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Federal Register / Vol. 71, No.

240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Proposed Rules 75215

* * * * * review in response to this petition. be warranted’’ (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we

Dated: December 6, 2006. Through this action, we encourage all find that substantial information was
David M. Verhey,
interested parties to provide us presented, we are required to promptly
information regarding the status of, and commence a status review of the
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and
any potential threats to, this species. species.
DATES: The findings announced in this In making these findings, we relied on
[FR Doc. 06–9656 Filed 12–13–06; 8:45 am] information provided by the petitioners
document were made on December 14,
BILLING CODE 4310–55–C and evaluated that information in
2006. Comments and information must
be submitted on or before February 12, accordance with 50 CFR 424.14(b). Our
2007. 90-day finding process under section
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act and section
ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment,
Fish and Wildlife Service 424.14(b) of the regulations is limited to
you may submit your comments and
a determination of whether the
materials by any one of the following
50 CFR Part 17 information in the petition meets the
(1) You may mail or hand-deliver ‘‘substantial information’’ threshold.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife On October 11, 1979, we listed
written comments and information to
and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Sclerocactus glaucus as a threatened
Field Supervisor, Utah Ecological
Petition To Remove the Uinta Basin species (44 FR 58868) based on threats
Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Hookless Cactus From the List of from overcollection for horticultural
Service, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite purposes, energy development
Endangered and Threatened Plants; 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119.
90-Day Finding on a Petition To List (including oil, gas, and potential oil-
(2) You may submit your comments
the Pariette Cactus as Threatened or shale development), grazing, off-road
by electronic mail (e-mail) to
Endangered vehicle (ORV) use, and water
fw6_sclerocactus@fws.gov. For
development (44 FR 58869). A recovery
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, directions on how to submit comments
plan for the species was finalized on
Interior. by e-mail, see the ‘‘Public Comments
September 27, 1990. Revisions in the
Solicited’’ section of this notice. In the taxonomy of S. glaucus began in 1989
ACTION: Notice of two 90-day petition
event that our Internet connection is not (Hochstatter 1989, 1993; Heil and Porter
findings and initiation of 5-year review.
functional, please submit your 1994; Porter et al. 2000; Welsh et al.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and comments by mail, hand-delivery, or 2003), and by 2004, the Flora of North
Wildlife Service (Service), announce fax. America recognized the plant S. glaucus
two 90-day findings made under the (3) You may fax your comments to
that we listed in 1979 as three distinct
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as (801) 975–3331. species: S. glaucus, S. wetlandicus, and
amended (Act). One finding concerns a FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: S. brevispinus.
petition to remove Uinta Basin hookless Larry England, U.S. Fish and Wildlife In our February 28, 1996, Candidate
cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus) from the Service, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite Notice of Review (CNOR) (61 FR 7596),
List of Endangered and Threatened 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119 we included Sclerocactus brevispinus as
Plants, and the other a petition to list (telephone 801–975–3330; fax 801–975– a candidate species. Retraction of S.
Pariette cactus (Sclerocactus 3331; e-mail larry_england@fws.gov). brevispinus as a candidate species
brevispinus) as a threatened or Additional information is available at occurred in our September 19, 1997,
endangered plant. Until recently, these http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/species/ CNOR (62 FR 49401) with the following
species were considered one taxonomic plants/threecacti/index.htm. justification: ‘‘Because S. brevispinus
entity, so the petitions are being SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: was a part of S. glaucus when the latter
considered concurrently in this notice. species was listed as threatened, those
We find the petition to remove Background plants now referred to as S. brevispinus
Sclerocactus glaucus from the List of Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 are still considered to be listed as
Endangered and Threatened Plants does U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that we threatened. Therefore, including S.
not present substantial information make a finding on whether a petition to brevispinus as a candidate in the 1996
indicating that the petitioned action list, delist, or reclassify a species notice of review was inappropriate and
may be warranted, and we are not presents substantial scientific or unnecessary. To address the recent
initiating a further status review in commercial information to indicate that change in taxonomy, a proposed rule to
response to this petition. However, in the petitioned action may be warranted. add S. brevispinus to the List of
order to determine the appropriate We are to base this finding on Endangered and Threatened Plants will
status of S. glaucus given recent information provided in the petition, be published in the Federal Register at
taxonomic revisions to this species, we supporting information submitted with a later time.’’
are initiating a 5-year review under the petition, and information otherwise On February 3, 1997, we received a
section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Act. Through available in our files at the time we petition from the National Wilderness
this action, we encourage all interested make the determination. To the Institute to remove Sclerocactus glaucus
parties to provide us information maximum extent practicable, we are to from the List of Endangered and
regarding the status of, and any make this finding within 90 days of our Threatened Plants on the basis of
potential threats to, this species as it receipt of the petition, and publish our ‘‘original data error,’’ but higher priority
was originally listed (i.e., information notice of this finding promptly in the actions have precluded addressing this
pertaining to S. glaucus, S. brevispinus, Federal Register. petition to date. On April 18, 2005, the
Our standard for substantial Center for Native Ecosystems and the
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and S. wetlandicus).
We find the petition to list information with regard to a 90-day Utah Native Plant Society petitioned us
Sclerocactus brevispinus presents petition finding is ‘‘that amount of to designate S. brevispinus as threatened
substantial information indicating that information that would lead a or endangered and to designate critical
the petitioned action may be warranted, reasonable person to believe that the habitat. On October 10, 2005, the same
and we are initiating a further status measure proposed in the petition may parties filed a complaint in the U.S.

