the species. Our 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(a)(2) state that critical habitat is not 
determinable when one or both of the following situations exist:
    (i) Information sufficient to perform required analyses of the 
impacts of the designation is lacking; or
    (ii) The biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well 
known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat.
    We reviewed the available information pertaining to the biological 
needs of Chromolaena frustrata and habitat characteristics where the 
species is located. This and other information represent the best 
scientific data available and have led us to conclude that the 
designation of critical habitat is determinable for C. frustrata.

Designation of Critical Habitat

    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as 
space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those 
physical and biological features within an area, we focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal 
wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are the 
specific elements of physical or biological features that provide for a 
species' life-history processes, are essential to the conservation of 
the species.
    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species only when a designation limited 
to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on 
Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in 
the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information 
Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), 
and our associated Information Quality Guidelines, provide criteria, 
establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions 
are based on the best scientific data available. They require our 
biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources 
of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical 
habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the 
species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans 
developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and 
studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or 
experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, would continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation 
actions implemented

[[Page 61859]]

under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory protections afforded 
by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act for Federal agencies 
to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of any endangered or threatened species, and (3) section 9 of 
the Act's prohibitions on taking any individual of the species, 
including taking caused by actions that affect habitat. Federally 
funded or permitted projects affecting listed species outside their 
designated critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings 
in some cases. These protections and conservation tools would continue 
to contribute to recovery of this species if we list Chromolaena 
frustrata. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis 
of the best available information at the time of designation will not 
control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, habitat 
conservation plans (HCPs), or other species conservation planning 
efforts if new information available at the time of these planning 
efforts calls for a different outcome.

Physical or Biological Features

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing to 
designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological 
features (PBFs) that are essential to the conservation of the species 
and which may require special management considerations or protection. 
These include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derive the specific PBFs for Chromolaena frustrata from 
observations of this species' habitat, ecology, and life history as 
described below. The PBFs for C. frustrata were defined on the basis of 
the habitat features of the areas actually occupied by the plants, 
which included climate, substrate types, hydrologic regimes, plant 
community structure, associated plant species, and locale information.
Space for Individual and Population Growth
    Plant Community and Competitive Ability. Chromolaena frustrata 
occurs in communities classified as coastal berms, coastal rock 
barrens, buttonwood forests, and rockland hammocks restricted to 
tropical South Florida and the Florida Keys. These communities and 
their associated native plant species are provided in the Status 
Assessment for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum section above.
Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or 
Physiological Requirements
    Climate (temperature and precipitation). The climate of south 
Florida where Chromolaena frustrata occurs is characterized by distinct 
wet and dry seasons, a monthly mean temperature above 18 [deg] (64.4 
[deg]F) in every month of the year, and annual rainfall averaging 75 to 
150 cm (30 to 60 in) (Gabler et al. 1994, p. 211). Freezes can occur in 
the winter months, but are very infrequent at this latitude in Florida.
    Soils. Substrates supporting Chromolaena frustrata for anchoring or 
nutrient absorption vary depending on the habitat and location and 
include marl (an unconsolidated sedimentary rock or soil consisting of 
clay and lime) (Sadle, 2008 and 2012, pers. comm.); soils consisting of 
covering limestone; exposed bare limestone rock or with a thin layer of 
leaf litter or highly organic soil (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 37; FNAI 
2010d, p.1); or loose sediment formed by a mixture of coarse sand, 
shell fragments, pieces of coralline algae, and other coastal debris 
(FNAI 2010a, p.1).
    Hydrology. The species requires coastal berms and coastal rock 
barrens that occur above the daily tidal range, but are subject to 
flooding by seawater during extreme tides and storm surge. Rockland 
hammock occurs on high ground that does not regularly flood, but it is 
often dependent upon a high water table to keep humidity levels high, 
and they can be inundated during storm surges (FNAI 2010d, p.1).
Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of 
Offspring
    The reproductive biology and needs of Chromolaena frustrata have 
not been studied (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 37). We have no other 
information available beyond the habitat preferences and demographic 
trends and life-history cycles. Thus, except habitat requirements 
discussed above we have no other information regarding the ecology of 
the species related to reproduction needs.
Habitats Protected From Disturbance or Representative of the 
Historical, Geographic, and Ecological Distributions of the Species
    Chromolaena frustrata continues to occur in habitats that are 
protected from human-generated disturbances and are representative of 
the species' historical, geographical, and ecological distribution 
although its range has been reduced. The species still is found in all 
of its representative plant communities: Rock barrens, coastal berms, 
buttonwood forest, and rockland hammocks. In addition, representative 
communities are located on Federal, State, local, and private 
conservation lands that implement conservation measures benefitting the 
species.
    Disturbance Regime. All of the habitats that support Chromolaena 
frustrata depend on some degree of natural disturbance regime from 
hurricanes or tidal inundation to reduce the canopy in order to provide 
light levels sufficient to support the species. The historical 
frequency and magnitude of hurricanes and tidal inundation has allowed 
for the persistence of C. frustrata by occasionally creating areas of 
open canopy that support the species.
    In the absence of disturbance, some of these habitats may have 
closed canopies, resulting in areas lacking enough available sunlight 
to support Chromolaena frustrata. However, too frequent or severe 
disturbance that transitions the habitat toward more saline conditions 
could result in the decline of the species in the area.
    The natural process giving rise to coastal rock barren is not 
known, but as it occurs on sites where the thin layer of organic soil 
over limestone bedrock is missing, coastal rock barren may have formed 
by soil erosion following destruction of the plant cover by fire or 
storm surge (FNAI 2010c, p. 2).
    Fires are rare to nonexistent in coastal rock barren coastal berm, 
and buttonwood forest communities (FNAI 2010a, b, c, entire). 
Historically, rockland hammocks in south Florida evolved with fire in 
the landscape; fire most often extinguished near the edges when it 
encountered the hammock's moist microclimate and litter layer. However, 
rockland hammocks are susceptible to damage from fire during extreme 
drought or when the water table is lowered (FNAI 2010d, p. 2).
Cover or Shelter
    Chromolaena frustrata occurs in open canopy and semi-open to closed 
canopy

