[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 206 (Thursday, October 24, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 63795-63821]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-24177]



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Vol. 78

Thursday,

No. 206

October 24, 2013

Part IV





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; Determination of 
Endangered Status for Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable Thoroughwort), 
Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus), and Harrisia 
aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple); Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 206 / Thursday, October 24, 2013 / 
Rules and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

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


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of 
Endangered Status for Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable Thoroughwort), 
Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus), and Harrisia 
aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine 
endangered status for three plants: Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable 
thoroughwort), Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus), and 
Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple), under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended. These plants are endemic to South 
Florida. This final rule implements the protections provided by the Act 
for these species.

DATES: This rule is effective on November 25, 2013.

ADDRESSES: This final rule is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/. Comments and 
materials we received, as well as supporting documentation used in 
preparation of this rule, are available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov. All of the comments, materials, and documentation 
that we considered in this rulemaking are available by appointment, 
during normal business hours, at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South 
Florida Ecological Services Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 
32960; telephone 772-562-3909; facsimile 772-562-4288.

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; telephone 772-562-3909; 
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: 

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. Listing a species as an endangered or threatened 
species can only be completed by issuing a rule.
    The Service proposed to designate critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata concurrent with the proposed listing rule and is preparing a 
final rule to designate critical habitat for the plant that will be 
published in the near future. We found critical habitat to be not 
prudent in the proposed rule for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum because of the potential for an increase in poaching. 
However, we re-evaluated the prudency determination for both cacti 
based on public comment and the already available information in the 
public domain that indicates where these species can be found. 
Consequently, we have determined critical habitat is prudent for both 
species. We have also found that critical habitat is determinable for 
both species. We intend to publish a proposed rule designating critical 
habitat for both species in the near future..
    The basis for our action. Under the Act, we can determine that a 
species is 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 Chromolaena frustrata, 
Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum meet the definition of an 
endangered species based on Factors A, D, and E. Consolea corallicola 
and H. aboriginum meet the definition of endangered species based on 
Factors B and C under the Act as well.
    Peer review and public comment. We sought comments from seven 
independent specialists to ensure that our designation is based on 
scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We invited these 
peer reviewers to comment on our listing proposal. We received six peer 
review responses. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our 
methods and conclusions, and they provided additional information, 
clarifications, and suggestions to improve this final listing rule. We 
considered all comments and information we received during the comment 
periods.

Previous Federal Actions

    Please refer to the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 
2012; 77 FR 61836) for a detailed description of previous Federal 
actions concerning these species. Consolea corallicola was known as 
both Opuntia spinosissima and Opuntia corallicola in previous Federal 
actions.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested that the public submit written comments on the 
proposed listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, 
and Harrisia aboriginum during two comment periods. The first comment 
period opened with the publication of the proposed rule on October 11, 
2012, and closed on December 10, 2012 (77 FR 61836). Legal notices were 
published in six newspapers for the proposed rule. The second comment 
period opened with the publication on July 8, 2013 of a notice of 
availability for the draft economic analysis and reopening of the 
public comment period on the proposed listing, critical habitat 
designation, and associated draft economic analysis. We accepted public 
comments through August 7, 2013 (78 FR 40669). We also contacted 
appropriate Federal and State agencies, scientific experts and 
organizations, and other interested parties and invited them to comment 
on the proposal. We did not receive any requests for a public hearing.
    The October 11, 2012, proposed rule contained both the proposed 
listing of these three plants, as well as the proposed designation of 
critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata. Therefore, we received 
combined comments from the public on both actions. However, in this 
final rule we will only address comments that apply to the proposed 
listing of the three species. Comments on the proposed critical habitat 
designation for Chromolaena frustrata will be addressed in the final 
critical habitat rule.
    All substantive information provided during comment periods has 
either been incorporated directly into this final determination or is 
addressed below.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinions from seven knowledgeable 
individuals with scientific expertise that included familiarity with at 
least one of three the species and its habitat, biological needs, and 
threats; the geographical region of

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South Florida in which these species occur; and conservation biology 
principles. We received responses from six of the peer reviewers we 
contacted.
    We reviewed all comments for substantive issues and new information 
regarding Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods and 
conclusions, and provided additional information, clarifications, and 
suggestions to improve the final listing rule. Peer reviewer comments 
are addressed in the following summary and incorporated into this final 
rule as appropriate.
    (1) Comment: One peer reviewer provided clarification of the 
species description and biology of Harrisia aboriginum based on his 
2012 dissertation, which included a revised monograph of the genus 
Harrisia supported by molecular studies and morphological 
characteristics. Clarifications included the number of spines per 
cluster toward the base of plants (up to 20), color of flower hairs 
(white), length of the flower, timing of flower opening (at night), and 
duration of flowers (one night). He also commented that plants seem to 
prefer partial shade rather than full sun or deep shade.
    Our Response: We appreciate the information provided for Harrisia 
aboriginum and have updated the species description and habitat 
information for H. aboriginum accordingly.
    (2) Comment: One peer reviewer provided corrections to the past 
taxonomy that has been applied to Harrisia aboriginum, adding the 
synonym Harrisia gracilis (Mill.) Britton var. aboriginum (Small ex 
Britton & Rose) D. B. Ward to the list of previous names, and 
clarifying that the synonym Harrisia donae-antoniae Hooten is an 
illegitimate name. His recent monograph of the genus Harrisia supports 
H. aboriginum as a legitimate taxon and genetically distinct species 
(Franck 2012, pp. 96, 113). Another peer reviewer supported H. 
aboriginum as a distinct species with the same reference noted above.
    Our Response: We agree the distinctiveness of Harrisia aboriginum 
is clearly supported by the most recent genetic studies, and we 
appreciate the information provided. We have included it in the 
Taxonomy section for H. aboriginum.
    (3) Comment: One peer reviewer provided references that do not use 
the name Consolea corallicola and instead use Opuntia corallicola.
    Our Response: We acknowledge that this synonym has been used for 
the species, and we have updated the taxonomy section accordingly.
    (4) Comment: One peer reviewer commented that The Nature 
Conservancy (TNC) purchased land in the Florida Keys to conserve 
Consolea corallicola, and that this effort should be documented in the 
listing rule.
    Our Response: We agree that TNC purchased the Little Torch Hammock 
Preserve on Little Torch Key to conserve Consolea corallicola in 1988. 
In the proposed rule, we omitted details regarding the species' 
locations because we had determined that publicizing the locations may 
increase poaching of the species. However, we have since determined 
that location information is already available to the public, and we 
have now incorporated this information in the Current Range and Factor 
A sections for C. corallicola in this final rule.
    (5) Comment: One peer reviewer commented that the rule should 
include information regarding the efforts of local botanical gardens to 
conserve Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum.
    Our Response: We agree and have incorporated information on efforts 
undertaken by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Key West Botanical 
Garden, and Marie Selby Botanical Garden. We have also incorporated new 
information provided by another peer reviewer regarding ex situ 
conservation holdings at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Key West 
Botanical Garden under the Factor E discussion, below.
    (6) Comment: One peer reviewer provided research findings on the 
seed longevity and germination rates for Chromolaena frustrata and 
Harrisia aboriginum.
    Our Response: We incorporated this new information into the 
Reproductive Biology and Genetics section for Chromolaena frustrata and 
Harrisia aboriginum.
    (7) Comment: One peer reviewer provided information regarding 
Cactoblastis moth control. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
Agricultural Research Service's Center for Medical, Agricultural, and 
Veterinary Entomology in Tallahassee, Florida, is using containment 
methods in addition to hand removal, including the use of female sex 
pheromone wing traps and irradiation techniques, to control the spread 
of Cactoblastis cactorum.
    Our Response: We incorporated this new information on Cactoblastis 
cactorum under the Factor C discussion, below.
    (8) Comment: One peer reviewer commented that a permit is not 
required from the Florida Division of Agriculture and Consumer Services 
(FDACS) Division of Plant Industry for the harvest of plant species 
listed as threatened on the Florida Regulated Plant Index, as indicated 
in the proposed listing rule. Instead, only written permission from the 
landowner is required. A FDACS permit is required for species listed as 
endangered by the State of Florida. Any species listed under the 
Endangered Species Act is automatically listed as endangered by FDACS.
    Our Response: We have incorporated the correction concerning 
harvesting of plants and permits in this final rule under the Factor D 
discussion, below.
    (9) Comment: One peer reviewer provided a correction as to the 
number of reintroduction sites where planted Consolea corallicola 
remain.
    Our Response: We did not include the plantings at Torchwood Hammock 
Preserve on Key Largo as a reintroduction. Instead, we consider this a 
population augmentation, as the planted cacti are on the same site 
within 1 km (0.62 mile) of the wild population. However, because an 
additional reintroduction was implemented on Key Largo since the 
proposed listing rule was published, there are now four reintroduction 
sites that continue to support Consolea corallicola. We appreciate the 
information provided and have incorporated it into the Current Range 
section for C. corallicola.
    (10) Comment: One peer reviewer emphasized the threat of hurricane-
induced storm surge events, and provided additional information 
regarding storm surge impacts, stating that Hurricane Wilma in 2005 
killed 18 of 41 Consolea corallicola plants (43.9 percent) remaining at 
one reintroduction site.
    Our Response: We appreciate the new information provided and have 
incorporated it into the Demographics and Factor E sections for 
Consolea corallicola.
    (11) Comment: One peer reviewer provided new survey data for the 
reintroduced population of Consolea corallicola at Dagny Johnson Key 
Largo Hammock Botanical State Park based on the most recently conducted 
survey.
    Our Response: We appreciate the information provided and have 
incorporated it into the Current Range section for Consolea 
corallicola.
    (12) Comment: One peer reviewer clarified the habitats that support 
Chromolaena frustrata in Everglades National Park (ENP). In particular, 
rockland hammock does not occur in

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the coastal area of ENP. Instead, the habitat where C. frustrata occurs 
should be classified as coastal hardwood hammock (sensu Rutchey et al. 
2006, p. 21). While similar in overall vegetation structure and 
disturbance regime, coastal hardwood hammock differs from rockland 
hammock in that it develops on elevated marl ridges with a thin layer 
of organic matter. The species composition also differs somewhat from 
rockland hammock. The commenter also clarified the associated species 
most frequently observed with C. frustrata in buttonwood forest habitat 
at ENP.
    Our Response: The clarification concerning this habitat in ENP has 
been incorporated in the Habitat and Current Range sections for 
Chromolaena frustrata and throughout this final rule.
    (13) Comment: One peer reviewer commented that he followed up with 
several of the herbaria identified by Moldenke (1944, p. 530) as 
repositories for specimens collected in support of that publication. 
Those herbaria were unable to locate the C. frustrata specimen 
(Moldenke 5770) that resulted in the report of this species from Turner 
River Mound. As a result, the peer reviewer agrees with the decision in 
the proposed rule to exclude Turner River Mound in ENP as part of the 
historical distribution of this species.
    Our Response: This is in agreement with our findings. We have 
incorporated this supporting information into the Historic Range 
section for Chromolaena frustrata.

Comments From States

    The three species only occur in Florida, and we received one 
comment from the State of Florida regarding the listing proposal. That 
comment is addressed below. We note, however, that two peer reviewers 
were from State of Florida agencies (FDACS and Florida Department of 
Environmental Protection (FDEP)). Their comments are addressed above.
    (14) Comment: One commenter from FDACS expressed support for the 
listing and designation of critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata, 
and stated that their 2010 assessment determined that the species is 
known from five populations totaling about 1,000 plants.
    Our Response: The Service has more recent data sources (i.e., 
Duquesnel 2012, pers. comm.; Sadle 2012b, pers. comm.) that document 
additional populations and individuals than that considered by FDACS. 
We appreciate the commenter's support of our determinations for 
Chromolaena frustrata.