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75216 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Proposed Rules

District Court for the District of Sclerocactus glaucus and (Heil and Porter 1993, pp. 29, 45;
Colorado alleging that we were in Sclerocactus wetlandicus are Service 1990, p. 4; CNHI 2006, p. 2;
violation of the Act because we had represented by small ball or barrel- UNHI 2006). The population of S.
failed to complete a 90-day finding on shaped cacti usually with straight (i.e., brevispinus is currently estimated at
their petition. In order to settle the case, hookless) central spines, solitary, ovoid 3,795 individuals (BLM 1985). Recovery
we agreed to submit to the Federal to nearly globular succulent stems criteria for S. glaucus (which includes
Register a completed 90-day finding by approximately 4 to 18 centimeters (cm) all three cactus species) include a total
December 8, 2006, and to complete, if (1.5 to 7 inches (in.)) tall (exceptional population of 30,000 individuals in 6
applicable, a 12-month finding by plants 30 cm (12 in.) tall), and generally separate populations of at least 2,000
September 14, 2007. pinkish flowers. Flowering occurs from individuals each with formal
April to May and fruiting occurs from management designations protecting the
Species Information
May to June. The fruit is barrel-shaped, habitat for at least 4 of these populations
Recent genetic studies (Porter et al. 0.8 to 1.3 cm (0.3 to 0.5 in.) long, and over the long term. To date these criteria
2000, pp. 14, 16), common garden about 0.8 cm (0.3 in.) in diameter. have not been met.
experiments (Hochstatter 1993, pp. 94, Sclerocactus brevispinus has
98, 100; Welsh et al. 2003, p. 79), and succulent unbranched stems usually 2.5 Threats Analysis
a reevaluation of the morphological to 8 cm (1.0 to 3.1 in.) tall that vary from Section 4 of the Act and its
characteristics of Sclerocactus glaucus depressed spheric to shortened implementing regulations (50 CFR part
(Heil and Porter 2004, pp. 200–201; cylindrical in shape, and its flowers 424) set forth procedures for adding
Hochstatter 1993, pp. 91, 95, 99) have have a broad, brownish midstripe and species to, or removing species from, the
led to a reclassification of this species. pink to purple margins. The fruit is Federal List of Endangered and
The recently published Flora of North shortened, barrel-shaped, reddish or Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A
America (Heil and Porter 2004, pp. 197– reddish grey when ripe, 0.7 to 1.2 cm species may be determined to be an
207) now recognizes 15 species in the (0.3 to 0.5 in.) wide, and 0.9 to 2.5 cm endangered or threatened species due to
genus Sclerocactus, including S. (0.4 to 1.0 in.) long. More complete one or more of the five factors described
glaucus, S. brevispinus, and S. species descriptions can be found in in section 4(a)(1) of the Act: (A) Present
wetlandicus, which collectively were Heil and Porter (1994, pp. 25–27) and or threatened destruction, modification,
recognized as S. glaucus when the Hochstatter (1993, pp. 91, 95, and 99). or curtailment of habitat or range; (B)
species was listed in 1979 (44 FR The currently known distribution of overutilization for commercial,
58868). Of importance is the description the three cactus species includes recreational, scientific, or educational
of S. wetlandicus (Hochstatter 1993, pp. Federal, State, Tribal, and private lands purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D)
91–92), which now comprises the bulk in Uintah, Duchesne, and Carbon inadequacy of existing regulatory