[[Page 61860]]

habitats and thrives in areas of moderate sun exposure (Bradley and 
Gann 1999, p. 37). The amount and frequency of such microsites varies 
by habitat type and time, and since the last disturbance. In rockland 
hammocks, suitable microsites will often be found near the hammock edge 
where the canopy is most open. However, the species has been observed 
to spread into the hammocks when canopy cover is reduced by hurricane 
damage to canopy trees. More open communities (e.g., coastal berm, 
buttonwood and salt marsh ecotone) provide more abundant and temporally 
consistent suitable habitat than communities capable of establishing a 
dense canopy (e.g., hardwood hammock).
    Accordingly, we have determined that Chromolaena frustrata requires 
the following PBFs:
    (1) Upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, coastal rock 
barren, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest;
    (2) Habitats inundated by storm surge or tidal events at a 
frequency needed to limit plant species competition while not creating 
too saline conditions;
    (3) Substrate derived from calcareous sand, limestone, or marl to 
provide anchoring and nutritional requirements;
    (4) Vegetation composition and structure that allows for adequate 
sunlight, and space for individual growth and population expansion;
    (5) Habitat connectivity of sufficient size and suitability, or 
habitat that can be restored to these conditions that supports species 
growth, distribution and population expansion; and
    (6) Disturbance regimes, including hurricanes, and infrequent 
inundation events that saturate the substrate, to maintain suitable 
sites for Chromolaena frustrata within these habitats.
Primary Constituent Elements for Chromolaena frustrata
    Under the Act and its implementing regulations, we are required to 
identify the PBFs essential to the conservation of Chromolaena 
frustrata in areas occupied at the time of listing, focusing on the 
features' primary constituent elements (PCEs). Primary constituent 
elements are those specific elements of the physical or biological 
features that provide for a species' life-history processes and are 
essential to the conservation of the species.
    We derive the PCEs for Chromolaena frustrata primarily based on 
those PBFs that support the successful functioning of the habitat upon 
which the species depends. C. frustrata is dependent upon functioning 
habitats to provide its fundamental life requirements, such as 
substrate, hydrology, disturbance regime, and the species composition 
and structure of vegetation. The PCEs collectively provide the suite of 
PBFs essential to meeting the requirements of C. frustrata.
    Based on our current knowledge of the PBFs and habitat 
characteristics required to sustain the species' life-history 
processes, we determine that the PCEs for C. frustrata are:
    (1) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, coastal 
rock barren, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest.
    (A) Coastal berm habitat contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory;
    (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, storm-deposited sediment; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on the survival of 
Chromolaena frustrata. Coastal berm habitat has a canopy vegetated by 
Bursera, Coccoloba, Coccothrinax, Guapira, Drypetes, Genipa, and 
Metopium; a subcanopy vegetated by Eugenia, Ximenia, Randia, 
Pithecellobium, Laguncularia, Conocarpus, Avicennia, Rhizophora, 
Suriana, Manilkara, Jacquinia, and Sideroxylon; and an understory 
vegetated by Borrichia, Hymenocallis, Capparis, Lantana, Rivina, 
Sesuvium, Distichlis, and Sporobolus.
    (B) Coastal rock barren (Keys cactus barren, Keys tidal rock 
barren) habitat contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory;
    (2) Limestone rock substrate; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on the survival of 
Chromolaena frustrata. Coastal rock barren habitat has a subcanopy 
vegetated by Conocarpus, Lycium, Gossypium, Sideroxylon, 
Pithecellobium, Suriana, Randia, Metopium, Acanthocereus, Maytenus, 
Opuntia, Agave, Bursera, and Eugenia; and an understory vegetated by 
Evolvulus, Cienfuegosia, Indigofera, Borrichia, Sarcocornia, Batis, 
Leptochloa, Paspalidium, Monanthochloe, Distichlis, Sporobolus, and 
Fimbristylis.
    (C) Rockland hammock habitat contains:
    (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, 
subcanopy, and understory;
    (2) Substrate with a thin layer of highly organic soil covering 
limestone or organic matter that accumulates on top of the underlying 
limestone; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on the survival of 
Chromolaena frustrata. Rockland hammock has a canopy vegetated by 
Bursera, Lysiloma, Simarouba, Krugiodendron, Ocotea, Piscidia, 
Swietenia, Sideroxylon, Exothea, Ficus, Coccoloba, Metopium, 
Conocarpus, Guapira, and Pisonia; a subcanopy vegetated by Eugenia, 
Thrinax, Amyris, Ardisia, Psychotria, Chrysophyllum, Sabal, Guaiacum, 
Ximenia, and Colubrina; and an understory vegetated by Zamia, 
Acanthocereus, and Oplismenus.
    (D) Buttonwood forest habitat contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory;
    (2) Substrate with calcareous marl muds, calcareous sands, or 
limestone rock; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on the survival of 
Chromolaena frustrata. Buttonwood forest has a canopy vegetated by 
Conocarpus, and an understory vegetated by Borrichia, Lycium, and 
Limonium.
    (2) A disturbance regime, due to the effects of strong winds or 
salt-water inundation from storm surge or infrequent tidal inundation, 
that creates canopy disruption in coastal berm, coastal rock barren, 
rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest habitats listed above.
    (3) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient area to sustain 
viable populations in in coastal berm, coastal rock barren, rockland 
hammocks, and buttonwood forest habitats listed above.

Special Management Considerations or Protection

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing contain features which are essential to the conservation of the 
species and which may require special management considerations or 
protection.
    Management considerations or protection are necessary throughout 
the critical habitat areas proposed here to avoid further degradation 
or destruction of the habitat that provides those features essential to 
the species'

[[Page 61861]]

conservation. The primary threats to the PBFs that Chromolaena 
frustrata depends on include: (1) Habitat destruction and modification 
by development; (2) competition with nonnative, invasive plant species; 
(3) wildfire; (4) hurricanes and storm surge; and (5) sea level rise. 
Some of these threats can be addressed by special management 
considerations or protection while others (e.g., sea level rise, 
hurricanes) are beyond the control of land owners and managers. 
However, while land owners or land managers may not be able to control 
all the threats, they may be able to address the results of the 
threats.
    Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include 
the monitoring and minimization of recreational activities impacts, 
nonnative species control, and protection from development. Precautions 
are needed to avoid the inadvertent trampling of Chromolaena frustrata 
in the course of management activities and public use. Development of 
recreation facilities or programs should avoid impacting these habitats 
directly or indirectly. Ditching should be avoided because it alters 
the hydrology and species composition of these habitats. Sites that 
have shown increasing encroachment of woody species over time may 
require efforts to maintain the open nature of the habitat, which 
favors these species. Nonnative species control programs are needed to 
reduce competition and prevent habitat degradation. The reduction of 
these threats will require the implementation of special management 
actions within each of the critical habitat areas identified in this 
proposed rule. All proposed critical habitat requires active management 
to address the ongoing threats listed above (and those presented in 
Factors A through E).
    In summary, we find that each of the areas we are proposing as 
critical habitat that are occupied by Chromolaena frustrate contain 
features essential to the conservation of the species that may require 
special management considerations or protection to ensure conservation 
of the species. These special management considerations and protection 
are required to preserve and maintain the essential features provided 
to these species by the ecosystems upon which they depend. A more 
detailed discussion of these threats is presented above in ``Summary of 
Factors Affecting the Species.''

