[Federal Register: August 16, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 157)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 44470-44475]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF68

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Endangered Status for Carex lutea (Golden Sedge)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
determine endangered status for Carex lutea (golden sedge) under the 
authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This 
rare plant is presently known from only eight populations in Pender and 
Onslow counties, North Carolina. C. lutea is endangered throughout its 
range because of habitat alteration; conversion of its limited habitat 
for residential, commercial, or industrial development; mining; 
drainage activities associated with silviculture and agriculture; and 
suppression of fire. In addition, herbicide use, particularly along 
utility or road rights-of-way, may also be a threat. This proposal, if 
made final, will extend the protection of the Act to C. lutea. We are 
seeking data and comments from the public.

DATES: Send your comments to reach us on or before October 15, 1999. We 
will not consider comments received after the above date in making our 
decision on the proposed rule. We must receive public hearing requests 
by September 30, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, materials, and requests for a public hearing 
concerning this proposal to the State Supervisor, Asheville Field 
Office, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, 
North Carolina 28801. Comments and materials received will be available 
for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at 
the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nora A. Murdock at the above 
address (828/258-3939, extension 231).



    Carex lutea (LeBlond) is a perennial member of the sedge family 
(Cyperaceae) known only from North Carolina. Fertile culms (stem) may 
reach one meter (3 feet) or more in height. The yellowish green leaves 
are grasslike, with those of the culm mostly basal and up to 28 
centimeters (cm) (10 inches (in)) long, while those of the vegetative 
shoots reach a length of 65 cm (25 in). Fertile culms produce two to 
four flowering spikes (multiple flowering structure with flowers 
attached to the stem), with the terminal (end) spike being male and the 
one to three (usually two) lateral spikes being female. Lateral spikes 
are subtended by leaflike bracts (a much-reduced leaf). The male spike 
is about 2 to 4 cm (0.75 to 1.5 in) long, 1.5 to 2.5 millimeters (mm) 
(0.05 to 0.10 in) wide, with a peduncle (stalk) about 1 to 6 cm (0.5 to 
2 in) long. Female spikes are round to elliptic, about 1 to 1.5 cm (0.5 
in) long and 1 cm (0.5 in) wide. The upper female spike is sessile (not 
stalked; sitting), while lower female spikes, if present, have 
peduncles typically 0.5 to 4.5 cm (0.2 to 1.75 in) long. When two to 
three female spikes are present, each is separated from the next, along 
the culm, by 4.5 to 18 cm (1.75 to 7 in). The inflated perigynia (sac 
which encloses the ovary) are bright yellow at flowering and about 4 to 
5 mm (.16 to .20 in) long; the perigynia beaks (point) are out-curved 
and spreading, with the lowermost in a spike strongly reflexed (turned 
downward). C. lutea is most readily identified from mid-April to mid-
June during flowering and fruiting. It is distinguished from other 
Carex species that occur in the same habitat by its bright yellow color 
(particularly the pistillate (female) spikes), by its height and 
slenderness, and especially by the out-curved beaks of the crowded 
perigynia, the lowermost of which are reflexed (LeBlond et al. 1994).
    LeBlond et al., in 1994 described Carex lutea from specimens 
collected in 1992 by R. J. LeBlond, B. A. Sorrie, A. A. Reznicek, and 
S. A. Reznicek in Pender County, North Carolina. It is the only member 
of the Carex section Ceratocystis found in the southeastern United 
    Carex lutea grows in sandy soils overlying coquina limestone 
deposits, where the soil pH is unusually high for this region, 
typically between 5.5 and 7.2 (Glover 1994). Soils supporting the 
species are very wet to periodically shallowly inundated. The species 
prefers the ecotone (narrow transition zone between two diverse 
ecological communities) between the pine savanna and adjacent wet 
hardwood or hardwood/conifer forest (LeBlond 1996; Schafale and Weakley 
1990). Most plants occur in the partially shaded savanna/swamp where 
occasional to frequent fires favor an herbaceous ground layer and 
suppress shrub dominance. Other species with which this sedge grows 
include tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), pond cypress (Taxodium 
ascendens), red maple (Acer rubrum var. trilobum), wax myrtle (Myrica 
cerifera var. cerifera), colic root (Aletris farinosa), and several 
species of beakrush (Rhynchospora spp.). At most sites, C. lutea shares 
its habitat with Cooley's meadowrue (Thalictrum cooleyi), federally 
listed as endangered, and with Thorne's beakrush (Rhynchospora 
thornei), a species of concern to us. All known populations are in the 
northeast Cape Fear River watershed in Pender and Onslow counties, 
North Carolina. As stated by LeBlond (1996):

