[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 185 (Wednesday, September 24, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57032-57041]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-22668]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8- ES-2014-0039; 4500030113]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii and Eriogonum 
diatomaceum

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

[[Page 57033]]


ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list the plants Eriogonum diatomaceum 
(Churchill Narrows buckwheat) and Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii 
(Las Vegas buckwheat) as endangered or threatened species and to 
designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). After review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information, we find that listing either Eriogonum 
diatomaceum or Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii is not warranted at 
this time. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new 
information that becomes available concerning the threats to the 
Eriogonum diatomaceum or Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii or their 
habitats at any time.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on September 24, 
2014.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R8-ES-2014-0039. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 
Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, NV 89502; telephone 775-861-6300; 
or facsimile 775-861-6301.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward D. Koch, State Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 
Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, NV 89502; telephone 775-861-6300; 
or facsimile 775-861-6301. If you use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Previous Federal Actions

    We identified Eriogonum diatomaceum as a candidate species in the 
May 4, 2004, candidate notice of review (CNOR; 69 FR 24876). Eriogonum 
diatomaceum was included in all subsequent annual CNORs (70 FR 24870, 
May 11, 2005; 71 FR 53756, September 12, 2006; 72 FR 69034, December 6, 
2007; 73 FR 75176, December 10, 2008; 74 FR 57804, November 9, 2009; 75 
FR 69222, November 10, 2010; 76 FR 66370, October 26, 2011; 77 FR 
69994, November 21, 2012; 78 FR 70104, November 22, 2013). When it was 
first identified as a candidate, we assigned a listing priority number 
(LPN) of 2, reflecting a species with threats that were high in 
magnitude and imminent. The LPN was changed to 5 in 2008 (73 FR 75176, 
December 10, 2008) to reflect a species with threats that were high in 
magnitude but not imminent; the LPN remained at 5 in all subsequent 
CNORs.
    We identified Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii as a candidate 
species in the December 6, 2007, CNOR (72 FR 69034). Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii was included in all subsequent annual CNORs (73 
FR 75176, December 10, 2008; 74 FR 57804, November 9, 2009; 75 FR 
69222, November 10, 2010; 76 FR 66370, October 26, 2011; 77 FR 69994, 
November 21, 2012; 78 FR 70104, November 22, 2013). On April 22, 2008, 
we received a petition (Center for Biological Diversity 2008) to list 
E. c. var. nilesii as endangered or threatened under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We did 
not publish separate substantial 90-day and warranted-but-precluded 12-
month petition findings, but made these findings in the 2008 CNOR (73 
FR 75176, December 10, 2008). When it was first identified as a 
candidate, we assigned a LPN of 6, reflecting a species with threats 
that were high in magnitude but not imminent; the LPN remained at 6 in 
all subsequent CNORs.

Background

    We completed comprehensive assessments of the biological status of 
Eriogonum diatomaceum and Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, and we 
prepared reports of the assessments (Species Reports), which provide a 
thorough account for each of the plants. This finding is based upon 
these Species Reports for Eriogonum diatomaceum and Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii and scientific analyses of available 
information prepared by the Service and an application of section 4(a) 
of the Act. The Species Reports contain the best scientific and 
commercial data available concerning the status of Eriogonum 
diatomaceum and Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, including the past, 
present, and future stressors to the plants. As such, the Species 
Reports provide the scientific basis that informs our regulatory 
decision in this document, which involves the further application of 
standards within the Act and its regulations and policies. The Species 
Reports (including all references) and other materials relating to this 
finding can be found on the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office Web site 
at: http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/species_actions/species_actions.html and at http://www.regulations.gov at 
Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2014-0039.
    A summary of the biology, taxonomy, life history, and distribution 
for each of the plants follows. The reader is directed to the Species 
Reports for a more detailed discussion of these topics as well as the 
current conditions of Eriogonum diatomaceum and Eriogonum corymbosum 
var. nilesii (Service 2014a; Service 2014b; http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/species_actions/species_actions.html).

Eriogonum diatomaceum

    Eriogonum diatomaceum is a member of the Polygonaceae (buckwheat 
family). It is a low, matted, herbaceous perennial forb with leaves 
that have densely matted, wooly hairs and with head-like clusters of 
creamy-white flowers. Flowering typically occurs between the months of 
June and September. E. diatomaceum occurs between 4,300 and 4,560 feet 
(ft) (1,311 and 1,390 meters (m)) in elevation on diatomaceous 
outcrops, and is a narrow endemic of the Lahontan Basin section of the 
western Great Basin (Service 2014a, pp. 3-6). We recognize four 
populations of this species that are restricted to approximately 3 
square miles (7.8 square kilometers) in the Churchill Narrows area of 
the Pine Nut Mountains in Lyon County, Nevada. These four populations 
occupy approximately 18 acres (ac) (7.3 hectares (ha)) on lands managed 
entirely by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (Service 2014a, pp. 7-
10), and E. diatomaceum's historical range is the same as its current 
range. E. diatomaceum was added to the Nevada State list of fully 
protected species of native flora in 2004. In addition, E. diatomaceum 
is recognized by the BLM as a sensitive species (Service 2014a, p. 3).
    BLM monitored each of the four populations from 2005-2007 and in 
2012. This sampling data and estimated abundance data for Eriogonum 
diatomaceum in each monitoring location are presented in the Species 
Report (Service 2014a, pp. 10-13). Overall, BLM sampled 1,104-1,604 
plants during each sampling year, and of those, approximately 638-994 
were live plants. The estimated abundance of Eriogonum diatomaceum in 
each monitoring location extrapolated from data collected in BLM 
monitoring macroplots, for each year of data collection, showed a range 
from 35,950 to 59,307 plants present depending on

[[Page 57034]]

the year of the monitoring effort (Service 2014a, p. 13).

Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii

    Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii (Las Vegas buckwheat) is a member 
of the Polygonaceae (buckwheat family) (Service 2014b, pp. 4-8). It is 
an open to somewhat spreading perennial shrub with numerous yellow to 
pale yellow flowers. Flowering typically occurs between the months of 
August and November. Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii occurs between 
656 and 2,789 ft (200-850 m) in elevation on clayey, gravelly, or 
rarely sandy flats and slopes (0-3 percent) or gypsum flats and mounds 
(Service 2014b, pp. 17-18). We recognize the geographic range of E. c. 
var. nilesii as restricted to southern Nevada, in contrast to some 
prior accounts showing a range extending into southern Utah and 
northern Arizona based on morphological and genetic data described in 
detail in the Species Report (Service 2014b, pp. 4-11). In southern 
Nevada, E. c. var. nilesii is found northwest of the Virgin River (in 
Lincoln County) and west of Lake Mead (in Clark County). Within this 
region, E. c. var. nilesii currently occupies a total of approximately 
795.3 ac (321.85 ha) (Service 2014b, pp. 11-12). The majority (80 
percent) of this occupied acreage is federally owned, with 72 percent 
administered by the BLM, and another 8.15 percent by the Department of 
Defense (DOD), at Nellis Air Force Base. Landownership for the 
remainder of occupied habitat is as follows: City of Las Vegas (0.13 
percent), Clark County (0.80 percent), State of Nevada (0.001 percent), 
and private landowners (18.81 percent). Of 12 historically recognized 
populations of the plant (all located in southern Nevada), 9 
populations remain extant (4 in Las Vegas Valley, 2 in White Basin 
Mountains, 1 in Muddy Mountains, 1 in Coyote Springs Valley, and 1 in 
Toquop Wash), and 3 have been extirpated (2 in the Las Vegas Valley and 
1 in the White Basin Mountains) (Service 2014b, pp. 14-16). In 
addition, four of the extant populations (Las Vegas Valley) have been 
partially extirpated. Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii is not listed 
by the State of Nevada, but it is recognized as a sensitive species by 
the BLM (Service 2014b, p. 3).
    Expressed in terms of acreage, Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii 
has been extirpated from 1,303.5 ac (527.5 ha) of formerly occupied 
habitat, corresponding to nearly 62 percent of its range. Most of the 
lands from which the plant has been extirpated are in private ownership 
(94.9 percent) (Service 2014b, pp. 11-12). Within the range of the 
plant, the combined total of available estimates of plants at the nine 
extant populations ranges between 31,176-31,773 individuals across a 
total of 795.3 ac (321.85 ha). Of the total 31,176-31,773 estimated 
individuals, 7,529-7,817+ are located in four populations in Las Vegas 
Valley, 296+ are located in one population in Muddy Mountains, 308-550+ 
are located in two populations in White Basin, 13,043-13,110+ are 
located in Coyote Springs, and 10,000+ are located in Toquop Wash 
(Service 2014b, pp. 14-16). However, reliable estimation of population 
size or trends in E. c. var. nilesii is complicated by many factors 
including varied survey methods, and as a result, the data are not 
always directly comparable and must be interpreted with caution 
(Service 2014b, pp. 18-19).

Summary of Biological Status and Threats

    The Act directs us to determine whether any species is an 
endangered species or a threatened species because of any factors 
affecting its continued existence. We completed comprehensive 
assessments of the biological status of Eriogonum diatomaceum and 
Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, and we prepared reports of the 
assessments (Species Reports), which provide a thorough account for 
each of the plants. In this section, we summarize the conclusions of 
those reports, which can be accessed at Docket FWS-R8-ES-2014-0039 on 
http://www.regulations.gov, and at http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/species_actions/species_actions.html. 
Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and implementing regulations (50 
CFR 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing species 
from, and reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a 
species may be determined to be endangered or threatened based on any 
of the following five factors:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    A species is an endangered species for purposes of the Act if it is 
in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range, and is a threatened species if it is likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. For purposes of this analysis, we 
first evaluate the status of the species throughout all of its range, 
and then consider whether the species is in danger of extinction or 
likely to become so in any significant portion of its range.
    In making this finding, information pertaining to Eriogonum 
diatomaceum and Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii in relation to the 
five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act is summarized 
below, based on the analysis of stressors contained in the Species 
Reports. In considering what factors might constitute threats, we must 
look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the factor to determine 
whether the species responds to the factor in a way that causes actual 
impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor, but no 
response, or only a positive response, that factor stressor is not a 
threat. If there is exposure and the species responds negatively, the 
factor may be a threat and we then attempt to determine the scope and 
severity of the potential threat. If the threat is significant, it may 
drive or contribute to the risk of extinction of the species such that 
the species warrants listing as endangered or threatened as those terms 
are defined by the Act. This does not necessarily require empirical 
proof of a threat. The combination of exposure and some corroborating 
evidence of how the species is likely impacted could suffice. The mere 
identification of factors that could impact a species negatively is not 
sufficient to compel a finding that listing is appropriate; we require 
evidence that these factors are operative threats that act on the 
species to the point that the species meets the definition of an 
endangered or threatened species under the Act.

Analysis Under Section 4(a)(1) of the Act

    The Act requires that the Secretary determine whether a species is 
an endangered or threatened species because of any of the five factors 
enumerated in 16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1). Our discussion of the threats, 
which we have categorized here under each of these five factors, is 
contained in the Species Reports (can be accessed at Docket FWS-R8-ES-
2014-0039 on http://www.regulations.gov, and at http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/species_actions/species_actions.html). In the Species Reports, we present 
detailed discussions of current and future stressors to Eriogonum

[[Page 57035]]

diatomaceum and Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii. We consider in this 
document how threats categorized under each of the five factors are 
affecting each of the plants. In our Species Reports, we describe the 
timing, scope, and severity for each stressor associated with each of 
the plants. We describe the scope as the percentage of the plant's 
distribution that is reasonably expected to be affected by a stressor 
within a specified, foreseeable amount of time, given continuation of 
current circumstances and trends. Within the scope of the threat, the 
severity is the level of damage to the plant's population or breeding 
occurrences that is reasonably expected from the stressor within a 
specified, foreseeable amount of time, given continuation of current 
circumstances and trends.
    All potential stressors currently acting upon Eriogonum diatomaceum 
and Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii or likely to affect either of the 
plants in the foreseeable future (and consistent with the five listing 
factors identified above) are evaluated and addressed in the Species 
Reports, and summarized in the following paragraphs. The reader is 
directed to the Species Reports (can be accessed at Docket FWS-R8-ES-
2014-0039 on http://www.regulations.gov, and at http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/species_actions/species_actions.html) 
for a more detailed discussion of the stressors summarized in this 
document.