Public Comments

    During the first comment period, we received four comment letters 
directly addressing the proposed listing. During the second comment 
period, we received no public comment letters that addressed the 
proposed listing. Comments we received are grouped below into four 
general issues.
Issue 1: Insufficient Evidence of Population Declines
    (15) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service relied upon 
insufficient evidence of threats to Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum and selectively overlooked 
uncertainties, data gaps, and evidence of increases in populations.
    Our Response: The Act requires that we identify species of wildlife 
and plants that are endangered or threatened based on the best 
scientific and commercial data available. Historical species records, 
when compared to more recent surveys, indicate that these species were 
previously more abundant and widespread. Repeated surveys over time 
have demonstrated declining numbers of plants and loss of entire 
populations of all three species based on a number of factors. The 
proposed rule contains a detailed evaluation of threats to all three 
species, including habitat modification and loss to development and sea 
level rise, and loss of individuals to hurricanes and storm surge. 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum are also affected by 
disease, predation, and poaching. These threats have caused the loss of 
individuals and populations, resulting in small, isolated populations 
and an overall reduction in these species' ranges.
    There is no evidence of population increase for Chromolaena 
frustrata, and the only population increases known for Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum are through clonal fragmentation. 
No seedlings of either species have been observed in the wild. 
Chromolaena frustrata and Consolea corallicola are extirpated from half 
of the islands where they occurred in the Florida Keys. The Consolea 
corallicola population on Little Torch Key has declined 50 percent, and 
only the population on Swan Key appears stable. Harrisia aboriginum is 
extirpated from its northernmost range at Tierra Ceia in Manatee County 
and on Cayo Costa Island in Lee County, and other populations have 
suffered historical losses due to development and poaching. Based on 
this information and information provided in our above response, we 
believe there is sound scientific information to support our final 
determination of these three plants as endangered species.
    (16) Comment: Chromolaena frustrata still occupies its historical 
range. The Service acknowledges that it knows little about the species' 
population trends, or even how they reproduce. Absent such knowledge, 
it is unclear how the Service found the species to be in decline.
    Our Response: While little is known about the dynamics or trends of 
individual C. frustrata populations, entire populations have been 
extirpated and the species' historical range is reduced. Chromolaena 
frustrata has been extirpated from half of the islands in the Florida 
Keys where it once 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). Based on this information and 
information discussed in our response to Comment 15, above, we believe 
there is sound scientific information from which to conclude that the 
species' range has declined, and continues to decline, to support our 
final determination that this plant is an endangered species.
    (17) Comment: In its analysis of population trends, the Service 
looked at only four populations of Consolea corallicola. The largest 
population is entirely stable. One population of 9 to 11 plants was 
reported to have suffered high mortality rates, but the other two 
populations were declared to be in decline without any discussion by 
the Service and without providing the studies that allegedly support 
that conclusion.
    Our Response: Of the two wild populations of C. corallicola, the 
largest, located in Biscayne National Park, appears stable over the 
past decade. However, population decline has occurred in the other wild 
population, located on Little Torch Key, which now consists of 9 to 11 
adult plants and hundreds of small juveniles originating from fallen 
pads. While the number of small plants has fluctuated, no new plants 
have reached maturity, and 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.).
    Experimental plantings of Consolea corallicola were attempted at 
several sites on State and Federal conservation lands in the Florida 
Keys from 1996 to 2004. These plantings were largely unsuccessful, with 
most plants succumbing to Cactoblastis moth

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damage or crown rot. Plants currently remain at only three of the 
original sites, and these have declined to just a few plants each. 
Reintroduced plants have not attained larger size classes seen at wild 
sites (Duquesnel 2012, pers. comm.; Stiling 2013, pers. comm.). The 
lack of success with reintroduction of C. corallicola has helped to 
elucidate threats, emphasized the importance of protecting existing 
natural populations, and provided a perspective on the challenges we 
will face in recovering this species. Since the proposed rule was 
published, one additional population reintroduction was attempted on 
State land on Key Largo. It is too early to determine whether or not 
this reintroduction will be successful.
    (18) Comment: The Service has no information about Harrisia 
aboriginum's population trends prior to 2004, and the 2004 information 
contains surveys of only 2 of the 12 known populations. Significantly, 
based on the information presented by the Service, it does not look 
like these populations have been re-surveyed since 2004. It seems 
unlikely that reasonably credible trends could be established based on 
a single survey. The 10 remaining cited populations were also only 
surveyed once (in 2007). Still, the Service, without support, declares 
many of them to be in decline.
    Our Response: Trends could be established for 10 of 12 Harrisia 
aboriginum occurrences based on repeated surveys of these sites in 
1981, 2004, and 2007 (see Morris and Miller 1981; Bradley et al. 2004; 
Woodmansee et al. 2007); of these 10 populations, 7 showed declines 
during this period. Table 3 in this final rule also provides these data 
and illustrates these declines.
Issue 2: Climate Change
    (19) Comment: One commenter remarked that listing the three 
proposed species as endangered species based on climate change is too 
speculative and, therefore, contrary to the Act.
    Our Response: 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. We have determined that the threats contributing to the 
listing of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum are from Factors A, D, and E. Additionally, the threats 
contributing to the listing of Consolea corallicola and H. aboriginum 
are from Factors B and C. Therefore, we have not identified the effects 
of climate change as the sole threat contributing to the listing of 
these species.
    As is the case with all stressors that we assess, even if we 
conclude that a species is currently affected or is likely to be 
negatively affected by one or more climate-related impacts, it does not 
necessarily follow that the species meets the definition of an 
endangered species or a threatened species under the Act. However, if a 
species is listed as endangered or threatened, knowledge regarding its 
vulnerability to, and known or anticipated impacts from, climate-
associated changes in environmental conditions can be used to help 
devise appropriate strategies for its recovery.
    It is a widely accepted that changes in climate are occurring 
worldwide (IPCC 2007, p. 30). Our analyses under the Act include 
consideration of ongoing and projected changes in climate. A range of 
projections suggests sea level rise is the largest climate-driven 
challenge to low-lying coastal areas of southern Florida, including the 
Florida Keys (U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) 2008, pp. 5-
31, 5-32). All three plants occur in habitats near sea level in areas 
of south Florida where considerable habitat is projected to be lost to 
sea level rise by 2100 (Saha et al. 2011, p. 81; Zhang et al. 2011, p. 
129). Prior to inundation, the habitats that support these species are 
expected to undergo a transition to salt marshes or mangroves (Saha et 
al. 2011, pp. 81-82, 105). Habitats for these species are restricted to 
relatively immobile geologic features separated by large expanses of 
flooded, inhospitable wetland or ocean, leading us to conclude that 
these habitats will likely not be able to migrate as sea level rises 
(Saha et al. 2011, pp. 103-104).
    Based on our analysis of threats, we have determined that all three 
species are now, or will be, affected by multiple threats, including 
habitat loss and modification due to development and sea level rise, 
competition from nonnative species, and the apparent inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms. All three species are at increased risk 
of extinction due to these threats because populations are few and 
mostly small. Because of the species' low numbers, shrinking habitats, 
and human-created barriers to natural habitat migration, it will be 
difficult for these species to disperse to suitable habitats as sea 
levels rise.
    (20) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service should use a 
timeframe through at least 2100 to analyze the climate change threats 
to the plant species.
    Our Response: In our review of climate change forecasts, models, 
and analyses, we find that sea level rise projections through 2100 are 
the standard in current scientific literature (IPCC 2007, p. 45; 
Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 468; Jevrejeva et al. 2010, p. 4; NRC 2010, p. 
2; Pfeffer et al. 2008, p. 1340; Rahmstorf et al. 2012, p. 3; USACE 
2011, EC 1165-2-212, p. B-11). Likewise, the downscaled models for 
South Florida provide projections out to 2100 (see Zhang et al. 2011, 
p. 129; TNC 2011, p. 1). These studies represent the best available 
science and provide a solid basis for applying the 2100 timeframe to 
the climate change analyses for these plant species.
    (21) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service should analyze 
the impacts of sea level rise of up to 2 meters on the three plants' 
habitat because this falls within the range of likely scenarios.
    Our Response: In our review of climate change forecasts, we find 
that sea level rise up to 2 m (6.6 ft) is within the range of 
projections for global sea level rise. To accommodate the large 
uncertainty in sea level rise projections, it is necessary to estimate 
effects from a range of scenarios and projections. In the proposed 
rule, we cited a study that used a range of 18 cm (7 in) to 140 cm (4.6 
ft) (TNC 2010, p. 1) based on projections from IPCC (2007) and 
Rahmstorf (2007). Subsequently, the scientific community has continued 
to model sea level rise. Recent scientific literature indicates a 
movement towards accelerated sea level rise. Observed sea level rise 
rates are already trending along the higher end of the 2007 IPCC 
estimates, and it now widely held that sea level rise will exceed the 
levels projected by the IPCC (Rahmstorf et al. 2012, p. 1; Grinsted et 
al. 2010, p. 470). Taken together, these studies support the use of 
higher end estimates now prevalent in the scientific literature. Recent 
studies have estimated global mean sea level rise of 1 to 2 m (3.3 to 
6.6 ft) by 2100 as follows: 0.75 to 1.90 m (2.5 to 6.2 ft; Vermeer and 
Rahmstorf 2009, p. 21527), 0.8 to 2.0 m (2.6 to 6.6 ft; Pfeffer et al. 
2008, p. 1342), 0.9 to 1.3 m (2.6 to 4.3 ft; Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 
461), and 0.6 to 1.6 m (2.0 to 5.2 ft; Jevrejeva et al. 2010, p. 1). 
Zhang et al. (2011, p. 136) provide the most recent downscaled 
inundation modeling for south Florida, and they model sea level rise up 
to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in the Florida Keys. We incorporated additional

