Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Critical Habitat Designation for Willowy Mondardella Estimated to Have Minimal Economic Impact

Sep 27, 2011

September 27, 2011

Contact: Jane Hendron, 760-431-9440 ext. 205

Critical Habitat Designation for Willowy Monardella  Estimated to Have Minimal Economic Impact

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released an economic analysis that shows conservation of willowy monardella (Monardella viminea) and its proposed critical habitat is estimated to have an annualized impact of about $800 (using a 7 percent discount rate) over the next 19 years. 

Any conservation measures implemented to minimize impacts to the species would coincidentally be sufficient to minimize impacts to critical habitat; therefore, the Service does not believe any additional conservation measures would be needed solely to minimize impacts to critical habitat. 

The draft analysis was prepared as part of the June 9, 2011, proposed rule to revise critical habitat for the plant. Approximately 348 acres of land in San Diego County were identified as essential to the conservation of the plant. About 172 acres of proposed critical habitat covered by the City of San Diego’s Subarea Plan and 36 acres covered by the County of San Diego Subarea Plan under the Multiple Species Conservation Program are being considered for exclusion from the final designation. 

In releasing the analysis, the Service is also reopening the public comment period on the proposed revision of critical habitat. The Service will accept public comments until October 28, 2011. 

An advance copy of the notice is on view today at the Federal Register Public Inspection. It officially publishes on September 28, 2011, at which time you can submit comments and information about the proposed rule and the economic analysis through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.  In the search box enter Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2010–0076. 

You may also submit comments and information by mail to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2010–0076; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. 

When it was initially protected under the Endangered Species Act, willowy monardella was identified as Monardella linoides ssp. viminea, one of several subspecies of Monardella linoides.  The June 2011 proposed rule recognized new taxonomic information indicating the listed entity willowy monardella is actually comprised of two distinct taxa: willowy monardella (Monardella viminea) and Jennifer's monardella (Monardella stoneana). 

Some of the occurrences included in the original 2006 critical habitat designation for willow monardella are actually Jennifer’s monardella.  The revised critical habitat proposal specifically identifies habitat essential to the conservation of willowy monardella based on the new taxonomic information. 

Specific habitat requirements for willowy monardella include: (1) riparian channels with ephemeral drainages and adjacent floodplains that have a natural hydrologic regime where water flows only after peak rainstorms and there’s no long-term standing water; (2) areas where the surrounding vegetation is semi-open with little or no herbaceous understory or canopy cover, but may have some shrub cover; (3) an association of other plants including California buckwheat; (4) ephemeral drainages that are made up of coarse, rocky, or sandy alluvium and contain terraced floodplains, terraced secondary benches, stabilized sandbars, channel banks, or sandy washes; and (5) soil with high sand content, typically characterized by sediment and cobble deposits, and further characterized by a high content of coarse, sandy grains and low content of silt and clay. 

Although we concluded Jennifer’s monardella does not meet the definition of endangered or threatened,  the June 2011 proposed rule did not include an analysis of whether the plant warrants listing based on it being threatened or endangered in a significant portion of its range.  

The Service completed this analysis which is included in today’s notice. The analysis concludes  Jennifer’s monardella has persisted for over two decades in the two occurrences known in the U.S.  Although long-term trend data are not available for seven occurrences of the plant in the U.S. discovered after 2003, only one of the seven occurrences has been extirpated.  Because the best available scientific information indicates Jennifer’s monardella has not experienced a significant population decline, and we were unable to find a significant amount of historical range has been lost, we determined there has not been a loss of historical habitat that represents a significant portion of the plant’s range. 

Although both plants are members of the mint family and have woody bases with aromatic leaves, they differ in leaf width, bract length and width, and flower cluster width.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others. 

The Service’s priority is to make implementation of the ESA less complex, less contentious and more effective.  The agency seeks to accelerate recovery of threatened and endangered species across the nation, while making it easier for people to coexist with these species. 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.cno. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSPacSWest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/

 

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