Eriogonum Diatomaceum

    The Species Report evaluated the biological status of the species 
and each of the potential stressors affecting its continued existence 
(Service 2014a, entire). It was based upon the best available 
scientific and commercial data and the expert opinion of the Species 
Report team members. Based on the analysis and discussion contained in 
the Species Report, we evaluated the potential threats under the five 
statutory factors: Mineral exploration and development (Factors A and 
E); livestock grazing (Factors A and E); herbivory (Factor C); off-
highway vehicle (OHV) activity and road development (Factors A and E); 
nonnative, invasive plant species (Factors A and E); disease (Factor 
C); and climate change (Factors A and E). We found that these factors 
currently may have minor impacts on individuals in some locations, but 
they are not impacting the species as a whole currently and are not 
expected to in the future. The full analyses of these possible 
stressors are documented in the Species Report and are summarized 
below. Based on the analysis contained in the Species Report, we find 
that the best available scientific and commercial information does not 
indicate that these stressors are causing a decline in the species or 
its habitat, either now or into the future.
Mineral Exploration and Development (Factors A and E)
    Eriogonum diatomaceum occurs on diatomaceous soil deposits, which 
is an economically valuable mineral that is in increasing demand. 
Mineral activity (exploration and development of diatomaceous earth 
deposits) has impacted E. diatomaceum habitat and resulted in the loss 
of individual plants and habitat at one of the four populations, 
corresponding to a loss of 5 ac (1.67 ha) or 22 percent of historically 
occupied habitat for the species. Two active mining claims still remain 
open within the plant's range, and 95 claims are closed within this 
area; all lands occupied by E. diatomaceum are open to mineral entry. 
The BLM requires that all operations comply with State law and permits, 
and since E. diatomaceum is listed as threatened by the State, the BLM 
requires claimants to be in compliance with State law (Service 2014a, 
p. 29). The BLM has affirmed that protecting E. diatomaceum and its 
habitat from impacts is clearly within the BLM's discretion when it 
comes to mineral material sales, and expressed its intent to continue 
managing the species as a Special Status Species, avoid impacts to the 
species and its habitat, and otherwise coordinate with the Service to 
develop effective mitigation measures (Service 2014a, p. 21). The scope 
of the mining stressor historically was 100 percent, because all 
populations were thought to be affected by the potential for mining. In 
addition, the severity of the stressor of mining historically was 
moderate, because of the loss of 5.5 ac (2.2 ha) of historically 
occupied habitat from mining. However, this stressor is one of 
historical significance, because it is not known to be occurring at 
present. Given the limited number of mining claims and the active 
management of these claims by BLM, we do not consider mining (Factors A 
and E) to be a current or future threat to the species such that the 
species would warrant listing.
Livestock Grazing (Factors A and E)
    All populations of Eriogonum diatomaceum are within grazing 
allotments and are potentially exposed to livestock grazing, so the 
scope of livestock grazing is 100 percent. Livestock grazing may result 
in impacts, such as trampling, resulting in broken stems and leaves of 
plants, and soil compaction, to individual Eriogonum diatomaceum 
plants, but we have no data indicating (qualitatively or 
quantitatively) the numbers (or percentages) of individuals or habitat 
acreage lost as a result of grazing. In addition, BLM monitored each of 
the four populations from 2005-2007 and in 2012, and the results of 
these surveys do not indicate that the population numbers are declining 
or that grazing is affecting the species through habitat loss (Service 
2014a, p. 13). Therefore, while livestock grazing may affect 
individuals, based on the information that is available at this time, 
the information does not indicate that grazing is a current or future 
threat to the species such that the species would warrant listing.
Herbivory (Factor C)
    Herbivory by jackrabbits, resulting in clipping of flower stems and 
tunneling into roots, has been documented on individuals at all four 
populations of Eriogonum diatomaceum; however, the best available 
scientific information does not provide any indication of a significant 
effect on recruitment of E. diatomaceum. In addition, BLM monitored 
each of the four populations from 2005-2007 and in 2012, and the 
results of these surveys do not indicate that the population numbers 
are declining or that herbivory is affecting the species (Service 
2014a, p. 13). Therefore, while herbivory may affect individuals, based 
on the information that is available at this time, the information does 
not indicate that herbivory is a current or future threat to the 
species such that the species would warrant listing.
OHV Activity and Road Development (Factors A and E)
    OHV activity and road development is known to occur at three of the 
four Eriogonum diatomaceum populations; roads can alter the hydrology 
of a site, and OHV activity can compact soils, crush plants, and 
provide a means for nonnative plant species to invade otherwise remote, 
intact habitats. However, we are currently not aware of individuals or 
habitat having been lost as a result of these activities, and the best 
available scientific information does not provide an indication of the 
level to which OHV activity and road development currently affects E. 
diatomaceum or is likely to affect the species into the future. In 
addition, BLM monitored each of these populations from 2005-2007 and in 
2012, and the results of these surveys do not indicate

[[Page 57036]]