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analysis for each species in the Factor A section of this final rule.
    (22) Comment: One commenter stated that the threat of sea level 
rise will not occur within the ``reasonably foreseeable future,'' as 
that term has been defined and applied under the Act.
    Our Response: The term ``foreseeable'' is not expressly defined in 
the Act to allow flexibility to consider situations on a case-by-case 
basis (Office of the Solicitor Opinion M-37021, p. 7). ``Foreseeable 
future'' relates to the ability to make predictions that can reasonably 
be relied on because they are based on a careful extrapolation grounded 
in data and logic (Office of the Solicitor Opinion M-37021, p. 8). The 
Service maintains that sea level rise will affect the three species 
within timeframes served by existing sea level rise projection models 
referenced throughout this rule.
    The Service has determined that sea level rise and the related 
impacts of climate change have already created a clear and present 
threat to these plant species, and that this threat will continue into 
the future; the threat posed by the most optimistic scenarios of 
greenhouse gas emissions in the 21st century represents a foreseeable 
extinction risk to these species. Because of the extreme fragmentation 
of remaining habitat and isolation of remaining populations, and the 
accelerating rate at which sea level rise is projected to occur 
(Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 470), it will be particularly difficult for 
these species to disperse to suitable habitat as existing habitat is 
modified and lost due to sea level rise. The ultimate effect of these 
impacts is likely to result in reduced suitable habitat, exacerbated by 
other threats such as development and corresponding decreases in 
population numbers.
    (23) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service must take into 
account the added impacts from more severe hurricanes and increasing 
storm surge and coastal flooding on the habitat of Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum.
    Our Response: Increased hurricane severity and storm surge wave 
heights are projected as a result of climate change. While some level 
of hurricane and storm surge may reduce competition and help maintain 
the open-canopy conditions that are suitable for these species, 
hurricanes and storm surge of greater magnitude are likely to increase 
the losses to populations during these events. In addition, storm surge 
events may act as tipping points for plant communities already 
transitioning to saline habitats due to sea level rise.
    In the proposed rule, we determined that past hurricanes and storm 
surge events have already created a clear and present threat to these 
plant species. Additional information is included in this final rule 
that represents the best available science with regard to the threat of 
increased hurricane and storm surge severity.
    (24) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service bases its 
predictions on a model that projects a sea level increase of 18 cm (7 
in) in the Keys occurring 86 years in the future. Significantly, both 
IPCC and the Service acknowledge that climate change impacts can really 
only be reliably forecasted 30 to 50 years in the future.
    Our Response: The Service has considered a variety of information 
derived from numerous climate models rather than relying on one single 
climate model. While many components of climate can only be reliably 
forecast 30 to 50 years into the future, current research papers 
overwhelmingly use the year 2100 for sea level rise projections. To 
accommodate the large uncertainty in sea level rise projections, it is 
necessary to estimate inundation losses from a range of possible 
scenarios (see response to comment 21). In the proposed rule, our 
analysis for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum relied upon a range of sea level rise projections modeled by 
TNC (2011) based on IPCC (2007) and Rahmstorf et al. (2007) scenarios 
and downscaled projections to develop inundation models for the Florida 
Keys. These scenarios projected a potential sea level rise range of 18 
cm to 140 cm (7 in to 4.6 ft) by 2100 (TNC 2011, p. 1), resulting in 
the inundation of 38 to 92 percent of the Florida Keys land area. In 
this final rule, we include updated projections for sea level rise and 
modeling for habitat loss and modification from sea level rise.
    The best scientific and commercial data available indicate that 
several populations are currently being negatively affected by 
increasing salinity, and projections indicate that nearly all 
populations will be negatively affected by 2100. In the Factor A 
section of this final rule, we analyze the effects that sea level rise 
will have on the three species based on the current range of 
projections that represent the best available science for the areas and 
habitats where the three species occur.
    (25) Comment: One commenter stated that in spite of the remoteness 
of potential sea level rise, the Service claims a foreseeable harm 
based on a study done in 1980 on palm trees, citing Morris and Miller 
(1981, p. 10).
    Our Response: Morris and Miller (1981, p. 10) and other studies 
referenced in the rule serve to demonstrate that the effects of sea 
level rise on plant communities have been observed in the past and are 
presently driving changes in plant communities in coastal south 
Florida. Similar changes in plant communities have been observed in the 
Florida Keys due to saltwater intrusion (Ross et al. 1994, p. 144; 
2009, p. 471). Please refer to the Factor A section of this final rule 
for a complete discussion of habitat loss and modification from sea 
level rise.
    (26) Comment: One commenter stated that the coastal communities 
inhabited by the three plant species are threatened by increasing 
saltwater intrusion. Restoring freshwater inflow might be the only 
mechanism to mitigate, in the short term, the effects of rising sea 
levels in the Everglades (Saha et al. 2011, p. 105).
    Our Response: The restoration of freshwater flows into the 
Everglades is one of the primary goals of the Comprehensive Everglades 
Restoration Program (CERP), a Service initiative. However, we lack the 
data on how this will restore historical conditions or create new 
conditions, or how long it will take for these changes to become 
measurable, and what, if any, benefits will occur for the three plants.
    (27) Comment: One commenter stated that the three plant species 
face significant risks from coastal squeeze that occurs when habitat is 
pressed between rising sea levels and coastal development that prevents 
landward movement.
    Our Response: We agree. This is especially true in the Florida Keys 
and along the Gulf coast of Florida. Development patterns in the Keys 
tend to occur on higher elevations. The U.S. 1 highway corridor 
generally follows the high spine (occupying much of the higher 
elevation areas) of the upper Keys, while also presenting a barrier to 
the migration of species and habitats. On the Gulf coast, coastal 
squeeze will affect some areas that support Harrisia aboriginum. 
Occurrences in coastal berm habitat on Longboat Key and Manasota Key 
are especially susceptible to this effect. The habitats that currently 
support the three plants are restricted to relatively immobile geologic 
features separated by large expanses of flooded, inhospitable wetland 
or ocean, leading us to conclude that these habitats will likely not be 
able to migrate as sea level rises (Saha et al. 2011, pp. 103-104). We 
discuss this issue below, in the Factor E section of this final rule 
under Climate Change and Sea Level Rise.

[[Page 63801]]

    (28) Comment: One commenter stated that if the Service lists the 
three plant species as endangered and continues to count climate change 
among the threats to the species, then the Service should consider 
proposing a special rule under section 4(d) of the Act to exclude 
otherwise lawful activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions, from 
those actions that others may allege to constitute ``take'' of the 
species.
    Our Response: Under section 4(d) of the Act, the Secretary of the 
Interior has discretion to issue such regulations as she deems 
necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the species. 
The Secretary also has the discretion to prohibit by regulation with 
respect to a threatened species any act prohibited by section 9(a)(1) 
of the Act. All three plant species are being listed as endangered 
species. Thus, a special rule under section 4(d) of the Act is not 
applicable.
    The Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) 
issued a final rule amending interagency regulations governing 
implementation of the Act on December 16, 2008 (73 FR 76272). These 
regulations became effective on January 15, 2009, and clarify and 
otherwise modify regulatory requirements related to consultation with 
the Services mandated by section 7(a) of the Act. It is the Service's 
view that there is no requirement to consult on greenhouse gas (GHG) 
emissions' contribution to global warming and the associated impacts on 
listed species. Impacts associated with global warming do not 
constitute or meet the definition of ``effects of the action'' under 
the regulations (50 CFR 402.02 and 50 CFR 402.03(b)(1) and (c)). 
Although the changes were crafted in broad general terms appropriate to 
the purpose of the regulations, the Services acknowledged that they 
were intended to address the new challenge we face with global warming 
and climate change.
Issue 3: Poaching and Critical Habitat Prudency Determinations
    (29) Comment: Two commenters stated that the Service provided no 
information supporting its conclusion that designating critical habitat 
would increase poaching of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum. The commenters further stated that the threat of 
unauthorized collection would not increase with designation of critical 
habitat because the public already has access to information about 
known locations of the species.
    Our Response: In the proposed rule, we determined that designating 
critical habitat was not prudent for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum. Cacti are affected by poaching worldwide because of the 
large demand from collectors. Although limited, poaching has been 
documented for both Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. 
Reports and notes included with surveys going back several decades 
identify poaching as a threat. We based our determination that poaching 
may increase because the listing of these species would draw attention 
to their existence and rarity, possibly creating a greater demand among 
cactus collectors. The Service postulated that publication of maps in 
the Federal Register could facilitate poaching of these species by 
making it easier to find exact locations where the species are located. 
After a thorough re-evaluation of the publicly available information 
regarding the locations of these cacti, we have determined that the 
current locations of the two cacti are currently available in sources 
readily accessed by the public. These include online conservation 
databases, scientific journals, and documents found on agency Web 
sites. We now acknowledge that publishing critical habitat maps would 
not provide much, if any, in the way of details helpful to locate these 
species, beyond what is already publicly available. In addition, 
because locations are largely available, the increased threat comes 
more from the attention drawn by listing the species, rather than the 
publication of maps depicting critical habitat. For this reason, we 
have re-assessed our prudency determination that designating critical 
habitat would likely increase the threat of poaching. Consequently, we 
have determined our original prudency determination was incorrect. We 
will publish a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum.
Issue 4. Availability of Findings
    (30) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service failed to 
provide any supporting materials for any of these proposed actions on 
http://www.regulations.gov or on the Service's Web site. The Service 
must make studies available to the public per Executive Order (E.O.) 
13563.
    Our Response: Executive Order 13563, section 2(b), states that ``To 
the extent feasible and permitted by law, each agency shall . . . 
provide, for both proposed and final rules, timely online access to the 
rulemaking docket on regulations.gov, including relevant scientific and 
technical findings, in an open format . . . For proposed rules, such 
access shall include, to the extent feasible and permitted by law, an 
opportunity for public comment on all pertinent parts of the rulemaking 
docket, including relevant scientific and technical findings.''
    The Service provided its scientific and technical findings in the 
proposed rule as published in the Federal Register and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, a list of the references we used to 
support our findings was provided at the time of the publication of the 
October 11, 2012, proposed rule, and is still available, in the 
rulemaking docket on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-ES-
R4-2012-0076. These materials are also available for viewing at the 
Service's South Florida Ecological Services Field Office by appointment 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Although all material is 
available, copies may be provided only for those documents not covered 
by copyright restrictions.

Summary of Changes From Proposed Rule

    In the Background section, we made the following changes: (1) We 
clarified and expanded the species description for Harrisia aboriginum; 
(2) we added more information to the Taxonomy sections for Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum; (3) we incorporated information 
about the pollination biology of Chromolaena frustrata; (4) we 
incorporated information on seed longevity and germination rates for 
Chromolaena frustrata and Harrisia aboriginum; (5) we included new 
survey data for the reintroduced population of Consolea corallicola at 
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park; (6) we included 
information about a Consolea corallicola reintroduction that was 
recently implemented on Key Largo, since the time the proposed rule was 
published; (7) we corrected the number of reintroduction sites where 
out-planted Consolea corallicola remain; (8) we corrected the name we 
use to describe the habitat of Chromolaena frustrata in ENP; and (9) we 
added extirpated populations to tables 1, 2, and 3.
    In the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species section, we made 
the following changes: (1) We included additional information about 
USDA work to develop new techniques to control the spread of 
Cactoblastis cactorum; (2) we incorporated new information about 
ongoing conservation efforts by nonprofit institutions; (3) we expanded 
the discussion of population declines for Harrisia aboriginum and 
Consolea corallicola; (4) we expanded our climate change analysis for 
all three species to include more projections

[[Page 63802]]

across a wider range of scenarios; and (5) we expanded our discussion 
of hurricane and storm surge impacts.

Background

    Please refer to the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 
2012; 77 FR 61836) for the complete background information. The 
sections below represent summaries of that information, and incorporate 
new additions and edits based on peer review and public comments.

Summary of Biological Status

    For more information on these species' habitats, ecology, and life 
history, and on the factors affecting these species, please refer to 
the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum published in the Federal Register 
on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836).
    We have evaluated the biological status of these species and 
threats affecting their continued existence. Our assessment is based 
upon the best available scientific and commercial data and the opinion 
of the species experts.

Chromolaena frustrata

    Chromolaena frustrata (Family: Asteraceae) is a perennial 
herbaceous plant. Mature plants are 15 to 25 centimeters (cm) (5.9 to 
9.8 inches (in)) tall with erect stems. 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
    Chromolaena frustrata was first reported by Chapman, from the 
Florida Keys in 1886, naming it Eupatorium heteroclinium (Chapman 1889, 
p. 626). Synonyms include Eupatorium frustratum B.L. Robinson 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 degrees Celsius 
([deg]C) (64.4 degrees Fahrenheit ([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).
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, coastal hardwood 
hammocks, and rockland hammocks. C. 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).
    Detailed descriptions of coastal berm, coastal rock barren, 
rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest are presented in the proposed 
listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum (77 FR 61836; October 11, 2012). Peer reviewers 
provided new information identifying coastal hardwood hammock as the 
community type supporting Chromolaena frustrata in ENP and identified 
associated species found in buttonwood forest in ENP. We include a full 
description of the coastal hardwood hammock and a revised description 
of the buttonwood forest communities below.