of the former S. glaucus range in Utah. Counties, Utah, and in Mesa, Delta, mechanisms; or (E) other natural or
The current S. glaucus species is Garfield, and Montrose Counties, manmade factors affecting its continued
endemic to western Colorado, and S. Colorado. Eight populations were existence. In making our findings, we
brevispinus (the third species formerly known to occur in a five-county area in evaluated whether threats to the
recognized as S. glaucus) is a western Colorado and eastern Utah Sclerocactus glaucus complex, as they
morphologically unique species that when the species was listed in 1979 (44 were presented in the National
occurs in the Pariette Draw drainage in FR 58869, October 11, 1979). Two small Wilderness Institute’s petition, and in
the central Uinta Basin, Utah. This outlier populations near Gateway, relation to other information available
cactus is much smaller than either S. Colorado, and Bonanza, Utah, have in our files at the time of the petition
wetlandicus or S. glaucus, retaining the since been identified (Heil and Porter reviews, may pose a concern with
vegetative characteristics of juvenile S. 1993, pp. 18–45; Colorado Natural respect to the species’ survival. We
wetlandicus individuals in adult Heritage Inventory (CNHI) 2006, pp. 2– further evaluate threats to S. brevispinus
flowering plants. In 1979, when the 3; Utah Natural Heritage Inventory as presented in the petition filed by the
species was listed, these smaller (UNHI) 2006, pp. 2–3). Ninety percent Center for Native Ecosystems and the
individuals were thought to represent of the total population of the three Utah Native Plant Society in a separate
only ecotypic variations of S. glaucus. S. species occurs on Bureau of Land section following our finding on the S.
brevispinus has been named S. Management (BLM) lands, and the glaucus complex.
wetlandicus var. ilseae (Hochstatter remaining 10 percent is located on State
Uinta Basin Hookless Cactus (the
1993, pp. 95–97), S. whipplei var. ilseae of Utah and private lands (44 FR 58869,
(Welsh et al. 2003, p. 79), and S. Sclerocactus glaucus complex)
October 11, 1979).
brevispinus (Heil and Porter 1994, p. S. glaucus and S. wetlandicus are The National Wilderness Institute’s
26), but is referred to herein as S. generally found on coarse soils derived petition to remove the Sclerocactus
brevispinus. from cobble and gravel river and stream glaucus complex from the Federal List
Our review of information presented terrace deposits, or rocky surfaces on of Endangered and Threatened Plants
in the petition to remove Sclerocactus mesa slopes at 1,350 to 1,900 meters (m) cited our December 1990 Report to
glaucus from the List of Endangered and (4,400 to 6,200 feet (ft)) in elevation Congress that stated, ‘‘[P]opulation and
Threatened Plants is specific to the (Heil and Porter 1993, pp. 14–16; Heil habitat inventories have identified a
taxonomy of the species at the time of and Porter 1994, pp. 25–26; Service greater abundance, range distribution,
listing, which included S. glaucus, S. 1990, p. 7; Rechel et al. 1999, p. 2). S. and additional populations of this
wetlandicus, and S. brevispinus as one brevispinus grows on fine soils in clay species than originally known.
species. We refer to these three species badlands derived from the Uinta Evaluation will be undertaken to
as the S. glaucus complex in our review consider delisting.’’ The petition further
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formation (Service 1990, p. 7).