that the population numbers are declining or that OHV activity and road 
development is affecting the species through habitat loss (Service 
2014a, p. 13). Therefore, while OHV activity and road development may 
affect individuals, based on the information that is available at this 
time, the information does not indicate that OHV activity and road 
development is a current or future threat to the species such that the 
species would warrant listing.
Nonnative, Invasive Plant Species (Factors A and E)
    Nonnative, invasive plant species can negatively affect Eriogonum 
diatomaceum through competition with and displacement of native plant 
species and degradation of habitat. When E. diatomaceum habitat is 
undisturbed, nonnative, invasive plant species are not a threat because 
the specialized habitat of E. diatomaceum does not appear to be 
conducive to their spread. However, when soil disturbances occur within 
occupied E. diatomaceum habitat, nonnative, invasive plant species can 
impact E. diatomaceum due to their ability to potentially compete with 
and displace this species from its habitat. Nonnative, invasive plant 
species are present within all E. diatomaceum populations. However, the 
severity of nonnative, invasive plant species is unknown because the 
best available scientific information does not provide any indication 
of the level to which nonnative, invasive plant species affect E. 
diatomaceum. In addition, BLM monitored each of the four populations 
from 2005-2007 and in 2012, and the results of these surveys do not 
indicate that the population numbers are declining or that nonnative, 
invasive plant species are affecting the species (Service 2014a, p. 
13). Therefore, while nonnative, invasive plant species may affect 
individuals, based on the information that is available at this time, 
the information does not indicate that nonnative, invasive plant 
species are a current or future threat to the species that the species 
would warrant listing.
Disease (Factor C)
    A rust (fungal) pathogen was observed on approximately 26 percent 
of the overall Eriogonum diatomaceum population during survey work in 
the late 1990s. At this time, no studies are known that identify this 
pathogen, its origin, or its ultimate effect on this plant, and the 
long-term survival rate of rust-infected plants has not been determined 
or monitored. However, BLM monitored each of the four populations of E. 
diatomaceum from 2005-2007 and in 2012, and the results of these 
surveys do not indicate that the population numbers are declining or 
that pathogens are affecting the species (Service 2014a, p. 13). 
Therefore, based on the best information that is available at this 
time, the information does not indicate that disease is a current or 
future threat to the species such that the species would warrant 
listing.
Climate Change (Factors A and E)
    In the Great Basin, temperatures have risen, and current climate 
change projections indicate further warming over the rest of the 
century. Winter temperatures are projected to increase, which will 
change the balance of temperature and precipitation resulting in 
earlier spring snow runoff, declines in snowpack, and increased 
frequency of drought and fire events. Warmer temperatures and greater 
concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide can create conditions 
favorable for nonnative, invasive plant species. We anticipate that the 
alteration of precipitation and temperature patterns could result in 
decreased survivorship of Eriogonum diatomaceum due to physiological 
stress of individual plants, altered phenology, and reduced seedling 
establishment and plant recruitment. However, the severity of climate 
change is unknown because even though climate projections exist for the 
Great Basin, we do not know how E. diatomaceum is likely to respond to 
these climatic changes. In addition, BLM monitored each of the four 
populations of E. diatomaceum from 2005-2007 and in 2012, and the 
results of these surveys do not indicate that the population numbers 
are declining or that climate change is currently affecting the species 
(Service 2014a, p. 13). In addition, we do not know of any information 
that demonstrates climate change is affecting the species. Therefore, 
based on the information that is available at this time, the 
information does not indicate that climate change is a current or 
future threat to the species such that the species would warrant 
listing.
Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms (Factor D)
    The Act requires that the Secretary assess existing regulatory 
mechanisms in order to determine whether they are adequate to address 
threats to the species (Factor D). The Species Report includes 
discussions of applicable regulatory mechanisms for Eriogonum 
diatomaceum (Service 2014a, pp. 16-30). In the Species Report, the 
Service examines the applicable Federal, State, and other statutory and 
regulatory mechanisms to determine whether these mechanisms provide 
protections to E. diatomaceum. For E. diatomaceum, all four populations 
occur on BLM land, and BLM has monitored these populations over time. 
E. diatomaceum is identified as a BLM sensitive species, which means 
that BLM's management objective is to initiate proactive conservation 
measures that reduce or eliminate threats to minimize the likelihood of 
and need for listing. Occupied and potential habitat for this species 
was nominated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in 
2008; however, BLM has postponed finalizing this ACEC designation 
pending the completion of an amendment to the Carson City District 
Resource Management Plan (RMP). A decision for the RMP is not expected 
until 2016. During the preparation of the Species Report, we met with 
BLM managers to discuss the status of E. diatomaceum and BLM's ongoing 
management of the species. During those conversations, the BLM affirmed 
its intent to continue managing the species as a BLM sensitive species, 
regardless of the species' status under the Act, and to avoid impacts 
to the species or its habitat, particularly in the context of mining 
activity (Service 2014a, p. 16).
    Based on the analysis contained within the Species Report, we 
conclude that the best available scientific and commercial information 
does not indicate that there is an inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms to address impacts from the identified potential threats 
such that listing would be warranted.
Interaction Among Factors
    When conducting our analysis about the potential threats affecting 
Eriogonum diatomaceum, we also assessed whether the species may be 
affected by a combination of factors. In the Species Report (Service 
2014a, p. 30), we identified multiple potential stressors that may have 
interrelated impacts on E. diatomaceum or its habitat. Mineral 
development and exploration result in the loss of habitat; depending on 
the nature of mining activities, these impacts can be permanent and 
irreversible (conversion to land uses unsuitable to the species) or 
less so (minor ground disturbance and loss of individual plants) 
(Factors A and E). When mineral development and exploration occurs in 
between (but not within) populations, this can eliminate corridors for 
pollinator movement, seed dispersal, and population expansion. 
Livestock grazing may result in direct

[[Page 57037]]

impacts to individual Eriogonum diatomaceum plants due to trampling 
(Factors A and E). Both livestock grazing and OHV/road corridors create 
patterns of soil disturbance that in turn alter habitat function and 
create conditions conducive to the invasion of nonnative plant species 
(Factors A and E). Once nonnative, invasive plant species are 
established, these species tend to spread beyond the footprint of 
mineral development and exploration or OHV/road corridors, further 
deteriorating otherwise intact habitat and native vegetation, including 
E. diatomaceum. Herbivory, when combined with climate change and 
altered precipitation and temperature regimes, may interfere with 
seedling recruitment and persistence of the species on the landscape 
(Factors A, C, and E). Each of these potential stressors may affect 
individuals of E. diatomaceum. However, BLM monitored each of the four 
populations of E. diatomaceum from 2005-2007 and in 2012, and the 
results of these surveys do not indicate that the population numbers 
are declining or that these stressors are currently affecting the 
species (Service 2014a, p. 13). Therefore, the current best available 
scientific and commercial information does not show that these combined 
impacts are resulting in current or future impacts to the species such 
that the species would warrant listing.
    All or some of the potential stressors could act in concert to 
result in cumulative stress on Eriogonum diatomaceum. However, the best 
available scientific and commercial information currently does not 
indicate that these stressors singularly or cumulatively are resulting 
now or will in the future result in a substantial decline of the total 
extant population of the plant or have impacts to E. diatomaceum at the 
species level. Therefore, we do not consider the cumulative impact of 
these stressors to E. diatomaceum to be substantial at this time, nor 
into the future such that the species would warrant listing under the 
Act.

Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii

    The Species Report for Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii evaluated 
the biological status of the plant and each of the potential stressors 
affecting its continued existence (Service 2014b, entire). It was based 
upon the best available scientific and commercial data and the expert 
opinion of the Species Report team members. Based on the analysis and 
discussion contained in the Species Report, we evaluated the potential 
threats under the five statutory factors: Development for residential, 
commercial, or other purposes (A and E); OHV use and road development 
(Factors A and E); mineral exploration and development (Factors A and 
E); nonnative, invasive plant species (Factors A and E); modified 
wildfire regime (Factors A and E); and climate change (Factors A and 
E). We found that these factors are not likely to impact the plant as a 
whole currently and are not expected to in the future. The full 
analyses of possible stressors are documented in the Species Report and 
summarized below. Based on the analysis contained in the Species Report 
and under the five statutory factors, we find that the best available 
scientific and commercial information does not indicate that current 
and future threats are causing or going to cause a decline in the plant 
or its habitat, either now or into the future. We recognize that 
habitat and individuals have been lost from 62 percent of the 
historical occurrences of E. c. var. nilesii through past development 
on private lands, and we anticipate that approximately 5.5 percent of 
remaining habitat will be lost into the future as a result of 
development. However, we do not anticipate future development to be a 
threat to the remaining populations because most are on public lands 
(many of which are in conservation areas) where we do not anticipate 
similar losses.
Development for Residential, Commercial, or Other Purposes (Factors A 
and E)
    We found that past development has had an impact on Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii and has resulted in the loss of 1,303.5 ac 
(527.5 ha) of formerly occupied habitat mostly on private lands 
(Service 2014b, pp. 11-12, 24)). Future development is likely to impact 
an additional 43.93 ac (17.78 ha) of E. c. var. nilesii habitat 
(Service 2014b, pp. 24-30). Development has occurred in the past and is 
imminent into the future in these limited areas (43.93 ac (17.78 ha)). 
The future development of 43.93 ac (17.78 ha) will result in partial 
loss of two populations and entire loss of one population in Las Vegas 
Valley, and it will also result in partial loss of one population in 
Coyote Springs (Service 2014b, pp. 14-16). There should be no future 
development loss in one other population in Las Vegas Valley, one 
population in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness, two populations in White 
Basin, and one population in Toquop Wash. Even though some limited 
development will occur in the future, we found that development is not 
imminent in the future over most of the remaining extant habitat, 
because 80 percent of the remaining occupied habitat is on Federal 
lands where development is unlikely due to conservation plans, 
conservation areas, wilderness areas, ACECs, and other protective 
means. The best available scientific and commercial information 
indicates that even though development has resulted in losses of 
historical occurrences of E. c. var. nilesii, we do not anticipate 
future development to result in large losses that would be a threat to 
the plant such that listing the plant would be warranted.
OHV Activity and Road Development (Factors A and E)
    OHV use and road development can cause loss, degradation, and 
fragmentation of Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii habitat and compact 
soils, crush plants, and provide a means for nonnative plant species to 
enter otherwise remote, intact habitats. OHV use and road development 
is authorized and currently occurs to some degree in six of the nine 
extant populations of E. c. var. nilesii. The 1998 BLM Las Vegas 
District Resource Management Plan (RMP) includes provisions limiting 
OHV activity to designated roads, trails, and/or dry washes in all 
ACECs and Wilderness Study Areas. We do know that OHV use and road 
development do occur to some degree in many of the extant populations, 
but we are not currently aware of individuals or habitat having been 
lost as a result of these activities (Service 2014b, pp. 30-31). 
Therefore, while OHV activity and road development may affect 
individuals, based on the information that is available at this time, 
the information does not indicate that OHV activity and road 
development are a current or future threat to the plant such that the 
plant would warrant listing.
Mineral Exploration and Development (Factors A and E)
    When Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii became a candidate for 
Federal listing in 2007 (72 FR 69034, December 6, 2007), mining 
activities were identified as having the potential to impact 2 of the 
12 populations recognized in that document. In 2013, we reviewed the 
status of all locatable mining claims within the legal sections 
containing the plant. According to this review, there are 74 ``closed'' 
(an administrative term that indicates a prior claim that is no longer 
current) and no ``active'' (meaning paperwork and fees filed with the 
BLM in support of the claim are current) locatable mineral claims 
within the sections

[[Page 57038]]

