Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Proposes Revised Critical Habitat Designation For Lane Mountain Milk-Vetch

Apr 01, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2010
Contact: Scott Flaherty, 916-978-6156

 

Service Proposes Revised Critical Habitat at Designation for Lane Mountain Milk-Vetch

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing 14,069 acres as critical habitat in a revised designation for the endangered Lane Mountain milk-vetch in the west Mojave Desert, Calif.

In 2004, 29,522 acres had been proposed as critical habitat. In 2005, these areas were excluded in a final rule due to the removal of military lands for national security reasons and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands that fell under the West Mojave Plan. In December 2007, the 2005 critical habitat designation was challenged by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The revised designation does not include U.S. Army lands at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin in San Bernardino County because they are included in an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP). However, several Army parcels that are checkerboard with Bureau lands and do not fall under the INRMP are included in the proposal.

In its 2005 final critical habitat rule the Service excluded acreage under BLM jurisdiction because the plant is covered under the conservation-oriented management of the West Mojave Plan. Since that time, a court ruling directed the Service to propose critical habitat on federal lands that fall under management plans if those lands are determined to contain the features essential to the conservation of a species. Military installation lands are still exempt from critical habitat if a species is included in an approved INRMP.

The 2010 proposed critical habitat includes 9,888 acres under BLM jurisdiction, 1,282 acres of Army lands, and 2,899 acres that are privately owned.

Under the ESA, critical habitat identifies geographic areas that contain features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and may require special management considerations. Critical habitat has a regulatory impact only on Federal agencies; private or non-Federal agencies are not affected, unless they undertake projects that involve Federal funding or permits.

Lane Mountain milk-vetch was listed as an endangered species in October 1998. The plant is a perennial herb in the pea family that grows only in an area of the west Mojave Desert north of the city of Barstow in San Bernardino County. The milk-vetch is unusual in that its twining branches grow up inside other shrubs, which it uses for support.

The proposed critical habitat rule is available at http://www.fws.gov/ventura under “News Room.” Comments and information on the proposed revised critical habitat rule will be accepted until June 1, 2010, and may be submitted electronically to http://regulations.gov , or in writing to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN 1018-AV23; Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203. 

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.

-FWS-