Coastal Hardwood Hammock

    Coastal hardwood hammock that supports Chromolaena frustrata in 
Everglades National Park is a species-rich, tropical hardwood forest. 
Though similar in most characteristics, coastal hardwood hammock 
develops on a substrate consisting of elevated marl ridges with a very 
thin layer of organic layer (Sadle pers. comm. 2012a). Marl is an 
unconsolidated sedimentary rock or soil consisting of clay and lime. 
The plant species composition of coastal hardwood hammocks also differs 
somewhat from that of rockland hammock. Typical tree and shrub species 
include Capparis flexuosa (bayleaf capertree), Coccoloba diversifolia 
(pigeon plum), Piscidia piscipula (Jamaican dogwood), Sideroxylon 
foetidissimum (false mastic), Eugenia foetida (Spanish stopper), 
Swietenia mahagoni (West Indies mahogany), Ficus aurea (strangler fig), 
Sabal palmetto (cabbage palm), Eugenia axillaris (white stopper), 
Zanthoxylum fagara (wild lime), Sideroxylon celastrinum (saffron plum), 
and Colubrina arborescens (greenheart) (Rutchey et al. 2006, p. 21). 
Herbaceous species that occur in coastal hardwood forest include 
Acanthocereus tetragonus (triangle cactus), Alternanthera flavescens 
(yellow joyweed), Batis maritime (turtleweed), Borrichia arborescens 
(seaside oxeye), Borrichia frutescens (bushy seaside oxeye), 
Caesalpinia bonduc (grey nicker), Capsicum annuum (bird pepper), 
Galactia striata (Florida hammock milkpea), Heliotropium angiospermum 
(scorpion's tail), Passiflora suberosa (corkystem passionflower), 
Rivina humilis (pigeonberry), Salicornia perennis (perennial 
glasswort), Sesuvium portulacastrum (seapurslane), and Suaeda linearis 
(sea blite). Ground cover is often limited in closed canopy areas and 
abundant in areas where canopy disturbance has occurred or where this 
community intergrades with buttonwood forest (Sadle 2012a, pers. 
comm.).
    The sparsely vegetated edges or interior portions of rockland and 
coastal hardwood hammock where the canopy is open are the areas 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.

Buttonwood Forest

    Forests dominated by buttonwood often exist in upper tidal areas, 
especially where mangrove swamp transitions to rockland or coastal 
hardwood hammock. These buttonwood forests have canopy dominated by 
Conocarpus erectus (button mangrove) and often have an understory 
dominated by Borrichia frutescens, Lycium carolinianum 
(Christmasberry), and Limonium carolinianum (sea lavender) (Florida 
Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) 2010d, p. 4). In ENP, the species most 
frequently observed in association with Chromolaena frustrata are 
Capparis flexuosa, Borrichia frutescens, Alternanthera flavescens, 
Rivina humilis, Sideroxylon celastrinum, Heliotropium angiospermum, 
Eugenia foetida, Batis maritima, Acanthocereus tetragonus, and Sesuvium 
portulacastrum (Sadle 2012a, pers. comm.).
    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, coastal hardwood hammock, and coastal rock barren 
(FNAI 2010d, p. 5).
Historical Range
    Chromolaena frustrata was historically known from Monroe County, 
both on the Florida mainland and the Florida Keys, and in Miami-Dade 
County along Florida Bay (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 36). The species 
was observed historically on Big Pine Key, Boca Grande Key, Fiesta Key, 
Key Largo,

[[Page 63803]]

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).
Current Range
    In Everglades National Park, 11 Chromolaena frustrata populations 
supporting approximately 1,600 to 2,600 plants occur in buttonwood 
forests and coastal hardwood hammocks from the Coastal Prairie Trail 
near the southern tip of Cape Sable to Madeira Bay (Sadle 2007 and 
2012b, pers. comm.).
    In the Florida Keys, Chromolaena frustrata is now only known from 
Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Lignumvitae Key, Long Key, 
Big Munson Island, and Boca Grande Key (Bradley and Gann 2004, pp. 3-
4). It no longer exists on Key Largo, Big Pine Key, Fiesta Key, 
Knight's Key, or Key West (Bradley and Gann 2004, pp. 4-6). Populations 
of C. frustrata are identified in table 1.

                                  Table 1--Populations of Chromolaena Frustrata
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Population                      Ownership            Numbers of plants             Habitat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everglades National Park--Flamingo     Federal--National Park   1,634-2,633 (Sadle       buttonwood forest,
 District.                              Service.                 2012b, pers. comm.).     coastal hardwood
                                                                                          hammock.
Upper Matecumbe Key--Choate Tract....  State--Florida           18 (Bradley and Gann     coastal rock barren,
                                        Department of            2004, pp. 3-6).          rockland hammock.
                                        Environmental
                                        Protection.
Lower Matecumbe Key--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 rock barren.
                                        Department of            2004, pp. 3-6).
                                        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).
Key Largo............................  unknown................  0 (Bradley and Gann      unknown.
                                                                 2004, pp. 3-6).
Big Pine Key.........................  unknown................  0 (Bradley and Gann      unknown.
                                                                 2004, pp. 3-6).
Fiesta Key...........................  unknown................  0 (Bradley and Gann      unknown.
                                                                 2004, pp. 3-6).
Knight's Key.........................  unknown................  0 (Bradley and Gann      unknown.
                                                                 2004, pp. 3-6).
Key West.............................  unknown................  0 (Bradley and Gann      unknown.
                                                                 2004, pp. 3-6).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reproductive Biology and Genetics
    The reproductive biology and genetics of Chromolaena frustrata have 
received little study. Fresh C. frustrata seeds show a germination rate 
of 65 percent, but germination rates decrease to 27 percent after the 
seeds are subjected to freezing, suggesting that long-term seed storage 
may present difficulties (Kennedy et al. 2012, pp. 40, 50-51). While 
there have been no studies on the reproductive biology of C. frustrata, 
we can draw some generalizations from other species of Chromolaena, 
which reproduce sexually. New plants originate from seeds. Pollinators 
are likely to be generalists, such as butterflies, bees, flies, and 
beetles. Seed dispersal is largely by wind (Lakshmi et al. 2011, p. 1).
Population Demographics
    Chromolaena frustrata is relatively a short-lived plant; therefore 
it must successfully reproduce more often than a long-lived species to 
maintain populations. C. frustrata populations are demographically 
unstable, experiencing sudden steep declines due to the effects of 
hurricanes and storm surges. However, the species appears to be able to 
rebound at affected sites within a few years (Bradley 2009, pers. 
comm.). The large population observed at Big Munson Island in 2003 
likely resulted from thinning of the rockland hammock canopy caused by 
Hurricane Georges in 1998 (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 4). Populations 
that are subject to wide demographic fluctuations are generally more 
vulnerable to random extinction events and negative consequences 
arising from small populations, such as genetic bottlenecks (see 
discussion below under Factor E.

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. 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). While some authors still place this 
species in the genus Opuntia (Wunderlin and Hansen 2013b, no page 
number; ITIS 2013b, no page number), 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 2004, pp. 92-94). The Family Cactaceae (cactus) has been the 
subject of many revisions over the past century, and we expect this 
trend will continue as molecular (genetic) methods are used to re-
examine the relationships within the family. Synonyms include Opuntia 
corallicola (Small) Werdermann (Parfitt and Gibson 2004, p. 94).

[[Page 63804]]

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 (Small 1930, pp. 
25-26; Benson 1982, p. 531); coastal berm, and buttonwood forests 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Gann et al. 2002, p. 480; Higgins 2007, 
pers. comm.). 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). Detailed descriptions of coastal berm, 
rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest are presented in the proposed 
listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 61836).
Historical Range
    Consolea corallicola was known historically from three islands of 
the Florida Keys in Monroe County: Key Largo, Big Pine Key, and Little 
Torch Key (Small 1930, pp. 25-26), and from Swan Key, a small island in 
Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County (Bradley and Woodmansee 2002, p. 
810).
Current Range
    The current range of Consolea corallicola includes two naturally 
occurring populations, one on Swan Key in Biscayne National Park (BNP), 
Miami-Dade County, and one at the Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Torchwood 
Hammock Preserve on Little Torch Key, 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 (see table 2).
    Experimental plantings of Consolea corallicola were conducted at 
several sites on State and Federal conservation lands in the Florida 
Keys from 1996 to 2012. These reintroductions have been largely 
unsuccessful in establishing self-sustaining populations at these sites 
because most plants succumbed to damage or disease caused by the 
Cactoblastis moth (Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)). The 
plantings were supported by the Florida Forest Service, Conservation 
and Management program. Two hundred and forty cacti were planted at six 
different sites in the lower Florida Keys in 2000, but by 2013, only 10 
and 11 plants remained at the Little Torch Key, and the Upper Sugarloaf 
Key sites, respectively. No plants survived on Big Pine Key, Cudjoe 
Key, No Name Key, or Ramrod Key. Ninety-six cacti were planted at 
Little Torch Key in 1996, but all died within 12 years. One-hundred and 
eighty cacti were planted at Saddlebunch Key in 1998, but only four 
were alive by 2013. As of 2013, plants survive at four reintroduction 
sites on State-owned lands--Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks State 
Botanical Park, Dove Creek Hammock, Saddlebunch Key, and Upper 
Sugarloaf Key (Stiling 2007, p. 2; Stiling 2009, pers. comm.; Stiling 
2010, pp. 190, 193-194; Stiling 2013, p. 2; Stiling 2013, pers. comm.; 
Duquesnel 2008, 2009, 2011a, 2011b, pers. comm.). These sites together 
represent fewer than 50 plants that survived the reintroduction trials. 
A reintroduction consisting of 300 small plants was installed in August 
2012, at Dove Creek Hammock on Key Largo (Stiling 2013, p. 2). It is 
too early to judge the success of this effort. Populations of Consolea 
corallicola are provided in table 2 and are discussed below.

                                  Table 2--Populations of Consolea corallicola
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Population                  Ownership       Number of plants         Habitat              Trend
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Swan Key, Biscayne National Park  Federal--National   600 (McDonough      rockland hammock..  Stable.
                                   Park Service.       2010a, pers.
                                                       comm.).
Little Torch Hammock Preserve,    Private--The        9 to 11 adults,     rockland hammock,   Declining.
 Little Torch Key.                 Nature              100s of juveniles   rockland hammock-
                                   Conservancy.        (Gun 2012, pers.    buttonwood forest
                                                       comm.).             ecotone.
Key Largo.......................  unknown...........  0 (Bradley and      unknown...........  Extirpated.
                                                       Gann 1999, p. 77).
Big Pine Key....................  unknown...........  0 (Bradley and      unknown...........  Extirpated.
                                                       Gann 1999, p. 77).
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock   State--Florida      20 to 40 juveniles  buttonwood forest-  Declining.
 State Botanical Park              Department of       (Duquesnel 2013,    saltmarsh
 (reintroduced).                   Environmental       pers. comm.).       ecotone, coastal
                                   Protection.                             rock barren.
Upper Sugarloaf Key               State--Florida      11 juveniles        unknown...........  Declining.
 (reintroduced).                   Fish and Wildlife   (Stiling pers.
                                   Conservation        comm. 2013, p. 1).
                                   Commission.
Dove Creek Hammock--Key Largo     State--Florida      238 juveniles       buttonwood forest,  Recent
 (reintroduced).                   Fish and Wildlife   (Stiling pers.      rockland hammock.   reintroduction.
                                   Conservation        comm. 2013, p. 1).
                                   Commission.
Saddlebunch Key (reintroduced)..  State--Florida      4 juveniles         unknown...........  Declining.
                                   Fish and Wildlife   (Stiling pers.
                                   Conservation        comm. 2013, p. 1).
                                   Commission.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All of the attempted reintroductions of Consolea corallicola have 
experienced high mortality (50 to 100 percent) due to Cactoblastis moth 
predation and crown rot (Stiling 2010, pp. 2, 194-195). Significantly, 
no individuals have reached the size of wild adult plants over the 
course of 13 years. Meanwhile, plants cultivated at Key West Botanical 
Garden have grown to 3 m (9.8 ft) tall in just 6 years; leading Stiling 
(2010, pp. 2, 193-194; pers. comm. 2012) to conclude that conditions at 
wild sites are no longer conducive to producing large adult plants.