occupied by this plant (Service 2014b, p. 33).
    With regard to the timing of mining-related impacts, although this 
activity has been previously identified as having the potential to 
affect Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, we are unaware of mining 
having directly affected this plant in the form of losses of 
individuals or habitat. With regard to scope, to the best of our 
knowledge, historically no populations have been affected by this 
activity, and no open locatable mineral claims currently exist within 
occupied habitat. In light of the above information, severity is low to 
nonexistent.
    Overall, mineral exploration and development has been previously 
identified as having the potential to affect Eriogonum corymbosum var. 
nilesii, but we are unaware of mining having directly affected this 
plant in the form of losses of individuals or habitat. Historically, no 
populations have been affected by this activity, and no open locatable 
mineral claims currently exist within occupied habitat (Service 2014b, 
pp. 31-33); therefore, we do not consider mining to be a current or 
future threat to the plant such that the plant would warrant listing.
Nonnative, Invasive Plant Species (Factors A and E)
    The majority of Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii habitat is not 
affected by nonnative, invasive plant species, likely because the 
specialized habitat of the plant has not experienced high levels of 
soil disturbances conducive to their spread. However, in areas where 
soil disturbances have occurred, nonnative, invasive plant species may 
pose a threat to E. c. var. nilesii due to their ability to potentially 
compete with and displace the plant and other native species from its 
habitat. Nonnative, invasive plant species are present to some degree 
in five of the nine extant populations; however, the severity of 
nonnative, invasive plant species is unknown because the best available 
scientific information does not provide any indication of the level of 
which nonnative, invasive plant species affect E. c. var. nilesii, and 
the majority of E. c. var. nilesii habitat is not affected by 
nonnative, invasive plant species (Service 2014b, pp. 33-34). 
Therefore, we do not consider nonnative, invasive plant species to be a 
current or future threat to the plant such that the plant would warrant 
listing.
Modified Wildfire Regime (Factors A and E)
    Historically, wildfire has been infrequent in the Mojave Desert due 
to limited fuels created by sparse vegetation. However, since the 
1970s, fires have become more frequent due to recent invasions by 
annual grasses (Service 2014b, p. 34). Due to increasing invasion by 
nonnative, annual grasses, wildfire is now considered one of the 
primary stressors to the conservation of native plants and animals and 
to the maintenance of ecosystem integrity in the Mojave Desert. 
Regardless of an overall increase of wildfire in the Mojave Desert, 
there are no reported accounts of wildfire within Eriogonum corymbosum 
var. nilesii habitat (Service 2014b, pp. 34-35). We are unaware of 
wildfire having directly affected this plant in the form of losses of 
individuals or habitat, and we do not have information indicating that 
this plant would be negatively affected by wildfire. Therefore, based 
on the information that is available at this time, the information does 
not indicate that a modified wildfire regime is a current or future 
threat to the plant such that the plant would warrant listing.
Climate Change (Factors A and E)
    The direct, long-term impact from climate change to Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii is yet to be determined. Current climate change 
projections for the Mojave Desert indicating warming temperatures, and 
climate predictions for the geographic range of E. c. var. nilesii 
suggest there will be more frequent and/or prolonged drought. However, 
predictions for this area in particular suggest localized, increasing 
August precipitation. We anticipate that the alteration of 
precipitation and temperature patterns could result in decreased 
survivorship of E. c. var. nilesii due to physiological stress of 
individual plants, altered phenology, and reduced seedling 
establishment and plant recruitment. Climate change also may exacerbate 
impacts from other factors currently affecting this plant and its 
habitat. However, the severity of climate change is unknown because 
even though climate projections indicating warming temperatures exist 
for the Mojave Desert, we do not know how E. c. var. nilesii is likely 
to respond to these climatic changes (Service 2014b, pp. 35-37). In 
addition, we do not know of any information that demonstrates climate 
change is affecting the plant. Therefore, based on the information that 
is available at this time, the information does not indicate that 
climate change is a current or future threat to the plant such that the 
plant would warrant listing.
Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms (Factor D)
    The Act requires that the Secretary assess existing regulatory 
mechanisms in order to determine whether they are adequate to address 
threats to the species (Factor D). The Species Report includes 
discussions of applicable regulatory mechanisms (Service 2014b, 
entire). In the Species Report, the Service examines the applicable 
Federal, State, and other statutory and regulatory mechanisms to 
determine whether these mechanisms provide protections to Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii. E. c. var. nilesii is a BLM sensitive species 
(Service 2014b, p. 3). In addition, BLM has entered into conservation 
agreements (CA) for many lands to preserve, enhance, and restore 
riparian areas and their associated uplands for the plant (Service 
2014b, pp. 38-42).
    In 2002, the Muddy Mountains Wilderness, which supports the Muddy 
Mountains population of Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, was added to 
the National Wilderness Preservation System by the Clark County 
Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 
107-282). This designation protects this population from mining, 
grazing, OHV use, and human development (Service 2014b, p. 41).
    In 2005, BLM, the Service, Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), and 
the City of North Las Vegas entered a CA to retain 300 ac (121 ha) of 
the Upper Las Vegas Wash area in Federal ownership to establish it as 
the Eglington Preserve. The goal is to preserve, enhance, and restore 
riparian areas and their associated uplands within the Eglington 
Preserve. In 2011, the BLM established the 10,669-ac (4,318-ha) 
conservation transfer area (CTA), which contains the 300-ac (121-ha) 
Eglington Preserve, and encompasses one of the populations in the Las 
Vegas Valley. The BLM's vision for the CTA is ``to preserve the natural 
functioning of the Upper Wash, protect the sensitive resources within, 
and support education, research, and low-impact recreational use. The 
CTA is ecologically functional to the maximum extent possible and 
managed to ensure the long-term integrity of the Las Vegas Formation 
and associated fossil beds, the rare plant habitat for Arctomecon 
californica, Arctomecon merriamii, and Eriogonum corymbosum var. 
nilesii, as well as natural flood water capacity for present and future 
generations.'' The BLM will require mitigation and monitoring measures 
to minimize impacts to resources caused by future allowable uses in the 
CTA as

[[Page 57039]]

determined on a case-by-case basis (Service 2014b, pp. 39-41).
    In 2007, BLM re-purchased approximately 1,103 ac (446 ha) of land 
that supports one of the White Basin populations of Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii. Ongoing revisions to the Las Vegas BLM's RMP 
are expected to include a proposal to designate the property and the 
surrounding area as the Bitter Spring ACEC, for the protection of E. c. 
var. nilesii and two other special status plant species (Service 2014b, 
p. 41).
    Another population in the Las Vegas Valley was designated as a 
``Buckwheat Conservation Area'' by Clark County in 2010. Also in 2010, 
the Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) established a conservation area where 
sites containing Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii would remain 
undeveloped unless military mission requirements dictate otherwise, and 
the DOD would not allow further development for activities that are 
purely recreational. In addition, Nellis AFB will also consult with NDF 
and the Service to incorporate conservation measures for the plant if 
development is to occur within occupied habitat.
    As described in the Species Report, there are several Federal, 
State, and County protections for Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii. In 
addition, BLM has entered into CAs for many lands to preserve, enhance, 
and restore riparian areas and their associated uplands for the plant 
(Service 2014b, pp. 38-42). Overall, there are conservation protections 
(such as conservation areas, ACECs, and wilderness areas) or limits on 
activities (such as OHV activity) within eight of the nine extant 
populations.
    Based on the analysis contained within the Species Report, we 
conclude that the best available scientific and commercial information 
does not indicate that there is an inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms to address impacts from the identified potential threats 
such that listing the plant would be warranted.
Interaction Among Factors
    When conducting our analysis about the potential stressors 
affecting Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, we also assessed whether 
the plant may be affected by a combination of factors. In the Species 
Report (Service 2014b, p. 38), we identified multiple potential 
stressors that may have interrelated impacts on E. c. var. nilesii or 
its habitat. OHV and other road corridors can exacerbate habitat loss 
and fragmentation, and tend to be associated with (accompanying or 
following) development activities (Factors A and E). Development and 
OHV/road corridors tend to create conditions that favor the 
establishment of nonnative, invasive plant species; once established, 
these species tend to spread well beyond the footprint of development 
actions or OHV/road corridors, further deteriorating otherwise intact 
habitat and native vegetation (Factors A and E). Some nonnative, 
invasive plant species, particularly annual grasses, then increase the 
frequency of wildfire, leading to modified wildfire regimes (Factors A 
and E). Climate change has the potential to alter many patterns of land 
use, including development and associated infrastructure, but also the 
precipitation and temperature regimes that in turn influence the 
establishment and persistence of vegetation, both native and nonnatives 
alike (Factors A and E). However, the current best available scientific 
and commercial information does not show that these combined impacts 
are resulting in current impacts or are likely to result in future 
impacts to the plant.
    All or some of the potential stressors could act in concert to 
result in cumulative stress on Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii. 
However, the best available scientific and commercial information 
currently does not indicate that these stressors singularly or 
cumulatively are resulting now or will in the future result in a 
substantial decline of the total extant population of the plant or have 
impacts to E. c. var. nilesii at the taxon level. Therefore, we do not 
consider the cumulative impact of these stressors to E. c. var. nilesii 
to be substantial at this time, nor into the future.