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available to designate critical habitat. We reviewed 
available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of this 
species. We are proposing to designate critical habitat in areas within 
the geographical area occupied by Chromolaena frustrata at the time of 
listing. All of these units are designated based on sufficient elements 
of physical and biological features being present to support known 
Chromolaena frustrata life-history processes.
    In accordance with the Act and its implementing regulation at 50 
CFR 424.12(e), we considered whether designating additional areas--
outside those currently occupied as well as those occupied at the time 
of listing--are necessary to ensure the conservation of the species. 
For the reasons described below, we also are proposing to designate 
specific areas outside the geographical area currently occupied by the 
species (that would mean occupied at the time of listing), but which 
were historically occupied, because we have determined that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Small populations and plant species with limited distributions, 
like those of Chromolaena frustrata, are vulnerable to relatively minor 
environmental disturbances (Frankham 2005, pp. 135-136), and are 
subject to the loss of genetic diversity from genetic drift, the random 
loss of genes, and inbreeding (Ellstrand and Elam 1993, pp. 217-237; 
Leimu et al. 2006, pp. 942-952). Plant populations with lowered genetic 
diversity are more prone to local extinction (Barrett and Kohn 1991, 
pp. 4, 28). Smaller plant populations generally have lower genetic 
diversity, and lower genetic diversity may in turn lead to even smaller 
populations by decreasing the species' ability to adapt, thereby 
increasing the probability of population extinction (Newman and Pilson 
1997, p. 360; Palstra and Ruzzante 2008, pp. 3428-3447). Because of the 
dangers associated with small populations or limited distributions, the 
recovery of many rare plant species includes the creation of new sites 
or reintroductions to ameliorate these effects.
    When designating critical habitat, we consider future recovery 
efforts and conservation of the species. Realizing that the current 
occupied habitat is not enough for the conservation and recovery of 
Chromolaena frustrata, we used habitat and historical occurrence data 
to identify unoccupied habitat essential for the conservation of the 
species. The justification for why unoccupied habitat is essential to 
the conservation of these species and the methodology we used to 
identify the best unoccupied areas for consideration of inclusion are 
described below.
    Habitat fragmentation can have negative effects on biological 
populations, especially rare plants, and can affect survival and 
recovery (Aguilar et al. 2006, pp. 968-980; Aguilar et al. 2008, pp. 
5177-5188; Potts et al. 2010, pp. 345-352). Fragments are often not of 
sufficient size to support the natural diversity prevalent in an area, 
and thus exhibit a decline in biodiversity (Fahrig 2003, pp. 487-515). 
Fragmentation effects are especially prevalent in systems where 
multiple generations have elapsed since the fragmentation occurred 
(Aguilar et al. 2008, p. 5177). Habitat fragmentation has been shown to 
disrupt plant-pollinator interactions and predator-prey interactions 
(Steffan-Dewenter and Tscharntke 1999, pp. 432-440; Aguilar et al. 
2006, pp. 968-980; Eckert et al. 2010, pp. 35-43), alter seed 
germination percentages (Menges 1991, pp. 158-164), affect recruitment 
(Santos and Telleria 1997, pp. 181-187; Quesada et al. 2003, pp. 400-
406), and result in lowered fruit set (Burd 1994, pp. 83-139; 
Cunningham 2000, pp. 1149-1152; Eckert et al. 2010, p. 38).
    In general, habitat fragmentation causes habitat loss, habitat 
degradation, habitat isolation, changes in species composition, changes 
in species interactions, increased edge effects, and reduced habitat 
connectivity (Fahrig 2003, pp. 487-515; Fisher and Lindenmayer 2007, 
pp. 265-280). Habitat fragments are often functionally smaller than 
they appear because edge effects (such as increased nonnative, invasive 
species or wind speeds) impact the available habitat within the 
fragment (Lienert and Fischer 2003, p. 597).
    Shaffer and Stein (2000) identify a methodology for conserving 
imperiled species known as the `three Rs': Representation, resiliency, 
and redundancy. Representation, or preserving some of everything, means 
conserving not just a species but its associated plant communities. 
Resiliency and redundancy ensure there is enough of a species so it can 
survive into the future. Resiliency means ensuring that the habitat is 
adequate for a species and its representative components. Redundancy 
ensures an adequate number of sites and individuals. This methodology 
has been widely accepted as a reasonable conservation strategy (Tear et 
al. 2005, p. 841).
    We have addressed representation through our PCEs (as discussed 
above) and by providing habitat for Chromolaena frustrata. There are 
only approximately 6,000 to 8,000 known individuals and only 8 
populations, four

[[Page 61862]]

of which have fewer than 100 individuals (low redundancy). Seven of 
eight populations occur on small islands where the amount of suitable 
and remaining habitat is limited (low resiliency). For adequate 
redundancy and resiliency, we believe it is necessary for conservation 
and recovery that additional populations of C. frustrata be 
established. Therefore, we have proposed two unoccupied areas for 
designation as critical habitat units on islands of the Florida Keys 
where C. frustrata was historically recorded, but has since been 
extirpated.
    To determine the location and boundaries of critical habitat, the 
Service used the following sources of information:
    (1) FNAI population records and ArcGIS geographic information 
system (GIS) software to spatially depict the location and extent of 
documented populations of Chromolaena frustrata (FNAI 2011b, pp. 1-17);
    (2) Reports prepared by botanists with the Institute for Regional 
Conservation (IRC), NPS, and Florida Department of Environmental 
Protection (FDEP). Some of these were funded by the Service, others 
were requested or volunteered by biologists with the NPS or FDEP;
    (3) Historical records found in reports and associated voucher 
specimens housed at herbaria, all of which are also referenced in the 
above mentioned reports from the IRC and FNAI;
    (4) Digitally produced habitat maps provided by NPS and Monroe 
County; and
    (5) Aerial images of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The presence 
of PCEs was determined through the use of GIS spatial data depicting 
the current habitat status. This habitat data for the Keys were 
developed by Monroe County from 2006 aerial images, and ground 
conditions for many areas were checked in 2009. Habitat data for ENP 
were provided by the NPS. The areas that contain PCEs follow 
predictable landscape patterns and have a recognizable signature in the 
aerial photographs.
    We have identified areas to include in this proposed designation by 
applying the following considerations.
    The amount and distribution of critical habitat being proposed for 
designated would allow populations of Chromoleana frustrata to:
    (1) Maintain their existing distribution;
    (2) Expand their distribution into previously occupied areas 
(needed to offset habitat loss and fragmentation);
    (3) Use habitat depending on habitat availability (response to 
changing nature of coastal habitat including occurring sea level rise) 
and support genetic diversity;
    (4) Increase the size of each population to a level where the 
threats of genetic, demographic, and normal environmental uncertainties 
are diminished; and
    (5) Maintain their ability to withstand local or unit level 
environmental fluctuations or catastrophes.
    We utilized the following process to select appropriate critical 
habitat units for Chromolaena frustrata:

