[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 165 (Tuesday, August 26, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50989-51039]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-19558]



[[Page 50989]]

Vol. 79

Tuesday,

No. 165

August 26, 2014

Part II





 Department of the Interior





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 Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical 
Habitat for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus 
verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-
fruit gladecress); Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 79 , No. 165 / Tuesday, August 26, 2014 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 50990]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2013-0086; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AZ60


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus 
verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-
fruit gladecress)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designate 
critical habitat for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus 
verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-
fruit gladecress) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). In total, approximately 1,006 hectares (ha) (2,488 acres (ac)) 
in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee fall within the 
boundaries of the critical habitat designations.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on September 25, 2014.

ADDRESSES: This final rule is available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov and http://fws.gov/cookeville. Comments and 
materials we received, as well as some supporting documentation we used 
in preparing this final 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, Tennessee Ecological Services Office, 446 Neal Street, 
Cookeville, TN 38501; telephone 931-528-6481; fax 931-528-7075.
    The coordinates or plot points or both from which the maps are 
generated are included in the administrative record for this critical 
habitat designation and are available at http://fws.gov/cookeville, at 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2013-0086, and at 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Ecological Services Field 
Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or 
supporting information that we developed for this critical habitat 
designation will also be available at the Fish and Wildlife Service Web 
site and Field Office set out above, and may also be included in the 
preamble and at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary E. Jennings, Field Supervisor, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Ecological Services Fish and 
Wildlife Office, (see ADDRESSES above). 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 Act, when we determine 
that any species is an endangered or threatened species, we must 
designate critical habitat to the maximum extent prudent and 
determinable. Critical habitat may be designated only by issuing a 
rule.
    This rule consists of: A final rule designating critical habitat 
for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. 
We are designating:
     Approximately 373 ha (925.5 ac) in 20 units in Posey 
County, Indiana; Clark, Franklin, and Woodford Counties, Kentucky; and 
Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Jackson, Montgomery, Smith, and Trousdale 
Counties, Tennessee, for Short's bladderpod.
     Approximately 624.2 ha (1,542.3 ac) in four units in 
Cherokee County, Alabama; Floyd County, Georgia; and Madison and 
McNairy Counties, Tennessee, for whorled sunflower.
     Approximately 8.4 ha (20.6 ac) in seven units in Lawrence 
and Morgan Counties, Alabama, for fleshy-fruit gladecress.
    This rule consists of: A final rule for designation of critical 
habitat for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit 
gladecress.
    We have prepared an economic analysis of the designation of 
critical habitat. We have prepared an analysis of the economic impacts 
of the critical habitat designation and related factors. We announced 
the availability of the draft economic analysis in the Federal Register 
on May 29, 2014 (79 FR 30792), allowing the public to provide comments. 
We have incorporated the comments and have completed the final economic 
analysis concurrently with this final determination.
    Peer review and public comment. We sought comments from independent 
specialists to ensure that our designation is based on scientifically 
sound data and analyses. We obtained opinions from five knowledgeable 
individuals with scientific expertise to review our technical 
assumptions, analysis, and whether or not we had used the best 
available information. These peer reviewers generally concurred with 
our methods and conclusions and provided additional information, 
clarifications, and suggestions to improve this final rule. Information 
we received from peer review is incorporated in this final revised 
designation. We also considered all comments and information received 
from the public during the comment period.

Previous Federal Actions

    All previous Federal actions are described in the proposed rule to 
list Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress 
as endangered species under the Act, which published on August 2, 2013 
(78 FR 47109). Also on this date, we proposed critical habitat for 
these species (78 FR 47059). On May 29, 2014 (79 FR 30792), we 
announced the availability of the draft economic analysis (DEA) for the 
proposed critical habitat designation, and the reopened the public 
comment period to allow comment on the DEA and further comment on the 
proposed rule.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public on the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for Short's bladderpod, whorled 
sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress during two comment periods. The 
first comment period opened with the publication of the proposed rule 
(78 FR 47060) on August 2, 2013, and closed on October 1, 2013. We also 
requested comments on the proposed critical habitat designation and 
associated draft economic analysis during a second comment period, 
which opened on May 29, 2014, and closed on June 30, 2014 (79 FR 
30792). We also contacted appropriate Federal, State, and local 
agencies; scientific organizations; and other interested parties and 
invited them to comment on the proposed rule and draft economic 
analysis during these comment periods.
    During the first comment period, we received two comment letters 
directly addressing the proposed critical habitat designation. During 
the second comment period, we did not receive any comments on the 
proposed critical habitat designation or the draft economic analysis. 
We did not receive any requests for a public hearing during either 
comment period. All substantive information provided during comment

[[Page 50991]]

periods has either been incorporated directly into this final 
determination or addressed below.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinions from five knowledgeable 
individuals with scientific expertise that included familiarity with 
one or more of the species, the geographic region in which the species 
occur, and conservation biology principles. We received responses from 
all five of the peer reviewers.
    We reviewed all comments received from the peer reviewers for 
substantive issues and new information regarding critical habitat for 
the Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. 
The peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods and 
conclusions, and one of the peer reviewers provided additional 
information, clarifications, and suggestions to improve the final rule. 
Peer reviewer comments are addressed in the following summary and 
incorporated into this final rule as appropriate.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    (1) Comment: A peer reviewer questioned why there is no unoccupied 
habitat for the fleshy fruit gladecress included in the critical 
habitat designation.
    Our Response: We considered whether any sites where the species is 
historically known to have occurred, but is currently not present, 
should be designated as critical habitat. None of those sites are 
located on protected lands, and the best available data indicate that 
the species' absence from these sites is due to destruction or 
alteration of glade habitat, so that these previously occupied areas no 
longer provide the habitat features essential for the conservation of 
the species.
    (2) Comment: A reviewer questioned whether we should have 
considered designating critical habitat on some of the sites where 
Short's bladderpod has been extirpated. The reviewer reasoned that, 
because we do not know how long seed can remain viable in the soil, it 
is possible that some of these sites could contain a dormant soil seed 
bank that could facilitate population recovery.
    Our Response: We agree with the reviewer that data are lacking 
concerning the length of time that seeds remain viable in the soil. 
However, we reviewed available data for all localities from where we 
concluded that Short's bladderpod has been extirpated and determined 
that either the original data reporting the species' historical 
presence was too imprecise for surveyors to relocate those occurrences, 
despite attempts to do so, or that habitat has either been destroyed or 
altered to a degree that it no longer is essential for the conservation 
of the species. We reviewed the unoccupied habitat and found that these 
areas no longer provided the primary constituent elements or the 
habitat features needed for the survival of the species.

Federal Comment

    During the public comment periods, we received one comment letter 
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers addressing the proposed critical 
habitat.
    (3) Comment: The Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, expressed 
concern with the Service's identification of the potential need for 
special management considerations or protection to reduce the threat of 
prolonged inundation of sites (i.e., critical habitat) due to 
manipulation of regulated waters for flood control or other purposes. 
The Corps stated that the operation of the Cumberland River and 
tributary projects as a system will, during flood events, sometimes 
cause inundation of lower elevations of some critical habitat units, 
but that the units would not generally be subjected to prolonged 
inundation due to the need to quickly recover flood storage by lowering 
reservoir elevations. The Corps noted, however, that operations related 
to flood control are dictated by water conditions throughout the basin 
and the need to ensure that flood risks and impacts to human health and 
safety are addressed and minimized. For this reason the Corps requested 
that we exclude from our list of special management considerations 
their operations for flood control purposes or clarify that this 
operation is a health and safety management measure that will receive 
special consideration relative to a potential threat to the endangered 
species and its designated habitat.
    Our Response: We acknowledge that the Corps' operation of the 
Cumberland River and tributary projects, as it relates to flood 
control, is an important service to the public that is necessary to 
minimize flood risks and impacts to human health. We also acknowledge 
that the Corps has been an active partner in pre-listing conservation 
efforts, allowing access for surveys and monitoring efforts that 
produced much of the data that we used in designating critical habitat 
for Short's bladderpod, and has expressed interest in working with the 
Service to develop management plans for Short's bladderpod and critical 
habitat units located on lands owned or managed by the Corps. After 
further consideration of the Corps' concerns and the potential benefits 
to the species, we have reaffirmed our decision not to exclude 
prolonged inundation of sites due to manipulation of regulated waters 
for flood control or other purposes from the list of actions that could 
require special management considerations or protections to minimize 
potential effects to the species or designated critical habitat.
    As discussed below (see Section 7 Consultation), section 7(a)(2) of 
the Act requires Federal agencies, including the Service, to ensure 
that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or 
threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification 
of designated critical habitat of such species. The Corps is currently 
preparing a biological assessment of the effects to listed species and 
critical habitat that could result from operations and maintenance of 
dams and other infrastructure on the Cumberland River for flood control 
and other purposes (not including navigation) for the purpose of 
consulting with the Service under Section 7(a)(2). The biological 
assessment should identify measures that could be taken to (1) minimize 
adverse effects from such circumstances, and (2) compensate for any 
adverse effects that are unavoidable due to prolonged inundation 
resulting from flood control operations. In the event that flood 
conditions should occur that require the Corps to raise reservoir 
levels for prolonged periods to protect human health and safety and 
minimize flood risks to downstream communities prior to having 
concluded consultation with the Service, the Act includes provisions 
that would allow the Corps to request emergency consultation within 48 
hours of responding to such emergency conditions.

Summary of Changes From Proposed Rule

    Based on information we received from the Tennessee Valley 
Authority after the proposed rule was published, we have added one 
additional critical habitat unit for the fleshy-fruit gladecress to 
this final rule. The total number of critical habitat units is now 
seven for this species. This unit is located in an electrical 
transmission line right-of-way on privately owned land in Lawrence 
County, Alabama, and is approximately 0.04 hectare (ha) (0.1 acre (ac)) 
in size. We included details of this unit in the notice of availability 
of the economic analysis and reopening of

[[Page 50992]]

the public comment period for the proposed critical habitat designation 
on May 29, 2014 (79 FR 30792).

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.
    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as 
space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those 
physical or biological features within an area, we focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal 
wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are those 
specific elements of the physical or biological features that provide 
for a species' life-history processes and are essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species but 
that was not occupied at the time of listing may be essential to the 
conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat 
designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species only when a designation limited 
to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. 
Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act (published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34271)), the Information Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and 
General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 
106-554; H.R. 5658)), and our associated Information Quality Guidelines 
provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure 
that our decisions are based on the best scientific data available. 
They require our biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and 
with the use of the best scientific data available, to use primary and 
original sources of information as the basis for recommendations to 
designate critical habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the 
species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans 
developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and 
studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or 
experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory 
protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
for Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species, and (3) section 9 of the Act's prohibitions on taking any 
individual of the species, including taking caused by actions that 
affect habitat. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed 
species outside their designated critical habitat areas may still 
result in jeopardy findings in some cases. These protections and 
conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of this 
species. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis of 
the best available information at the time of designation will not 
control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, habitat 
conservation plans (HCPs), or other species conservation planning 
efforts if new information available at the time of these planning 
efforts calls for a different outcome.

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Physical or Biological Features