Harrisia aboriginum

    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)

[[Page 63805]]

long and originate in clusters of 7 to 9 spines, with up to 20 spines 
in a cluster at the base of the stem. Flowers are funnel-shaped, white, 
up to 18 cm (7.1 in) long; have a slight scent; and are nocturnal, 
lasting only one night. The bracts on the outside of the flower has 
sparse white hairs. Fruits are yellow, round in shape, and 6.1 to 7.6 
cm (2.4 to 3.0 in) in diameter (Britton and Rose 1920, p. 154; Anderson 
2001, p. 370; Parfitt and Gibson 2004, p. 153; Franck 2012, pp. 121-
124; Franck 2012, pers. comm.).
    We are not aware of any studies on the pollination biology of 
Harrisia aboriginum. Insect visitors recorded on other species of 
Harrisia include hawk moths (Nitidulidae), stingless bees 
(Meliponidae), and several types of beetles. Harrisia fruits are sweet 
and fleshy, suggesting that seed dispersal by birds may be important 
(Franck 2012, p. 107).
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). The most recent revision of the genus Harrisia supports 
H. aboriginum as a morphologically and genetically distinct species 
endemic to the west coast of Florida (Franck 2012, pp. 96, 113). 
Synonyms include Cereus aboriginum (Small ex Britton and Rose) Little, 
C. gracilis var. aboriginum (Small ex Britton and Rose) L. D. Benson, 
Harrisia gracilis (Mill.) Britton var. aboriginum (Small ex Britton and 
Rose) D.B. Ward, and an illegitimate name: Harrisia donae-antoniae 
Hooten (Parfitt and Gibson 2004, 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 in coastal berm, coastal strand, coastal 
grassland, and maritime hammock. It also occurs on shell mounds with a 
calcareous shell substrate (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). Detailed 
descriptions of these habitats are presented in the proposed listing 
rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 61836).
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 of Mexico 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
    Harrisia aboriginum was extirpated sometime in the past in the 
northern extent of its historical range at Terra Ceia in Manatee County 
(Morris and Miller 1981, p. 2; Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 3, 8-9). 
Besides a few anecdotal accounts, population trends were unknown prior 
to 2004. A 1981 status survey reported population sizes for five 
occurrences (Morris and Miller 1981, p. 1-11). All of these populations 
declined from 1981 to 2004, when a status survey confirmed 10 extant 
populations along a 100-km (62-mile) stretch of coast, and reported one 
population extirpated at Terra Ceia (Bradley et al. 2004, p. 8). In 
2007, eight of these sites were surveyed again, at which time three 
populations had declined from 2004 levels (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 
87). A population on Cayo Costa has been extirpated since 2007 (Nielsen 
2009, pers. comm.). Two of the ten surveyed in 2004 are now considered 
two populations by the Service because they are spatially separate and 
have different landowners. A new population was recorded at Lemon Bay 
in 2012 (Bender 2011, pp. 9-12). Currently 12 out of 14 sites support 
extant populations where the species was recorded historically. Plants 
occur in seven public and private conservation areas, as well as 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, when population sizes were 
last estimated (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 87). Population declines are 
discussed further under Factor A. Populations of Harrisia aboriginum 
are provided in table 3.

                                   Table 3--Populations of Harrisia aboriginum
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Population                 Ownership       Number of plants         Habitat              Trend
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Terra Ceia Island, Madera        State--Florida      0 (Morris and       unknown...........  Extirpated.
 Bickel Mound State Park.         Department of       Miller 1981, p.
                                  Environmental       2; Bradley et al.
                                  Protection.         2004, p. 4).
Longboat Key--Water Club         Private             226 (Morris and     maritime hammock..  Declining.
 Preserve.                        conservation.       Miller, 1981, p.
                                                      5; Bradley et al.
                                                      2004, p. 10);
                                                     5 (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).
Historic Spanish Point.........  Private             7 (Morris and       shell mound.......  Declining.
                                  conservation.       Miller 1981, p.
                                                      3);
                                                     2 (Bradley et al.
                                                      2004, p. 13);
                                                     5 (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87)
                                                      (new rooted
                                                      fragments broken
                                                      in hurricane).
Manasota Beach Park............  Sarasota County...  116 (Morris and     coastal strand,     Declining.
                                                      Miller, 1981, p.    coastal berm.
                                                      9);
                                                     50 to 75
                                                      (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).
Lemon Bay Preserve.............  Sarasota County...  3 (Bender 2011,     spoil mound.......  Unknown.
                                                      pp. 9-12).
Manasota Key...................  Private...........  24 (Morris and      coastal strand,     Declining.
                                                      Miller 1981, pp.    coastal berm,
                                                      7, 8);              maritime hammock.
                                                     13 (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).
Charlotte Harbor State Park....  State--Florida      39 (Bradley et al.  coastal berm,       Declining.
                                  Department of       2004, pp. 20-21);   shell mound.
                                  Environmental
                                  Protection.

[[Page 63806]]

 
                                                     27 (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).
Kitchen Key....................  Private and         21 (Morris and      coastal berm......  Declining.
                                  Charlotte County.   Miller 1981, p.
                                                      11);
                                                     2 to 10 (Bradley
                                                      et al. 2004, pp.
                                                      10-37).
Gasparilla Island Conservation   Private             1 (Bradley et al.   coastal berm......  Unknown.
 and Improvement Association,     Conservation.       2004, pp. 10-37).
 Tract A.
Gasparilla Island Mosquito       Lee County........  1 (Woodmansee et    spoil mound.......  Stable.
 Control Baseyard.                                    al. 2007, p. 87).
Cayo Costa State Park..........  Lee County........  0 (Nielsen 2009,    coastal berm......  Extirpated.
                                                      pers. comm.).
Cayo Pelau Preserve............  Lee County........  7 (Bradley et al.   coastal berm,       Declining.
                                                      2004, p. 28);       shell mound.
                                                      (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).
Bocilla Preserve...............  Lee County........  300 to 400          coastal berm......  Stable.
                                                      (Woodmansee et
                                                      al. 2007, p. 87).
Buck Key--J. `Ding' Darling      Federal--Fish and   100 to 200          coastal berm......  Stable.
 National Wildlife Refuge.        Wildlife Service.   (Bradley et al.
                                                      2004, pp. 10-37).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reproductive Biology and 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. Genetic diversity 
within and between populations of H. aboriginum has not been assessed. 
Harrisia aboriginum seeds stored for 2.5 years germinated at a rate of 
84 percent and 92 percent in two separate trials, suggesting that the 
species can maintain a soil seed bank (Maschinski 2012, pers. comm). 
Seeds capable of establishing persistent seed banks are reported for H. 
fragrans, a closely related endangered species from the east coast of 
Florida (Goodman et al. 2012a, p. 1).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 424) 
set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be 
determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more 
of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act: (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. Listing actions may 
be warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Their 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 (Big Munson Island), are located on private lands (the 
population at Long Key Layton Hammock only partially so), 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, with 4,500 plants (90 percent) located at a 
single, privately owned, unprotected site (Bradley and Gann 2004, p. 
7). The Service has no recent survey data for Big Munson Island, and 
the status of this population is unknown. If the uncharacteristically 
large population size in 2003 resulted from hurricane disruption of the 
tree canopy as suggested by Bradley and Gann (2004, p. 7), subsequent 
regrowth of the canopy in the intervening 10 years has likely reduced 
the size of the C. frustrata population. Big Munson Island, is

[[Page 63807]]

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.
    A portion of 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. 2). 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 2011, 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 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).
Conservation Efforts to Reduce Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Habitat or Range
 Land Acquisition
    The Service; National Park Service (NPS); State of Florida; 
Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties; and 
several local governments own and manage conservation lands within the 
range of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum. The Nature Conservancy purchased Torchwood Hammock Preserve 
on Little Torch Key in 1988, to protect what was at the time the only 
known remaining population of Consolea corallicola.

[[Page 63808]]

Management Plans
    The comprehensive conservation plan (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) and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge promote the 
enhancement of wildlife populations by 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. 
This CCP 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-668ee) as amended, and the Refuge Recreation Act (16 
U.S.C. 460k-460k-4). The SUPs cover commercial activities (commercial 
activities such as guiding hunters, anglers, or other outdoor users; 
commercial filming; agriculture; 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), education activity). The 
Service has no information concerning the issuance of SUPs that have 
implications for any of the three species.

Factor 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 have 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).
    Collection for scientific and recovery purposes have so far relied 
on the harvesting of cuttings from plants growing in botanical gardens 
and private collections. On the other hand, 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 Harrisia aboriginum or Consolea corallicola at this time. 
Finally, we are not aware of any nonregulatory actions that are being 
conducted to ameliorate overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes.
Chromolaena frustrata
    We have no evidence suggesting that overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes is 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.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

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

[[Page 63809]]

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 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 (TNC 2011, p. 1). 
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 BNP, 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 (Iguana sp.) (Bradley et al. 2004, 
p. 30) and stems by gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) (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.
Conservation Efforts to Reduce Disease or Predation
    Cactoblastis moth (Cactoblastic cactorum) monitoring and hand 
removal efforts are underway at BNP and Torchwood Hammock Preserve in 
an effort to protect Consolea corallicola. No satisfactory method of 
large-scale control for the Cactoblastis moth is known at this time. 
The USDA Agricultural Research Service's Center for Medical, 
Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Tallahassee, Florida, is 
developing containment methods including the use of female sex 
pheromone wing traps and irradiation techniques to control the spread 
of the Cactoblastis moth. These techniques have not yet been approved 
for widespread use (USDA 2006, p. 9).

Factor 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.
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 Regulated Plant 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 
Federal 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 
Regulated Plant 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 Florida 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

[[Page 63810]]

information concerning the State of Florida's implementation of the 
enforcement of these regulations. However, it is clear that illegal 
collection and vandalism of cacti are both occurring, despite these and 
other regulations that specifically prohibit these activities. 
Implementation or enforcement of these regulations has not reduced the 
threats 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 
regulations, 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 regulation, unauthorized bonfires have been documented at sites 
supporting Harrisia aboriginum (Woodmansee et al. 2007, p. 108; Bender 
2011, pp. 5-6).
Federal
    NPS regulations at 36 CFR 2.1 prohibit visitors from harming or 
removing plants, listed or otherwise, from ENP or BNP. However, the 
regulation does not address actions taken by NPS that cause habitat 
loss or modification.
    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 of the enforcement of these Federal authorities 
protecting the plants and their habitats from harm. Implementation or 
enforcement may not be adequate to reduce the threat to the two species 
in the future if the species continue to decline in numbers.
    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, planning comprehensive 
conservation for each refuge, and setting 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 (CCPs) 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) and Crocodile Lake 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 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. The Lower Key Refuges CCP 
management objective number 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-668ee) as amended, and the Refuge Recreation Act (16 
U.S. C. 460k-460k-4). The SUPs cover commercial activities (commercial 
activities such as guiding hunters, anglers, or other outdoor users; 
commercial filming; agriculture; 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), education activity). The 
Service has no information concerning the issuance of SUPs for any of 
the three species.