Areas Occupied at Time of Listing

    (1) For the purpose of designating critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata, we defined the geographical area currently occupied by the 
species as required by section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act. Proposed occupied 
critical habitat units were delineated around extant populations. These 
units include the mapped extent of the population and adjacent areas 
that contain the elements of the PBFs that allow for population growth 
and expansion and to account for dynamic habitat processes (i.e., gain 
and loss of areas with sufficient light availability due to disturbance 
of canopy by natural events such as inundation and hurricanes), and 
habitat transition or loss due to sea level rise. In the ENP, the 
distribution of Chromolaena frustrata is across a larger area than at 
any other single location. In the Keys, the same criteria were used, 
but the size of the proposed units is limited by the size of individual 
islands.
    (2) Areas to maintain connectivity of habitat. Some areas that may 
contain only some of the elements of the PBFs were included if they 
were contiguous with areas containing one or more of those elements and 
if they contribute to the hydrologic processes and disturbance regime 
essential to the ecological function of the system. These areas 
maintain connectivity within populations and allow for population 
expansion.
    (3) Areas for restoration. We have selected some areas within 
occupied units that, once restored, would be able to support expansion 
and a larger number of the species. These areas generally are habitats 
within or adjacent to coastal berms, coastal barrens, rockland 
hammocks, or buttonwood forest that retain some of the elements of the 
PBFs although some PBFs have been lost through natural or anthropogenic 
causes. These areas would provide habitat to off-set the anticipated 
loss and degradation of habitat occurring or expected from the effects 
of climate change (such as sea level rise) or due to development.
    (4) Areas to allow the dynamic nature of coastal berm, buttonwood 
forest, rockland hammock, and coastal rock barren habitats to respond 
to hurricane and salt-water inundation. Areas with an open canopy which 
are suitable for C. frustrata are patchy within rockland hammock and 
coastal rock barren. At any one time, not all the elements of the PBFs 
are found in these habitats and affect the suitability for C. 
frustrata. The size and location of these areas are dynamic over time, 
being largely driven by disturbance by hurricanes in hammocks and storm 
surge in coastal rock barrens. After hurricanes, canopy gaps created by 
the storm begin to close over time, limiting light availability and 
suitability of the gap to C. frustrata. Thus, these areas could be 
transitory in providing all the elements of the PBFs as canopy regrows 
and closes. To address the dynamic nature of these habitats, we 
included all contiguous habitat associated with a current population 
record that retains at least one element of the PBFs.
    (5) Areas to ensure the persistence of Chromolaena frustrata in the 
face of imminent effects on habitats as a result of sea level rise.

Areas Not Occupied at Time of Listing

    (1) Areas where Chromolaena frustrata occurred historically but has 
since been extirpated. Chromolaena frustrata has been extirpated from 
several locations where it was previously recorded. Of those areas 
found in reports, we are proposing critical habitat only for those that 
are well-documented and still retain some or all the elements of the 
PBFs (i.e., Big Pine Key, Key Largo (Bradley and Gann 2004, pp. 4-6)). 
Areas such as Fiesta Key and Knight's Key, which once supported 
populations of C. frustrata but no longer contain any PCEs and cannot 
be restored, are not included. As it is not always possible to identify 
that exact location where a specimen was collected, we used available 
descriptions to speculate upon likely locales, but ultimately were 
guided by the location of remaining habitats on islands where little of 
these habitats remain.
    (2) Areas of sufficient size to support ecosystem processes for 
occupied populations of Chromolaena frustrata. Large contiguous parcels 
of habitat are more likely to be resilient to ecological processes of 
disturbance and succession, and support viable populations of 
Chromolaena frustrata.
    When determining proposed critical habitat boundaries, we made 
every effort to avoid including developed areas such as lands covered 
by

[[Page 61863]]

buildings, pavement, and other structures because such lands lack 
physical or biological features for Chromolaena frustrata. The scale of 
the maps we prepared under the parameters for publication within the 
Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of such 
developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical 
habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this proposed rule have been 
excluded by text in the proposed rule and are not proposed for 
designation as critical habitat. Therefore, if the critical habitat is 
finalized as proposed, a Federal action involving these lands would not 
trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical habitat and the 
requirement of no adverse modification unless the specific action would 
affect the physical or biological features in the adjacent critical 
habitat.
    The critical habitat designation is defined by the map or maps, as 
modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of 
this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information 
on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble 
of this document. We will make the coordinates or plot points or both 
on which each map is based available to the public on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0076, on our Internet 
sites (http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/), and at the field office 
responsible for the designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
above).

Proposed Critical Habitat Designation

    We are proposing nine units as critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our 
current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for C. frustrata. The nine areas we propose as critical habitat 
are: (1) Everglades National Park; (2) Key Largo; (3) Upper Matecumbe 
Key; (4) Lignumvitae Key; (5) Lower Matecumbe Key; (6) Long Key; (7) 
Big Pine Key; (8) Big Munson Island; and (9) Boca Grande Key. 
Landownership within the proposed critical habitat consists of Federal 
(62 percent), State (30 percent), and private and other (8 percent). 
Table 4 summarizes these units.

                                             Table 4--Chromolaena frustrata Proposed Critical Habitat Units
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Unit number                 Unit name            Ownership         Percent      Hectares     Acres        PCEs present          Occupied
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1...............................  Everglades National  Federal............          100        1,525      3,768  coastal berm,        yes.
                                   Park.                                                                          rockland hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Total..............          100        1,525      3,768
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2...............................  Key Largo..........  Federal............           23          325        803  coastal berm,        no.
                                                                                                                  rockland hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       State..............           63          878      2,170
                                                       Private............           13          185        457
                                                       Total..............          100        1,388      3,430
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3...............................  Upper Matecumbe Key  State..............           34            9         22  coastal berm,        yes.
                                                                                                                  coastal rock
                                                                                                                  barren, rockland
                                                                                                                  hammock.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Private............           66           18         44
                                                       Total..............          100           27         66
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4...............................  Lignumvitae Key....  State..............          100           73        180  rockland hammock,    yes.
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Total..............          100           73        180
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5...............................  Lower Matecumbe Key  State..............           49            9         22  coastal berm,        yes.
                                                                                                                  coastal rock
                                                                                                                  barren, rockland
                                                                                                                  hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Private............           51            9         22
                                                       Total..............          100           18         44
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 61864]]

 
6...............................  Long Key...........  State..............           73           61        151  coastal berm,        yes.
                                                                                                                  coastal rock
                                                                                                                  barren, rockland
                                                                                                                  hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Private............           27           23         57
                                                       Total..............          100           84        208
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7...............................  Big Pine Key.......  Federal............           88          277        684  coastal berm,        no.
                                                                                                                  coastal rock
                                                                                                                  barren, rockland
                                                                                                                  hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Private............           12           38         94
                                  Total..............  100................          315          778
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8...............................  Big Munson Island..  Private............          100           11         27  coastal berm,        yes.
                                                                                                                  rockland hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Total..............          100           11         27
9...............................  Boca Grande Key....  Federal............          100           25         62  coastal berm,        yes.
                                                                                                                  rockland hammock,
                                                                                                                  buttonwood forest.
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Total..............          100           25         62
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total All Units.................  ...................  Federal............           62        2,152      5,318
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       State..............           30        1,030      2,545
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Private and Other..            8          284        702
                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       All................  ...........        3,466      8,565
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding.

    Seven of the nine critical habitat units proposed for Chromolaena 
frustrata are also currently designated under the Act for the wintering 
piping plover (Charadrius melodus) and the American crocodile 
(Crocodylus acutus) The specific units, and the species for which they 
are designated are shown in Table 4.