    . . . localities where Carex lutea have been found are 
ecologically highly unusual . . . The combination of fairly open 
conditions underlain by a calcareous substrate is very rare on the 
Atlantic coastal plain. Many rare plant species are associated with 
these localities, and several have very restricted distributions, 
either being endemic to a small area or with a few highly scattered 
occurrences. The affinities of these taxa are variable, but include 
connections to the calcareous savannas of the Gulf Coast States; 
alkaline marshes of the Atlantic tidewater; calcareous glades, 
barrens, and prairies of the Appalachian region and the ridge and 

[[Page 44471]]

province of Georgia and Alabama; and pinelands of the Carolinas and 
southern New Jersey.

    These rare savannas, underlain by calcareous deposits, support 
unusual assemblages of plants, including several species known from 
less than a dozen sites worldwide (Schafale 1994). LeBlond (1996) 
characterizes these habitats as ``. . . a small archipelago of 
phytogeographic islands . . .'' that form a refuge for these rare and 
unique species. Despite extensive searches of the Gulf Coast in 
northern Florida and southern Alabama, and Atlantic Coast sites in 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, no other populations of Carex 
lutea were found outside the North Carolina coastal plain. The species 
appears to be a very rare, narrowly restricted endemic to an area 
within a 2-mile radius of the Onslow/Pender County line in southeastern 
North Carolina (LeBlond 1996). It is listed as endangered by the State 
of North Carolina (Amoroso and Weakley 1995; M. Boyer, North Carolina 
Department of Agriculture, personal communication, 1998).