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing to 
designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species and which may 
require special management considerations or protection. These include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derive the specific physical or biological features essential 
for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress 
from studies of these species' habitat, ecology, and life history as 
described in the Critical Habitat section of the proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat published in the Federal Register on August 
2, 2013 (78 FR 47060), and in the information presented below. 
Additional information can be found in the final listing rule published 
elsewhere in this Federal Register. We have determined that these 
species require the following physical or biological features:
Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior
    Short's bladderpod. This species occurs in Kentucky and Tennessee 
on soils and outcrops of calcareous geologic formations along the 
mainstem or tributaries of the Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers, 
respectively. The calcareous bedrock formations on which Short's 
bladderpod primarily is found are limestones of Mississippian, 
Silurian, or Ordivician age, with siltstone or shale interbedded at 
some occurrences (Kentucky Geological Survey, http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=d32dc6edbf9245cdbac3fd7e255d3974; Moore et al. 1967; 
Wilson 1972, 1975, 1979; Wilson et al. 1972, 1980; Marsh et al. 1973; 
Finlayson et al. 1980; Kerrigan and Wilson 2002). Soils where Short's 
bladderpod occurs in the Kentucky and Cumberland River drainages have 
formed from weathering of the underlying calcareous bedrock formations, 
which produced shallow or rocky, well-drained soils in which bedrock 
outcrops are common (U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1975, pp. 
12-17; USDA 1981, pp. 46-47; USDA 1985, p. 64.; USDA 2001, pp. 19-20, 
28, 59, 64; USDA 2004a, pp. 22-23, 36-37, 83, 87; USDA 2004b, pp. 21, 
75, 82). The species inhabits these outcrops and soils where they occur 
on steeply sloped bluffs or hillsides, primarily with a south- to west-
facing aspect (Shea 1993, p. 16). The combination of calcareous 
outcrops and shallow soils, steep slopes, and hot and dry conditions 
present on south- to west-facing slopes regulates the encroachment of 
herbaceous and woody species that exclude Short's bladderpod from 
vegetation communities present on more mesic sites. Where these 
conditions occur near the mainstem and tributaries of the Kentucky 
River in Kentucky and Cumberland River in Tennessee, they provide space 
for Short's bladderpod's individual and population growth.
    Therefore, based on the above information, we identify steeply 
sloped hillsides or bluffs with calcareous outcrops or shallow or 
rocky, well-drained soils, typically on south- to west-facing aspects, 
as an essential physical or biological feature for this species.
    Whorled sunflower. This species occurs in remnant prairie habitats 
found in uplands and swales of headwater streams in the Coosa River 
watershed in Georgia and Alabama and in the East Fork Forked Deer and 
Tuscumbia Rivers' watersheds in Tennessee. The soil types are silt 
loams, silty clay loams, and fine sandy loams at the sites where 
whorled sunflower occurs. These soils share the characteristics of 
being strongly to extremely acidic and having low to moderate natural 
fertility and low to medium organic matter content (USDA 1997, pp. 73-
76; USDA 1978a, pp. 24-54; USDA 1978b, p. 20; USDA 1978c, p. 44). The 
silt loams occupy various land forms ranging from broad upland ridges 
to low stream terraces. These soils formed from weathered limestone or 
shale (USDA 1978a, pp. 24-54) or in alluvium (clay, silt, sand, gravel, 
or similar material deposited by running water) derived from loess 
(predominantly silt-sized sediment, which is formed by the accumulation 
of wind-blown dust) and are moderately well-drained to well-drained. 
The silty clay loams formed in alluvium or weathered limestone on 
floodplains, stream terraces, or upland depressions and are poorly 
drained. The fine sandy loams are on floodplains and are occasionally 
flooded during winter and early spring. Where these physical features 
occur within the headwaters of the Coosa River in Alabama and Georgia 
and the East Fork Forked Deer and Tuscumbia Rivers in Tennessee, they 
provide space for the whorled sunflower's individual and population 
growth.
    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify silt loam, 
silty clay loam, or fine sandy loam soils on land forms including broad 
uplands, depressions, stream terraces, and floodplains as an essential 
physical or biological feature for this species.
    Fleshy-fruit gladecress. This species is endemic to glade 
communities associated with limestone outcrops in Lawrence and Morgan 
Counties, Alabama (Rollins 1963). The terms glade and cedar glades 
refer to shallow-soiled, open areas that are dominated by herbaceous 
plants and characterized by exposed sheets of limestone or gravel, with 
Juniperus virginiana (eastern red cedar) frequently occurring in the 
deeper soils along their edges (Hilton 1997, p. 1; Baskin et al. 1986, 
p. 138; Baskin and Baskin 1985, p. 1). Much of the cedar glade habitat 
in northern Alabama is in a degraded condition, and populations of 
fleshy-fruit gladecress, in many cases, persist in glade-like remnants 
exhibiting various degrees of disturbance including pastures, roadside 
rights-of-way, and cultivated or plowed fields (Hilton 1997, p. 5). The 
limestone outcrops, gravel, and shallow soils present in cedar glades 
and glade-like remnants provide space for individual and population 
growth of fleshy-fruit gladecress by regulating the encroachment of 
herbaceous and woody vegetation that would exclude fleshy-fruit 
gladecress from plant communities found on deeper soils.
    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify shallow-
soiled, open areas with exposed limestone bedrock or gravel that are 
dominated by herbaceous plants as an essential physical or biological 
feature for this species.
Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or 
Physiological Requirements
    Short's bladderpod. Within the physical settings described above 
and the atypical physical setting where the species occurs in Indiana, 
the most vigorous (Shea 1992, p. 24) and stable (Tennessee Department 
of Environment and Conservation 2009, p. 1) Short's bladderpod 
occurrences are found in patches within forested sites where the canopy 
has remained relatively open over time. Overstory shading has been 
implicated as a factor contributing to the

[[Page 50994]]

disappearance of Short's bladderpod from four historically occupied 
sites and has been identified as a limiting factor at nearly one-fifth 
of remaining extant occurrences. Competition or shading from invasive, 
nonnative, herbaceous and shrub species is a documented threat to one-
third of the extant Short's bladderpod occurrences. Therefore, based on 
the information above, we identify forest communities with low levels 
of canopy closure or openings in the canopy, in which invasive, 
nonnative plants are absent or are present at sufficiently low levels 
of abundance that would not inhibit growth or reproduction of Short's 
bladderpod plants, to be an essential physical or biological feature 
for this species.
    Whorled sunflower. This species is found in moist, prairie-like 
remnants, which in a more natural condition exist as openings in 
woodlands and along adjacent creeks. Today, these conditions are most 
often found in small remnant patches or old field habitats adjacent to 
roadsides, railroad rights-of-way, and streams bordered by agricultural 
lands. Whorled sunflower grows most vigorously where there is little to 
no forest canopy cover, plants receive full sunlight for most of the 
day (Schotz 2011, p. 5) and herbaceous species that are characteristic 
of moist-site prairie vegetation are found.
    Dominant grasses include Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), 
Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), 
and Panicum virgatum (switch grass). Other common herbaceous associates 
include Bidens bipinnata (Spanish needles), Carex cherokeensis 
(Cherokee sedge), Hypericum sphaerocarpum (roundseed St. Johnswort), 
Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower), Helenium autumnale (common 
sneezeweed), Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower), Pycnanthemum 
virginianum (Virginia mountainmint), Physostegia virginiana (obedient 
plant), Saccharum giganteum (sugarcane plumegrass), Silphium 
terebinthinaceum (prairie rosinweed), Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie 
dropseed), and Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster) 
(Tennessee Division of Natural Areas 2008, p. 5; Matthews et al. 2002, 
p. 23; Schotz 2001, p. 3). Encroachment by woody vegetation is a threat 
to whorled sunflower populations when left unmanaged in old fields, 
transportation rights-of-way, and borders of agricultural fields, as 
well as in densely shaded silvicultural plantations or forested sites. 
To prevent excessive shading or competition, these sites should be 
subjected to periodic disturbance or management to reduce or minimize 
encroachment of woody vegetation where a forest canopy is not present, 
or to provide low levels of canopy and midstory closure where they 
occur in woodlands.
    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify sites in old 
fields, woodlands, and along streams, which receive full or partial 
sunlight for most of the day and where vegetation characteristics of 
moist prairie communities is present, to be an essential physical or 
biological feature for this species.
    Fleshy-fruit gladecress. In Morgan, Lawrence, Franklin, and Colbert 
Counties in northwestern Alabama, glades occur in association with 
outcrops of Bangor Limestone, typically as level areas with exposed 
sheets of limestone or limestone gravel interspersed with fingers of 
cedar-hardwood vegetation. The Bangor Limestone is often near the soil 
surface, and can be seen in rocky cultivated fields and as small 
outcroppings at the base of low-lying forested hills (Hilton 1997).
    All species within the small genus Leavenworthia are adapted to the 
unique physical characteristics of glade habitats, perhaps the most 
important of these being a combination of shallow soil depth and the 
resulting tendency to maintain temporary high moisture content at or 
very near the surface (Rollins 1963, pp. 4-6). Typically, only a few 
centimeters of soil overlie the bedrock, or, in spots, the soil may be 
almost lacking and the surface barren. The glade habitats that support 
all Leavenworthia species are extremely wet during the late winter and 
early spring and become extremely dry in summer (Rollins 1963, p. 5). 
These glades can vary in size from as small as a few meters to larger 
than 1 square kilometer (km\2\) (0.37 square miles (mi\2\)) and are 
characterized as having an open, sunny aspect (lacking canopy) 
(Quarterman 1950, p. 1; Rollins 1963, p. 5).
    Fleshy-fruit gladecress populations are restricted to well-lighted 
portions of limestone outcroppings. Baskin and Baskin (1988, p. 837) 
indicated that a high light requirement was common among the endemic 
plants of rock outcrop plant communities in the un-glaciated eastern 
United States. This obligate need for high light has been supported by 
field observations showing that these eastern outcrop endemics, such as 
fleshy-fruit gladecress, grow on well-lighted portions of the outcrops 
but not in adjacent shaded forests; photosynthesize best in full sun, 
with a reduction in the presence of heavy shading; and compete poorly 
with plants that shade them (Baskin and Baskin 1988, p. 837). The most 
vigorous populations of fleshy-fruit gladecress are located in areas 
that receive full, or near full, sunlight at the canopy level, and have 
limited herbaceous competition (Hilton 1997, p. 5). Under these 
conditions, herbaceous species commonly found in glades in association 
with fleshy-fruit gladecress are listed in Table 1. Shading and 
competition are potential threats at the two largest populations of 
fleshy-fruit gladecress (Hilton 1997, p. 68). Nonnative plants 
including Ligustrum vulgare (common privet) and Lonicera maackii (bush 
honeysuckle) are a significant threat in many glades due to the ever 
present disturbances that allow for their colonization (Hilton 1997, p. 
68).

          Table 1--Characteristic Flora of Cedar Glade Habitat
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Scientific name                        Common name
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Primary Characteristic Herbs
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Astragalus tennesseensis..................  Tennessee milkvetch.
Leavenworthia alabamica...................  Alabama gladecress.
Leavenworthia uniflora....................  Michaux's gladecress.
Petalostemum spp..........................  Prairie clover.
Delphinium tricorne.......................  Dwarf larkspur.
Arabis laevigata..........................  Smooth rockcress.
Schoenolirion croceum.....................  Yellow sunnybell.
Scutellaria parvula.......................  Small skullcap.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Frequent Woody Species
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Juniperus virginiana......................  Eastern red cedar.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify open, sunny 
exposures of limestone outcrops of the Bangor formation within glade 
plant communities that are characterized by the species listed in Table 
1 and have relatively thin, rocky soils that are classified within the 
Colbert or Talbot soils mapping units as an essential physical or 
biological feature for this species.
Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of 
Offspring
    Short's bladderpod. This species likely is self-incompatible, and 
nearly 50 percent of extant occurrences are threatened with adverse 
effects associated with small populations including loss of genetic 
variation, inbreeding depression, and reduced availability of 
compatible mates. For this reason, it is essential that habitat for

[[Page 50995]]

pollinators be conserved in close proximity to known occurrences to 
increase the likelihood of pollen exchange among compatible mates. 
Where possible, habitat patches should be protected that would reduce 
fragmentation between multiple occurrences among which pollinator 
dispersal could facilitate gene flow.
    Pollinators specific to Short's bladderpod have not been studied. 
Bees from the families Halictidae, Apidae, and Andrenidae were found to 
be the most common pollinators visiting four other species in the genus 
Physaria, and flies from the families Syrphidae, Tachinidae, and 
Conopidae also carried Physaria pollen (Edens-Meier et al. 2011, p. 
293; Tepedino et al. 2012, pp. 143-145). In their study of pollinators 
of three species of Physaria, Tepedino et al. (2012, p. 144) estimated 
that maximum flight distance ranged from 100 m (330 ft) to 1.4 km (0.9 
mi) for Andrenids and 40 to 100 m (130 to 330 ft) for Halictid bees. 
Because native, ground-nesting bees in the Andrenidae and Halictidae 
were the most reliable visitors and pollinators of the Physaria species 
they studied, Tepedino et al. (2012, p. 145) recommended avoiding 
physical disruption of the soil nesting substrate and its drainage 
patterns in sites harboring bee nests.
    Short's bladderpod is thought to form soil seed banks (Dr. Carol 
Baskin, Professor, University of Kentucky, pers. comm., December 2012), 
and persistence of populations likely is dependent on formation and 
maintenance of this pool of dormant individuals. Sites where the 
species occurs should not be subjected to activities that would remove 
the soil seed bank. Moderate soil disturbance, however, could promote 
germination from the seed bank in locations where overstory shading and 
competition from herbaceous and shrub species have caused population 
declines. Positive responses have been observed following removal of 
competing vegetation and soil disturbance associated with grading of 
the roadside at the site where Short's bladderpod occurs in Indiana.
    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify reproduction 
sites containing extant occurrences of the species within habitat 
patches providing suitable pollinator habitat, and in which surface 
features and bladderpod seedbed are not subjected to heavy disturbance, 
to be an essential physical or biological feature for this species.
    Whorled sunflower. This species is self-incompatible, and the lack 
of compatible mates has been suggested as a possible cause of reduced 
achene production in one population (Ellis et al. 2009, p. 1840). 
Degraded habitat conditions also contribute to poor individual growth 
and reproductive output in whorled sunflower. Where woody vegetation 
encroaches on whorled sunflower populations, growth and flower 
production are reduced. While the species can produce new stems via 
shoot generation from rhizomes, the production of genetically distinct 
individuals needed to support population growth and maintain genetic 
variation within the species is dependent on flowering and outcrossing 
of compatible mates and production of viable achenes. Therefore, based 
on the information above, we identify the presence of compatible mates 
in sites that receive full or partial sunlight for most of the day to 
be an essential physical or biological feature for this species.
    Fleshy-fruit gladecress. Glades where fleshy-fruit gladecress grows 
have very shallow soils overlying horizontally bedded limestone. 
Precipitation tends to be very seasonal within the species' geographic 
range, with wet weather concentrated in the winter and early spring and 
summer (Lyons and Antonovics 1991).
    Fleshy-fruit gladecress is an annual species, the seeds of which 
germinate in the fall, overwinter as rosettes, and commence a month-
long flowering period beginning in mid-March. The first seeds mature in 
late April, and during most years, the plants dry and drop all of their 
seeds by the end of May. Leavenworthia species are dormant by early 
summer, helping them to survive the dry period as seed; this dormancy 
is likely one of the major evolutionary adaptations in this genus 
enabling its species to endure the extreme drought conditions of late 
summer (Quarterman 1950, p. 5). As an annual, this species' long-term 
survival is dependent upon its ability to reproduce and reseed an area 
every year. Thus, populations decline and move toward extinction if 
conditions remain unsuitable for reproduction for many consecutive 
years.
    The most vigorous populations of fleshy-fruit gladecress are 
located in areas that receive full, or near full, sunlight at the 
canopy level and have limited herbaceous competition (Hilton 1997). 
Rollins (1963) documented the loss of fleshy-fruit gladecress 
individuals caused by invading weedy species in fallow agricultural 
fields in northern Alabama. Under natural conditions, glades are 
edaphically (related to or caused by particular soil conditions) 
maintained through processes of drought and erosion interacting with 
other processes that disrupt encroachment of competing vegetation. The 
shallow soil, exposed rock, and frequently hot, dry summers create 
xeric conditions that regulate competition and shading from encroaching 
vegetation (Hilton 1997, p. 5; McDaniel and Lyons 1987, p. 6; Baskin et 
al. 1986, p. 138; Rollins 1963, p. 5).
    Therefore, based on this information, we identify the presence of 
shallow soil and exposed rock that discourage competition and shading 
from encroaching vegetation to be an essential physical or biological 
feature for this species.

