Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Draft Economic Analysis on Proposed Revised Critical Habitat for Munz’s Onion and San Jacinto Vallley Crownscale Released

Sep 10, 2012

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

Draft Economic Analysis on Proposed Revised Critical Habitat for Munz’s Onion and
San Jacinto Valley Crownscale Released

Public comment period is reopened for critical habitat proposal

CARLSBAD, CA -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today released a draft economic analysis on the proposal to revise critical habitat for two federally endangered plants, Munz’s onion (Allium munzii) and San Jacinto Valley crownscale (Atriplex coronata var. notatior). Release of the analysis opens a new 30-day comment period on the proposed revised designations.

The draft economic analysis estimates costs associated with the proposed designation for both plants to be $166,000 over a 20-year period, assuming a 7 percent discount rate. All of the potential incremental impacts consist of administrative costs that are related to conservation efforts.

The Service is also clarifying information from the proposed rule for the habitat elevations necessary for the conservation of Munz’s onion. The elevation now includes the highest recorded elevations where this endangered plant is found (proposed critical habitat Unit 3 or Elsinore Peak), which ranges from 3,200 to 3,500 feet above mean sea level. 

On April 17, 2012, the Service proposed to designate approximately 889 acres of land for Munz’s onion and 8,020 acres of land for San Jacinto Valley crownscale in western Riverside County, California. A 60-day public comment period closed on June 18, 2012.

About 790 acres are presently being considered for exclusion from critical habitat for Munz’s onion based on the partnerships created with the establishment of permitted Habitat Conservation Plans or other Management Plans. These include the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), the Lake Mathews Habitat Conservation Plan, the Rancho Bella Vista Habitat Conservation Plan, and the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-species Reserve.

For San Jacinto Valley crownscale, we are presently considering excluding all lands identified as critical habitat, based on the partnerships established under the MSHCP.

The Service anticipates current conservation and management efforts will continue with our conservation partners. We are working to actively engage the public and others in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and protect species and their habitats.

Public comments on the proposed revision and draft economic analysis will be accepted until October 11, 2012. Today’s notice is available for viewing at the Federal Register Public Inspection Page. The notice will officially publish in the Federal Register on September 11, 2012.

Copies of the proposed rule, draft economic analysis and other supporting information may be obtained at Comments may also be submitted at this Federal eRulemaking Portal. In the Search box, enter: FWS-R8-ES-2012-0008 and follow the instructions.

Written comments can also be submitted to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-2012-0008; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA, 22203.

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), critical habitat identifies geographic areas that contain features essential to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and which may require special management considerations. Areas outside the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it was listed under the ESA may also be designated as critical habitat if the areas are essential for the conservation of the species. 

Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, preserve, or other conservation area. In general, a critical habitat designation for a plant species has no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

Munz’s onion is a bulb-forming perennial herb that is adapted to seasonal drought and variable annual rainfall. It is an endemic plant that is highly restricted by its habitat requirements and found primarily in areas containing clay soils at elevations between 1,200 to 3,500 feet. It is associated with grasslands, including open coastal and Riversidean sage scrub, outcrops of igneous rock or occasionally juniper woodlands

San Jacinto Valley crownscale is a bushy, erect, annual plant that grows in silty-clay soils in western Riverside County. It is found in wetland areas, primarily floodplains, and associated with alkali playa, and alkali grassland and scrub habitat.

Additional information about Munz’s onion and San Jacinto Valley crownscale is available on the Internet at

- FWS -

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