of the information presented in that Population estimates for the three states that ‘‘information already in the
petition. Our review of the information species have been variously reported possession of the USFWS demonstrates
presented in the petition to list S. between approximately 4,872 and * * * [that] there is not a justifiable
brevispinus as threatened or endangered 10,000 individuals in Colorado, and basis for inclusion of this plant’’ on the
refers specifically to that species. 10,000 and 16,828 individuals in Utah List of Endangered and Threatened

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Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Proposed Rules 75217

Plants and suggests that we should indicating that the petitioned action prepare a 5-year review of the
delist the S. glaucus complex due to may be warranted. Sclerocactus glaucus complex and
original data error. The petition opening of a 60-day comment period
E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors
provided no information about the (see DATES). We encourage interested
Affecting Its Continued Existence
status or threats to the species. parties to provide comments on any or
Information in our files substantiates The petition did not provide any all of the species included in the S.
our description of the S. glaucus information or list any threats to the glaucus complex (S. glaucus, S.
complex at the time of the listing in Sclerocactus glaucus complex that may brevispinus, and S. wetlandicus) to the
1979. In addition, the threats identified result from other natural or manmade Field Supervisor, Utah Ecological
in the 1979 listing rule remain relevant factors. Our final listing rule did not Services Office (see ADDRESSES).
to this species complex. Therefore, the identify any natural or manmade factors
affecting the species other than those Pariette Cactus (Sclerocactus
petition fails to present evidence to
discussed above (44 FR 58869, October brevispinus)
support the allegation of data error.
11, 1979. The Center for Native Ecosystems’
A. The Present or Threatened
Destruction, Modification, or Finding petition provided a summary of the
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range distribution, status, and trends of
We have reviewed the information
provided in the National Wilderness Sclerocactus brevispinus and cited
The petition did not provide any limited distribution, minimal
information or list any habitat-related Institute’s petition. The information was
very sparse. The petition relied solely monitoring, negative population trends,
threats to the Sclerocactus glaucus impacts to pollinators, drought, and
complex. Nor did it provide any on a Service budget document from
1993 that listed the Uinta Basin habitat disturbance as examples of
information that the threats have been threats affecting the species. The
successfully addressed such that they hookless cactus as a candidate for
delisting. After this review and petition described S. brevispinus as ‘‘a
are no longer affecting the status of the narrow endemic occurring in a series of
species. Neither did the petition provide evaluation, we find the petition does not
present substantial scientific small scattered populations in badlands
any evidence that the species is near Myton, Utah’’ (Heil and Porter
recovered. Based on the petition and information to indicate that removing
the S. glaucus complex from the Federal 1994, p. 26) occupying an area
information available in our files for this approximately 16 kilometers (km) (10
factor, we find that the petition does not List of Endangered and Threatened
Plants may be warranted at this time. miles (mi)) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide
present substantial information astride the Duchesne and Uintah County
indicating that the petitioned action 5-Year Review line. The petition identified a
may be warranted. population size of 3,795 individuals in
Although we will not conduct a status
B. Overutilization for Commercial, review in response to the National 1985 (BLM 1985, p. 4; Heil and Porter
Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Wilderness Institute’s petition, we 1995, p. 45). Long-term or recent status
Purposes acknowledge that a review of the or trend data for S. brevispinus was not
Sclerocactus glaucus complex (S. provided.
The petition did not provide any
information or list any threats to the glaucus, S. brevispinus, and S. A. The Present or Threatened
Sclerocactus glaucus complex from wetlandicus) is necessary at this time to Destruction, Modification, or
overutilization for commercial, address the taxonomic revisions that Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range
recreational, scientific, or educational have occurred since the species was
listed. As such, we are initiating a 5- The petition asserted that ongoing oil
purposes. Nor did it provide any
year review of the S. glaucus complex and gas development threatens the
documentation that the species is no
under section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Act. species. According to the petition, over
longer facing threats in this area. Based
Based on this 5-year review, we will 90 percent of the species’ habitat occurs
on the petition and information
determine whether or not any of the in active oil and gas fields, and
available in our files for this factor, we
species included in the Sclerocactus Sclerocactus brevispinus individuals
find that the petition does not present
glaucus complex should be removed and habitat have been lost to oil and gas
substantial information indicating that
from the list (i.e., delisted) or otherwise development. The petition provides
the petitioned action may be warranted.
reclassified. Delisting or reclassifying a examples of habitat and individual
C. Disease and Predation species must be supported by the best plant loss by citing the BLM Draft
The petition did not provide any scientific and commercial data available Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
information or list any threats to the and we will only consider delisting a for the Castle Peak/Eightmile Flat
Sclerocactus glaucus complex from species if such data substantiate that the project (BLM 2004, pp. 4.1–4.26),
disease or predation. Our final listing species is neither endangered nor including the complete loss of 172.4
rule concluded that disease and threatened for one or more of the hectares (ha) (462 acres (ac)) of occupied
predation were not factors impacting the following reasons: (1) The species is S. brevispinus habitat (5.6 percent of
extinction probability of the S. glaucus considered extinct; (2) the species is total suitable habitat) and 926 ha (2,288
complex (44 FR 58869, October 11, considered to be recovered; or (3) the ac) of unsurveyed potential suitable
1979). original data available when the species habitat (30 percent of total suitable
was listed, or the interpretation of such habitat) to date.
D. The Inadequacy of Existing data, were in error. Any change in The Service now has the Final EIS for
Regulatory Mechanisms Federal classification would require a the Castle Peak/Eightmile Flat project in
The petition did not provide any our files (BLM 2005a). The following
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separate rulemaking process.

information regarding the adequacy of Our regulations at 50 CFR 424.21 discussion results from our analysis of
regulatory mechanisms to protect the S. require that we publish a notice in the information in the Final EIS and global
glaucus complex should it be delisted. Federal Register announcing those information system (GIS) data (Service
We find that the petition does not species currently under review. This 2006) where it corresponds to Draft EIS
present substantial information notice announces our intention to information identified in the petition.