Primary Constituent Elements

    Under the Act and its implementing regulations, we are required to 
identify the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit 
gladecress in areas occupied at the time of listing, focusing on the 
features' primary constituent elements. Primary constituent elements 
(PCEs) are those specific elements of the physical or biological 
features that provide for a species' life-history processes and are 
essential to the conservation of the species.
    Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological 
features and habitat characteristics required to sustain the species' 
life-history processes, we determine that the PCEs for these three 
plant species are:
Short's Bladderpod
    (1) PCE 1--Bedrock formations and outcrops of calcareous limestone, 
sometimes with interbedded shale or siltstone, in close proximity to 
the mainstem or tributaries of the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers. 
These outcrop sites or areas of suitable bedrock geology should be 
located on steeply sloped hillsides or bluffs, typically on south- to 
west-facing aspects.
    (2) PCE 2--Shallow or rocky, well-drained soils formed from the 
weathering of underlying calcareous bedrock formations, which are 
undisturbed or subjected to minimal disturbance, so as to retain 
habitat for ground-nesting pollinators and potential for maintenance of 
a soil seed bank.
    (3) PCE 3--Forest communities with low levels of canopy closure or 
openings in the canopy to provide adequate sunlight for individual and 
population growth. Invasive, nonnative plants must be absent or present 
in sufficiently low numbers not to inhibit growth or reproduction of 
Short's bladderpod.

[[Page 50996]]

Whorled Sunflower
    (1) PCE 1--Silt loam, silty clay loam, or fine sandy loam soils on 
land forms including broad uplands, depressions, stream terraces, and 
floodplains within the headwaters of the Coosa River in Alabama and 
Georgia and the East Fork Forked Deer and Tuscumbia rivers in 
Tennessee.
    (2) PCE 2--Sites in which forest canopy is absent, or where woody 
vegetation is present at sufficiently low densities to provide full or 
partial sunlight to whorled sunflower plants for most of the day, and 
which support vegetation characteristic of moist prairie communities. 
Invasive, nonnative plants must be absent or present in sufficiently 
low numbers not to inhibit growth or reproduction of whorled sunflower.
    (3) PCE 3--Occupied sites in which a sufficient number of 
compatible mates are present for outcrossing and production of viable 
achenes to occur.
Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress
    (1) PCE 1--Shallow-soiled, open areas with exposed limestone 
bedrock or gravel that are dominated by herbaceous vegetation 
characteristic of glade communities.
    (2) PCE 2--Open or well-lighted areas of exposed limestone bedrock 
or gravel that ensure fleshy-fruit gladecress plants remain unshaded 
for a significant portion of the day.
    (3) PCE 3--Glade habitat that is protected from both native and 
invasive, nonnative plants to minimize competition and shading of 
fleshy-fruit gladecress.

Special Management Considerations or Protections

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
of listing contain features that are essential to the conservation of 
the species and which may require special management considerations or 
protection. We believe that the features in each unit included in these 
designations require special management and protections.
Short's Bladderpod
    The features essential to the conservation of Short's bladderpod 
may require special management considerations or protection to reduce 
the following threats: (1) Actions that would directly result in 
removal of soils or indirectly cause their loss due to increased rates 
of erosion; (2) building, paving, or grazing of livestock within or 
upslope of Short's bladderpod sites that alters water movement or 
causes soil erosion that results in sediment deposition in suitable 
habitat; (3) blasting or removal of hard rock and soil substrates; (4) 
dumping of trash and debris; (5) prolonged inundation of sites due to 
manipulation of regulated waters for flood control or other purposes; 
(6) indiscriminate maintenance of transportation rights-of-way, 
including grading, mowing, or herbicide application; and (8) shading 
and competition due to forest canopy closure and encroachment of 
invasive, nonnative plants.
    Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include, 
but are not limited to: (1) Avoiding areas located in or upslope of 
Short's bladderpod sites when planning for location of commercial or 
residential development; maintenance, construction, or expansion of 
utility and transportation infrastructure; and access for livestock; 
(2) removing trash and debris that are dumped onto or upslope of 
Short's bladderpod sites; (3) locating suitable habitat, determining 
presence or absence of Short's bladderpod, and protecting or restoring 
as many sites or complexes of sites as possible; (4) evaluating the 
effects of flow regulation on Short's bladderpod occurrences within the 
fluctuation zone of regulated river reaches and adjusting management to 
avoid or minimize prolonged periods of inundation; (5) reaching out to 
all landowners, including private, State, and Federal landowners, to 
raise awareness of the plant and its habitat; (5) providing technical 
or financial assistance to landowners to help in the design and 
implementation of management actions that protect the plant and its 
habitat; (6) managing, including reducing, canopy cover and competition 
from native and invasive, nonnative plants to maintain an intact native 
forest community with canopy openings or low levels of canopy closure.
Whorled Sunflower
    The features essential to the conservation of whorled sunflower may 
require special management considerations or protection to reduce the 
following threats: (1) Soil disturbance due to silvicultural site 
preparation, timber harvest, or cultivation of row crops; (2) 
indiscriminate herbicide use or mowing; (3) conversion of remnant 
prairie habitat to agricultural or industrial forestry uses; and (4) 
excessive shading or competition from native woody species or invasive, 
nonnative plants.
    Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include, 
but are not limited to: (1) Avoiding areas located in close proximity 
to whorled sunflower sites when planning for establishing new sites for 
agriculture or pulpwood and timber production; (2) ensuring that 
herbicide use or mowing does not occur in whorled sunflower sites 
during the species' growing season; (3) locating suitable habitat, 
determining presence or absence of whorled sunflower, and protecting or 
restoring as many sites or complexes of sites as possible; (4) 
managing, including prescribed burning, mowing, and bush-hogging, to 
reduce canopy cover, minimize competition from native and invasive, 
nonnative plants, and maintain characteristic moist prairie vegetation; 
(5) reaching out to all landowners, including private, State, and 
Federal landowners, to raise awareness of the plant and its habitat; 
and (6) providing technical or financial assistance to landowners to 
help in the design and implementation of management actions that 
protect the plant and its habitat.
Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress
    The features essential to the conservation of fleshy-fruit 
gladecress may require special management considerations or protection 
to reduce the following threats: (1) Actions that remove the soils and 
alter the surface geology of the glades; (2) building or paving over 
the glades; (3) construction or excavation up slope that alters water 
movement (sheet flow or seepage) down slope to gladecress sites; (4) 
planting trees adjacent to the edges of an outcrop resulting in shading 
of the glade and accumulations of leaf litter and tree debris; (5) 
encroachment by nonnative and native invading trees, shrubs, and vines 
that shade the glade; (6) the use and timing of application of certain 
herbicides that can harm gladecress seedlings; and (7) access by cattle 
to gladecress sites where habitat and plants may be trampled.
    Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include 
(but are not limited to): (1) Avoiding limestone glades when planning 
development, conversion to agriculture, and other disturbances to glade 
complexes; (2) avoiding above-ground construction and/or excavations in 
locations that would interfere with natural water movement to 
gladecress habitat sites; (3) locating suitable habitat and determining 
the presence or absence of the species and identifying areas with glade 
complexes and protecting or restoring as many complexes as possible; 
(4) reaching out to all landowners, including private and State 
landowners, to raise awareness of the plant and its specialized 
habitat; (5) providing technical or financial

[[Page 50997]]

assistance to landowners to help in the design and implementation of 
management actions that protect the plant and its habitat; (6) avoiding 
pine tree plantings near glades; and (7) managing, including brush 
removal, to maintain an intact native glade vegetation community.
    More information on the special management considerations for each 
critical habitat unit is provided in the individual unit descriptions 
below.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available to designate critical habitat. In accordance 
with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b), we 
review available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of 
the species and identify occupied areas at the time of listing that 
contain the features essential to the conservation of the species. If, 
after identifying currently occupied areas, we determine that those 
areas are inadequate to ensure conservation of the species, in 
accordance with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 
424.12(e) we then consider whether designating additional areas--
outside those currently occupied--are essential for the conservation of 
the species. As discussed in more detail below, we are not designating 
any areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species because 
occupied areas are sufficient for the conservation of the species, and 
we have no evidence that these species existed beyond their current 
geographical ranges in habitat types that are not represented by the 
critical habitat units we designated. Below we go into more detail 
about the criteria used to identify critical habitat for Short's 
bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress.
Areas Occupied by Short's Bladderpod
    For the purpose of proposing critical habitat for Short's 
bladderpod, we define the geographical area currently occupied by the 
species as required by section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act. We considered 
those sites to be occupied where (1) Element Occurrence Records from 
State conservation agencies (Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center 
(INHDC) 2012; Kentucky Natural Heritage Program (KNHP) 2012; Tennessee 
Natural Heritage Inventory Database (TNHID) 2012) indicate that the 
species was extant at the time of the proposed listing rule (i.e., is 
considered currently extant), and (2) we determine that forest 
communities are present and no evidence of substantial ground 
disturbance is visible from inspection of aerial photography, available 
through Google Earth.
Areas Not Occupied by Short's Bladderpod
    We considered whether there were any specific areas outside the 
geographical area found to be occupied by Short's bladderpod that are 
essential for the conservation of the species as required by section 
3(5)(A)(i) of the Act. First, we considered whether there was 
sufficient area for the conservation of the species within the occupied 
areas determined above. In doing so, we evaluated whether protection or 
management of currently occupied sites and nearby suitable habitats 
would provide adequate representation, redundancy, and resiliency for 
Short's bladderpod conservation. The 26 extant occurrences of Short's 
bladderpod included in critical habitat units below are distributed 
among habitats that are representative of those in which the species' 
occurred in its historical geographic range and, if conserved, should 
provide adequate redundancy for the species to endure localized, 
stochastic disturbances. While populations are small at some of these 
occurrences, there is sufficient habitat available to support 
population growth; however, some management might be necessary to 
improve habitat conditions and population growth rates. Conserving or 
restoring habitat and viable populations at all occupied sites should 
provide conditions necessary for successful reproduction and population 
growth and resiliency for the species to recover from acute demographic 
effects of localized disturbances. Therefore, no areas outside of the 
currently occupied geographical areas would be essential for the 
conservation of the species, and we have not designated any additional 
areas.
Mapping Short's Bladderpod Critical Habitat
    Once we determined the occupied areas, we next delineated critical 
habitat unit boundaries based on the presence of primary constituent 
elements. We used data for geology (Kentucky Geological Survey, 
available online at http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=d32dc6edbf9245cdbac3fd7e255d3974; Moore I. 1967; Wilson 
1972, 1975, 1979; Wilson I. 1972, 1980; Marsh I. 1973; Finlayson I. 
1980; Kerrigan and Wilson 2002), soils (USDA, Soil Survey Geographic 
Database, available online at http://soildatamart.nrcs.usda.gov), 
topographic contours, and locations of sites occupied by Short's 
bladderpod (INHDC 2012; KNHP 2012; TNHID 2012) as a basis for 
delineating units in ArcGIS. Additionally, we used aerial photography 
available through Google Earth to determine vegetation cover and for 
three-dimensional viewing of topographic features. We delineated units 
around occupied sites, with boundaries determined by the combined 
spatial arrangement of limestone bedrock, sometimes with interbedded 
shale or siltstone; shallow or rocky, well-drained soils; steeply 
sloped topography; and forest vegetation. In order to reduce threats 
from adjacent land uses, we extended unit boundaries from ridge tops or 
bluff lines above Short's bladderpod occurrences downslope to either 
obvious breaks in slope gradient or to the edge of water bodies that 
form a unit boundary. These units typically include individual occupied 
sites; however, where appropriate we delineated units so that they 
encompass more than one occupied site and span intervening areas in 
which the primary constituent elements are present. We delineated units 
spanning multiple occupied sites in order to minimize fragmentation and 
provide areas for pollinator nesting and dispersal to promote gene flow 
among extant occurrences.
Areas Occupied by Whorled Sunflower
    For the purpose of designating critical habitat for whorled 
sunflower, we defined the geographical area currently occupied by the 
species as required by section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act. We define 
occupied areas in Georgia and Alabama as those areas where the species 
was present during site visits by the Service during 2012. The most 
recent survey data available from TNHID (2012) confirmed the presence 
of whorled sunflower during 2005 and 2009, at the Madison and McNairy 
County, Tennessee, populations, respectively. Based on inspection of 
aerial photography for these locations, available through Google Earth, 
habitat still is present at these sites and no evidence of substantial 
ground disturbance was apparent; thus, we consider these sites to still 
be occupied by whorled sunflower.
Areas Not Occupied by Whorled Sunflower
    We considered whether there were any specific areas outside the 
geographical area found to be occupied by whorled sunflower that are 
essential for the conservation of the species as required by section 
3(5)(A)(i) of the Act. First, we considered whether there was 
sufficient area for the conservation of the species within the occupied 
areas