Previous Federal Activities

    Federal government actions on this species have only recently 
begun, since the species was unknown to science before 1991 and its 
official description was not published until 1994. In 1995, we funded a 
survey to determine the status of Carex lutea throughout its known and 
potential range; we accepted the final report on this survey in 1997. A 
1998 status report confirmed the species' precarious status (LeBlond 
1998). We elevated C. lutea to candidate status (species for which we 
have sufficient information on status and threats to propose the taxon 
for listing as endangered or threatened) on October 16, 1998.
    On May 8, 1998 (63 FR 25502), we published Listing Priority 
Guidance for Fiscal Years 1998 and 1999. The guidance clarifies the 
order in which we will process rulemakings, giving highest priority 
(Tier 1) to processing emergency rules to add species to the Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists); second priority 
(Tier 2) to processing final determinations on proposals to add species 
to the Lists, processing new proposals to add species to the Lists, 
processing administrative findings on petitions (to add species to the 
Lists, delist species, or reclassify listed species), and processing a 
limited number of proposed or final rules to delist or reclassify 
species; and third priority (Tier 3) to processing proposed or final 
rules designating critical habitat. Processing of this proposed rule is 
a Tier 2 action.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    The procedures for adding species to the Federal lists are found in 
section 4 of the Act and the accompanying regulations (50 CFR part 
424). A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened 
species due to one or more of the five factors described in section 
4(a)(1). These factors and their application to Carex lutea (golden 
sedge) are as follows:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range. Seven of the eight known 
populations of Carex lutea are on privately owned land and are 
potentially threatened with the destruction or adverse modification of 
their habitat from residential, commercial, or industrial development; 
mining; drainage activities associated with silviculture and 
agriculture; and suppression of fire. The eighth population, on land 
now owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), 
was severely disturbed in the 1980s by clearcutting, ditching, and 
draining prior to NCDOT ownership. This site has been purchased by the 
NCDOT as a mitigation site and is currently under study for the 
restoration of natural communities and protection and enhancement of 
rare species populations. At least some of the original C. lutea plants 
survived the previous damage to the site, and the remaining population 
appears stable.
    As described in the ``Background'' section, the habitat upon which 
this species depends is extremely rare. Most of the remaining 
populations are very small, with five of the eight occupying a combined 
total area of less than 58 square meters. Three of the sites have 
populations composed of fewer than 50 individuals. Although little is 
known about natural population fluctuations in this species, severe 
population declines (exceeding 83 percent) were noted between 1992 and 
1996 at three of the eight remaining sites. The exact causes for these 
losses are unknown. One population is located on a roadside, and 
another is on a power line right-of-way, where they are exceptionally 
vulnerable to destruction from highway expansion or improvement or 
herbicide application. All the known sites have been damaged to some 
degree in the past by ditching and drainage, mining, logging, 
bulldozing, and/or road building. Because the species was only recently 
discovered, it is impossible to know exactly what its historic 
distribution and population numbers might have been. However, LeBlond 
(1996) states: ``It is probable that drainage ditches (that lower the 
water table over a large area) have reduced, perhaps greatly, the 
amount of suitable habitat available for Carex lutea and other rare 
species at these sites.''
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. There is no known commercial trade in C. lutea at 
this time. However, because of its small and easily accessible 
populations, it is vulnerable to taking and vandalism that could result 
from increased publicity. Most populations are too small to support 
even the limited collection of plants for scientific or other purposes.
    C. Disease or predation. Disease and predation are not known to be 
factors affecting the continued existence of the species at this time.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. Carex lutea is 
listed by the State of North Carolina as endangered. As such, it is 
afforded legal protection within the State by North Carolina General 
Statutes, Sec. 106-202.12 to 106-202.19 (Cum. Supp. 1985), which 
provide for protection from intrastate trade (without a permit) and for 
the monitoring and management of State-listed species and prohibit the 
taking of plants without a permit and written permission from the 
landowner. However, State prohibitions against taking are difficult to 
enforce and do not cover adverse alterations of habitats, such as 
disruption of drainage patterns and water tables or exclusion of fire. 
Two of the sites are somewhat protected by registry agreements between 
the landowner and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. These 
agreements are strictly voluntary, however, and may be canceled by the 
landowner at any time. Part of another population is owned by The 
Nature Conservancy; however, this site is next to a quarry, and the 
rest of the population is vulnerable to destruction.
    Section 404 of the Clean Water Act represents the primary Federal 
law that may provide some regulation of the species' wetland habitats. 
However, the Clean Water Act by itself does not provide adequate 
protection for the species. Although the objective of the Clean Water 
Act is to ``restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological 
integrity of the Nation's waters'' (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251), no specific 
provisions exist that address the need to conserve rare species. The 
Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is the Federal agency responsible for 
administering the section 404 program. Under section 404, the Corps may 
issue nationwide permits

[[Page 44472]]