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The total range of Sclerocactus wells, pipelines, and roads would monitoring of impacts associated with
brevispinus comprises approximately facilitate proliferation of noxious weeds oil and gas development. Results are
5,733 ha (14,166 ac) (Service 2006) (BLM 2005a, pp. 5–18). Noxious weeds preliminary, given that the study was
within which suitable habitat is can negatively change the ecological initiated in 2005. However, initial
scattered in naturally occurring mosaics characteristics of hookless cactus habitat results show potential impacts from oil
(BLM 2005b, pp. 3–30). Of the species’ (BLM 2005b, pp. 3–35). and gas development (e.g., roads, well
total range, 91 percent (5,209 ha/12,871 Rehabilitation of soils and vegetation pads) to the survival and reproduction
ac) occurs within the approved Castle following surface disturbance is success of S. brevispinus (Ulloa 2006).
Peak/Eightmile Flat project area and the expected to be difficult; approximately For example, in 2005 monitoring,
pending Gasco Uinta Basin Natural Gas 73 percent of soils in the Castle Peak/ survival of S. brevispinus in plots
Field Development project (Service Eightmile Flat project area have impacted by roads associated with
2006; 71 FR 7059, Feburary 10, 2006). moderate to high re-vegetation energy development was 17 percent
The remaining 848 ha (2,095 ac) of S. constraints (BLM 2005a, pp. 4.2–4.11). compared to 47 percent survival for
brevispinus’ range contains wells drilled The Castle Peak/Eightmile Flat project plots not associated with roads. Twenty-
in the Sand Wash and Greater Boundary EIS (BLM 2005a, pp. 4.2–4.12, 4.3–4.7) two percent of cacti successfully
Units (Service 2006). The BLM estimates that successful re-vegetation reproduced on plots not impacted by
administers 4,649 ha (11,488 ac) (81 would be expected to occur over the roads while 13.8 percent reproduced at
percent) of the species’ range (Service long term (up to 50 years) in desert plots adjacent to roads. More
2006). Expansion of the Castle Peak/ shrub and sagebrush communities. information is needed to determine if
Eightmile Flat oil and gas field overlaps Drought conditions could further extend these effects are the result of energy
much of the remaining suitable habitat the recovery period, and noxious weeds development or other environmental
for S. brevispinus by doubling the would persist regardless of control factors (Ulloa 2006).
number of wells and the amount of efforts (BLM 2005a, pp. 4.3–4.7). The petition states that continued
surface disturbance in cactus habitat Conservation measures are developed infilling of additional oil and gas wells
(BLM 2005a, pp. 4.2–4.14). The analysis and implemented for oil and gas and supporting road and pipeline
in the BLM Biological Assessment (BLM projects to minimize effects to facilities will further impact the species’
2005b, pp. 3–31) assumed 6,659 ha Sclerocactus brevispinus by surveying population. We have documented the
(16,454 ac) of potential suitable S. for, and avoiding or minimizing the loss direct loss of S. brevispinus individuals
brevispinus habitat would be affected. of, individual cacti (BLM 2005a, pp. 2– to oil field development activities
For the purpose of evaluating 23). These measures include including mechanical disturbance of
information presented in the petition, preconstruction cactus surveys and occupied habitat with the loss of
we reviewed GIS data of known well application of avoidance buffers. For individual plants and sedimentation
activity within the range of Sclerocactus example, BLM administers the 4,719 ha from roads and well pads burying other
brevispinus (Utah 2006; Service 2006). (11,660 ac) Pariette Wetlands Area of individuals. These losses have occurred
That information shows that all known Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), despite conservation efforts
S. brevispinus individuals are within which emphasizes protection of S. implemented by BLM and the oil field
300 m (984 ft) of a well, and 96 percent brevispinus. Approximately 1,450 ha operator (Newfield, Inc.). The proximity
of the species’ range is within 400 m (3,584 ac) of the ACEC occur within the of the species occupied habitat and oil
(1,312 ft) of a well. Additional wells and range of S. brevispinus. The EIS Record field development features to each other
facilities are anticipated based on of Decision defers approval of new wells requires an ongoing vigilant effort by the
pending oil and gas development and ancillary facilities located on BLM- BLM and the oilfield operators to
projects. administered land within the Pariette conserve this species.
The petition notes that indirect effects Wetlands ACEC until a comprehensive We have no information in our files
to Sclerocactus brevispinus from these population survey has been completed that contradicts the assertions made in
development activities include soil for S. brevispinus; however, it does not the petition for this factor; information
compaction, increased road access, preclude long-term development (70 FR supports the petitioner’s claims. As the
increased ORV use, increased surface 61301, October 21, 2005). Citing valid petition demonstrates, energy
disturbance, and habitat fragmentation existing lease rights, and current development is occurring in
(BLM 2005b, pp. 3–35; BLM 2005a, pp. management prescriptions included in Sclerocactus brevispinus habitat at a
5–18). Increased road access can result the Diamond Mountain Resource rate much greater than existed at the
in increased illegal collection of the Management Plan, the EIS Record of time of the original S. glaucus complex
species, resulting in direct loss of Decision did not stipulate a blanket ‘‘no listing in 1979. Therefore, we find that
individual plants (BLM 2005b, pp. 3– surface occupancy’’ requirement for oil the petition, supporting information,
35). Roads also increase sediment and gas development within the Pariette and information readily available in our
deposition on cacti, which has been Wetlands ACEC or within the range of files for this factor, presents substantial
documented to result in the mortality of S. brevispinus (BLM 2005a, p. 5). information indicating that the
mature plants (BLM 2004, pp. 4.1–4.28; Following cactus surveys, development petitioned action may be warranted.
BLM 2005b, pp. 3–36), and increase could occur within the ACEC.
habitat fragmentation (BLM 2005b, pp. Regardless of conservation efforts, B. Overutilization for Commercial,
3–34 to 3–35). As well field road density adverse indirect effects are still Recreational, Scientific, or Educational
increases within cactus habitat areas, expected due to the loss and Purposes
cactus populations become more fragmentation of suitable habitat (BLM The petition references our original
physically isolated from each other 2005a, pp. 5–18; BLM 2005b, pp. 3–35). listing rule for the Sclerocactus glaucus
The petition questioned the adequacy complex, which stated that ‘‘the cactus
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(BLM 2005b, pp. 3–36).