[[Page 50998]]

determined above. In doing so, we evaluated whether protection or 
management of currently occupied sites and nearby suitable habitats 
would provide adequate representation, redundancy, and resiliency for 
whorled sunflower's conservation. The four extant populations of 
whorled sunflower are distributed among habitats that we believe are 
representative of those in which the species occurred in its historical 
geographic range and, if conserved, should provide adequate redundancy 
for the species to endure localized, stochastic disturbances. While 
populations are small at most of these occurrences, there is sufficient 
habitat available to support population growth; however, management 
will be necessary to improve habitat conditions and population growth 
rates. Conserving or restoring habitat and viable populations at all 
occupied sites should provide conditions necessary for successful 
reproduction and population growth and resiliency for the species to 
recover from acute demographic effects of localized disturbances. 
Therefore, no areas outside of the currently occupied geographical 
areas would be essential for the conservation of the species, and we 
have not designated any additional areas.
Mapping Whorled Sunflower Critical Habitat
    Once we determined the occupied areas, we next delineated critical 
habitat unit boundaries based on the presence of primary constituent 
elements. We used data for soils (USDA, Soil Survey Geographic 
Database, available online at http://soildatamart.nrcs.usda.gov) and 
locations of sites occupied by whorled sunflower as a basis for 
delineating units in ArcGIS. Additionally, we used aerial photography 
available through Google Earth to determine vegetation cover and for 
three-dimensional viewing of topographic features. We delineated units 
around occupied sites, with boundaries determined by the spatial 
arrangement of suitable soils (described above in PCE 1 for whorled 
sunflower) and to provide opportunities for minimizing fragmentation 
among subpopulations by restoring characteristic prairie vegetation in 
areas currently used for agricultural or industrial forestry purposes.
Areas Occupied by Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress
    For the purpose of designating critical habitat for fleshy-fruit 
gladecress, we defined the geographical area currently occupied by the 
species as required by section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act. We define 
occupied areas as those where recent surveys in 2011 confirmed the 
species was present (Shotz 2012, pers. comm.) and one additional site 
where TVA provided data confirming the species was present.
Areas Not Occupied by Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress
    We considered whether there were any specific areas outside the 
geographical area found to be occupied by the fleshy-fruit gladecress 
that are essential for the conservation of the species as required by 
section 3(5)(A)(ii) of the Act. First, we evaluated whether there was 
sufficient area for the conservation of the species within the occupied 
areas determined as described above. To guide what would be considered 
needed for the species' conservation, we evaluated the seven sites 
where the species is known to occur. Currently occupied sites are 
distributed across the historical range of the species and are 
representative of the landscape settings and soil types that have been 
documented at gladecress occurrences. Six of the seven units within 
occupied areas contain suitable habitat (with special management) for 
natural expansion of existing populations or possible future 
augmentation if determined necessary during future recovery planning 
and implementation. Therefore, no areas outside of the currently 
occupied geographical areas would be essential for the conservation of 
the species, and we have not designated any additional areas.
Mapping Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress Critical Habitat
    Once we determined the occupied areas, we next delineated the 
critical habitat unit boundaries based on the presence of primary 
constituent elements. We used various GIS layers, soil surveys, aerial 
photography, and known locations of the extant and historical 
populations. We used ArcGIS to delineate units around occupied sites, 
encompassing adjacent areas where the primary constituent elements were 
present to provide suitable habitat for natural expansion of the 
populations. The seven units in the proposed designation include the 
species' entire historical range. All of the units contain the primary 
constituent elements essential for the conservation of fleshy-fruit 
gladecress.
    When determining critical habitat boundaries within this final 
rule, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas such as 
lands covered by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such 
lands lack physical or biological features for Short's bladderpod, 
whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. The scale of the maps 
we prepared under the parameters for publication within the Code of 
Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of such developed 
lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical habitat 
boundaries shown on the maps of this final rule have been excluded by 
text in the rule and are not designated as critical habitat. Therefore, 
a Federal action involving these lands will not trigger section 7 
consultation with respect to critical habitat and the requirement of no 
adverse modification unless the specific action would affect the 
physical or biological features in the adjacent critical habitat.
    The critical habitat designation is defined by the map or maps, as 
modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of 
this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information 
on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble 
of this document. We will make the coordinates or plot points or both 
on which each map is based available to the public on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2013-0086, on our Internet 
sites http://www.fws.gov/cookeville, http://www.fws.gov/midwest/bloomington, http://www.fws.gov/daphne, http://www.fws.gov/frankfort, 
http://www.fws.gov/athens, and at the field office responsible for the 
designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Final Critical Habitat Designation

Short's Bladderpod

    We are designating 20 units as critical habitat for Short's 
bladderpod. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our 
current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for Short's bladderpod. All these units are occupied at the 
time of listing. The areas we propose as critical habitat are: (1) 
Kings and Queens Bluff, (2) Lock B Road, (3) Jarrel Ridge Road, (4) 
Cheatham Lake, (5) Harpeth River, (6) Montgomery Bell Bridge, (7) 
Nashville and Western Railroad, (8) River Trace, (9) Old Hickory Lake, 
(10) Coleman-Winston Bridge, (11) Cordell Hull Reservoir, (12) Funns 
Branch, (13) Wartrace Creek, (14) Camp Pleasant Branch, (15) Kentucky 
River, (16) Owenton Road, (17) Little Benson Creek, (18) Boone Creek, 
(19) Delaney Ferry Road, and (20) Bonebank Road. The approximate area 
of each critical habitat unit, broken down by land ownership, is shown 
in Table 2.

[[Page 50999]]



        Table 2--Designated Critical Habitat Units for Short's Bladderpod in Hectares (ha) and Acres (ac)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Private ha    State/local ha    Federal ha     Size of unit
              Critical habitat unit                    (ac)            (ac)            (ac)           ha (ac)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Kings and Queens Bluff.......................      7.6 (18.9)  ..............     * 3.0 (7.3)      7.6 (18.9)
2. Lock B Road..................................     10.1 (25.0)  ..............     * 0.3 (0.8)     10.1 (25.0)
3. Jarrel Ridge Road............................      5.2 (12.8)  ..............     * 0.4 (1.1)      5.2 (12.8)
4. Cheatham Lake................................     19.1 (47.2)       3.4 (8.3)      4.9 (12.0)     27.3 (67.5)
5. Harpeth River................................      8.2 (20.3)  ..............     17.3 (42.8)     25.5 (63.1)
6. Montgomery Bell Bridge.......................       2.1 (5.3)  ..............      9.0 (22.3)     11.2 (27.7)
7. Nashville and Western Railroad...............     20.8 (51.4)      8.1 (20.0)       1.5 (3.8)     30.5 (75.3)
8. River Trace..................................    42.8 (105.7)  ..............    * 5.6 (13.8)    42.8 (105.7)
9. Old Hickory Lake.............................       1.9 (4.8)  ..............       2.9 (7.1)      4.8 (11.9)
10. Coleman-Winston Bridge......................      4.1 (10.1)  ..............       3.3 (8.1)      7.4 (18.2)
11. Cordell Hull Reservoir......................  ..............  ..............     12.3 (34.2)     12.3 (34.2)
12. Funns Branch................................  ..............  ..............     20.8 (51.3)     20.8 (51.3)
13. Wartrace Creek..............................  ..............  ..............     37.5 (92.6)     37.5 (92.6)
14. Camp Pleasant Branch........................     17.4 (42.9)  ..............  ..............     17.4 (42.9)
15. Kentucky River..............................    83.7 (206.7)      9.4 (23.3)  ..............    93.1 (230.0)
16. Owenton Road................................       1.3 (3.3)       1.5 (3.7)  ..............       2.8 (7.0)
17. Little Benson Creek.........................      9.4 (23.3)  ..............  ..............      9.4 (23.3)
18. Boone Creek.................................      5.0 (12.4)  ..............  ..............      5.0 (12.4)
19. Delaney Ferry Road..........................       0.6 (1.4)  ..............  ..............       0.6 (1.4)
20. Bonebank Road...............................  ..............       1.7 (4.3)  ..............       1.7 (4.3)
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................   239.3 (591.5)     24.1 (59.6)   118.8 (297.2)   373.0 (925.5)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding.
* Indicates U.S. Army Corps of Engineers easements, which are not added to size of unit because these lands are
  included in ha (ac) figure given for the private lands on which easements are held.

    We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for Short's bladderpod, below. 
All of the proposed critical habitat units, except as specified below, 
contain all of the PCEs essential to the conservation of the species.

Unit 1: Kings and Queens Bluff

    Unit 1 consists of 7.6 ha (18.9 ac) of private land, but the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers (Corps of Engineers) holds flood easements on 
approximately 40 percent of this land. This unit is located in 
Montgomery County, Tennessee, on a bluff on the right descending bank 
of the Cumberland River within the city limits of Clarksville, 
approximately 0.16 km (0.10 mi) south of the intersection of State 
Route 12 (Ashland City Road) and Queens Bluff Way. Beginning 
approximately 0.28 km (0.18 mi) south of the easternmost intersection 
of Ashland City Road (U.S.-41a Bypass) and Queens Bluff Road, this unit 
parallels the Cumberland River in a downstream direction for 
approximately 1.7 km (1.1 mi).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; and shading and competition due 
to encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 2: Lock B Road

    Unit 2 consists of 10.1 ha (25.0 ac) of privately owned land, but 
the Corps of Engineers holds flood easements on approximately 3 percent 
of this land. This unit is located in Montgomery County, Tennessee, 
approximately 6.9 km (4.3 mi) south of the city limits of Clarksville, 
on a hillside that lies to the east and west of Lock B Road North, 
beginning approximately 0.8 km (0.5 mi) south of its junction with 
Gholson Road and continuing south for approximately 0.4 km (0.25 mi), 
at which point Lock B Road North veers to the southwest. From this 
point, this unit continues south for approximately 1.0 km (0.6 mi) 
along the hillside that is east of Lock B Road North. The features 
essential to the conservation of the species in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats 
related to potential right-of-way construction or maintenance using 
herbicides or mechanized equipment along Lock B Road North or the 
Illinois Central Railroad, both of which traverse portions of the unit, 
and shading or competition due to encroachment of native and invasive, 
nonnative plants.

Unit 3: Jarrel Ridge Road

    Unit 3 consists of 5.2 ha (12.8 ac) of privately owned lands, but 
the Corps of Engineers holds flood easements on approximately 8 percent 
of this land. This unit is located in Montgomery County, Tennessee, 
approximately 10 km south of the city limit of Clarksville, on a 
hillside that lies west and north of the southern terminus of Jarrel 
Ridge Road.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along Jarrel Ridge Road at the unit boundary or the Illinois Central 
Railroad, which traverses the unit; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 4: Cheatham Lake

    Unit 4 consists of 27.3 ha (67.5 ac) of privately owned, local 
government, and Federal lands. This unit is located in Cheatham County, 
Tennessee, approximately 9.0 km (5.6 mi) west-northwest of the city 
limits of the town of Ashland City, on a series of hillsides that 
begins approximately 0.8 km (0.5 mi) northeast of the junction of Beech 
Grove Road and Cheatham Dam Road and arcs in a southeasterly direction 
for

[[Page 51000]]

approximately 2.2 km (1.4 mi). Here, the unit crosses Cheatham Dam 
Road, and continues for approximately 2.2 km in a southeasterly arc to 
its eastern boundary on the right descending bank of the Cumberland 
River, approximately 0.18 km (0.11 mi) south of Kimbrough Road. The 
land within this unit is approximately 70 percent privately owned, 12 
percent owned by Ashland City, and 18 percent owned by the Corps of 
Engineers.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along the Illinois Central Railroad, which traverses the unit; and 
shading or competition due to encroachment of native and invasive, 
nonnative plants.

Unit 5: Harpeth River

    Unit 5 consists of 25.5 ha (63.1 ac) of privately owned and federal 
land in Cheatham County, Tennessee. This unit is located approximately 
5 km (3.1 mi) west of the city limits of the town of Ashland City, on 
the west slope of a hillside and associated bluffs that begin on the 
point of land formed by the confluence of Cumberland and Harpeth rivers 
and extend upstream along the right descending bank of the Harpeth 
River, reaching the unit's southernmost boundary approximately 0.6 km 
(0.4 mi) east of SR-49, where it crosses the Harpeth River. The land 
within this unit is approximately 32 percent privately owned, and 68 
percent is owned by the Corps of Engineers.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 6: Montgomery Bell Bridge

    Unit 6 consists of 11.2 ha (27.7 ac) of privately owned and federal 
land in Cheatham and Dickson Counties, Tennessee. This unit is located 
approximately 5.5 km (3.4 mi) west of the city limits of the town of 
Ashland City, on a hillside and bluffs on the left descending bank of 
the Harpeth River that begin approximately 0.4 km (0.27 mi) east of the 
Montgomery Bell Bridge, where SR-49 crosses the river and bisects the 
unit, and parallels the river in an upstream direction for 
approximately 1.8 km (1.1 mi). The land within this unit is 
approximately 19 percent privately owned, and 81 percent is owned by 
the Corps of Engineers.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 7: Nashville and Western Railroad

    Unit 7 consists of 30.5 ha (75.3 ac) of privately owned, local 
government, and Federal land in Cheatham County, Tennessee. This unit 
is located along the southwest city limit of the town of Ashland City, 
on hillsides and bluffs that begin approximately 0.26 km (0.16 mi) east 
of the confluence of Marrowbone Creek and the Cumberland River and 
extend upstream on the right descending bank of the Cumberland River 
for approximately 2.3 km (1.4 mi). Here, the unit continues in a 
southeasterly direction for approximately 0.9 km (0.5 mi) from the 
point where the river veers away from the hillside and bluffs. The land 
within this unit is approximately 68 percent privately owned, 27 
percent owned by the Cheatham County Rail Association, and 5 percent 
owned by the Corps of Engineers.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along the Nashville and Western Railroad, which traverses the unit; and 
shading or competition due to encroachment of native and invasive, 
nonnative plants.