Determination

    As required in section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we conducted a review of 
the status of Eriogonum diatomaceum and Eriogonum corymbosum var. 
nilesii and assessed the five factors in consideration of whether E. 
diatomaceum and E. c. var. nilesii are endangered or threatened species 
throughout all of their ranges. We have carefully assessed the best 
scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, 
present, and future threats to these plants. We reviewed information 
available in our files and other available published and unpublished 
information. We also consulted with species experts and land managers 
in the areas where these plants occur.

Eriogonum diatomaceum

    We evaluated each of the potential stressors in the Species Report 
for Eriogonum diatomaceum, and we determined that mineral exploration 
and development (Factors A and E); livestock grazing (Factors A and E); 
herbivory (Factor C); OHV activity and road development (Factors A and 
E); nonnative, invasive plant species (Factors A and E); disease 
(Factor C); and climate change (Factors A and E) are factors that have 
had impacts on individuals in some locations, but they are not 
impacting the species currently or into the future such that listing 
would be warranted. Based on the analysis contained within the Species 
Report, we conclude that the best available scientific and commercial 
information does not indicate that these stressors are going to cause a 
decline in the species or its habitat, either now or are likely to do 
so into the future. In addition, we evaluated existing regulatory 
mechanisms and did not determine an inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms for E. diatomaceum. Finally, although there is uncertainty 
in extrapolations of population estimates based on survey results, the 
best available scientific and commercial information shows that E. 
diatomaceum population numbers do not appear to be in decline (Service 
2014a, pp. 12-13).

Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii

    We evaluated each of the potential stressors in the Species Report 
for Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, and we determined that 
development for residential, commercial, or other purposes (Factors A 
and E); OHV use and road development (Factors A and E); mineral 
exploration and development (Factors A and E); nonnative, invasive 
plant species (Factors A and E); modified wildfire regime (Factors A 
and E); and climate change (Factors A and E) are factors that may have 
impacts on individuals in some locations, but they are not impacting 
the plants currently or into the future such that listing would be 
warranted. Based on the analysis contained within the Species Report, 
we conclude that the best available scientific and commercial 
information does not indicate that these stressors currently are going 
to cause a decline in the plant or its habitat, either now or are 
likely to do so into the future. In addition, we evaluated existing 
regulatory mechanisms and did not determine an inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms for E. c. var. nilesii. Even though we found that 
some of the potential stressors have caused the loss of E. c. var. 
nilesii populations in the past, we do not anticipate that the 
potential threats are likely to impact the remaining populations in the 
future

[[Page 57040]]

such that listing the plant would be warranted, because of the large 
amount of occupied habitat being conserved and the land ownership of 
much of E. c. var. nilesii's habitat.
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and a threatened species as any species ``that is likely to 
become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range 
within the foreseeable future.'' Based on our analyses conducted in the 
Species Reports and summarized in this finding, and using the best 
scientific and commercial information available, we find that the 
magnitude and imminence of threats do not indicate that Eriogonum 
diatomaceum or Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii are in danger of 
extinction (endangered), or likely to become endangered within the 
foreseeable future (threatened), throughout their ranges. In the 
Species Report, we describe how our ability to project future trends in 
the various factors identified as relevant to E. diatomaceum and E. c. 
var. nilesii differs for each factor, with some factors better assessed 
in terms of relatively short time periods, whereas others are more 
appropriately assessed in terms of longer time horizons. Our ability to 
project future trends in the various factors identified as relevant to 
each of the plants differs for each factor, with some factors (such as 
development and grazing) more easily predicted in terms of relatively 
short time periods (such as the 1-10 years for which future development 
is anticipated based on plans and the 10-15 year time period for 
grazing allotment permits). Others (such as climate change) can often 
be predicted over longer time horizons (such as 50 years for most 
climate models). We do not have a single foreseeable future timeframe 
because each of the potential stressors can be predicted into the 
future over different time horizons, and we do not have data to support 
a single foreseeable future timeframe.
    In general, we assessed the potential stressors as a continuation 
of current circumstances as discussed in the Species Reports (Service 
2014, p. 17; Service 2014b, p. 24). In the case of Eriogonum 
diatomaceum, as discussed above, the best available information 
indicates that there is no evidence of population declines within the 
species at current threat levels. In a continuation of current 
conditions, it is therefore likely that the populations will remain 
stable in the future. For Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii, our 
information shows that development is likely to reduce the overall 
population and habitat by a small percentage within a reasonably short 
timeframe, however, aside from this stressor, the best available 
information indicates that populations are not currently being affected 
by other potential stressors. Additionally, much of the remaining 
populations and habitat are in conserved areas, or areas with limited 
activity, whereby the species would not likely be impacted by these 
potential stressors or the species exposure to these potential 
stressors would be reduced. Therefore, a continuation of current 
conditions would indicate that the remaining populations will likely be 
stable in the future. With regard to both species, although models can 
predict climate changes over longer timeframes, the best available 
scientific information does not indicate how climate change effects 
will impact either of these plants into the future. Therefore, our 
ability to predict future climate change effects is limited.
    Therefore, based on our assessment of the best available scientific 
and commercial information, we find that listing Eriogonum diatomaceum 
or Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii throughout all or a significant 
portion of their ranges as endangered or threatened species is not 
warranted at this time.