for certain activities that are considered to have minimal impacts. 
However, the Corps seldom withholds authorization of an activity under 
nationwide permits unless the existence of a listed threatened or 
endangered species would be jeopardized. The Corps may also authorize 
activities by an individual or regional general permit when the project 
does not qualify for authorization under a nationwide permit. These 
projects include those that would result in more than minimal adverse 
environmental effects, either individually or cumulatively, and are 
typically subject to more extensive review. Regardless of the type of 
permit deemed necessary under section 404, rare species such as Carex 
lutea may receive no special consideration with regard to conservation 
or protection unless they are listed under the Act.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence. As mentioned in the ``Background'' section of this proposed 
rule, many remaining populations are small in numbers of individuals 
and in area covered by the plants. This may suggest low genetic 
variability within populations, making it more important to maintain as 
much habitat and as many remaining colonies as possible.
    Little is known about the life history of this species or about its 
specific environmental requirements. However, its apparent restriction 
to wet pine savannas is a strong indication that it is adapted to the 
pyric (associated with burning) and hydrological conditions associated 
with this community type. Such habitats were historically exposed to 
wildfires approximately every 3 to 5 years, usually during the growing 
season, which maintained the open habitats favored by Carex lutea and 
dozens of other fire-adapted species. During winter and spring, the 
soils where C. lutea grows are often shallowly flooded. At other times 
of the year these sites are very wet to saturated. Such high water 
tables also serve to control woody growth in undisturbed savanna 
habitats. However, without regular fire, which has been intensively 
suppressed on the Atlantic coastal plain for half a century, and with 
the lowering of water tables due to ditching, the open savannas are 
rapidly changing to dense thickets dominated by the trees and shrubs of 
the adjacent uplands. As a result, the extraordinary plant diversity 
characteristic of the savannas is being eliminated, and species such as 
C. lutea are disappearing from the landscape. Even where such habitat 
is owned by an organization that is able to manage the land with 
prescribed fire, like The Nature Conservancy, increasingly restrictive 
smoke management regulations make burning very difficult.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by this species in making this determination. Based on this 
evaluation, the preferred action is to list Carex lutea as an 
endangered species. Endangered status is more appropriate than 
threatened status because of the following factors: this species occurs 
in only 2 counties; only 8 populations survive, all of which have 
already been damaged to some degree; most of the remaining populations 
are very small, with five of the eight occupying a combined total area 
of less than 58 square meters; three of the remaining populations are 
composed of fewer than 50 individuals; there are documented severe 
population declines (exceeding 83 percent) between 1992 and 1996 at 
three of the eight remaining sites; and all of the remaining 
populations are currently threatened by fire suppression, highway 
expansion, right-of-way management with herbicides, and drainage 

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (i) The 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 
those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation 
of the species and (II) that may require special management 
considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the 
geographic area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. ``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and procedures 
needed to bring the species to the point at which listing under the Act 
is no longer necessary.
    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12) require that, to the maximum extent prudent 
and determinable, the Secretary designate any critical habitat at the 
time the species is listed as endangered or threatened. Our regulations 
(50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that the designation of critical habitat is 
not prudent when one or both of the following situations exist--(1) The 
species is threatened by taking or other human activity, and 
identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the 
degree of threat to the species, or (2) such designation of critical 
habitat would not be beneficial to the species. We find that 
designation of critical habitat for Carex lutea is not prudent because 
such designation would not be beneficial to the species.
    Critical habitat designation, by definition, directly affects only 
Federal agency actions through consultation under section 7(a)(2) of 
the Act. Section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to ensure that 
activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or destroy or 
adversely modify its critical habitat. None of the known populations of 
Carex lutea occur on Federal land. However, Federal involvement with 
this species may occur through the use of Federal funding for power 
line construction, maintenance, and improvement; highway construction, 
maintanance and improvement; drainage alterations; and permits for 
mineral exploration and mining on non-Federal lands. The use of such 
funding for projects affecting occupied habitat for this species would 
be subject to review under section 7(a)(2), whether or not critical 
habitat was designated. The precarious status of C. lutea is such that 
any adverse modification or destruction of its occupied habitat would 
also jeopardize its continued existence. Thus, the only potential 
benefit that would result from critical habitat designation would be 
notification to Federal, State and local government agencies and 
private landowners. However, during the listing process, and after a 
species is listed, we conduct public outreach in affected local 
communities and with government agencies. All involved parties and 
landowners are aware of the location and importance of protecting this 
species' habitat. For these reasons, we believe that designation of 
currently occupied habitat of this species as critical habitat would 
not result in any additional benefit to the species and that such 
designation is not prudent.
    Because this species occupies an extremely rare habitat type, 
little of which remains in an unaltered, functional state, we do not 
expect that reintroduction to currently unoccupied habitat is essential 
for recovery efforts. Therefore, we believe that designation of 
currently unoccupied habitat of this species as critical habitat would 
not result in any additional benefit to the species and, therefore, 
such designation is not prudent.
    Most populations of this species are small, and the loss of even a 
few individuals to activities such as collection for scientific 

purposes could extirpate the species from some locations. Taking 
without a permit is prohibited by the Act from locations under Federal 
jurisdiction; however, none of the known populations are