 Table 5--Critical Habitat Areas Proposed for Chromolaena frustrata That
   Are Currently Designated or Proposed as Critical Habitat for Other
                        Federally Listed Species
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Species for which
 Proposed unit (unit )    critical habitat    Federal Register
                                     is designated         reference
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Unit 1--Everglades National Park  American Crocodile  50 CFR 17.95(c).
Unit 2--Key Largo...............  American Crocodile  50 CFR 17.95(c).
Unit 3--Upper Matecumbe Key.....  American Crocodile  50 CFR 17.95(c).
Unit 4--Lignumvitae Key.........  American Crocodile  50 CFR 17.95(c).
Unit 5--Lower Matecumbe Key.....  American Crocodile  50 CFR 17.95(c).
Unit 6--Long Key................  American Crocodile  50 CFR 17.95(c).
Unit 9--Boca Grande Key.........  Wintering piping    50 CFR 17.95(b).
                                   plover; Unit FL-
                                   29.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We present brief descriptions of all units and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata, 
below.

Unit 1: Everglades National Park, Monroe County and Miami-Dade County

    Unit 1 consists of 1,525 ha (3,768 ac) in Monroe County and Miami-
Dade County. This unit is comprised entirely of lands in Federal 
ownership, 100 percent of which are located within the ENP along the 
southern coast of Florida from Cape Sable to Trout Cove, located 
between the mean high water line to approximately 4.02 km (2.5 miles) 
inland. This unit is currently occupied

[[Page 61865]]

and contains the features essential to the conservation of the species. 
The unit contains coastal berm, rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest 
PCEs. This unit contains all the PBFs, including suitable climate, 
hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance 
regimes, required by the species. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats of 
nonnative plant species and sea level rise.

Unit 2: Key Largo, Monroe County

    Unit 2 consists of 1,388 ha (3,430 ac) in Monroe County. This unit 
is comprised of Federal lands within Crocodile Lake National Wildlife 
Refuge (NWR) (325 ha (803 ac)); State lands within Dagny Johnson 
Botanical State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the 
Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area (878 ha (2,170 ac)); and 
parcels in private ownership (185 ha (457 ac)).
    This unit extends from near the northern tip of Key Largo, along 
the length of Key Largo, beginning at the south shore of Ocean Reef 
Harbor near South Marina Drive and the intersection of County Road (CR) 
905 and Clubhouse Road on the west side of CR 905, and between CR 905 
and Old State Road 905, then extending to the shoreline south of South 
Harbor Drive. The unit then continues on both sides of CR 905 through 
the Crocodile Lake NWR, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State 
Park, and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The unit then 
terminates near the junction of U.S. 1 and CR 905 and Garden Cove 
Drive. The unit resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from South Andros 
Road to Key Largo Elementary; then from intersection of Taylor Drive 
and Pamela Street to Avenue A; then from Sound Drive to the 
intersection of Old Road and Valencia Road; then resumes on the east 
side of U.S. 1 from Hibiscus Lane and Ocean Drive. The unit continues 
south near the Port Largo Airport from Poisonwood Road to Bo Peep 
Boulevard. The unit resumes on the west side of U.S. 1 from the 
intersection of South Drive and Meridian Avenue to Casa Court Drive. 
The unit then continues on the west side of U.S. 1 from the point on 
the coast directly west of Peace Avenue south to Caribbean Avenue. The 
unit also includes a portion of the barrier island in Largo Sound 
located directly east of Avenue A, extending south to a point directly 
east of Mahogany Drive. This unit is not currently occupied but 
contains habitat essential to the conservation of the species because 
it serves to protect habitat needed to recover the species, reestablish 
wild populations within the historical range of the species, and 
maintain populations throughout the historic distribution of the 
species in the Florida Keys, and provides area for recovery in the case 
of stochastic events that otherwise would eliminate the species from 
the one or more locations it is presently found.

Unit 3: Upper Matecumbe Key, Monroe County

    Unit 3 consists of 27 ha (66 ac) in Monroe County. This unit is 
comprised of State lands within Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Park, 
Indian Key Historical State Park (9 ha (22 ac)); City of Islamorada 
lands within the Key Tree Cactus Preserve and Green Turtle Hammock Park 
and parcels in private ownership (18 ha (44 ac)). This unit extends 
from Matecumbe Avenue south to Seashore Avenue along either side of 
U.S. 1. The unit then continues along the west side of U.S. 1, 
including the Green Turtle Hammock Park and a nature preserve owned by 
the City of Islamorada; straddles U.S. 1 in the vicinity of Indian Key 
Historical Park; and continues for 0.8 km (0.5 mi) to near the southern 
tip of Key Largo on the west side of U.S. 1.
    This unit is currently occupied and contains the features essential 
to the conservation of the species. It contains the PCEs of coastal 
berm, coastal rock barren, and rockland hammock. This unit contains all 
PBFs, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated 
native plant species, and disturbance regimes, required by the species. 
The PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats of nonnative species and sea level rise.

Unit 4: Lignumvitae Key, Monroe County

    Unit 4 consists of 73 ha (180 ac) in Monroe County. This unit is 
comprised entirely of lands in State ownership, 100 percent of which 
are located within the Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park (LKBSP).
    This unit is currently occupied and contains the features essential 
to the conservation of the species. This unit includes all PCEs of 
rockland hammock and buttonwood forest habitat that occur within LKBSP 
on Lignumvitae Key. This unit contains all PBFs, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes, required by the species. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats of nonnative species and sea level rise.

Unit 5: Lower Matecumbe Key, Monroe County

    Unit 5 consists of 18 ha (44 ac) in Monroe County. The unit is 
comprised of State lands within Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Park, 
parcels owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (9 ha (22 
ac)); and parcels in private ownership (9 ha (22 ac)). This unit 
extends from the east side of U.S. 1 from 0.2 km (0.14 mi) from the 
north edge of Lower Matecumbe Key, situated across U.S. 1 from Davis 
Lane and Tiki Lane. The unit continues on either side of U.S. 1 
approximately 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from the north edge of Lower Matecumbe 
Key for approximately 0.9 km (0.6 mi).
    This unit is currently occupied and contains the features essential 
to the conservation of the species. It contains all PBFs, including 
suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant 
species, and disturbance regimes, required by the species. The PBFs in 
this unit may require special management considerations or protection 
to address threats of nonnative species and sea level rise.

Unit 6: Long Key, Monroe County

    Unit 6 consists of 84 ha (208 ac) in Monroe County. This unit is 
comprised of State lands within Long Key State Park (61 ha (151 ac)) 
and parcels in private ownership (23 ha (57 ac)). The unit extends from 
the southwestern tip of Long Key along the island's west and south 
shores.
    The unit is currently occupied and contains the features essential 
to the conservation of the species. It contains the PCEs of coastal 
berm, coastal rock barren, rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest. 
This unit contains all PBFs, including suitable climate, hydrology, 
substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes 
required by the species. The PBFs in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats of 
development, nonnative species, and sea level rise.