Significant Portion of the Range

    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is an endangered or a threatened species 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The Act defines 
``endangered species'' as any species which is ``in danger of 
extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,'' and 
``threatened species'' as any species which is ``likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range.'' The term ``species'' includes ``any 
subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population 
segment [DPS] of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature.'' We published a final policy interpreting the 
phrase ``significant portion of its range'' (SPR) (79 FR 37578, July 1, 
2014). The final policy states that (1) if a species is found to be an 
endangered or a threatened species throughout a significant portion of 
its range, the entire species is listed as an endangered or a 
threatened species, respectively, and the Act's protections apply to 
all individuals of the species wherever found; (2) a portion of the 
range of a species is ``significant'' if the species is not currently 
an endangered or a threatened species throughout all of its range, but 
the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so 
important that, without the members in that portion, the species would 
be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable 
future, throughout all of its range; (3) the range of a species is 
considered to be the general geographical area within which that 
species can be found at the time the Service or the National Marine 
Fisheries Service makes any particular status determination; and (4) if 
a vertebrate species is an endangered or a threatened species 
throughout an SPR, and the population in that significant portion is a 
valid DPS, we will list the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic 
species or subspecies.
    The SPR policy is applied to all status determinations, including 
analyses for the purposes of making listing, delisting, and 
reclassification determinations. The procedure for analyzing whether 
any portion is an SPR is similar, regardless of the type of status 
determination we are making. The first step in our analysis of the 
status of a species is to determine its status throughout all of its 
range. If we determine that the species is in danger of extinction, or 
likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its 
range, we list the species as an endangered (or threatened) species and 
no SPR analysis will be required. If the species is neither an 
endangered nor a threatened species throughout all of its range, we 
determine whether the species is an endangered or a threatened species 
throughout a significant portion of its range. If it is, we list the 
species as an endangered or a threatened species, respectively; if it 
is not, we conclude that listing the species is not warranted.
    When we conduct an SPR analysis, we first identify any portions of 
the species' range that warrant further consideration. The range of a 
species can theoretically be divided into portions in an infinite 
number of ways. However, there is no purpose to analyzing portions of 
the range that are not reasonably likely to be significant and either 
an endangered or a threatened species. To identify only those portions 
that warrant further consideration, we determine whether there is 
substantial information indicating that (1) the portions may be 
significant and (2) the species may be in danger of extinction in those 
portions or likely to become so within the foreseeable future. We 
emphasize that answering these questions in the affirmative is not a 
determination that the species is an endangered or a threatened species 
throughout a

[[Page 57041]]

significant portion of its range--rather, it is a step in determining 
whether a more detailed analysis of the issue is required. In practice, 
a key part of this analysis is whether the threats are geographically 
concentrated in some way. If the threats to the species are affecting 
it uniformly throughout its range, no portion is likely to warrant 
further consideration. Moreover, if any concentration of threats 
applies only to portions of the range that clearly do not meet the 
biologically based definition of ``significant'' (i.e., the loss of 
that portion clearly would not be expected to increase the 
vulnerability to extinction of the entire species), those portions will 
not warrant further consideration.
    If we identify any portions that may be both (1) significant and 
(2) endangered or threatened, we engage in a more detailed analysis to 
determine whether these standards are indeed met. The identification of 
an SPR does not create a presumption, prejudgment, or other 
determination as to whether the species in that identified SPR is an 
endangered or a threatened species. We must go through a separate 
analysis to determine whether the species is an endangered or a 
threatened species in the SPR. To determine whether a species is an 
endangered or a threatened species throughout an SPR, we will use the 
same standards and methodology that we use to determine if a species is 
an endangered or a threatened species throughout its range.
    Depending on the biology of the species, its range, and the threats 
it faces, it may be more efficient to address the ``significant'' 
question first, or the status question first. Thus, if we determine 
that a portion of the range is not ``significant,'' we do not need to 
determine whether the species is an endangered or a threatened species 
there; if we determine that the species is not an endangered or a 
threatened species in a portion of its range, we do not need to 
determine if that portion is ``significant.''
    We evaluated the current ranges of Eriogonum diatomaceum and 
Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii to determine if there is any apparent 
geographic concentration of potential threats for either of the plants. 
We examined potential threats to E. diatomaceum from mineral 
exploration and development; livestock grazing; herbivory; OHV activity 
and road development; nonnative, invasive plant species; disease; and 
climate change. We examined potential threats to E. c. var. nilesii 
from development for residential, commercial, or other purposes; OHV 
use and road development; mineral exploration and development; 
nonnative, invasive plant species; modified wildfire regime; and 
climate change. Even though we found that some of the potential threats 
have caused the loss of E. c. var. nilesii populations in the past, we 
do not anticipate that the potential threats are likely to impact the 
remaining populations in the future such that listing the plant would 
be warranted, because of the large amount of occupied habitat being 
conserved and the land ownership of much of E. c. var. nilesii's 
habitat. Overall, we found no current concentration of threats now or 
into the future that suggests that either of these plants may be in 
danger of extinction in a portion of its range. We found no portions of 
their ranges where current or future potential threats are 
significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in other 
portions of their ranges. Therefore, we find that potential threats 
affecting each plant are essentially uniform throughout its range, 
indicating no portion of the range of either plant warrants further 
consideration of possible endangered or threatened species status under 
the Act.
    Our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information indicates that neither Eriogonum diatomaceum nor Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii are in danger of extinction (an endangered 
species) or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future 
(a threatened species), throughout all or a significant portion of 
their ranges. Therefore, we find that listing either of these two 
plants as an endangered or threatened species under the Act is not 
warranted at this time.
    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
status of, or threats to, Eriogonum diatomaceum and Eriogonum 
corymbosum var. nilesii to our Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES) whenever it becomes available. New information will help us 
monitor these plants and encourage their conservation. If an emergency 
situation develops for either of these two plants, we will act to 
provide immediate protection.

References Cited

Service 2014a. Species Report for Eriogonum diatomaceum (Churchill 
Narrows buckwheat). Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office. March 28, 2014.
Service 2014b. Species Report for Eriogonum corymbosum var. nilesii 
(Las Vegas buckwheat). Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office. March 28, 
2014.

    A complete list of references cited in each of the Species Reports 
(Service 2014a; Service 2014b) is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or at http://www.fws.gov/nevada/highlights/species_actions/species_actions.html and upon request 
from the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this finding are the staff members of the 
Pacific Southwest Regional Office and the Nevada Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authority

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

    Dated: September 12, 2014.
Stephen Guertin,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-22668 Filed 9-23-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P