[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 60 (Thursday, March 28, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 18936-18938]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07149]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0058; 4500030113]


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

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list the Rosemont talussnail as 
endangered or threatened and to designate critical habitat under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a review of the 
best available scientific information, we find that listing the 
Rosemont talussnail as an endangered or threatened species is not 
warranted, and, therefore, we are removing this species from the 
candidate list.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on March 28, 
2013.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2013-0058. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, 
2321 W. Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021. Please submit 
any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this 
finding to the above street address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, 
2321 W. Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021; telephone 602-
242-0210; facsimile 602-242-2513; email incomingazcorr@fws.gov. If you 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the 
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or 
commercial information that listing the species may be warranted, we 
make a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition. 
In this finding, we will determine that the petitioned action is: (1) 
Not warranted, (2) warranted, or (3) warranted, but the immediate 
proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is 
precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether species are 
endangered or threatened, and expeditious progress is being made to add 
or remove qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires 
that we treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be 
warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such 
finding, that is, requiring a

[[Page 18937]]

subsequent finding to be made within 12 months. We must publish these 
12-month findings in the Federal Register.
    This section summarizes the information we evaluated in order to 
determine that the Rosemont talussnail is not a species or subspecies 
and cannot be listed as such under the Act, and to remove it from the 
candidate list. Additional material that we relied on is available in 
the Species Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form for the 
Rosemont talussnail. This form is available on our national endangered 
species Web site: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ (search for ``Rosemont 
talussnail'' in the Species Search box) or from the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R2-ES-
2013-0058, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.

Previous Federal Actions

    On June 24, 2010, we received a petition from the Center for 
Biological Diversity requesting that Rosemont talussnail be listed as 
endangered or threatened and that critical habitat be designated under 
the Act. The petition clearly identified itself as such and included 
the requisite identification information for the petitioner required at 
50 CFR 424.14(a). Our receipt of the petition coincidentally fell 
within the processing period for our candidate notice of review (CNOR) 
for Fiscal Year 2010. On November 10, 2010, we included the Rosemont 
talussnail in the annual CNOR (75 FR 69222) through our own internal 
candidate assessment process and independent of the petition process, 
because we had already begun the analysis prior to receiving the 
petition. Candidate species are species for which we have sufficient 
information on file to support a proposal to list as endangered or 
threatened, but for which preparation and publication of a proposal is 
precluded by higher priority listing actions. However, because we are 
required to address the petition and make the appropriate findings, 
even though we already determined the species met the definition of a 
candidate species, in that same CNOR, we made a 90-day substantial and 
a 12-month warranted-but-precluded finding for the Rosemont talussnail.
    In a December 1, 2011, letter, we informed the petitioner that we 
had reviewed the information presented in the petition and determined 
that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the Rosemont 
talussnail under section 4(b)(7) of the Act was not warranted. We 
explained that the species had been assigned candidate status. We also 
explained that per the Multi-district Litigation Stipulated Settlement 
Agreement (WildEarth Guardians v. Salazar, No. 1:10-mc-00377-EGS (D. 
DC); Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar, No. 1:10-mc-00377-EGS 
(D.DC)), we are required to submit a proposed rule or a not-warranted 
12-month finding to the Federal Register for the Rosemont talussnail in 
Fiscal Year 2013, which ends September 30, 2013. This not-warranted 12-
month finding and the associated species assessment form fulfill that 
requirement of the Multi-district Litigation Settlement Agreement.