[[Page 44473]]

located on Federal land. Therefore, publication of critical habitat 
descriptions and maps would increase the vulnerability of the species 
to collection, but would not increase its protection under the Act. The 
contractor we hired to conduct the rangewide status survey declined to 
include directions to the occupied sites in his report, stating: ``Due 
to the extreme rarity of Carex lutea and its vulnerability to 
extinction, a description of site boundaries or precise directions to 
population micro sites cannot be provided here'' (LeBlond 1996). The 
owners and managers of all the known populations of C. lutea have been 
made aware of the plant's location and how important it is to protect 
the plant and its habitat. Since no additional benefits would result 
from designation of critical habitat, and there are some risks 
associated with potential collection, we conclude that it is not 
prudent to designate critical habitat for C. lutea.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing encourages and results in 
conservation actions by Federal, State, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act provides for possible land 
acquisition and cooperation with the States and requires that recovery 
actions be carried out for all listed species. The protection required 
of Federal agencies and the prohibitions against certain activities 
involving listed plants are discussed, in part, below.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 
evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or 
listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is being designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer 

informally with us on any action that is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a proposed species or result in the destruction 
or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is 
subsequently listed, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of such a species or to 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action 
may adversely affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with us.
    Federal activities that could impact Carex lutea and its habitat in 
the future include, but are not limited to, the following: power line 
construction, maintenance, and improvement; highway construction, 
maintenance, and improvement; drainage alterations; and permits for 
mineral exploration and mining. We will work with the involved agencies 
to secure protection and proper management of C. lutea while 
accommodating agency activities to the extent possible.
    If the species is added to the Federal List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants, additional protection from taking will 
be provided when the taking is in violation of any State law, including 
State trespass laws. It would also provide protection from 
inappropriate commercial trade and encourage active management for 
Carex lutea. Specifically, the Act and its implementing regulations set 
forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all 
endangered plants. All prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, 
implemented by 50 CFR 17.61, apply. These prohibitions, in part, would 
make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the 
United States to import or export, transport in interstate or foreign 
commerce in the course of a commercial activity, sell or offer for sale 
in interstate or foreign commerce, or remove and reduce the species to 
possession from areas under Federal jurisdiction. In addition, for 
plants listed as endangered, the Act prohibits the malicious damage or 
destruction on areas under Federal jurisdiction and the removal, 
cutting, digging up, or damaging or destroying of such plants in 
knowing violation of any State law or regulation, including State 
criminal trespass law. Certain exceptions to the prohibitions apply to 
our agents and to State conservation agencies.
    The Act and 50 CFR 17.62 and 17.63 also provide for the issuance of 
permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities involving 
endangered plants under certain circumstances. Such permits are 
available for scientific purposes and to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species. We anticipate that few trade permits would 
ever be sought or issued, because the species is not common in 
cultivation or in the wild. You may request copies of the regulations 
on plants from and direct inquiries about prohibitions and permits to 
the US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, 
Georgia (telephone 404/679-7313).
    It is our policy, published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34272), to 
identify, to the maximum extent practicable, those activities that 
would or would not constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act at 
the time of listing. The intent of this policy is to increase public 
awareness of the effect of the listing on proposed and ongoing 
activities within a species' range. The eight remaining populations of 
Carex lutea occur on non-Federal land. We believe that, based upon the 
best available information, you can take the following actions without 
resulting in a violation of section 9, only if these activities are 
carried out in accordance with existing regulations and permit 
    (1) Activities authorized, funded, or carried out by Federal 
agencies (e.g., wetland modification; power line construction, 
maintenance, and improvement; highway construction, maintenance, and 
improvement; and permits for mineral exploration and mining) when such 
activity is conducted in accordance with any reasonable and prudent 
measures given by us according to section 7 of the Act.
    (2) Normal agricultural and silvicultural practices, including 
pesticide and herbicide use, that are carried out in accordance with 
any existing regulations, permit and label requirements, and best 
management practices.
    (3) Normal landscape activities around your own personal residence.
    We believe that the following might potentially result in a 
violation of section 9; however, possible violations are not limited to 
these actions alone:
    (1) Removal, cutting, digging up, damaging, or destroying 
endangered plants on non-Federal land if conducted in knowing violation 
of State law or regulation or in violation of State criminal trespass 
law. North Carolina prohibits the intrastate trade and take of C. lutea 
without a State permit and written permission from the landowner.
    (2) Interstate or foreign commerce and import/export without 
previously obtaining an appropriate permit.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we are 
soliciting comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned 
government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other 
interested party concerning this proposed rule. In particular, we are 
seeking comments concerning:

[[Page 44474]]

    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to Carex lutea;
    (2) The location of any additional populations of Carex lutea and 
the reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined to be 
critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act;
    (3) Additional information concerning the range and distribution of 
this species; and
    (4) Current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on Carex lutea.
    We will consider your comments and any additional information 
received on this species when making a final determination regarding 
this proposal. The final determination may differ from this proposal 
based upon the information we receive.
    You may request a public hearing on this proposal. Your request for 
a hearing must be made in writing and filed within 45 days of the date 
of publication of this proposal in the Federal Register. Address your 
request to the State Supervisor (see ADDRESSES section).

Executive Order 12866

    Executive Order 12866 requires agencies to write regulations that 
are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make this 
proposal easier to understand including answers to questions such as 
the following: (1) Is the discussion in the ``Supplementary 
Information'' section of the preamble helpful in understanding the 
proposal? (2) Does the proposal contain technical language or jargon 
that interferes with its clarity? (3) Does the format of the proposal 
(grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) 
aid or reduce its clarity? What else could we do to make the proposal 
easier to understand?

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that an environmental assessment, as defined 
under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
need not be prepared in connection with regulations adopted pursuant to 
section 4(a) of the Act. A notice outlining our reasons for this 
determination was published in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 
(48 FR 49244).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information other 
than those already approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and assigned Office of Management and Budget 
clearance number 1018-0094. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a 
person is not required to respond to a collection of information, 
unless it displays a currently valid control number. For additional 
information concerning permit and associated requirements for 
endangered species, see 50 CFR 17.62.

References Cited

Amoroso, J., and A. Weakley. 1995. Natural Heritage Program list of 
the rare plant species of North Carolina. Natural Heritage Program, 
Division of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Department of 
Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Raleigh.
Glover, L. 1994. Carex lutea: alive and well in Pender County, North 
Carolina. Report prepared by the North Carolina Chapter of The 
Nature Conservancy, Durham.
LeBlond, R. 1998. Supplement to the status survey for Carex lutea. 
Unpublished report submitted to the Asheville Field Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, NC.
------------. 1996. Status survey for Carex lutea LeBlond. 
Unpublished report submitted to the Asheville Field Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, NC.
LeBlond, R., A. Weakley, A. Reznicek, and W. Crins. 1994. Carex 
lutea (Cyperaceae), a rare new coastal plain endemic from North 
Carolina. SIDA 16:153-161.
Schafale, M. 1994. Inventory of longleaf pine natural communities in 
North Carolina. Natural Heritage Program, Division of Parks and 
Recreation, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and 
Natural Resources, Raleigh.
Schafale, M., and A. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural 
communities of North Carolina (third approximation). Natural 
Heritage Program, Division of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina 
Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Raleigh.


    The primary author of this document is Ms. Nora A. Murdock (see 
ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:


    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500, unless otherwise noted.
    2. Amend Sec. 17.12(h) by adding the following, in alphabetical 
order under FLOWERING PLANTS, to the List of Endangered and Threatened 

Sec. 17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------    Historic range           Family            Status      When listed    Critical     Special
         Scientific name                Common name                                                                               habitat       rules
         Flowering Plants

Carex lutea......................  Golden sedge........  U.S.A. (NC)........  Cyperaceae.........  E               ...........           NA           NA

                     *                  *                  *                *                  *                *                  *

[[Page 44475]]

    Dated: July 12, 1999.
Marshall P. Jones,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 99-20964 Filed 8-13-99; 8:45 am]