Unit 7: Big Pine Key, Monroe County

    Unit 7 consists of 315 ha (778 ac) in Monroe County. Unit 7 
consists of 315 ha (778 ac) in Monroe County. This unit is comprised of 
Federal land within the National Key Deer Refuge (NKDR) (277 ha (684 
ac)) and parcels in private ownership (38 ha (94 ac)). This unit 
extends from near the northern tip of Big Pine Key along the eastern 
shore to the vicinity of Hellenga Drive and

[[Page 61866]]

Watson Road; from Gulf Boulevard south to West Shore Drive; from the 
southwest tip of Big Pine Key, bordered by Big Pine Avenue and Elma 
Avenues on the east, Coral and Yacht Club Road, and U.S. 1 on the 
north, and Industrial Avenue on the east; extending along the 
undeveloped portion of Long Beach Drive; and from the southeastern tip 
of Big Pine Key to Avenue A.
    This unit is not currently occupied but is essential to the 
conservation of the species because it serves to protect habitat needed 
to recover the species, reestablish wild populations within the 
historical range of the species, and maintain populations throughout 
the historic distribution of the species in the Florida Keys, and it 
provides area for recovery in the case of stochastic events that 
otherwise hold the potential to eliminate the species from the one or 
more locations where it is presently found.

Unit 8: Big Munson Island, Monroe County

    Unit 8 consists of 11 ha (27 ac) in Monroe County. This unit is 
comprised entirely of lands in private ownership, owned by the Boy 
Scouts of America.
    This unit is occupied and contains the features essential to the 
conservation of the species. It includes all the PCEs of coastal berm, 
rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest habitat that occur on Big 
Munson Island. This unit contains all PBFs, including suitable climate, 
hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance 
regimes, required by the species. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats of 
development, recreation, small population size, nonnative species, and 
sea level rise.

Unit 9: Boca Grande Key, Monroe County

    Unit 9 consists of 25 ha (62 ac) in Monroe County. This unit is 
comprised entirely of lands in Federal ownership, 100 percent of which 
is located within the Key West National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
    This unit is occupied and contains features essential to the 
conservation of the species. This unit includes all the PCEs of coastal 
berm, rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest habitat on the island, 
comprising the entirety of Boca Grande Key. This unit contains all 
PBFs, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated 
native plant species, and disturbance regimes, required by the species. 
The PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats of nonnative species and sea level rise.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out 
is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat of such species. In 
addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any agency action which is likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed to be listed 
under the Act or result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
proposed critical habitat.
    Decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and 
Ninth Circuits have invalidated our regulatory definition of 
``destruction or adverse modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford 
Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F. 3d 1059 
(9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et 
al., 245 F.3d 434, 442 (5th Cir. 2001)), and we do not rely on this 
regulatory definition when analyzing whether an action is likely to 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Under the provisions of 
the Act, we determine destruction or adverse modification on the basis 
of whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species.
    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical 
habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) must enter into 
consultation with us. Examples of actions that are subject to the 
section 7 consultation process are actions on State, tribal, local, or 
private lands that require a Federal permit (such as a permit from the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act 
or a permit from the Service under section 10 of the Act) or that 
involve some other Federal action (such as funding from the Federal 
Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency). Federal actions not affecting listed 
species or critical habitat, and actions on State, tribal, local, or 
private lands that are not federally funded or authorized, do not 
require section 7 consultation.
    As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with 
the requirements of section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect, or 
are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and 
prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that 
would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. We define ``reasonable and prudent 
alternatives'' (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified 
during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action,
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction,
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible, and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid 
the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action (or the agency's discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal 
agencies sometimes may need to request reinitiation of consultation 
with us on actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if 
those actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect 
subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether,

[[Page 61867]]

with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the affected 
critical habitat would continue to serve its intended conservation role 
for the species. Activities that may destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat are those that alter the physical or biological 
features to an extent that appreciably reduces the conservation value 
of critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata. As discussed above, the 
role of critical habitat is to support life-history needs of the 
species and provide for the conservation of the species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, 
funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result in 
consultation for Chromolaena frustrata. These activities include, but 
are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would significantly alter the hydrology or 
substrate, such as ditching or filling. Such activities may include, 
but are not limited to, road construction or maintenance, and 
residential, commercial, or recreational development.
    (2) Actions that would significantly alter vegetation structure or 
composition, such as clearing vegetation for construction of 
residences, facilities, trails, and roads.
    (3) Actions that would introduce nonnative species that would 
significantly alter vegetation structure or composition. Such 
activities may include, but are not limited to, residential and 
commercial development, and road construction.

Exemptions

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

    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) 
required each military installation that includes land and water 
suitable for the conservation and management of natural resources to 
complete an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) by 
November 17, 2001. An INRMP integrates implementation of the military 
mission of the installation with stewardship of the natural resources 
found on the base. Each INRMP includes:
    (1) An assessment of the ecological needs on the installation, 
including the need to provide for the conservation of listed species;
    (2) A statement of goals and priorities;
    (3) A detailed description of management actions to be implemented 
to provide for these ecological needs; and
    (4) A monitoring and adaptive management plan.
    Among other things, each INRMP must, to the extent appropriate and 
applicable, provide for fish and wildlife management; fish and wildlife 
habitat enhancement or modification; wetland protection, enhancement, 
and restoration where necessary to support fish and wildlife; and 
enforcement of applicable natural resource laws.
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) amended the Act to limit areas eligible for designation as 
critical habitat. Specifically, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) now provides: ``The Secretary shall not 
designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographic areas owned 
or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its use, 
that are subject to an integrated natural resources management plan 
prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the 
Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to 
the species for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.'' 
There are no Department of Defense lands with a completed INRMP within 
the proposed critical habitat designation for Chromolaena frustrata.

Exclusions

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

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary must designate 
and make revisions to critical habitat on the basis of the best 
available scientific data after taking into consideration the economic 
impact, national security impact, and any other relevant impact of 
specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may 
exclude an area from critical habitat if he determines that the 
benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such 
area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based on 
the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate such 
area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species. 
In making that determination, the statute on its face, as well as the 
legislative history, are clear that the Secretary has broad discretion 
regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give to any 
factor.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we may exclude an area from 
designated critical habitat based on economic impacts, impacts on 
national security, or any other relevant impacts. In considering 
whether to exclude a particular area from the designation, we identify 
the benefits of including the area in the designation, identify the 
benefits of excluding the area from the designation, and evaluate 
whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion. 
If the analysis indicates that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of inclusion, the Secretary may exercise his discretion to 
exclude the area only if such exclusion would not result in the 
extinction of the species.
Economic Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider the economic impacts 
of designating any particular area as critical habitat. In order to 
consider economic impacts, we are preparing an economic analysis of the 
proposed critical habitat designation and related factors.
    We will announce the availability of our draft economic analysis as 
soon as it is completed. During the development of a final designation, 
we will consider the draft economic analysis, public comments, and 
other new information related to economic impacts, and as a result 
areas that were proposed for critical habitat may be excluded from the 
final critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and 
our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.19.
National Security Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands where a national security impact might exist. In preparing this 
proposal, we have determined that none of the lands within the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata are owned or 
managed by the Department of Defense, or designated for its use, and, 
therefore, we anticipate no impact on national security. Consequently, 
the Secretary does not intend to exercise his discretion to exclude any 
areas from the final designation based on impacts on national security.
Other Relevant Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national 
security. We consider a number of factors, including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion of lands from, critical 
habitat.

