Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Critical Habitat for the Threatened Spreading Navarretia Plant

Oct 07, 2010

For Release:
October 06, 2010 

Contact: Stephanie Weagley, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office – 760/431-9440 ext. 210

Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Critical Habitat for the Threatened Spreading Navarretia Plant

CARSLBAD, Calif. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today a revised final rule designating approximately 6,720 acres of land in portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties as critical habitat for the Navarretia fossalis (spreading navarretia), a federally threatened plant in southern California.

This revised final rule was developed in response to a lawsuit filed against the Service by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the 2005 designation of 652 acres of critical habitat for the plant.  In accordance with a settlement agreement stemming from the lawsuit, the Service published a proposed rule in June 2009, to designate 6,872 acres of land as critical habitat. 

Spreading navarretia is a plant that grows up to 6 inches tall and has small lavender to white flowers that cluster in compact heads surrounded by spine tipped leaves.  It primarily occurs with vernal pools and in temporary wetlands that are described as seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitat.  The majority of the plant’s habitat has been lost to agriculture and urban development.  It is estimated that over 90 percent of vernal pool habitat in southern California has been converted.

Lands designated as critical habitat consist of 6 units with 19 subunits – one unit is located in Los Angeles County, one in Riverside County and four in San Diego County.  About 70 percent of designated land is privately owned and approximately 20 percent is state owned. The remainder is under either federal or local ownership.

Of the 6,720 acres designated as critical habitat, the Service excluded 5 acres in Subunit 3A covered by the County of San Diego Subarea Plan under the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), and 866 acres in Subunits 6D and 6E covered by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Program (Western Riverside County MSHCP).  These lands are being conserved and managed for the benefit of spreading navarretia.  

However, the Service has also included portions of lands, 81 acres in Subunits 5B, 5F, and 5I, within the revised critical habitat boundaries of the MSCP, as well as portions of lands, 5,477 acres in Subunits 6A, 6B, and 6C within the Western Riverside County MSHCP.  These areas were included because: (1) Lands are not currently receiving long-term conservation and management to provide a benefit to the species; or (2) Non-covered activities occur throughout these areas. 

Additionally, the Service has included portions of lands, 3 acres in Unit 2, covered by the Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan (HMP) under the San Diego Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP). Long-term conservation and management of these lands has not yet occurred.

A total of 213 acres of essential habitat located on Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton and on Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar are exempt from this revised critical habitat designation because both military installations have identified in their Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans conservation efforts that will provide a benefit to spreading navarretia.

Incremental economic impacts associated specifically with the revised designation of critical habitat for the plant are estimated to range from $846,000 to $1.2 million over the next 20 years using a seven percent discount rate.  

A copy of the revised final rule for spreading navarretia is available online today at Federal Register Public Inspection. The official copy will be posted on the Internet October 07, 2010, at, at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0038, or can be obtained by contacting the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. A photo of the plant can be found onour Flickr site at:

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