Unit 8: River Trace

    Unit 8 consists of 42.8 ha (105.7 ac) of privately owned land, with 
the exception of the River Trace road right-of-way. The Corps of 
Engineers holds flood easements on approximately 13 percent of the 
lands within the unit. This unit is located in Davidson and Cheatham 
Counties, Tennessee, on hillsides and bluffs approximately 0.9 km (0.6 
mi) southeast of the city limit of the town of Ashland City, beginning 
at the western extent of River Trace and extending along both sides of 
this road in a southeasterly direction for a distance of approximately 
2.3 km (1.4 mi). Here, the unit leaves River Trace and continues along 
the hillside and bluffs on the right descending bank of the Cumberland 
River in an upstream direction for approximately 2.1 km (1.3 mi).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along River Trace or the Nashville and Western Railroad, both of which 
traverse the unit; and shading or competition due to encroachment of 
native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 9: Old Hickory Lake

    Unit 9 consists of 4.8 ha (11.9 ac) of privately owned and Federal 
lands in Trousdale County, Tennessee. This unit is located 
approximately 3.5 km (2.2 mi) west of the southern city limits of the 
town of Hartsville and 0.5 km (0.3 mi) south of Oldham Road, on a 
hillside and bluffs on the right descending bank of the Cumberland 
River. Beginning approximately 0.4 km (0.25 mi) downstream of the mouth 
of Second Creek, this unit parallels the Cumberland River in a 
downstream direction for approximately 0.7 km (0.4 mi). The land within 
this unit is approximately 40 percent privately owned, and 60 percent 
is owned by the Corps of Engineers.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial

[[Page 51001]]

construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation or soils 
or soil loss due to erosion; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 10: Coleman-Winston Bridge

    Unit 10 consists of 7.4 ha (18.2 ac) of privately owned and Federal 
lands in Trousdale County, Tennessee. The unit is located at the 
southern city limit of the town of Hartsville, on a hillside and bluffs 
overlooking the Cumberland River. Beginning on the right descending 
bank approximately 0.5 km (0.3 mi) east of SR-141, which bisects the 
unit where it crosses the Cumberland River at the Coleman-Winston 
Bridge, this unit parallels the river in a downstream direction for 
approximately 1.1 km (0.7 mi). The land within this unit is 
approximately 55 percent privately owned, and 45 percent is owned by 
the Corps of Engineers.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along SR-141, which bisects the unit; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 11: Cordell Hull Reservoir

    Unit 11 consists of 12.3 ha (34.2 ac) of Federal lands in Smith 
County, Tennessee. This unit is located approximately 4.3 km (2.7 mi) 
north of the city limits of the town of Carthage, on hillsides and 
bluffs on the right descending bank of the Cumberland River. Beginning 
approximately 2.0 km (1.25 mi) upstream of the Cordell Hull Dam, this 
unit parallels the river in an upstream direction for approximately 0.6 
km (0.4 mi), where it crosses a 0.3-km (0.2-mi) expanse of open water, 
and then continues paralleling the river for a distance of 1.2 km (0.7 
mi). All of the land within this unit is owned by the Corps of 
Engineers, and the open water is not included in the area of the unit 
reported above.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 12: Funns Branch

    Unit 12 consists of 20.8 ha (51.3 ac) of Federal lands in Jackson 
County, Tennessee. This unit is located approximately 12.1 km (7.5 mi) 
southwest of the city limits of the town of Gainesboro, on hillsides 
and bluffs on the right descending bank of the Cumberland River. 
Beginning approximately 0.4 km (0.2) mi upstream of the mouth of Funns 
Branch, this unit parallels the river in an upstream direction for 
approximately 1.0 km (0.65 mi) where it crosses a 0.3-km (0.2-mi) 
expanse of open water, and then continues paralleling the river for a 
distance of approximately 1.0 km (0.64 mi). All of the land within this 
unit is owned by the Corps of Engineers, and the open water is not 
included in the area of the unit reported above.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 13: Wartrace Creek

    Unit 13 consists of 37.5 ha (92.6 ac) of Federal lands in Jackson 
County, Tennessee. This unit is located approximately 7.7 km (4.8 mi) 
west of the city limits of the town of Gainesboro, on hillsides and 
bluffs on the right descending bank of the Cumberland River. Beginning 
at the mouth of Indian Creek, this unit parallels the river in a 
downstream direction for approximately 1.6 km (1.0 mi), where it 
crosses the mouth of Wartrace Creek, and then continues paralleling the 
river for a distance of 2.5 km (1.5 mi). All of the land within this 
unit is owned by the Corps of Engineers, and areas of open water are 
not included in the area of the unit reported above.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 14: Camp Pleasant Branch

    Unit 14 consists of 17.4 ha (42.9 ac) of privately owned lands in 
Franklin County, Kentucky. This unit is located approximately 8.3 km 
(5.8 mi) north of the city limits of Frankfort, on hillsides near Camp 
Pleasant Branch, a tributary to Elkhorn Creek. Beginning approximately 
0.29 km (0.18 mi) west of the intersection of Indian Gap Road and Camp 
Pleasant Road, the unit begins in a hollow north of Indian Gap Road and 
extends to the east and north along hillsides above the right 
descending bank of Camp Pleasant Branch for approximately 0.75 km (0.5 
mi) to the intersection of Camp Pleasant Road and Gregory Woods Road. 
Here the unit crosses Gregory Woods Road and extends north for a 
distance of approximately 0.58 km (0.36 mi), encompassing the hillside 
to the east of the road.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to changes in land use, including residential 
or commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest 
vegetation or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along Indian Gap Road, Camp Pleasant Road, or Gregory Woods Road, which 
are adjacent to the unit; and shading or competition due to 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 15: Kentucky River

    This unit consists of 93.1 ha (230.0 ac) of privately owned and 
State land in Franklin County, Kentucky. This unit begins within the 
northwestern city limit of Frankfort, on a hillside that parallels 
U.S.-421 on its east side from approximately 0.21 km (0.13 mi) 
southeast of its junction with Clifty Drive to approximately 0.23 km 
(0.15 mi) northwest of its junction with U.S.-127. Here the unit 
follows the topography of the hillside as it turns away from the road 
to the east, leaving the city limits, and then arcs to the northeast, 
before abruptly turning back in a westerly direction. From this point, 
the hillside and this unit extend in a westerly direction for 
approximately 0.7 km (0.4 mi) and then parallel the Kentucky River in a 
downstream

[[Page 51002]]

direction in an arc approximately 5.3 km (3.3 mi) in length on its left 
descending bank, encompassing hillsides in two hollows that extend from 
the river to the west. Approximately 90 percent of the land in this 
unit is privately owned, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky owns 
approximately 10 percent, which is part of a State nature preserve.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to erosion or prolonged inundation due to water 
level manipulation; changes in land use, including residential or 
commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest vegetation 
or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment 
along U.S.-421, where it parallels the unit; and shading or competition 
due to encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 16: Owenton Road

    Unit 16 consists of 2.8 ha (7.0 acres) of privately owned and City 
of Frankfort municipal park lands in Franklin County, Kentucky. The 
unit is located approximately 0.1 km (0.08 mi) north of the city limits 
of Frankfort on a hill that is adjacent to and west of U.S.-127 
(Owenton Road), approximately 0.6 km (0.4 mi) north of the intersection 
of U.S.-127 and U.S.-421. The land within this unit is approximately 46 
percent privately owned, and 54 percent is owned by the City of 
Frankfort.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to changes in land use, including residential 
or commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest 
vegetation or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment on 
U.S.-127; and shading or competition due to encroachment of native and 
invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 17: Little Benson Creek

    Unit 17 consists of 9.4 ha (23.3 ac) of privately owned lands in 
Franklin County, Kentucky, located within the city limits of Frankfort. 
Beginning approximately 1.1 km (0.7 mi) south of the intersection of 
Mills Lane and Ninevah Road, this unit lies on a hillside on the east 
side of Ninevah Road and extends to the south for approximately 0.5 km 
(0.3 mi), where it crosses Ninevah Road and follows a hillside that 
parallels Ninevah Road for approximately 1.0 km (0.65 mi) on its west 
side.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to changes in land use, including residential 
or commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest 
vegetation or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment on 
Ninevah Road; and shading or competition due to encroachment of native 
and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 18: Boone Creek

    Unit 18 consists of 5.0 ha (12.4 ac) of privately owned lands in 
Clark County, Kentucky. This unit is located approximately 13.2 km (8.2 
mi) southwest of the city limits of Winchester, and begins adjacent to 
Grimes Mill Road approximately 0.17 km north of the Fayette and Clark 
County line. From here, the unit extends on a hillside to the east for 
a distance of approximately 0.21 km (0.13 mi), where the unit and 
hillside then parallel a bend in Boone Creek on its left descending 
bank for a distance of approximately 0.68 km (0.42 mi).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats related to changes in land use, including residential 
or commercial construction, which could cause removal of forest 
vegetation or soils or soil loss due to erosion; potential right-of-way 
construction or maintenance using herbicides or mechanized equipment on 
Grimes Road; and shading or competition due to encroachment of native 
and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 19: Delaney Ferry Road

    Unit 19 consists of 0.6 ha (1.4 ac) of privately owned lands in 
Woodford County, Kentucky. This unit is located approximately 7.8 km 
(4.8 mi) south of the city of Versailles. Beginning approximately 2.1 
km (1.3 mi) east of the intersection of Troy Pike and Delaney Ferry 
Road, this unit extends approximately 0.08 km (0.05 mi) northeast along 
Delaney Ferry Road, where the unit boundary turns to the northwest for 
approximately 0.08 km (0.05 mi). From this northeast corner of the 
unit, the boundary extends to the southwest approximately 0.05 km (0.03 
mi), where it turns to the southeast, paralleling a driveway for 0.05 
km (0.03 mi) before turning to the southwest for approximately 0.03 km 
(0.02 mi). From this point the unit boundary turns to the southeast for 
approximately 0.05 km (0.03 mi), returning to the starting point.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of shading or competition due to encroachment of native 
and invasive, nonnative plants. The current landowner manages 
encroaching vegetation to prevent shading and competition where Short's 
bladderpod occurs within the unit.

Unit 20: Bonebank Road

    Unit 20 consists of 1.7 ha (4.3 ac) of lands in Posey County, 
Indiana, which are owned by the Indiana Department of Natural 
Resources. This unit is located approximately 13 km (8.1 mi) southwest 
of the city limits of Mt. Vernon, beginning at the intersection of 
Graddy Road and Bonebank Road and paralleling Bonebank Road on its west 
side for a distance 0.73 km (0.45 mi) north of the intersection. The 
surface geology at this site--Quaternary glacial outwash--and soils are 
markedly different from other sites on calcareous geology throughout 
the rest of the species' range. However, this site supports an 
occurrence that has numbered in the hundreds to more than a thousand 
individuals in the past, and the PCE of forest vegetation with canopy 
openings (PCE 3) is present at the road edge.
    The feature essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of shading or competition due to encroachment of native 
and invasive, nonnative plants.

Whorled Sunflower

    We are designating four units as critical habitat for whorled 
sunflower. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our 
current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for whorled sunflower. All these units are occupied at the time 
of listing. The four areas we propose as critical habitat are: (1) Mud 
Creek, (2) Coosa Valley Prairie, (2) Prairie Branch, and (4) Pinson. 
The approximate area of each proposed critical habitat unit is shown in 
Table 3. All of the critical habitat units for this species are located 
entirely on privately owned land.

[[Page 51003]]



                        Table 3--Designated Critical Habitat Units for Whorled Sunflower
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Critical habitat unit                        County, state              Hectares          Acres
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Mud Creek..................................  Cherokee, Alabama...............           210.6           520.4
2. Coosa Valley Prairie.......................  Floyd, Georgia..................           366.9           906.5
3. Prairie Branch.............................  McNairy, Tennessee..............             6.0            14.9
4. Pinson.....................................  Madison, Tennessee..............            40.7           100.5
                                                                                 -------------------------------
    Total.....................................  ................................           624.2         1,542.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

Unit 1: Mud Creek

    Unit 1 consists of 210.6 ha (520.4 ac) of privately owned lands in 
Cherokee County, Alabama, located approximately 11.6 km (7.2 mi) 
southeast of the city limits of Cedar Bluff. The unit begins 
approximately 0.06 km (0.04 mi) north of the junction of CR-164 and CR-
29 and extends in a northerly direction to encompass much of the 
drainage area of an unnamed tributary to Mud Creek and to the northeast 
to encompass much of the drainage area of a second unnamed tributary to 
Mud Creek. The easternmost boundary of this unit is adjacent to CR-101, 
from approximately 1.0 km (0.6 mi) to 1.4 km (0.9 mi) north of its 
junction with CR-164. Silt loam and silty clay loam soils are present 
throughout the unit, spanning broad uplands, and terraces and flood 
plains of headwater streams in the Coosa River watershed (PCE 1).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of soil disturbance due to silvicultural site 
preparation or timber harvest; indiscriminate herbicide use or mowing 
for silvicultural purposes or road right-of-way maintenance; conversion 
of remnant prairie habitat to agricultural or industrial forestry uses; 
and excessive shading or competition from native woody species or 
invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 2: Coosa Valley Prairie