Factor 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 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

[[Page 63811]]

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 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. 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).

[[Page 63812]]

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 
2011b, 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. 1998, 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, climate 
change, 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
    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). The term ``climate'' refers to the mean and variability of 
different types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being a 
typical period for such measurements, although shorter or longer 
periods also may be used (IPCC 2007a, 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 
2007a, p. 78).
    Scientific measurements spanning several decades demonstrate that 
changes in climate are occurring, and that the rate of change has been 
faster since the 1950s. Examples include warming of the global climate 
system, and substantial increases in precipitation in some regions of 
the world and decreases in other regions. (For these and other 
examples, see IPCC 2007a, p. 30; and Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 35-54, 
82-85). Results of scientific analyses presented by the IPCC show that 
most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the 
mid-20th century cannot be explained by natural variability in climate, 
and is

[[Page 63813]]

``very likely'' (defined by the IPCC as 90 percent or higher 
probability) due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) 
concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of human activities, 
particularly carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels (IPCC 
2007a, pp. 5-6 and figures SPM.3 and SPM.4; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 
21-35). Further confirmation of the role of GHGs comes from analyses by 
Huber and Knutti (2011, p. 4), who concluded it is extremely likely 
that approximately 75 percent of global warming since 1950 has been 
caused by human activities.
    Scientists use a variety of climate models, which include 
consideration of natural processes and variability, as well as various 
scenarios of potential levels and timing of GHG emissions, to evaluate 
the causes of changes already observed and to project future changes in 
temperature and other climate conditions (e.g., Meehl et al. 2007, 
entire; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 11555, 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 
527, 529). All combinations of models and emissions scenarios yield 
very similar projections of increases in the most common measure of 
climate change, average global surface temperature (commonly known as 
global warming), until about 2030. Although projections of the 
magnitude and rate of warming differ after about 2030, the overall 
trajectory of all the projections is one of increased global warming 
through the end of this century, even for the projections based on 
scenarios that assume that GHG emissions will stabilize or decline. 
Thus, there is strong scientific support for projections that warming 
will continue through the 21st century, and that the magnitude and rate 
of change will be influenced substantially by the extent of GHG 
emissions (IPCC 2007a, pp. 44-45; Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 760-764 and 
797-811; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 15555-15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 
527, 529). (See IPCC 2007b, p. 8, for a summary of other global 
projections of climate-related changes, such as frequency of heat waves 
and changes in precipitation. Also see IPCC 2011(entire) for a summary 
of observations and projections of extreme climate events.).
    Various changes in climate may have direct or indirect effects on 
species. These effects may be positive, neutral, or negative, and they 
may change over time, depending on the species and other relevant 
considerations, such as interactions of climate with other variables 
(e.g., habitat fragmentation) (IPCC 2007, pp. 8-14, 18-19). Identifying 
likely effects often involves aspects of climate change vulnerability 
analysis. Vulnerability refers to the degree to which a species (or 
system) is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of 
climate change, including climate variability and extremes. 
Vulnerability is a function of the type, magnitude, and rate of climate 
change and variation to which a species is exposed, its sensitivity, 
and its adaptive capacity (IPCC 2007a, p. 89; see also Glick et al. 
2011, pp. 19-22). There is no single method for conducting such 
analyses that applies to all situations (Glick et al. 2011, p. 3). We 
use our expert judgment and appropriate analytical approaches to weigh 
relevant information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of 
various aspects of climate change.
    As is the case with all stressors that we assess, even if we 
conclude that a species is currently affected or is likely to be 
affected in a negative way by one or more climate-related impacts, it 
does not necessarily follow that the species meets the definition of an 
``endangered species'' or a ``threatened species'' under the Act. If a 
species is listed as endangered or threatened, knowledge regarding the 
vulnerability of the species to, and known or anticipated impacts from, 
climate-associated changes in environmental conditions can be used to 
help devise appropriate strategies for its recovery.
    Global climate projections are informative, and, in some cases, the 
only or the best scientific information available for us to use. 
However, projected changes in climate and related impacts can vary 
substantially across and within different regions of the world (e.g., 
IPCC 2007a, pp. 8-12). Therefore, we use ``downscaled'' projections 
when they are available and have been developed through appropriate 
scientific procedures, because such projections provide higher 
resolution information that is more relevant to spatial scales used for 
analyses of a given species (see Glick et al. 2011, pp. 58-61, for a 
discussion of downscaling).
    With regard to our analysis for 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 three species occur in habitats near sea level in 
areas of south Florida where considerable habitat is projected to be 
lost to sea level rise by 2100 (Saha et al 2011, p. 81; Zhang et al. 
2011, p. 129). Most populations are located less than 2 m (6.6 ft) 
above mean sea level, and the effects of sea level rise are expected to 
be a continual problem for these species and their habitats (Gann et 
al. 2002, pp. 391, 481; Bradley et al. 2004, p. 7; Sadle 2007, pers. 
comm.; Higgins 2007, pers. comm.; Duquesnel 2008, pers. comm.; Saha et 
al. 2011, p. 81). We acknowledge that the drivers of sea level rise 
(especially contributions of melting glaciers) are not completely 
understood, and there is uncertainty with regard to the rate and amount 
of sea level rise. This uncertainty increases as projections are made 
further into the future. For this reason, we examine threats to the 
species within the range of projections found in recent climate change 
literature.
    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 
the historical rate. The IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios 
(2000) presented a range of scenarios based on the computed amount of 
change in the climate system due to various potential amounts of 
anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols in 2100. Each scenario 
describes a future world with varying levels of atmospheric pollution 
leading to corresponding levels of global warming and corresponding 
levels of sea level rise.
    Subsequent to the 2007 IPCC Report, the scientific community has 
continued to model sea level rise. Recent peer reviewed publications 
indicate a movement towards increased acceleration of sea level rise. 
Observed sea level rise rates are already trending along the higher end 
of the 2007 IPCC estimates, and it now widely held that sea level rise 
will exceed the levels projected by the IPCC (Rahmstorf et al. 2012, p. 
1; Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 470). Taken together, these studies support 
the use of higher end estimates now prevalent in the scientific 
literature. Recent studies have estimated global mean sea level rise of 
1 to 2 m (3.3 to 6.6 ft) by 2100 as follows: 0.75 m to 1.90 m (2.5 to 
6.2 ft; Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009, p. 21527), 0.8 m to 2.0 m (2.6 to 
6.6 ft; Pfeffer et al. 2008, p. 1342), 0.8 m to 1.3 m (2.6 to 4.3 ft; 
Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 470), 0.6 m to 1.6 m (2.0 to 5.2 ft; Jevrejeva 
et al. 2010, p. 4), and 0.5 m to 1.40 m (1.6 to 4.6 ft; NRC 2012, p. 
2).
    Sea level rise projections from various scenarios have been 
downscaled by

[[Page 63814]]

TNC (2011; entire) and Zhang et al. (2011; entire) for the Florida 
Keys. Using the IPCC best-case, low pollution scenario, a rise of 18 cm 
(7 in) (a rate close to the historical average reported above) would 
result in the inundation of 23,796 ha (58,800 acres) or 38.2 percent of 
the Florida Keys upland area by the year 2100 (TNC 2011, p. 25). Under 
the IPCC worst case, high pollution scenario, a rise of 59 cm (23.2 in) 
would result in the inundation of 46,539 ha (115,000 acres) or 74.7 
percent of the Florida Keys upland area by the year 2100 (TNC 2011, p. 
25). Using Rahmstorf et al. (2007; p. 368) sea level rise projections 
of 100 to 140 cm, 80.5 to 92.2 percent of the Florida Keys land area 
would be inundated by 2100. The Zhang et al. (2011, p. 136) study 
models sea level rise up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) for the Florida Keys, which 
would inundate 93.6 percent of the current land area of the Keys.
    Prior to inundation, the habitats that support these species will 
undergo a transition to salt marshes or mangroves (Saha et al. 2011, 
pp. 81-82, 105) and be increasingly vulnerable to storm surge. Habitats 
for these species are restricted to relatively immobile geologic 
features separated by large expanses of flooded, inhospitable wetland 
or ocean, leading us to conclude that these habitats will likely not be 
able to migrate as sea level rises (Saha et al. 2011, pp. 103-104). 
Because of the extreme fragmentation of remaining habitat and isolation 
of remaining populations, and the accelerating rate at which sea level 
rise is projected to occur (Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 470), it will be 
particularly difficult for these species to disperse to suitable 
habitat once existing sites that support them are lost to sea level 
rise. 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). The plant species face significant 
risks from coastal squeeze that occurs when habitat is pressed between 
rising sea levels and coastal development that prevents landward 
migration of species. The ultimate effect of these impacts is likely to 
result in reductions in reproduction and survival, and corresponding 
decreases in population numbers.
    When analyzed using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) Sea Level Rise and Coastal Impacts viewer, we can 
generalize as to the impact of a 1.8-m (5.9-ft) sea level rise (the 
maximum available using this tool) on the current distribution of these 
species. Analysis for each species at each location follow.
Chromolaena frustrata
    A 1.8-m (5.9-ft) rise would inundate all existing mainland 
Chromolaena frustrata occurrences in ENP. The closest area with uplands 
would be at least 20 miles north near Homestead, on the slightly raised 
elevations provided by the Miami rock ridge. In the Florida Keys, Key 
Largo would be transformed into a series of smaller islands aligned 
with the high spine of the Key, which is mostly occupied by the U.S. 1 
highway corridor. Upper Matecumbe Key would follow a similar pattern, 
and the existing occurrence location supporting C. frustrata would be 
inundated. The locations of existing occurrences on Lignumvitae Key 
would be inundated. On all of these Keys, existing buttonwood and 
coastal berm habitat would be lost. Effects to buttonwood forests are 
already observed from salinity intrusion as these forests are 
converting to mangroves. However, some areas that are currently 
rockland hammock would remain above sea level, although they may 
transition to other habitat types which may or may not be suitable for 
C. frustrata. Lower Matecumbe Key would lose all upland habitat. Long 
Key would be reduced to just two areas with elevation raised by fill. 
The remainder of the species' range, including Big Pine Key, Big Munson 
Island, and Boca Grande Key and all upland habitat and areas supporting 
C. frustrata, would be inundated by 2100. Lignumvitae Key is the only 
existing occupied location that could continue to support a population 
given a 1.8-m (5.9-ft) sea level rise.
Consolea corallicola
    A 1.8-m (5.9-ft) sea level rise would completely inundate Little 
Torch Key and severely reduce the area of habitat remaining on Swan 
Key, including all areas currently supporting C. corallicola. In 2100, 
the nearest upland habitats from Little Torch Key may be as far as 100 
miles north in peninsular Florida, or 100 miles south in Cuba. On Swan 
Key, the species may be able to disperse to the remaining higher 
ground, and the location could continue to support a population given a 
1.8-m (5.9-ft) sea level rise.
Harrisia aboriginum
    A 1.8-m (5.9-ft) rise would greatly reduce the area of all barrier 
islands on the Gulf Coast of Florida that support Harrisia aboriginum, 
including Longboat Key, North Manasota Key, Gasparilla Island, Cayo 
Costa, and Buck Key. The majority of the upland area, including all 
lower elevation habitats on Longboat Key and North Manasota Key would 
be lost to inundation, but not the relatively higher coastal berm and 
hardwood hammock habitats that support H. aboriginum. The occurrence at 
Charlotte Harbor Preserve on an elevated coastal berm would also remain 
above sea level. However, while they would not be inundated, these 
areas would be rendered much more susceptible to habitat loss or 
modification due storm surges and salinization as the elevation of 
these becomes nearer to sea level. Existing occurrences on Cayo Pelau, 
Gasparilla Island, Bokeelia Island, and Buck Key would be totally 
inundated. No upland habitat would remain on Cayo Pelau or Bokeelia 
Island, and very little would remain on Gasparilla Island or Buck Key. 
On the mainland, the existing occurrence at Lemon Bay Preserve would be 
completely inundated, while occurrences on elevated shell mounds at 
Historic Spanish Point and Charlotte Harbor Preserve would be 
relatively secure given a 1.8-m (5.9-ft) sea level rise.
    In summary, the current occurrences of Harrisia aboriginum at Live 
Oak Key (1), Gasparilla Island (2), Bokeelia Island (1), Cayo Pelau 
(1), Lemon Bay Preserve (1), and Buck Key (1) would be inundated by a 
1.8-m (5.9-ft) sea level rise, leading to the loss of these 
populations. Occurrences at Longboat Key (1), North Manasota Key (2-3), 
and on a coastal berm in Charlotte Harbor Preserve (1) would not be 
completely inundated, but would experience significant loss and 
modification of habitat, and what remains would be highly susceptible 
to further losses to storm surge and salinization. Two occurrences, 
Charlotte Harbor Preserve (1) and Historic Spanish Point (1), would be 
relatively secure from sea level rise through 2100, due to the higher 
elevation of their shell mound habitat.
Habitat Change Due to Increased Soil and Groundwater Salinity
    Plant communities in coastal areas serve as early indicators of the 
effects of sea level rise (IPCC 2008, p. 57). These effects have been 
observed in the past and are presently driving changes in plant 
communities in coastal South Florida. Sea level rise is a threat to 
south Florida's low-lying coasts where plant communities are organized 
along a mild gradient in elevation, from mangroves at sea level to 
salinity-intolerant coastal hardwood hammocks on localized elevations 
generally less than 2 m (6.6 ft) above sea level (Saha et al. 2011, p. 
82). Field data collected over 11 years in hardwood hammocks and 
coastal buttonwood forests in ENP