Increased ORV use would likely result of available monitoring to evaluate * * * has been and will continue to be
in crushing of cacti, and increased population status or threats. Information a particular prize among collectors and
erosion, soil compaction, and in Service files indicates that BLM has therefore is very threatened by
sedimentation (BLM 2005b, pp. 3–35). initiated monitoring of Sclerocactus unregulated commercial trade’’ (44 FR
Increased surface disturbance from brevispinus populations, including 58868, October 11, 1979). The petition

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further supports this claim by providing then effects of proposed actions would indicates that the Pariette Wetlands
information regarding illegal collecting be evaluated at a more appropriate ACEC includes a goal to ‘‘enhance and
from Welsh (2004), Heil and Porter scale. For example, if a project impacts protect the wetlands community and
(1999), and BLM (2004). In addition, the 3,500 plants (last population count for associated habitat adjacent to Pariette
Castle Peak/Eightmile Flat EIS, as noted S. brevispinus; Nitschke-Sinclair 1985, and Castle Peak Washes * * * while
in the petition, recognizes that p. 3) out of a total 10,000 plants (i.e., the meeting the management objectives of
additional energy development and S. glaucus complex as currently listed; the final recovery plans for the special
ensuing road development would result 44 FR 58869, October 11, 1979), that status species associated with the area’’
in increased potential for illegal project impacts 30 percent of the total (BLM 1994, pp. 3–20). The ACEC
collecting (BLM 2005a, pp. 4.1–4.26). population. However, if the same management prescriptions also state
We have information in our files that project occurs entirely within S. that BLM will authorize no action in
verifies the assertions made in the brevispinus habitat, it would impact suitable habitat for threatened and
petition for this factor. As the petition almost 100 percent of the total endangered species if it jeopardizes the
demonstrates, illegal collecting population. Absent successful continued existence of the species or
continues to occur and may increase as implementation of appropriate result in severe modification of the
new roads are developed to support conservation measures, a project with habitat. Of the 4,719 ha (11,660 ac) of
energy projects. Therefore, we find that 100 percent overlay of a species’ federally managed lands in the ACEC,
the petition, supporting information, distribution would have more severe about 8 ha (20 acres) are open with
and information readily available in our effects to the long-term existence of that standard lease terms and conditions for
files for this factor, presents substantial population than a project with more leasable minerals, 3,189 ha (7,880 ac)
information indicating that the limited impacts to a smaller portion of are leased with stipulations, and 1,497
petitioned action may be warranted. a species’ range. ha (3,700 ac) are leased with highly
However, according to information in restricted measures, but do not include
C. Disease or Predation
our files Sclerocactus brevispinus a ‘‘no surface occupancy’’ stipulation.
The petition identifies parasitism by conservation is being addressed, to the Information in Service files indicates
what appeared to be a grub infestation extent possible under section 7 of the there are sufficient Federal regulations
in one study plot of a larger monitoring Act, through its current status under the that offer protections to S. brevispinus,
effort and referenced a 1990 Service umbrella of the S. glaucus complex. even though there are no State
report that stated that ‘‘termite and Although the jeopardy threshold may be regulations addressing plant resources.
beetle larvae have been observed to different, we have no information Therefore, based on the information
parasitize the roots and stems of indicating whether a new threshold presented in the petition and available