    Unit 2 consists of 366.9 ha (906.5 ac) of privately owned lands in 
Floyd County, Georgia, located approximately 4.5 km (2.8 mi) northwest 
of the city limits of Cave Spring. This unit corresponds to the 
boundary of The Nature Conservancy's conservation easement on lands 
formerly owned by The Campbell Group and now owned by Plum Creek, a 
site commonly referred to as the Coosa Valley Prairie. The northern 
boundary of this unit follows Jefferson Road for approximately 1.4 km 
(0.9 mi) in a southeasterly direction, beginning approximately 1.7 km 
(1.0 mi) east of the Alabama-Georgia State line. From the eastern 
extent on Jefferson Road, the unit boundary follows an unnamed dirt 
road south for a distance of approximately 1.5 km (0.9 mi), where the 
boundary turns to the west and south before turning back to the north 
and again to the west, reaching the Alabama-Georgia State line. Here, 
the unit follows the State line in a northwest direction for 
approximately 0.8 km (0.5 mi) before turning east and following an 
unnamed dirt road in a northeasterly direction for approximately 2.7 km 
(1.7 mi) and reuniting with the northern boundary on Jefferson Road. 
Silt loam and silty clay loam soils are present throughout the unit, 
spanning broad uplands, depressions, and terraces and flood plains of 
headwater streams in the Coosa River watershed (PCE 1). Prairie 
openings and woodlands with low levels of canopy cover (PCE 2) are 
present throughout much of the unit. While Ellis and McCauley (2009, 
pp. 1837-1838) found very few viable achenes and low germination rates 
at this site, whorled sunflower has responded favorably to habitat 
management efforts by increasing in numbers, and there likely are now a 
sufficient number of compatible mates for production of viable achenes 
(PCE 3) at this site.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of soil disturbance due to silvicultural site 
preparation or timber harvest; indiscriminate herbicide use or mowing 
for silvicultural purposes or road right-of-way maintenance; conversion 
of remnant prairie habitat to agricultural or industrial forestry uses, 
and excessive shading or competition from native woody species or 
invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 3: Prairie Branch

    Unit 3 consists of 6.0 ha (14.9 ac) of privately owned land in 
McNairy County, Tennessee, and is located approximately 0.6 km (0.5 mi) 
south of the easternmost city limit of Ramer. This unit is located 
along Prairie Branch, a tributary to Muddy Creek, beginning 
approximately 0.42 km (0.26 mi) upstream of the point where it passes 
under Mt. Vernon Road and extending downstream for approximately 2.0 km 
(1.2 mi). Within this reach, the critical habitat unit forms a buffer 
extending 15 m (50 ft) upslope from the tops of the banks on both sides 
of Prairie Branch. Sandy loam soils (PCE 1) are present throughout the 
unit, as are small patches of vegetation containing whorled sunflower 
and other wet prairie species (PCE 2).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of soil disturbance due to agricultural practices; 
indiscriminate herbicide use or mowing for road or railroad right-of-
way maintenance; conversion of remnant prairie habitat to agricultural 
uses; and competition from invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 4: Pinson

    Unit 4 consists of 40.7 ha (100.5 ac) of privately owned land in 
Madison County, Tennessee, and is located approximately 4.1 km (2.5 mi) 
northwest of the city limits of Henderson, Tennessee. Beginning 
approximately 0.7 km southeast of the junction of U.S.-45 and Bear 
Creek Road, this unit extends approximately 0.08 km (0.05 mi) northeast 
of U.S.-45, crossing a railroad track, and then turns in a 
southeasterly direction, paralleling the track for a distance of 
approximately 0.5 km (0.3 mi). From this corner, the unit boundary 
turns southwest for a distance of approximately 0.79 km (0.49 mi), and 
then turns to the northwest for a distance of approximately 0.65 km 
(0.4 mi). From this corner, the unit boundary turns to the northeast 
for a distance of approximately 0.63 km (0.39 mi). Silt loam soils (PCE 
1) are present throughout the unit, small patches of vegetation 
containing whorled sunflower and wet prairie species (PCE 2) are 
present, and a sufficient number of compatible mates are present for 
the

[[Page 51004]]

production of a limited number of viable achenes (PCE 3) (Ellis and 
McCauley 2009, p. 1838).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of soil disturbance due to agricultural practices; 
indiscriminate herbicide use or mowing road or railroad right-of-way 
maintenance; conversion of remnant prairie habitat to agricultural 
uses; and excessive shading or competition from native woody species or 
invasive, nonnative plants. Much of the land within this unit has been 
converted to agricultural uses, but is included because of the 
potential for decreasing fragmentation among the subpopulations that 
are present in this unit by restoring suitable vegetation within 
previously converted lands.

Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress

    We are designating seven units as critical habitat for fleshy-fruit 
gladecress. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our 
current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for fleshy-fruit gladecress. All these units are occupied at 
the time of listing. The seven areas we are designating as critical 
habitat are: (1) Bluebird Glades; (2) Stover Branch Glades; (3) Indian 
Tomb Hollow Glade; (4) Cedar Plains South; (5) Cedar Plains North; (6) 
Massey Glade, and (7) Hillsboro Glade. The approximate area of each 
proposed critical habitat unit is shown in Table 4.

                     Table 4--Designated Critical Habitat Units for Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Critical habitat unit                County               Ownership           Hectares          Acres
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Bluebird Glades................  Lawrence.............  Private..............             0.2             0.5
2. Stover Branch Glades...........  Lawrence.............  Private..............             3.2             7.8
3. Indian Tomb Hollow Glade.......  Lawrence.............  Federal..............             0.5             1.1
4. Cedar Plains South.............  Morgan...............  Private..............            0.04             0.1
5. Cedar Plains North.............  Morgan...............  Private..............             1.7             4.2
6. Massey Glade...................  Morgan...............  Private..............            2.75             6.8
7. Hillsboro Glade................  Lawrence.............  Private..............            0.04             0.1
                                                                                 -------------------------------
    Total.........................  .....................  .....................            8.43            20.6
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for fleshy-fruit gladecress, 
below.

Unit 1: Bluebird Glades

    Unit 1 consists of 0.2 ha (0.5 ac) of privately owned land located 
in southeast Lawrence County, Alabama. The unit contains two 
subpopulations and is located along Alabama State Route 157 
approximately 3.5 km (2.2 mi) southeast of the intersections of State 
Routes 36 and 157, approximately 3.7 km (2.3 mi) southwest of Danville, 
Alabama. These plants are located within a highly disturbed, limestone 
glade within a former mobile home site. Well-lighted, open areas (PCE 
2), with shallow soils and exposed limestone bedrock or gravel that are 
dominated by characteristic glade vegetation (PCE 1), are present 
within the unit.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of the invasion of exotic species into open glades and 
possible changes in land use, including road widening or development. 
Due to human-caused disturbances, exotic species, most notably Chinese 
privet and Japanese honeysuckle, threaten this site (Schotz 2009, pp. 
13-14).

Unit 2: Stover Branch Glades

    Unit 2 consists of 3.2 ha (7.8 ac) of privately owned land located 
in southeast Lawrence County, Alabama. The unit contains two 
subpopulations; one subpopulation is located on the southwest side of 
County Road 203 approximately 1.4 km (0.9 mi) south-southeast of 
Alabama State Route 157, and one subpopulation is located along the 
southwest side of State Route 157, approximately 1.6 to 2.1 km (1 to 
1.3 mi) southeast of State Route 36, in Speake, Alabama. These 
subpopulations are located within a pasture and are actively maintained 
by livestock grazing. Well-lighted, open areas (PCE 2), with shallow 
soils and exposed limestone bedrock or gravel that are dominated by 
characteristic glade vegetation (PCE 1), are present within the unit.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of invasive species into open glades and incompatible 
livestock grazing. Invasive species encroachment and continuous 
livestock grazing during the plant's reproductive cycle constitute 
ongoing threats to this site (Schotz 2009, pp. 15-16).

Unit 3: Indian Tomb Hollow Glade

    Unit 3 consists of 0.5 ha (1.1 ac) of federally owned land located 
within the Bankhead National Forest in Lawrence County, Alabama. The 
unit is located on the west and northwest side of County Road 86 at a 
point roughly 4.5 km (2.8 mi) south of State Route 36 near Speake, 
Alabama. Habitat in this unit consists of a relatively small glade 
characterized by a flat limestone outcrop that is heavily buffered by 
nearly impenetrable tangles of eastern red cedar and upland swamp 
privet. Well-lighted, open areas (PCE 2), with shallow soils and 
exposed limestone bedrock or gravel that are dominated by 
characteristic glade vegetation (PCE 1), are present within the unit. 
The U.S. Forest Service provides management to control encroachment of 
invasive species (PCE 3).
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of the invasion of exotic species into open glade and 
damage from vehicles. Moderate encroachment of exotic species, most 
notably Chinese privet and Japanese honeysuckle, threatens this site 
along the glade periphery (Schotz 2009, pp. 18-19). This site also 
shows minimal incidence of trash disposal and damage from recreational 
vehicles.

Unit 4: Cedar Plains South

    Unit 4 consists of 0.04 ha (0.1 ac) of privately owned land located 
in Morgan County, Alabama. This unit is located on Cedar Plains Road, 
1.2 km (0.75 mi) south of County Road 55 and approximately 8 km (5 mi) 
west of the junction of U.S. Highway 31 and County Road 55 in 
Falkville. This population represents an excellent landscape context 
but contains the smallest number of plants of any of the known 
occurrences. Habitat in this unit

[[Page 51005]]

consists of a well-lighted limestone glade opening (PCE 2) located 
within a limestone forest primarily comprised of eastern red cedar and 
various other hardwoods. Herbaceous vegetation characteristic of glade 
communities is present within the well-lighted glade (PCE 1), and 
competition and shading from native and invasive, nonnative plants are 
currently not a threat to the habitat in this unit (PCE 3). The 
features essential to the conservation of the species in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to prevent 
future adverse effects due to competition and shading caused by 
encroachment of native and invasive, nonnative plants.

Unit 5: Cedar Plains North

    Unit 5 consists of 1.7 ha (4.2 ac) of privately owned land located 
in Morgan County, Alabama. This unit is located on Cedar Plains Road, 
from 0.6 to 1 km (0.4 to 0.6 mi) north of County Road 55, approximately 
8 km (5 mi) west of the junction of U.S. Highway 31 and County Road 55 
in Falkville. These populations are located within a pasture and are 
actively maintained by livestock grazing. Well-lighted, open areas (PCE 
2), with shallow soils and exposed limestone bedrock or gravel that are 
dominated by characteristic glade vegetation (PCE 1), are present 
within the unit. This glade complex, although subjected to ongoing 
agricultural interests, represents the greatest concentration of plants 
currently known for the species.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of invasive species into open glades and incompatible 
livestock grazing. Invasive species encroachment and continuous 
livestock grazing during the plant's reproductive cycle constitute 
ongoing threats to this site (Schotz 2009, pp. 23-24).

Unit 6: Massey Glade

    Unit 6 consists of 2.75 ha (6.8 ac) of privately owned land located 
in Morgan County, Alabama. This unit is located on County Road 55, 0.3 
to 0.6 km (0.2 to 0.4 mi) west of Cedar Plains Road, approximately 8.3 
km (5.2 mi) west of the junction of U.S. Highway 31 and County Road 55 
in Falkville. This population is located within a highly disturbed 
complex of limestone pavement barrens scattered in an actively utilized 
pasture and within the yards and fields of nearby homes. Well-lighted, 
open areas (PCE 2), with shallow soils and exposed limestone bedrock or 
gravel that are dominated by characteristic glade vegetation (PCE 1), 
are present within the unit.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of invasive species into open glades and incompatible 
livestock grazing. Invasive species encroachment and continuous 
livestock grazing during the plant's reproductive cycle constitute 
ongoing threats to this site (Schotz 2009, pp. 25-26).

Unit 7. Hillsboro Glade

    Unit 7 consists of 0.04 ha (0.1 ac) of privately owned land in 
Lawrence County, Alabama. This unit is currently occupied and is 
located within a powerline right-of-way approximately 400 feet south of 
the intersection of County Roads 217 and 222, near Hillsboro. Habitat 
in this unit consists of a relatively small limestone glade outcrop 
within a powerline right-of-way that is bordered by a forested area. 
Well-illuminated, open areas (Primary Constituent Element (PCE 2), with 
shallow soils and exposed limestone bedrock that are dominated by 
characteristic glade vegetation (PCE 1), are present within the unit.
    The features essential to the conservation of the species in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protection to 
address threats of the invasion of exotic species into open glades, 
indiscriminate herbicide use or mowing for electrical transmission line 
right-of-way maintenance, and possible changes in land use, including 
agriculture or development.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out 
is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat of such species. In 
addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any agency action which is likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed to be listed 
under the Act or result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
proposed critical habitat.
    Decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have 
invalidated our regulatory definition of ``destruction or adverse 
modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F. 3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra 
Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 2001)), 
and we do not rely on this regulatory definition when analyzing whether 
an action is likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. 
Under the provisions of the Act, we determine destruction or adverse 
modification on the basis of whether, with implementation of the 
proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would continue 
to serve its intended conservation role for the species.
    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical 
habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) must enter into 
consultation with us. Examples of actions that are subject to the 
section 7 consultation process are actions on State, tribal, local, or 
private lands that require a Federal permit (such as a permit from the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or a permit from the Service under section 10 
of the Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding 
from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation 
Administration, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Federal 
actions not affecting listed species or critical habitat, and actions 
on State, tribal, local, or private lands that are not federally funded 
or authorized, do not require section 7 consultation.
    As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with 
the requirements of section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect and 
are likely to adversely affect listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and 
prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that 
would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. We define ``reasonable and prudent 
alternatives'' (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified 
during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action,

[[Page 51006]]