[[Page 63815]]

show that salt-tolerant plant species are replacing salt-intolerant 
species. It is predicted that buttonwood forests will exhibit 
fragmentation and decline in cover because of saltwater intrusion. A 
decline in the extent of coastal hardwood hammocks and buttonwood 
forests is predicted with the initial rise in sea level before the 
onset of sustained erosional inundation. Though this study focuses on 
ENP, it has implications for coastal forests threatened by saltwater 
intrusion throughout coastal South Florida (Saha et al. 2011, pp. 81-
82, 105). Similar changes in plant communities have been observed in 
the Florida Keys due to saltwater intrusion (Ross et al. 1994, p. 144; 
2009, p. 471). 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. (2009, pp. 471-478) suggested that 
interactions between sea level rise and pulse disturbances such as 
storm surges can cause vegetation to change sooner than projected based 
on sea level alone.
    Research on Consolea corallicola (Stiling 2010, p. 2) and other 
Florida cacti suggests that increased soil salinity levels can cause 
mortality of these plants (Goodman et al. 2012b, 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. 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.). At some 
C. corallicola sites, current salinity conditions appear unsuitable for 
plant maturation and population expansion (Duquesnel 2012, pers. comm.; 
Stiling 2012, pers. comm.).
    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 by 
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).
    In the case of these plants, a key threat is loss and modification 
of the species' primary habitat to sea level rise. Habitat loss is 
ongoing and expected to continue through 2100, with acceleration in the 
rate of rise in the second half of the century. Both the amount and the 
quality of that habitat will be significantly reduced from historic 
levels over the next 50 to 100 years.
    The IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios projections are 
widely used in the assessments of future climate change and their 
underlying assumptions with respect to socio-economic, demographic, and 
technological change serve as inputs to many recent climate change 
vulnerability and impact assessments (IPCC 2077, p. 44). There is a 
tight, observed relationship between global average temperature rise 
and sea level rise over the recent observational record (~120 years) 
(Rahmstorf 2007, p. 368). Sea level rise projections through 2100 are 
the standard in the assessment and planning literature (IPCC 2007, p. 
45; Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 468; Jevrejeva et al. 2010, p. 4; NRC 
2010, p. 2; Pfeffer et al. 2008, p. 1340; Rahmstorf et al. 2012, p. 3; 
USACE 2011, EC 1165-2-212, p. B-11) and represent the best available 
science for assessing climate change threats. Therefore, we have 
determined the foreseeable future for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum for climate change effects to be 
to the year 2100.
Conservation Efforts To Reduce Other Natural or Manmade Factors 
Affecting Their Continued Existence
Reintroductions
    Reintroductions of Consolea corallicola have been implemented at 
several locations on State lands in the Florida Keys, but these have 
been largely unsuccessful due to Cactoblastis moth predation, crown 
rot, and burial of small plants by leaf litter. Reintroduction of C. 
corallicola serves multiple objectives towards the plant's 
conservation, including increasing the number of populations to address 
the threat of few, small populations; establishing populations across a 
wider geographic area to reduce the chance that all populations will be 
affected by natural disturbances, such as hurricanes and storm surge 
events; and establishing populations at higher elevation sites that 
will be less vulnerable to storm surge events and sea level rise.
Ex situ Conservation
    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) has 44 seed collections of 
Chromolaena frustrata from ENP, which were provided to the National 
Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) for testing and 
storage, and one collection from Lignumvitae Key. They have no living 
specimens of C. frustrata at FTBG. FTBG has 11 collections of Consolea 
corallicola, representing both wild populations, each of which is 
represented by at least one living specimen of at FTBG, for a total of 
17 living specimens. FTBG has five collections of Harrisia aboriginum 
from the Buck Key population, four of which are represented by at least 
one living specimen at FTBG, for a total of five living specimens 
(Maschinski 2013a, pers. comm.).
    Key West Botanical Garden (KWBG) has one collection of Chromolaena 
frustrata from Big Munson Island. Numerous C. frustrata are planted on 
the KWBG grounds. KWBG has one collection of Consolea corallicola 
represented by several living specimens (Maschinski 2013b, pers. 
comm.).
Nonnative Species Control
    The Service; NPS; State of Florida; Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, 
Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties; and several local governments conduct 
nonnative species control efforts on sites that support Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum.
Cumulative Impacts
Cumulative Effects From Factors A Through E
Cumulative Effects of Threats
    Some of the threats discussed in this finding could work in concert 
with one another to cumulatively create situations that impact 
Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum 
beyond the scope of the combined threats that we have already analyzed. 
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 Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 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,

[[Page 63816]]

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 Harrisia aboriginum.

Summary of Threats

    The decline of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and 
Harrisia aboriginum is primarily the result of habitat loss (Factor A), 
competition from nonnative plants, predation by nonnative herbivores 
(Factor C), climate change, storms, wildfire, and other anthropogenic 
threats (Factor E). In addition, Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum are impacted by over collection for unauthorized trade of 
these cacti (Factor B). Various nonnative species of plants and 
herbivores are firmly established in the range of Chromolaena 
frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum and continue 
to impact the species in localized areas (Factor C).
    Current State and Federal regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) appear 
to be inadequate to protect Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea 
corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum from collection. Other causes of 
decline of Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia 
aboriginum include climate change (including sea level rise), 
inadvertent vandalism, wildfire, and isolated small populations, and 
these continue to be the threats to these species (Factor E). Although 
there are ongoing attempts to alleviate some of these threats at some 
locations, there appear to be no populations without significant 
threats.

Determinations

    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 (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. Listing actions may be warranted based on any of 
the above threat factors, singly or in combination.

Determination for Chromolaena frustrata

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial data 
available regarding the past, present, and future threats to 
Chromolaena frustrata. Chromolaena frustrata is, and will continue to 
be, affected by threats that we discussed under Factors A, C, D, and E, 
above. Except for ENP and Big Munson Island, all populations are small 
and widely separated from one another by unsuitable habitat. Small 
populations are more vulnerable to genetic bottlenecks, catastrophic 
events, and random demographic fluctuations (Factor E). C. frustrata is 
a relatively short-lived plant and often exhibits wide demographic 
fluctuations in response to changing habitat conditions such as canopy 
closure and canopy opening. The size of the Big Munson Island 
population is currently unknown. However, we believe it may be much 
reduced since the 2004 estimate due to post-hurricane canopy regrowth, 
herbivory, or other threats.
    Of 12 historically known populations, 4 have been lost to 
development. Currently, one of the remaining eight populations occur on 
private lands and are vulnerable to development (Factor A). Visitor use 
of public lands is increasing, as is the pressure to provide additional 
visitor facilities, amenities, and recreational opportunities. While 
relatively secure, those populations are vulnerable to recreation 
impacts, facilities development, and park maintenance (Factor A).
    Each of the eight remaining populations is vulnerable to habitat 
loss and modification from sea level rise (Factor E). Increased 
salinity of water tables underlying C. frustrata habitat, due to sea 
level rise, is presently driving changes in buttonwood forests in 
coastal south Florida. These forests are transforming into more saline 
plant communities with conditions unsuitable for C. frustrata. The 
effects of sea level rise are expected to be a continual threat to the 
species and its habitats into the foreseeable future. Seven of eight 
locations currently supporting C. frustrata will be completely 
inundated by the projected 1.8-m (5.8-ft) sea level rise by 2100. As 
habitat is fragmented by the effects of sea level rise and development, 
it will be difficult for the species or its habitats to overcome 
manmade and natural barriers to dispersal.
    Additional threats to C. frustrata include competition from 
nonnative plant species, (Factor E), freezing temperatures (Factor E), 
and herbivory (Factor C). Stochastic events such as hurricanes, and 
resulting storm surge and extreme high tide events, can modify habitat 
and destroy entire populations (Factor E). Finally, existing regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate to address current threats, and current 
conservation measures have not reversed population declines or habitat 
loss (Factor D). These threats have acted on populations of C. 
frustrata in the past, are acting on them currently, and are expected 
to continue to act on them in the foreseeable future. The threats 
described are imminent and severe, and some threats, including 
hurricanes, storm surge, nonnative species, and sea level rise, affect 
all populations.
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and 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.'' We find that Chromolaena frustrata is 
presently in danger of extinction throughout its entire range based on 
the severity and immediacy of threats currently impacting the species. 
Its overall range has been significantly reduced; the remaining habitat 
and populations are threatened by a variety of factors acting in 
combination to reduce the overall viability of Chromolaena frustrata. 
The risk of extinction for Chromolaena frustrata is high because the 
remaining populations are isolated, with some being small, and have 
limited potential for recolonization. Therefore, on the basis of the 
best scientific and commercial data available, we have determined that 
Chromolaena frustrata meets the definition of an endangered species in 
accordance with sections 3(6) and 4(a)(1) of the Act.
    We find that a threatened species status is not appropriate for 
Chromolaena frustrata because of the severity of the current threats 
acting on the small, isolated populations where the species still 
persists. These threats are occurring rangewide and are not 
concentrated in any particular portion of the range. Due to the 
severity of the threats, natural recolonization of the plant's 
historical range is not possible; because the threats are ongoing and 
expected to continue into the foreseeable future, this places 
Chromolaena frustrata in danger of extinction now. Therefore, we have 
determined that this species meets the definition of an endangered 
species rather than a threatened species.

