Stephanie Weagley, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office 760-431-9440 ext. 210
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish in the August 14, 2008, edition of the Federal Register, a final rule designating approximately 3,029 acres of federal, state, and private lands as critical habitat for the federally endangered San Bernardino bluegrass and California taraxacum plants, located in portions of San Bernardino and San Diego counties, California. The majority of the lands designated as critical habitat are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. This designation will become effective 30 days from the Federal Register publication date.
Of the 3,029 acres of land designated as critical habitat in 14 units, approximately 2,489 acres are for San Bernardino bluegrass and 1,914 acres for California taraxacum. Five of the critical habitat units support populations of both plants.
The final economic analysis estimates incremental costs associated with the designation to range from $129,000 to $4.3 million over the next 20 years with more than 88 percent of these costs occurring in Unit 1 (Pan Hot Springs Meadow). Almost all lands in Unit 1 are owned by Big Bear Community City Services District (BBCCSD), with less than one acre of land privately owned.
The Service is excluding all of Unit 1 based on a Habitat Management Plan (HMP) developed by the BBCCSD and a private landowner. Populations of both San Bernardino bluegrass and California taraxacum exist within these 40 acres.
Under the HMP, habitat for the plants will be protected in perpetuity through long-term conservation actions and multiple partnerships that include the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians and U.S. Forest Service.
Copies of the final rule, final economic analysis and other information about San Bernardino bluegrass and California taraxacum will be available on the Internet August 14, 2008, at http://www.regulations.gov or http://www.fws.gov/Carlsbad. For questions about the final rule, please contact the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office at 760-431-9440.
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.