    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction,
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible, and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid 
the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action (or the agency's discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal 
agencies sometimes may need to request reinitiation of consultation 
with us on actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if 
those actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect 
subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical or 
biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for Short's bladderpod, whorled 
sunflower, or fleshy-fruit gladecress. As discussed above, the role of 
critical habitat is to support life-history needs of the species and 
provide for the conservation of the species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, 
funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result in 
consultation for the Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, or fleshy-
fruit gladecress. These activities include, but are not limited to:
Short's bladderpod
    (1) Actions that would remove, severely alter, or inundate portions 
of bedrock formations or outcrops of calcareous limestones and 
interbedded shales or siltstones (geologic substrates). Actions that 
could remove or severely alter geologic substrates include, but are not 
limited to, construction of bridges, buildings, quarries, roads, 
railroad tracks, or interstate pipelines and associated structures. 
These actions could directly remove or result in alteration of geologic 
substrates due to blasting with explosive charges and removal or 
disturbance by heavy machinery. Construction of new dams or raising 
elevations of existing dams downstream of a critical habitat unit could 
inundate geologic substrates.
    (2) Actions that would remove, severely alter, or increase erosion 
of soils. Such activities could include construction of bridges, 
buildings, quarries, roads, railroad tracks, or interstate pipelines 
and associated structures; maintenance of transportation rights-of-way; 
removal of woody vegetation; and reservoir management. Construction 
activities could directly remove soils during the course of grading and 
site preparation. Establishing a quarry would involve removal of the 
overburden, including soils, prior to excavating the geologic substrate 
for a quarry. Transportation right-of-way maintenance that involved 
grading or use of heavy equipment to remove vegetation could cause 
removal, alteration, or erosion of soils. Removal of woody vegetation, 
if done excessively, could result in soil erosion on the steeply sloped 
sites in most critical habitat units. Reservoir management that caused 
frequent changes in reservoir stage could lead to soil erosion, 
especially at lower elevations of hillside and bluff habitats. Removal 
or erosion of soils could lead to the loss or reduction of seed banks 
formed by Short's bladderpod. Soil alteration due to grading or other 
disturbance could cause soils to be overturned, resulting in burial of 
seed banks formed by Short's bladderpod.
    (3) Actions that would result in removal of forest communities, 
promote development of woody vegetation with high stocking densities 
that cause excessive shading and a lack of forest gaps, or introduce 
invasive, nonnative plants into critical habitat. Such activities could 
include timber harvest that severely reduces or completely removes 
forest canopy; mechanical or chemical vegetation management for 
transportation right-of-way maintenance; and introduction of invasive, 
nonnative herbaceous and woody plants. Timber harvest that severely 
reduces or completely removes forest canopy cover would promote forest 
regeneration characterized by high stem densities and lack of a diverse 
age structure, which could cause excessive shading. Mechanical or 
chemical vegetation management for transportation right-of-way 
maintenance potentially could be beneficial for Short's bladderpod if 
well-planned and carefully executed. However, indiscriminate use of 
chemical or mechanical methods for vegetation control could cause 
complete removal of the forest canopy, which would promote regeneration 
characterized by high stem densities and lack of a diverse age 
structure, potentially leading to excessive shading. Introducing 
invasive, nonnative herbaceous and woody plants could lead to excessive 
shading and competition. Such species include, but are not limited to 
Lonicera maackii (bush honeysuckle), L. japonica (Japanese 
honeysuckle), Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven), Ligustrum vulgare 
and L. sinense (privet), Lespedeza cuneata (sericea lespedeza), and 
Lespedeza bicolor (bicolor lespedeza). The effects of the activities 
described above would eventually prevent Short's bladderpod from 
receiving adequate light for growth and reproduction.
Whorled Sunflower
    (1) Actions that would remove, severely alter, or increase erosion 
of soils. Such activities could include clearing, disking, plowing, and 
harvesting of row crop fields; site preparation, operation of heavy 
equipment, and construction and maintenance of log landings, loading 
decks, skid trails, and haul roads for silvicultural activities; and 
maintenance of transportation rights-of-way. These activities could 
result in the removal of soils, which would remove any whorled 
sunflower plants, rhizomes, or seeds present in the soil. These 
activities also could cause soil compaction, which could limit root and 
rhizome development or reduce water infiltration, or lead to increased 
soil erosion and loss of organic matter and nutrients.
    (2) Actions that would promote encroachment of woody species into 
old fields, prairie remnants, or woodlands with herbaceous vegetation 
that is characteristic of moist prairie remnants. Such activities could 
include the

[[Page 51007]]

planting of forest stands with high stem densities; planting forested 
stream buffers; or neglecting to conduct periodic mechanical 
disturbance, herbicide application, or prescribed burning. Planting 
forest stands with high stem densities or planting forested stream 
buffers would eventually lead to development of a canopy that would 
prevent whorled sunflower from receiving adequate light for growth and 
reproduction. Neglecting to conduct periodic management in suitable 
habitat, such as mechanical disturbance, careful herbicide application, 
or prescribed burning, would lead to encroachment by shrubs or trees 
that would eventually prevent whorled sunflower from receiving adequate 
light for growth and reproduction.
    (3) Actions that cause mortality of whorled sunflower plants or 
that disrupt growth and prevent individuals from producing flowers. 
Such activities could include indiscriminate herbicide application or 
mowing for transportation right-of-way maintenance, agriculture, or 
silviculture, or actions described above that cause removal of soils 
and plant parts they contain. Herbicide application or removal of soil 
and any plant parts contained therein could result in direct mortality 
of individual whorled sunflower plants. Poorly timed mowing could 
disrupt growth and prevent flower production. Either of these 
activities could permanently or temporarily reduce the number of 
compatible mates within a population, reducing the potential for viable 
achene production to occur.
Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress
    (1) Actions that would remove, severely alter, or significantly 
reduce limestone outcrops. Such activities could include, but are not 
limited to, construction of interstate pipelines and associated 
structures that are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-issued Clean Water Act section 
404 and River and Harbors Act section 10 permits for wetland crossings 
for linear projects (pipelines, transmission lines, and roads); road 
development (expansions and improvements) funded by the Federal Highway 
Administration; and U.S. Department of Agriculture funding and 
technical assistance for conversion of glades and surroundings to pine 
plantations or for brush control programs involving herbicide 
applications. These actions could directly eliminate a site or alter 
the hydrology, open sunny aspect, and substrate conditions, reducing 
suitability of a location to a point that it no longer provides the 
environment necessary to sustain the species. In the case of some types 
of herbicide applications, the habitat may become unsuitable for 
germination and successful growth of seedlings. These activities would 
permanently alter the habitat that fleshy-fruit gladecress is dependent 
on to complete its life cycle.
    (2) Actions that would significantly alter natural flora, including 
activities such as digging, disking, blading or construction work; 
introduction of nonnative species for erosion control along rights-of-
way or in other areas; indiscriminate mechanical or chemical vegetation 
management for right-of-way maintenance; and a lack of management of 
nonnative or native woody species. Mechanical or chemical vegetation 
management for right-of-way maintenance potentially could be beneficial 
for fleshy-fruit gladecress if well-planned and carefully executed. 
However, indiscriminate use of chemical or mechanical methods for 
vegetation control could alter the composition and structure of 
characteristic glade vegetation communities by causing mortality, 
disrupting reproductive cycles, or preventing seedling establishment of 
fleshy-fruit gladecress and associated native species.

Exemptions

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

    Section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) 
provides that: ``The Secretary shall not designate as critical habitat 
any lands or other geographic areas owned or controlled by the 
Department of Defense, or designated for its use, that are subject to 
an integrated natural resources management plan [INRMP] prepared under 
section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary 
determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species 
for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.'' There are no 
Department of Defense lands with a completed INRMP within the critical 
habitat designation.

Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2)of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall 
designate and make revisions to critical habitat on the basis of the 
best available scientific data after taking into consideration the 
economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant 
impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The 
Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if he determines 
that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying 
such area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based 
on the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate 
such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the 
species. In making that determination, the statute on its face, as well 
as the legislative history, are clear that the Secretary has broad 
discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give 
to any factor.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we may exclude an area from 
designated critical habitat based on economic impacts, impacts on 
national security, or any other relevant impacts. In considering 
whether to exclude a particular area from the designation, we identify 
the benefits of including the area in the designation, identify the 
benefits of excluding the area from the designation, and evaluate 
whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion.

Consideration of Economic Impacts

    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider the economic impacts 
of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. In order to 
consider economic impacts, we prepared an incremental effects 
memorandum (IEM), which together with our narrative and interpretation 
of effects constitute our draft economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed 
critical habitat designation and related factors (IEc 2014a). The DEA, 
dated February 14, 2014, was made available for public review from May 
29, 2014, through June 30, 2014 (79 FR 30792). Following the close of 
the comment period, we reviewed and evaluated all information submitted 
during the comment period that may pertain to our consideration of the 
probable incremental economic impacts of these critical habitat 
designations and incorporated this information into a final economic 
analysis (FEA) (IEc 2014b). Additional information relevant to the 
probable incremental economic impacts of critical habitat designation 
for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress 
is summarized below and available in the FEA available at http://www.regulations.gov.
    The FEA addresses how probable economic impacts are likely to be 
distributed, including an assessment of any local or regional impacts 
of habitat conservation and the potential effects of conservation 
activities on government agencies, private businesses, and individuals. 
Decisionmakers can use this information to evaluate whether the effects 
of the designation might unduly

[[Page 51008]]

burden a particular group, area, or economic sector. The FEA assesses 
the economic impacts of Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and 
fleshy-fruit gladecress conservation efforts associated with the 
following categories of activity: Utilities projects, recreation, 
conservation projects, transportation activities, agricultural 
activities, and residential and commercial development.
    In general, because all of the critical habitat units are occupied 
by one of the three species, the Service believes that, in most 
circumstances, there will be no conservation efforts needed to prevent 
adverse modification of critical habitat beyond those that would be 
required to prevent jeopardy to the species. Any incremental costs of 
the critical habitat designation will predominantly be administrative 
in nature and would not be significant. The designation of critical 
habitat is not likely to result in an increase of consultations, but 
rather only the additional administrative effort required for each 
consultation to address the effects of each proposed agency action on 
critical habitat.
    Our FEA did not identify any disproportionate costs that are likely 
to result from the designation. Consequently, the Secretary is not 
exerting her discretion to exclude any areas from this designation of 
critical habitat for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, or fleshy-
fruit gladecress based on economic impacts.
    A copy of the IEM and FEA with supporting documents may be obtained 
by contacting the Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES) or by downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

Exclusions Based on National Security Impacts or Homeland Security 
Impacts

    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands owned or managed by the Department of Defense where a national 
security impact might exist. We have determined that no lands within 
the designated critical habitat for the whorled sunflower and fleshy-
fruit gladecress are owned or managed by the Department of Defense. The 
Department of Defense owns or manages land, adjacent to Corps of 
Engineers reservoirs, where critical habitat is proposed for Short's 
bladderpod. However, we anticipate no impact on national security from 
designating this land as critical habitat. Consequently, the Secretary 
is not exerting her discretion to exclude any areas from this final 
designation based on impacts on national security.

Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts

    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national 
security. We consider a number of factors, including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In 
addition, we look at any tribal issues and consider the government-to-
government relationship of the United States with tribal entities. We 
also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
    In preparing this final rule, we have determined that there are 
currently no HCPs or other management plans for Short's bladderpod, 
whorled sunflower, nor fleshy-fruit gladecress, and the final 
designation does not include any tribal lands or trust resources. We 
anticipate no impact on tribal lands, partnerships, or HCPs from this 
critical habitat designation. Accordingly, the Secretary is not 
exercising her discretion to exclude any areas from this final 
designation based on other relevant impacts.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

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

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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), whenever an agency must 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities 
(small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA 
amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a certification 
statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. In this final rule, we are certifying that the critical 
habitat designations for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and 
fleshy-fruit gladecress will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. The following discussion 
explains our rationale.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; as well as small businesses. Small businesses include 
manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 employees, 
wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, retail and 
service businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales, general 
and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 million in 
annual business, special trade contractors doing less than $11.5 
million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with annual 
sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic impacts on 
these small entities are significant, we consider the types of 
activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this rule, as 
well as the types of project modifications that may result. In general, 
the term ``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical 
small business firm's business operations.
    The Service's current understanding of the requirements under the 
RFA, as amended, and following recent court

[[Page 51009]]

decisions, is that Federal agencies are required to evaluate the 
potential incremental impacts of rulemaking only on those entities 
directly regulated by the rulemaking itself, and, therefore, not 
required to evaluate the potential impacts to indirectly regulated 
entities. The regulatory mechanism through which critical habitat 
protections are realized is section 7 of the Act, which requires 
Federal agencies, in consultation with the Service, to ensure that any 
action authorized, funded, or carried by the agency is not likely to 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Therefore, under section 
7 only Federal action agencies are directly subject to the specific 
regulatory requirement (avoiding destruction and adverse modification) 
imposed by critical habitat designation. Consequently, it is our 
position that only Federal action agencies will be directly regulated 
by this designation. There is no requirement under RFA to evaluate the 
potential impacts to entities not directly regulated. Moreover, Federal 
agencies are not small entities. Therefore, because no small entities 
are directly regulated by this rulemaking, the Service certifies that 
this final critical habitat designation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and a 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

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

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions. OMB has provided guidance for implementing this 
Executive Order that outlines nine outcomes that may constitute ``a 
significant adverse effect'' when compared to not taking the regulatory 
action under consideration.
    The economic analysis finds that none of these criteria are 
relevant to this analysis. Thus, based on information in the economic 
analysis, energy-related impacts associated with Short's bladderpod, 
whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress conservation activities 
within critical habitat are not expected. As such, the designation of 
critical habitat is not expected to significantly affect energy 
supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a 
significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is 
required.