[[Page 63817]]

    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. The threats to the survival of 
Chromolaena frustrata occur throughout the species' range and are not 
restricted to any particular significant portion of the range. 
Accordingly, our assessment and determination applies to the species 
throughout its entire range.

Determination for Consolea corallicola

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial data 
available regarding the past, present, and future threats to Consolea 
corallicola. Consolea corallicola is, and will continue to be, affected 
by threats discussed under Factors A, B, C, D, and E, above.
    Of four historically known populations, two were lost to 
development and poaching. The remaining populations that occur on 
public land, while relatively secure, are vulnerable to recreation 
impacts, facilities development, and park maintenance (Factor A). All 
populations are vulnerable to poaching (Factor B), predation by the 
Cactoblastis moth (Factor C), habitat modification and competition from 
nonnative plant species (Factor E), and habitat loss or modification 
from sea level rise (Factor E).
    Increased salinity of water tables underlying habitat for the 
species from sea level rise is presently driving changes in buttonwood 
forests in coastal south Florida toward more saline plant communities 
and conditions unsuitable for C. corallicola. The effects of sea level 
rise are expected to be a continual threat to the species and its 
habitats into the foreseeable future. Four of the six locations 
currently supporting C. corallicola will be completely inundated by the 
projected 1.8-m (5.8-ft) sea level rise by 2100. As habitat is 
fragmented by the effects of sea level rise and development, it will be 
difficult for the species or its habitats to overcome manmade and 
natural barriers to dispersal. Hurricanes, storm surge, and extreme 
high tide events can modify habitat and destroy entire populations.
    Of six extant populations, one wild population and three 
reintroduced populations are small. Small populations are more 
vulnerable to genetic bottlenecks, catastrophic events, and random 
demographic fluctuations (Factor E). Finally, existing regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate to address current threats, and current 
conservation measures have not reversed population declines or habitat 
loss (Factor D). These threats have acted on populations of C. 
corallicola in the past, are acting on them currently, and will 
continue to act them into the foreseeable future. The threats described 
are imminent and severe, and some threats, including poaching, 
herbivory, hurricanes, storm surge, nonnative species, and sea level 
rise, affect all populations.
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and 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.'' We find that Consolea corallicola is 
presently in danger of extinction throughout its entire range based on 
the severity and immediacy of threats currently impacting the species. 
Its overall range has been significantly reduced; the remaining habitat 
and populations are threatened by a variety of factors acting in 
combination to reduce the overall viability of Consolea corallicola. 
The risk of extinction for Consolea corallicola is high because the 
remaining populations are isolated and small, and all populations are 
vulnerable to poaching (Factor B), predation by the Cactoblastis moth 
(Factor C), habitat modification and competition form nonnative plant 
species (Factor E), and habitat loss or modification from sea level 
rise (Factor E). Threats are acting synergistically, and all contribute 
to this species being in danger of extinction at the present time. 
Therefore, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data 
available, we have determined that Consolea corallicola meets the 
definition of an endangered species in accordance with sections 3(6) 
and 4(a)(1) of the Act.
    We find that a threatened species status is not appropriate for 
Consolea corallicola because of the severity of the current threats 
acting on the remaining small populations that are isolated from one 
another. The threats acting on this species are occurring rangewide and 
are not concentrated in any particular portion of the range. Due to the 
severity of the threats, natural recolonization of the plant's 
historical range is not possible; because the threats are ongoing and 
expected to continue into the foreseeable future, this places Consolea 
corallicola in danger of extinction now. Therefore, we have determined 
that this species meets the definition of an endangered species rather 
than a threatened species.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. The threats to the survival of 
Consolea corallicola occur throughout the species' range and are not 
restricted to any particular significant portion of the range. 
Accordingly, our assessment and determination applies to the species 
throughout its entire range.

Determination for Harrisia aboriginum

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial data 
available regarding the past, present, and future threats to Harrisia 
aboriginum. Harrisia aboriginum is and will continue to be affected by 
threats discussed under Factors A, B, C, D, and E, above.
    Of 14 known populations, 2 have been extirpated, and most others 
have experienced steep declines historically due to habitat loss 
(Factor A) and poaching (Factor B). Three of the populations that are 
on private land are presently vulnerable to development. Populations on 
public land, while relatively secure, are vulnerable to recreation 
impacts, facilities development, and park maintenance (Factor A). All 
populations are vulnerable to poaching, nonnative plant species, 
vandalism, wildfire, and habitat loss or modification from sea level 
rise.
    Increased salinity of water tables underlying habitat for the 
species from sea level rise is presently driving changes in coastal 
ecosystems in coastal south Florida toward more saline plant 
communities and conditions unsuitable for H. aboriginum. The effects of 
sea level rise are expected to be a continual threat to the species and 
its habitats into the foreseeable future. Six of the 12 locations 
currently supporting H. aboriginum will be completely inundated by the 
projected 1.8-m (5.8-ft) sea level rise by 2100. As habitat is 
fragmented by the effects of sea level rise and development, it will be 
difficult for the species or its habitats to overcome manmade and 
natural barriers to dispersal. Stochastic events such as hurricanes, 
and resulting storm surge and extreme high tide events, can modify 
habitat and destroy entire populations.
    Of 12 extant populations, all but 2 have fewer than 100 plants. 
Small populations are more vulnerable to genetic bottlenecks, 
catastrophic events, and random demographic fluctuations (Factor E). 
Finally, existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to address 
current threats, and current conservation measures have not reversed 
population declines or habitat loss (Factor D). These threats have 
acted on populations of H. aboriginum in the

[[Page 63818]]

past, are acting on them currently, and will continue to act them into 
the foreseeable future. The threats described are imminent and severe, 
and some threats, including poaching, hurricanes, storm surge, 
nonnative species, and sea level rise, affect all populations.
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and 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.'' We find that Harrisia aboriginum is 
presently in danger of extinction throughout its entire range based on 
the severity and immediacy of threats currently impacting the species. 
Its overall range has been significantly reduced; the remaining habitat 
and populations are threatened by a variety of factors acting in 
combination to reduce the overall viability of Harrisia aboriginum. The 
risk of extinction for Harrisia aboriginum is high because the 
remaining populations are isolated and small, and all populations are 
vulnerable to poaching, hurricanes, storm surge, nonnative species, and 
sea level rise. Threats are acting synergistically, and all contribute 
to this species being in danger of extinction at the present time. 
Therefore, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data 
available, we have determined that Harrisia aboriginum meets the 
definition of an endangered species in accordance with sections 3(6) 
and 4(a)(1) of the Act.
    We find that a threatened species status is not appropriate for 
Harrisia aboriginum because of the severity of the current threats 
acting on the remaining small populations that are isolated from one 
another. The threats acting on this species are occurring rangewide and 
are not concentrated in any particular portion of the range. Due to the 
severity of the threats, natural recolonization of the plant's 
historical range is not possible; because the threats are ongoing and 
expected to continue into the foreseeable future, this places Harrisia 
aboriginum in danger of extinction now. Therefore, we have determined 
that this species meets the definition of an endangered species rather 
than a threatened species.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. The threats to the survival of 
Harrisia aboriginum occur throughout the species' range and are not 
restricted to any particular significant portion of the range. 
Accordingly, our assessment and determination applies to the species 
throughout its entire range.

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 results in public awareness and 
conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, 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 by Federal agencies and the 
prohibitions against certain activities 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 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 
downlisted 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 (composed of species 
experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernment 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, Tribes, 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. To achieve recovery of these species requires 
cooperative conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands.
    When this rule is effective (see DATES), 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 nongovernmental organizations. 
In addition, pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the State of Florida 
will be eligible for Federal funds to implement management actions that 
promote the protection or 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.
    Please let us know if you are interested in participating in 
recovery efforts for any or all three of these 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).
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as an 
endangered or threatened species and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) of the Act 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) of the Act requires 
Federal agencies to

[[Page 63819]]

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 
affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible 
Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the Service.
    Federal agency actions within the species' habitat that may require 
conference or consultation or both as described in the preceding 
paragraph include management and any other landscape-altering 
activities on Federal lands administered by the Department of Defense, 
NPS, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service; 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 
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 
endangered, 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. Federal 
listing increases protection 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.
    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 listing on 
proposed and ongoing activities within the range of listed species. The 
following activities could potentially result in a violation of section 
9 of the Act; this list is not comprehensive:
    (1) Import of any of the three plant species into, or export of any 
such species from, the United States without authorization;
    (2) Remove and reduce to possession any of the three plant species 
from areas under Federal jurisdiction; maliciously damage or destroy 
any of the species on any such area; or remove, cut, dig up, or damage 
or destroy any of the 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 of 
the three species;
    (5) Introduce any unauthorized 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 without 
authorization or coverage 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).

Critical Habitat

Background

    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 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.
    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

[[Page 63820]]

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.

Chromolaena frustrata

    We found that designation of critical habitat for Chromolaena 
frustrata is prudent, and made a finding that critical habitat is 
determinable for the species. For further discussion, see the proposed 
listing rule (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 61836) in which we also proposed 
to designate critical habitat for Chromolaena frustrata. As discussed 
above, the public has already had an opportunity to comment on the 
proposed designation. Our final designation of critical habitat for 
Chromolaena frustrata will be published in the near future.

Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum

Critical Habitat Prudency
    We found that designation of critical habitat was not prudent for 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum in our October 11, 2012 
proposed rule (77 FR 61836). We based this finding on a determination 
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 stated 
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 stated that the risk 
of increasing significant threats to the species by publishing more 
specific location information in a critical habitat designation greatly 
outweighed the benefits of designating critical habitat.
    We received numerous comments from private and Federal entities 
stating that the locations of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum are already available in scientific journals, online 
databases, and documents published by the Service, which led us to 
reconsider the prudency determination for these species. Given that our 
original determination rested on the increased risk of poaching 
resulting from publicizing the locations of Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum through maps of critical habitat in the Federal 
Register, and in light of the received during the public comment period 
we now believe critical habitat is prudent for Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum. Our rationale is outlined below.
    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 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.
    Rare cacti are valuable to collectors and the threat of poaching 
remains imminent (Factor B) for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum. There is evidence that the designation of critical habitat 
could result in an increased threat from taking, specifically 
collection, for both butterflies, through publication of maps and a 
narrative description of specific critical habitat units in the Federal 
Register. However, such information on locations of extant Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum populations is already widely 
available to the public through many outlets as noted above. Therefore, 
identification and mapping of critical habitat is not expected increase 
the degree of such threat. In the comments we received on the proposed 
listing and critical habitat designation, we were alerted to the 
existing availability of many, if not all, populations or locations of 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum.
Critical Habitat Determinability
    Having determined that designation of critical habitat is prudent 
for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum 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 Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and habitat 
characteristics where the species are located. This and other 
information represent the best scientific data available and have led 
us to conclude that the designation of critical habitat is

[[Page 63821]]

determinable for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. 
Therefore, we will also propose designation of critical habitat for 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum under the Act in the near 
future.

Required Determinations

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, need not be prepared in connection with 
listing a species as an endangered or threatened species under the 
Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for 
this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 
49244).

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited 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 final rule 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.

Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--[AMENDED]

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

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245; unless 
otherwise noted.


0
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) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        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                       826           NA           NA
                                    Sable.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Consolea corallicola.............  Cactus, Florida       U.S.A. (FL)........  Cactaceae..........  E                       826           NA           NA
                                    semaphore.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Harrisia aboriginum..............  Prickly-apple,        U.S.A. (FL)........  Cactaceae..........  E                       826           NA           NA
                                    aboriginal.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Dated: September 25, 2013.
Rowan W. Gould,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-24177 Filed 10-23-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P