Species Information

    The Rosemont talussnail was first described as a member of the 
family Helminthoglyptidae (Phylum Mollusca; Class Gastropoda, Subclass 
Pulmonata) described by Pilsbry (1939, pp. 348-349) from the northern 
end of the Santa Rita Mountains near Rosemont, Pima County, Arizona. 
Bequaert and Miller (1973, p. 115) and Turgeon et al. (1988, p. 146) 
subsequently recognized the Rosemont talussnail in their respective 
reviews of mollusks. However, Hoffman et al. (2012, pp. 310-313) 
recently demonstrated that the Rosemont talussnail was described in 
error and is actually the same species as the Santa Rita talussnail 
(Sonorella walkeri).
    Initially, Pilsbry and Ferriss (1923, p. 90) treated the Rosemont 
talussnail from the northern end of the Santa Rita Mountains (Station 
49 near Rosemont) as Sonorella hesterna .Pilsbry (1939, p. 349) later 
described the Rosemont talussnail as a full species, S. rosemontensis, 
based on a single shell collected at Station 49 (Ferriss 1917-1918, p. 
2; Hoffman et al. 2012, pp. 1-2). However, in his description of S. 
rosemontensis, Pilsbry (1939, p. 349) stated, ``It was formerly 
considered to be identical with S. hesterna, but the well developed 
threads of the embryonic shell apparently indicate a different species. 
Were it not for the very different verge [male genitalia], this form 
would hardly be separated from S. walkeri.'' Hoffman et al. (2012, p. 
309) determined that Pilsbry (1939) confused the shell of the specimen 
he dissected with that of S. hesterna, and mistakenly dissected the 
gentilia from a different species of Sonorella. Pilsbry (1939, p. 349) 
described the genitalia as ``very closely related to S. arida * * * 
being of the same general character.'' Based on his writings, Pilsbry 
was well aware of the fact that the distinct features of S. 
rosemontensis resembled two different known species.
    The disparities in reproductive structures described for the 
Rosemont talussnail, Sonorella rosemontensis, were first noted in 
earnest by Miller (1967, p. 70) where he stated the genitalia 
``resemble those of S. walkeri.'' In discussing the Pilsbry (1939) 
description, Miller (1967, p. 70) went on to say that, ``It is probable 
that he [Pilsbry] dissected a specimen of S. tumamocensis linearis by 
mistake.'' Upon examination of genitalia, Miller (1967, p. 70) stated, 
``S. rosemontenis is closely related in all respects to S. walkeri.'' 
These anatomical examinations revealed that the Rosemont talussnail, S. 
rosemontensis, closely resembles the Santa Rita talussnail, S. walkeri, 
strongly suggesting that the Rosemont talussnail may only be a 
subspecies of or the same species as the Santa Rita talussnail (Miller 
1967, p. 70; Miller 1978, p. 115). In fact, the drawing of the 
reproductive organs of the Rosemont talussnail presented in Miller 
(1967, p. 260) does not appear to differ in any significant way from 
the reproductive organs of the Santa Rita talussnail (Hoffman et al. 
2012, p. 309).
    Although it was suggested that the Rosemont talussnail may be a 
subspecies of the Santa Rita talussnail (Miller 1967, p. 70; Miller 
1978, p. 115), there is no information indicating such. A subspecies is 
a category in biological classification that ranks immediately below a 
species; it designates a population of a particular geographic region 
morphologically or genetically distinguishable from other such 
populations of the same species and capable of interbreeding 
successfully with them where its range overlaps theirs. Evidence 
suggests that the Rosemont and Santa Rita talussnail are simply the 
same species. Hoffman et al. (2012, p. 313) found no discernible 
differences in the shapes or sizes of the male or female reproductive 
organs among specimens, nor was there any discernible differences in 
the shape of the shells between the Rosemont talussnail and the Santa 
Rita talussnail. Therefore, based on the morphological data and the 
sympatric range of the Santa Rita and the Rosemont talussnails, Hoffman 
et al. (2012, p. 313) concluded that the Rosemont and Santa Rita 
talussnail are the same species.

Evaluation of Listable Entity

    Under the Act, a ``species'' is defined as including any subspecies 
of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment 
(DPS) of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds 
when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)).
    Based on our review of the best available information, the original

[[Page 18938]]

description of the Rosemont talussnail (previously Sonorella 
rosemontensis) was made in error, and the taxonomic entity is actually 
the same species as the Santa Rita talussnail (S. walkeri). Therefore, 
we conclude that the Rosemont talussnail (S. rosemontensis) is not a 
species under section 3(16) of the Act. We have reviewed the relevant 
literature, and we also find that the Rosemont talussnail is not a 
subspecies of the Santa Rita talussnail. Additionally, invertebrates 
are precluded by statute from DPS consideration. Therefore, we conclude 
that the petitioned entity does not constitute a listable entity and 
cannot be listed under the Act.

Finding

    Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, 
we find that the Rosemont talussnail is not a listable entity and 
cannot be listed under the Act. The Rosemont talussnail (Sonorella 
rosemontensis) was subsumed into the Santa Rita talussnail (S. 
walkeri), which is a widespread and common species whose distribution 
extends across southern Arizona from the Santa Rita and Atascosa 
Mountain Ranges in Santa Cruz County; the Whetstone Mountains of 
Cochise County; and south into Sonora, Mexico (Pilsbry and Ferris 1915, 
p. 395; Bequaert and Miller 1973, p. 115; Arizona Game and Fish 
Department 2008, p. 2). Please submit any new information concerning 
the status of, or threats to, the Santa Rita talussnail to our Arizona 
Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES) whenever it becomes 
available. New information will help us monitor the Santa Rita 
talussnail and encourage its conservation.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2013-0058, in the 
Species Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form on the Internet 
at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/, and upon request from the Arizona 
Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Arizona Ecological Services Field Office.

Authority

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

    Dated: March 15, 2013.
Rowan W. Gould,
Deputy Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-07149 Filed 3-27-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P