Sclerocactus glaucus.’’ However, would provide greater protections to the in our files for this factor, we find that
information provided in the petition is species. In any case, appropriate the petition does not present substantial
not conclusive, and the significance of conservation measures would be the information indicating that the threats
parasitism on the species’ survival is not same, and given additional regulations identified under this factor are
known. available to BLM now, which were not significant, and the petitioned action is
The petition also suggests that available at the time of listing, there is not warranted based on this factor
predation may affect Sclerocactus no indication or information available to alone.
brevispinus, but it also recognizes that suggest these provisions are not
there is no information to indicate the E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors
sufficient to protect the species.
extent of the possible effects. Based on BLM also maintains Sclerocactus Affecting Its Continued Existence
the information presented in the brevispinus as a sensitive species. The petitioners identified drought,
petition and available in our files for Information from Service files indicates genetic swamping of Sclerocactus
this factor, we find that the petition that the recently completed formal brevispinus by S. wetlandicus, small
does not present substantial information interagency consultation and Final EIS population size, pollination problems,
indicating that the petitioned action (BLM 2005) for the Castle Peak/ and climate change as additional threats
may be warranted based on this factor Eightmile Flat project provided specific facing S. brevispinus. Potential threats
alone. conservation measures to protect S. from severe drought are well
brevispinus and its habitat (Service documented (Service 1990, p. 11; BLM
D. The Inadequacy of Existing 2005). However, the threat to S.
2005, pp. 4–7, 42–44). For example,
Regulatory Mechanisms brevispinus by genetic swamping from
BLM and Newfield, Inc., have agreed to
The petition states that Sclerocactus a moratorium on new oil field S. wetlandicus is a natural evolutionary
brevispinus is not adequately protected developments within the Pariette process postulated by Heil and Porter
by the S. glaucus complex listing, that Wetlands ACEC (which contains (2004, p. 199) and as such may take
BLM regulations do not adequately approximately 1,249 ha (3,086 ac) of the numerous generations and perhaps
protect the species, and that there are no S. brevispinus range, or 22 percent) thousands of years to fully manifest
State regulations that apply. Regarding until a complete reinventory of S. itself.
protections provided by the S. glaucus brevispinus is completed. This Information in our files indicates that
complex listing, the petition states that inventory is tentatively scheduled for the species’ inherent vulnerability due
S. brevispinus is not adequately the species’ flowering period in spring to its small population size may be a
protected because evaluation of effects 2007 (Gerbig 2006). significant concern (Ellestrand and
to S. brevispinus, developed through BLM policy (BLM 2001, p. 6) Ellam 1993, p. 228). However, there is
interagency consultations under section regarding federally listed species no information to indicate that the
7 of the Act, are muted by the fact that includes measures to implement species’ range and population numbers
jlentini on PROD1PC65 with PROPOSAL

this species is listed as part of a much management plans and programs that have been significantly larger than at
larger taxonomic entity. The petition will conserve listed species and their present, although recent losses from oil
concludes that if S. brevispinus were habitats and implement conservation and gas development and illegal
listed as its own species, in accordance recommendations included in biological collection are known. The specifics of
with current taxonomic understanding, opinions. Information in our files the species’ pollination biology are not