[[Page 61868]]

In addition, we look at any tribal issues, and consider the government-
to-government relationship of the United States with tribal entities. 
We also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
    In preparing this proposed rule, we have determined that there are 
currently no HCPs or other management plans that affect Chromolaena 
frustrata or its proposed critical habitat. Furthermore, we are not 
aware of any potential social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation. Accordingly, the Secretary does not intend to exercise his 
discretion to exclude any areas from the final designation based on 
other relevant impacts.

Peer Review

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

Public Hearings

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

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

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

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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (SBREFA; 5 U.S.C 801 et seq.), whenever an agency is required to 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities 
(small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of the agency certifies the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The SBREFA amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a 
certification statement of the factual basis for certifying that the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses 
include such businesses as manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer 
than 500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 
employees, retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in 
annual sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than 
$27.5 million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less 
than $11.5 million in annual business, and forestry and logging 
operations with fewer than 500 employees and annual business less than 
$7 million. To determine whether small entities may be affected, we 
will consider the types of activities that might trigger regulatory 
impacts under this designation as well as types of project 
modifications that may result. In general, the term ``significant 
economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical small business firm's 
business operations.
    Importantly, the incremental impacts of a rule must be both 
significant and substantial to prevent certification of the rule under 
the RFA and to require the preparation of an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis. If a substantial number of small entities are 
affected by the proposed critical habitat designation, but the per-
entity economic impact is not significant, the Service may certify. 
Likewise, if the per-entity economic impact is likely to be 
significant, but the number of affected entities is not substantial, 
the Service may also certify.
    Under the RFA, as amended, and following recent court decisions, 
Federal agencies are only required to evaluate the potential 
incremental impacts of rulemaking on those entities directly regulated 
by the rulemaking itself, and not the potential impacts to indirectly 
affected entities. The regulatory mechanism through which critical 
habitat protections are realized is section 7 of the Act, which 
requires Federal agencies, in consultation with the Service, to ensure 
that any action authorized, funded, or carried by the Agency is not 
likely to adversely modify critical habitat. Therefore, only Federal 
action agencies are directly subject to the specific regulatory 
requirement (avoiding destruction and adverse modification) imposed by 
critical habitat designation. Under these circumstances, it is our 
position that only Federal action agencies will be directly regulated 
by this designation. Therefore, because Federal agencies are not small 
entities, the Service certifies that the proposed critical habitat rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
    We acknowledge, however, that in some cases, third-party proponents 
of the action subject to permitting or funding may participate in a 
section 7 consultation, and thus may be indirectly affected. We believe 
it is good policy to assess these impacts if we have sufficient data 
before us to complete the necessary analysis, whether or not this 
analysis is strictly required by the RFA. While this regulation would 
not directly regulate these entities, in our draft economic analysis we 
will conduct a brief evaluation of the potential number

[[Page 61869]]

of third parties participating in consultations on an annual basis in 
order to ensure a more complete examination of the incremental effects 
of this proposed rule in the context of the RFA.
    In conclusion, we believe that, based on our interpretation of 
directly regulated entities under the RFA and relevant case law, this 
designation of critical habitat would only directly regulate Federal 
agencies, which are not by definition small business entities. 
Accordingly, we certify that, if promulgated, this designation of 
critical habitat would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small business entities. Therefore, an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. However, though not 
necessarily required by the RFA, in our draft economic analysis for 
this proposal we will consider and evaluate the potential effects to 
third parties that may be involved with consultations with Federal 
action agencies related to this action.

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

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions.
    All proposed units are remote from energy supply, distribution, or 
use activities. We do not expect that if made final, this designation 
of critical habitat would significantly affect energy supplies, 
distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant 
energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required. However, 
we will further evaluate this issue as we conduct our economic 
analysis, and review and revise this assessment as warranted.

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

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    (1) This rule would not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal 
governments, or the private sector, and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments'' with two 
exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It also 
excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal 
program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal 
program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, 
local, and tribal governments under entitlement authority,'' if the 
provision would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' 
or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding,'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of 
enactment, these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid to Families 
with Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; 
Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; 
Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family 
Support Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ``Federal 
private sector mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose an 
enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of 
Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a 
voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require 
approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be 
indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally 
binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the 
extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they 
receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid 
program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would 
critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs 
listed above onto State governments.
    (2) We do not believe that this rule would significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments because the areas proposed for 
critical habitat designation are not owned by one Federal, State, or 
City government. None of these government entities fit the definition 
of ``small governmental jurisdiction.'' Therefore, a Small Government 
Agency Plan is not required. However, we will further evaluate this 
issue as we conduct our economic analysis, and review and revise this 
assessment if appropriate.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property Rights), 
we have analyzed the potential takings implications of designating 
critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata in a takings implications 
assessment. Critical habitat designation does not affect landowner 
actions that do not require Federal funding or permits, nor does it 
preclude development of habitat conservation programs or issuance of 
incidental take permits to permit actions that do require Federal 
funding or permits to go forward. The takings implications assessment 
concludes that this designation of critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata would not pose significant takings implications for lands 
within or affected by the designation.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this 
proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects. A 
federalism impact summary statement is not required. In keeping with 
Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we 
requested information from, and coordinated development of, this 
proposed critical habitat designation with appropriate State resource 
agencies in Florida. If finalized, the designation of critical habitat 
in areas occupied by Chromolaena frustrata may impose nominal 
additional regulatory restrictions to those currently in place and, 
therefore, may have little incremental impact on State and local 
governments and their activities. The designation may have some benefit 
to these governments because the areas that contain the physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species are 
more clearly defined, and the elements of the features of the habitat 
necessary to the conservation of the species are specifically 
identified. This information does not alter where and what federally 
sponsored activities may occur. However, it may assist local 
governments in long-range planning (rather than having them wait for 
case-by-case section 7 consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may

[[Page 61870]]

affect critical habitat, consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be 
required. While non-Federal entities that receive Federal funding, 
assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require approval or 
authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be indirectly 
impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally binding 
duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat 
rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of 
sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We have proposed designating 
critical habitat in accordance with the provisions of the Act. This 
proposed rule uses standard property descriptions and identifies the 
elements of physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of Chromolaena frustrata within the designated areas to 
assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the species.

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

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

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

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

Clarity of the Rule

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

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994 
(Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments; 59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and 
Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes.
    We determined that there are no tribal lands that are currently 
occupied by Chromolaena frustrata that contain the features essential 
for conservation of the species, and no tribal lands unoccupied by C. 
frustrata that are essential for the conservation of the species. 
Therefore, we are not proposing to designate critical habitat for C. 
frustrata on tribal lands.