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

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal 
governments, or the private sector, and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments'' with two 
exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It also 
excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal 
program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal 
program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, 
local, and tribal governments under entitlement authority,'' if the 
provision would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' 
or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding,'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of 
enactment, these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid to Families 
with Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; 
Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; 
Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family 
Support Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ``Federal 
private sector mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose an 
enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of 
Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a 
voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require 
approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be 
indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally 
binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the 
extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they 
receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid 
program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would 
critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs 
listed above onto State governments.
    (2) We do not believe that this rule will significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments because it will not produce a Federal mandate 
of $100 million or greater in any year, that is, it is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act. Small governments will be affected only to the extent that any 
programs having Federal funds, permits, or other authorized activities 
must ensure that their actions will not adversely affect the critical 
habitat. The FEA concludes incremental impacts may occur due to 
administrative costs of section 7 consultations for activities related 
to commercial development, residential development, utilities projects, 
recreational development, conservation projects, transportation 
activities, agricultural activities, and associated actions; however, 
these are not expected to significantly affect small government 
entities. Consequently, a Small Government Agency Plan is not required.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), we have analyzed the potential takings implications of 
designating critical habitat for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, 
and fleshy-fruit gladecress in a takings implications assessment. As 
discussed above, the designation of critical habitat affects only 
Federal actions. Although private entities that receive Federal 
funding, assistance, or require approval or authorization from a 
Federal agency for an action may be indirectly impacted by the 
designation of critical habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat rests squarely 
on the Federal agency. The DEA found that no significant economic 
impacts are likely to result from the designation of critical habitat 
for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. 
Because the Act's critical habitat protection requirements apply only 
to Federal agency actions, few conflicts between critical habitat and 
private property rights should result from this

[[Page 51010]]

designation. Based on the best available information, the takings 
implications assessment concludes that this designation of critical 
habitat for Short's bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit 
gladecress does not pose significant takings implications.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with E.O. 13132 (Federalism), this rule does not have 
significant Federalism effects. A federalism summary impact statement 
is not required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and 
Department of Commerce policy, we requested information from, and 
coordinated development of this critical habitat designation with, 
appropriate State resource agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee. We received comments from the Kentucky State 
Nature Preserves Commission and Tennessee Department of Environment and 
Conservation and have addressed them in the Summary of Comments and 
Recommendations section of the rule. From a federalism perspective, the 
designation of critical habitat directly affects only the 
responsibilities of Federal agencies. The Act imposes no other duties 
with respect to critical habitat, either for States and local 
governments, or for anyone else. As a result, the rule does not have 
substantial direct effects either on the States, or on the relationship 
between the national government and the States, or on the distribution 
of powers and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 
The designation may have some benefit to these governments because the 
areas that contain the features essential to the conservation of the 
species are more clearly defined, and the physical and biological 
features of the habitat necessary to the conservation of the species 
are specifically identified. This information does not alter where and 
what federally sponsored activities may occur. However, it may assist 
these local governments in long-range planning (because these local 
governments no longer have to wait for case-by-case section 7 
consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, 
consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be required. While non-Federal 
entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that 
otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for 
an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the applicable 
standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We are 
designating critical habitat in accordance with the provisions of the 
Act. To assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the 
species, the rule identifies the elements of physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of Short's bladderpod, whorled 
sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. The designated areas of 
critical habitat are presented on maps, and the rule provides several 
options for the interested public to obtain more detailed location 
information, if desired.

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

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

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

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare 
environmental analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy 
Act in connection with designating critical habitat under the Act. We 
published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). This position was 
upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas 
County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 
1042 (1996)).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994 
(Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments; 59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and 
Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes. As discussed above (see Exclusions), 
we are not designating critical habitat for the Short's bladderpod, 
whorled sunflower, or fleshy-fruit gladecress on tribal lands.

References Cited

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

Authors

    The primary authors of this rulemaking are the staff members of the 
Tennessee and Alabama Ecological Services Field Offices.

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 set forth below:

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

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

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


0
2. Amend Sec.  17.96(a) as follows:
0
a. By adding an entry in alphabetical order under Family Asteraceae for 
``Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower)''; and
0
b. By adding entries in alphabetical order under Family Brassicaceae 
for ``Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress)'' and ``Physaria 
globosa (Short's bladderpod)''.
    The additions read as follows:

[[Page 51011]]

Sec.  17.96  Critical habitat--plants.

    (a) Flowering plants.
* * * * *
Family Asteraceae: Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Cherokee County, 
Alabama; Floyd County, Georgia; and Madison and McNairy Counties, 
Tennessee, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
whorled sunflower consist of three components:
    (i) Silt loam, silty clay loam, or fine sandy loam soils on land 
forms including broad uplands, depressions, stream terraces, and 
floodplains within the headwaters of the Coosa River in Alabama and 
Georgia and the East Fork Forked Deer and Tuscumbia rivers in 
Tennessee.
    (ii) Sites in which forest canopy is absent, or where woody 
vegetation is present at sufficiently low densities to provide full or 
partial sunlight to whorled sunflower plants for most of the day, and 
which support vegetation characteristic of moist prairie communities. 
Invasive, nonnative plants must be absent or present in sufficiently 
low numbers to not inhibit growth or reproduction of whorled sunflower.
    (iii) Occupied sites in which a sufficient number of compatible 
mates are present for outcrossing and production of viable achenes to 
occur.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located existing within the legal boundaries on 
September 25, 2014.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of Bing Maps digital aerial photography supplied by 
the Harris Corporation, Earthstar Geographics LLC, and the Microsoft 
Corporation. Critical habitat units were then mapped using the USA 
Contiguous Albers Equal Area Projection with a NAD 83 datum. The maps 
in this entry, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, 
establish the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The 
coordinates or plot points or both on which each map is based are 
available to the public at the Service's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/cookeville, at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. 
FWS-R4-ES-2013-0086, and at the field office responsible for this 
designation. You may obtain field office location information by 
contacting one of the Service regional offices, the addresses of which 
are listed at 50 CFR 2.2.

[[Page 51012]]

    (5) Index map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.000
    

[[Page 51013]]


    (6) Unit 1: Mud Creek, Cherokee County, Alabama. Map of Unit 1 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.001


[[Page 51014]]


    (7) Unit 2: Coosa Valley Prairie, Floyd County, Georgia. Map of 
Unit 2 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.002


[[Page 51015]]


    (8) Unit 3: Prairie Branch, McNairy County, Tennessee. Map of Unit 
3 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.003


[[Page 51016]]


    (9) Unit 4: Pinson, Madison County, Tennessee. Map of Unit 4 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.004

* * * * *
Family Brassicaceae: Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Lawrence and Morgan 
Counties, Alabama, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
fleshy-fruit gladecress consist of three components:
    (i) Shallow-soiled, open areas with exposed limestone bedrock or 
gravel that are dominated by herbaceous vegetation characteristic of 
glade communities.
    (ii) Open or well-lighted areas of exposed limestone bedrock or 
gravel that ensure fleshy-fruit gladecress plants remain unshaded for a 
significant portion of the day.

[[Page 51017]]

    (iii) Glade habitat that is protected from both native and 
invasive, nonnative plants to minimize competition and shading of 
fleshy-fruit gladecress.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located existing within the legal boundaries on 
September 25, 2014.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of Bing Maps digital aerial photography supplied by 
the Harris Corporation, Earthstar Geographics LLC, and the Microsoft 
Corporation. Critical habitat units were then mapped using the USA 
Contiguous Albers Equal Area Projection with a NAD 83 datum. The maps 
in this entry, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, 
establish the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The 
coordinates or plot points or both on which each map is based are 
available to the public at the Service's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/cookeville, at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. 
FWS-R4-ES-2013-0086, and at the field office responsible for this 
designation. You may obtain field office location information by 
contacting one of the Service regional offices, the addresses of which 
are listed at 50 CFR 2.2.

[[Page 51018]]

    (5) Index map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.005
    

[[Page 51019]]


    (6) Unit 1: Bluebird Glades, Lawrence County, Alabama. Map of Units 
1 and 2 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.006

    (7) Unit 2: Stover Branch Glades, Lawrence County, Alabama. Map of 
Unit 2 is provided at paragraph (6) of this entry.

[[Page 51020]]

    (8) Unit 3: Indian Tomb Hollow Glade, Lawrence County, Alabama. Map 
of Unit 3 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.007


[[Page 51021]]


    (9) Unit 4: Cedar Plains South, Morgan County, Alabama. Map of 
Units 4, 5, and 6 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.008

    (10) Unit 5: Cedar Plains North, Morgan County, Alabama. Map of 
Unit 5 is provided at paragraph (9) of this entry.
    (11) Unit 6: Massey Glade, Morgan County, Alabama. Map of Unit 6 is 
provided at paragraph (9) of this entry.

[[Page 51022]]

    (12) Unit 7: Hillsboro Glade, Lawrence County, Alabama. Map of Unit 
7 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.009

* * * * *
Family Brassicaceae: Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Posey County, Indiana; 
Clark, Franklin, and Woodford Counties, Kentucky; and Cheatham, 
Davidson, Dickson, Jackson, Montgomery, Smith, and Trousdale Counties, 
Tennessee, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Short's bladderpod consist of three components:
    (i) Bedrock formations and outcrops of calcareous limestone, 
sometimes with interbedded shale or siltstone, in close proximity to 
the mainstem or tributaries of the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers. 
These outcrop sites or areas of suitable bedrock geology should be 
located on

[[Page 51023]]

steeply sloped hillsides or bluffs, typically on south- to west-facing 
aspects.
    (ii) Shallow or rocky, well-drained soils formed from the 
weathering of underlying calcareous bedrock formations, which are 
undisturbed or subjected to minimal disturbance, so as to retain 
habitat for ground-nesting pollinators and potential for maintenance of 
a soil seed bank.
    (iii) Forest communities with low levels of canopy closure or 
openings in the canopy to provide adequate sunlight for individual and 
population growth. Invasive, nonnative plants must be absent or present 
in sufficiently low numbers not to inhibit growth or reproduction of 
Short's bladderpod.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located existing within the legal boundaries on 
September 25, 2014.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of Bing Maps digital aerial photography supplied by 
the Harris Corporation, Earthstar Geographics LLC, and the Microsoft 
Corporation. Critical habitat units were then mapped using the USA 
Contiguous Albers Equal Area Projection with a NAD 83 datum. The maps 
in this entry, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, 
establish the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The 
coordinates or plot points or both on which each map is based are 
available to the public at the Service's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/cookeville, at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. 
FWS-R4-ES-2013-0086, and at the field office responsible for this 
designation. You may obtain field office location information by 
contacting one of the Service regional offices, the addresses of which 
are listed at 50 CFR 2.2.

[[Page 51024]]

    (5) Index map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.010
    

[[Page 51025]]


    (6) Unit 1: Kings and Queens Bluff, Montgomery County, Tennessee. 
Map of Unit 1 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.011


[[Page 51026]]


    (7) Unit 2: Lock B Road, Montgomery County, Tennessee. Map of Units 
2 and 3 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.012

    (8) Unit 3: Jarrel Ridge Road, Montgomery County, Tennessee. Map of 
Unit 3 is provided at paragraph (7) of this entry.

[[Page 51027]]

    (9) Unit 4: Cheatham Lake, Cheatham County, Tennessee. Map of Unit 
4 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.013


[[Page 51028]]


    (10) Unit 5: Harpeth River, Cheatham County, Tennessee. Map of 
Units 5 and 6 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.014

    (11) Unit 6: Montgomery Bell Bridge, Cheatham and Dickson Counties, 
Tennessee. Map of Unit 6 is provided at paragraph (10) of this entry.

[[Page 51029]]

    (12) Unit 7: Nashville and Western Railroad, Cheatham County, 
Tennessee. Map of Unit 7 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.015


[[Page 51030]]


    (13) Unit 8: River Trace, Cheatham and Davidson Counties, 
Tennessee. Map of Unit 8 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.016


[[Page 51031]]


    (14) Unit 9: Old Hickory Lake, Trousdale County, Tennessee. Map of 
Units 9 and 10 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.017

    (15) Unit 10: Coleman-Winston Bridge, Trousdale County, Tennessee. 
Map of Unit 10 is provided at paragraph (14) of this entry.

[[Page 51032]]

    (16) Unit 11: Cordell Hull Reservoir, Smith County, Tennessee. Map 
of Unit 11 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.018


[[Page 51033]]


    (17) Unit 12: Funns Branch, Jackson County, Tennessee. Map of Units 
12 and 13 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.019

    (18) Unit 13: Wartrace Creek, Jackson County, Tennessee. Map of 
Unit 13 is provided at paragraph (17) of this entry.

[[Page 51034]]

    (19) Unit 14: Camp Pleasant Branch, Franklin County, Kentucky. Map 
of Unit 14 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.020


[[Page 51035]]


    (20) Unit 15: Kentucky River, Franklin County, Kentucky. Map of 
Units 15 and 16 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.021

    (21) Unit 16: Owenton Road, Franklin County, Kentucky. Map of Unit 
16 is provided at paragraph (20) of this entry.

[[Page 51036]]

    (22) Unit 17: Little Benson Creek, Franklin County, Kentucky. Map 
of Unit 17 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.022


[[Page 51037]]


    (23) Unit 18: Boone Creek, Clark County, Kentucky. Map of Unit 18 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.023


[[Page 51038]]


    (24) Unit 19: Delaney Ferry Road, Woodford County, Kentucky. Map of 
Unit 19 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.024


[[Page 51039]]


    (25) Unit 20: Bonebank Road, Posey County, Indiana. Map of Unit 20 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR26AU14.025

* * * * *

    Dated: August 8, 2014.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2014-19558 Filed 8-25-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C