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75220 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Proposed Rules

known, and the specific impacts of expeditious progress to list or delist your e-mail message. If you do not
climate change on Sclerocactus qualified species. The 12-month finding receive a confirmation from the system
brevispinus are not known. Small is based on a status review that is that we have received your e-mail
population size and fragmentation, in initiated by a positive 90-day finding. message, please submit your comments
combination with other natural factors At this time, we are opening a 60-day in writing using one of the alternate
such as limitations of the cacti’s comment period (see DATES) to allow methods provided in the ADDRESSES
pollinator’s range, may be impacting all interested parties an opportunity to section.
reproductive success. While the petition provide information on the status of S.
raises some interesting issues with brevispinus and on the 5-year review for References Cited
respect to this factor, there is the entire Sclerocactus glaucus complex A complete list of all references cited
insufficient information to conclude (including S. glaucus, S. wetlandicus, herein is available, upon request, from
that listing may be warranted based on and S. brevispinus), including potential the Utah Fish and Wildlife Service
this factor alone. threats to these cacti. We will base our Office (see ADDRESSES).
12-month finding, and our 5-year review
Finding (as discussed previously), on a review of Author
We have reviewed the petition and the best scientific and commercial The primary author of this document
literature cited in the petition and information available, including the is Larry England, Botanist, Utah
evaluated that information in relation to studies cited in this notice and all such Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and
other pertinent literature and information received during the public Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES).
information available in our files. After comment period. Information regarding
this review and evaluation, we find that the following topics would be Authority
the petition presents substantial particularly useful: (1) Species biology, The authority for this action is section
information indicating that listing including but not limited to population 4 of the Endangered Species Act of
Sclerocactus brevispinus may be trends, distribution, abundance, 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et
warranted. The petition provides demographics, genetics, and taxonomy, seq.).
substantial information supporting the including any evaluations or reviews of Dated: December 7, 2006.
present and threatened destruction of the studies cited in this notice; (2) Kenneth Stansell,
the species’ habitat from direct and habitat conditions, including but not
indirect effects associated with energy Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service
limited to amount, distribution, and
development across more than 90 suitability; (3) conservation measures [FR Doc. E6–21259 Filed 12–13–06; 8:45 am]
percent of the species’ range. Illegal and that have been implemented that benefit BILLING CODE 4310–55–P
unauthorized overcollection of the the species; (4) threat status and trends;
species for horticultural purposes also and (5) other new information or data.
was identified in the petition and is When our 12-month status review, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
verified by information in our files. As and 5-year review, processes have been
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
such, we are initiating a further status completed, our practice is to make
review of S. brevispinus to determine comments, including names and home
whether listing the species under the addresses of respondents, available for
public review during regular business 50 CFR Part 622
Act may be warranted.
We also have reviewed the available hours. Individual respondents may [Docket No. 061121304–6304–01; I.D.
information to determine if the existing request that we withhold their names, 112006B]
and foreseeable threats pose an home addresses, or other personal RIN 0648–AT87
emergency to this species. We have information, but if you wish us to
determined that an emergency listing is consider withholding this information, Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of
not warranted at this time because the you must state this prominently at the Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish
species receives current protection beginning of your comments. In Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Gulf Red
under the Act by its inclusion within addition, you must present a rationale Snapper Management Measures
the currently listed Sclerocactus glaucus for withholding this information. This
complex. rationale must demonstrate that AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries
The petitioners also request that we disclosure would constitute a clearly Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
designate critical habitat for this unwarranted invasion of privacy. Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
species. We always consider the need Unsupported assertions will not meet Commerce.
for critical habitat designation when this burden. In the absence of ACTION: Proposed temporary rule;
listing species. If we determine in our exceptional, documentable request for comments.
12-month finding that listing circumstances, this information will be
Sclerocactus brevispinus is warranted, released. We will always make SUMMARY: This proposed rule would
we will address the designation of submissions from organizations or implement interim measures to reduce
critical habitat at the time of the businesses, and from individuals overfishing of Gulf red snapper. This
proposed rulemaking. identifying themselves as proposed rule would reduce the
representatives or officials of commercial and recreational quotas for
Public Comments Solicited organizations or businesses, available red snapper, reduce the commercial
Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act requires for public inspection in their entirety. minimum size limit for red snapper,
that we make a 12-month finding as to Please submit electronic comments in reduce the recreational bag limit for
whether a petitioned action is (a) not an ASCII or Microsoft Word file and Gulf red snapper, prohibit the retention
jlentini on PROD1PC65 with PROPOSAL

warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) avoid the use of any special characters of red snapper under the bag limit for
warranted but precluded by other or any form of encryption. Also, please captain and crew of a vessel operating
pending proposals to determine whether include ‘‘Attn: Uinta Basin Hookless as a charter vessel or headboat, and
other species are threatened or Cactus’’ or ‘‘Attn: Pariette Cactus’’ along establish a target level of reduction of
endangered, and we are making with your name and return address in shrimp trawl bycatch mortality of red

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