References Cited

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

Authors

    The primary authors of this package are the staff members of the 
South Florida Ecological Services Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--[AMENDED]

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

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

    2. Amend Sec.  17.12 (h) by adding entries for Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum, in 
alphabetical order under FLOWERING PLANTS, to the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Plants, to read as follows:


Sec.  17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 61871]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species
--------------------------------------------------------    Historic range            Family            Status     When listed    Critical     Special
         Scientific name                Common name                                                                               habitat       rules
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Flowering Plants
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Chromolaena frustrata............  Thoroughwort, Cape    U.S.A. (FL).........  Asteraceae..........  E             ...........     17.96(a)           NA
                                    Sable.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Consolea corallicola.............  Cape Sable            U.S.A. (FL).........  NA..................  E             ...........     17.96(h)           NA
                                    thoroughwort.
                                   Cactus, Florida       U.S.A. (FL).........  Cactaceae...........  E             ...........           NA           NA
                                    semaphore.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Harrisia aboriginum..............  Prickly-apple,        U.S.A. (FL).........  Cactaceae...........  E             ...........           NA           NA
                                    aboriginal.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. Amend Sec.  17.96(a) by adding an entry for ``Chromolaena 
frustrata (Cape Sable Thoroughwort)'' in alphabetical order under the 
family Asteraceae, to read as follows:


Sec.  17.96  Critical habitat--plants.

    (a) Flowering plants.
* * * * *
    Family Asteraceae: Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable thoroughwort)
    (1) Critical habitat units for Chromolaena frustrata are depicted 
for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Chromolaena frustrata are:
    (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, coastal 
rock barren, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest.
    (A) Coastal berm habitat contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory;
    (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, storm-deposited sediment; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Chromolaena 
frustrata. Coastal berm habitat has a canopy vegetated by Bursera, 
Coccoloba, Coccothrinax, Guapira, Drypetes, Genipa, and Metopium; a 
subcanopy vegetated by Eugenia, Ximenia, Randia, Pithecellobium, 
Laguncularia, Conocarpus, Avicennia, Rhizophora, Suriana, Manilkara, 
Jacquinia, and Sideroxylon; and an understory vegetated by Borrichia, 
Hymenocallis, Capparis, Lantana, Rivina, Sesuvium, Distichlis, and 
Sporobolus.
    (B) Coastal rock barren (Keys cactus barren, Keys tidal rock 
barren) habitat contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory;
    (2) Limestone rock substrate; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Chromolaena 
frustrata. Coastal rock barren habitat has a subcanopy vegetated by 
Conocarpus, Lycium, Gossypium, Sideroxylon, Pithecellobium, Suriana, 
Randia, Metopium, Acanthocereus, Maytenus, Opuntia, Agave, Bursera, and 
Eugenia; and an understory vegetated by Evolvulus, Cienfuegosia, 
Indigofera, Borrichia, Sarcocornia, Batis, Leptochloa, Paspalidium, 
Monanthochloe, Distichlis, Sporobolus, and Fimbristylis.
    (C) Rockland hammock habitat contains:
    (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, 
subcanopy, and understory;
    (2) Substrate with a thin layer of highly organic soil covering 
limestone or organic matter that accumulates on top of the underlying 
limestone; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Chromolaena 
frustrata. Rockland hammock has a canopy vegetated by Bursera, 
Lysiloma, Simarouba, Krugiodendron, Ocotea, Piscidia, Swietenia, 
Sideroxylon, Exothea, Ficus, Coccoloba, Metopium, Conocarpus, Guapira, 
and Pisonia; a subcanopy vegetated by Eugenia, Thrinax, Amyris, 
Ardisia, Psychotria, Chrysophyllum, Sabal, Guaiacum, Ximenia, and 
Colubrina; and an understory vegetated by Zamia, Acanthocereus, and 
Oplismenus.
    (D) Buttonwood forest habitat contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory;
    (2) Substrate with calcareous marl muds, calcareous sands, or 
limestone rock; and
    (3) A plant community of predominately native vegetation and either 
no competitive nonnative, invasive plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Chromolaena 
frustrata. Buttonwood forest has a canopy vegetated by Conocarpus, and 
an understory vegetated by Borrichia, Lycium, and Limonium.
    (ii) A disturbance regime, due to the effects of strong winds or 
salt-water inundation from storm surge or infrequent tidal inundation, 
that creates canopy disruption in all habitats listed above in (1).
    (iii) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient area to sustain 
viable populations in all habitats listed above in (1).
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located exists within the legal boundaries on 
the effective date of this rule.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Unit maps were developed using ESRI 
ArcGIS mapping software along with various spatial data layers. ArcGIS 
was also used to calculate. The projection used in mapping and 
calculating distances and locations within the units was North American 
Albers Equal Area Conic, NAD 83. The maps in this entry, as modified by 
any accompanying regulatory text, establish the boundaries of the 
critical habitat designation. The coordinates or plot points or both on

[[Page 61872]]

which each map is based are available to the public at the Service's 
internet site, (http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/), the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal (http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0076) 
and at the field office responsible for this designation. You may 
obtain field office location information by contacting one of the 
Service regional offices, the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 
2.2.
    (5) Index map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.000
    

[[Page 61873]]


    (6) Unit 1: Everglades National Park, Monroe and Miami-Dade 
Counties, Florida. Map of Unit 1 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.001


[[Page 61874]]


    (7) Unit 2: Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida. Index
    (i) Index map of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.002
    

[[Page 61875]]


    (ii) Map A of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.003
    

[[Page 61876]]


    (iii) Map B of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.004
    

[[Page 61877]]


    (iv) Map C of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.005
    

[[Page 61878]]


    (v) Map D of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.006
    

[[Page 61879]]


    (vi) Map E of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.007
    

[[Page 61880]]


    (vii) Map F of Unit 2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.008
    

[[Page 61881]]


    (8) Unit 3: Upper Matecumbe Key, Monroe County, Florida. Map of 
Unit 3 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.009


[[Page 61882]]


    (9) Unit 4: Lignumvitae Key, Monroe County, Florida. Map of Unit 4 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.010


[[Page 61883]]


    (10) Unit 5: Lower Matecumbe Key, Monroe County, Florida. Map of 
Unit 5 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.011


[[Page 61884]]


    (11) Unit 6: Long Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) Index map of Unit 6 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.012
    

[[Page 61885]]


    (ii) Map A of Unit 6 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.013
    

[[Page 61886]]


    (iii) Map B of Unit 6 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.014
    

[[Page 61887]]


    (12) Unit 7: Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) Index map of Unit 7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.015
    

[[Page 61888]]


    (ii) Map A of Unit 7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.016
    

[[Page 61889]]


    (iii) Map B of Unit 7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.017
    

[[Page 61890]]


    (iv) Map C of Unit 7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.018
    

[[Page 61891]]


    (v) Map D of Unit 7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.019
    

[[Page 61892]]


    (vi) Map E of Unit 7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.020
    

[[Page 61893]]


    (13) Unit 8: Big Munson Island, Monroe County, Florida. Map of Unit 
8 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.021


[[Page 61894]]


    (14) Unit 9: Boca Grande Key, Monroe County, Florida. Map of Unit 9 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC12.022

* * * * *

    Dated: September 25, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-24466 Filed 10-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P