[Federal Register: November 21, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 225)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 69896-69897]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AG27

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of Draft Economic Analysis for Proposed Critical Habitat 
Determination for the Morro Shoulderband Snail

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of draft economic analysis.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of a draft economic analysis for the proposed designation 
of critical habitat for the Morro shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta 
walkeriana). We are opening the comment period to allow all interested 
parties to submit written comments on the draft economic analysis. 
Comments will be incorporated into the public record as a part of this 
comment period and will be fully considered in the final rule.

DATES: The comment period is opened and we will accept comments until 
December 6, 2000. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the closing 
date. Any comments that are received after the closing date may not be 
considered in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: All written comments should be sent to the Field Supervisor 
at the above address. You may also send comments by electronic mail (e-
mail) to ``fw1morrosnail@r1.fws.gov.'' Please submit electronic 
comments in ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters 
and encryption. Please include ``Attn: RIN 1018-AG27'' and your name 
and return address in your e-mail message. If you do not receive a 
confirmation from the system that we have received your e-mail message, 
contact us directly by calling our Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at 
phone number 805-644-1766. Comments and materials received will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the above Service address. Copies of the draft economic 
analysis are available on the Internet at ``www.r1.fws.gov'' or by 
writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, 
California 93003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, at the above address (telephone 805-644-1766; 
facsimile 805-644-3958).



    The Morro shoulderband snail was first described as Helix 
walkeriana by Hemphill based on collection made ``near Morro, 
California.'' He also described a subspecies, based on sculptural 
features of the shell, Helix walkeriana, Helix var. morroensis, that 
was collected ``near San Luis Obispo City.'' The Morro shoulderband 
snail is also commonly known as the banded dune snail and belongs to 
the Class Gastropoda and Family Helminthoglyptidae.
    The shell of the Morro shoulderband snail has 5-6 whorls. Its 
dimensions are 18 to 29 millimeters (mm) (0.7 to 1.1 inches (in.)) in 
diameter and 14 to 25 mm (0.6 to 1.0 in.) in height. The Morro 
shoulderband snail can be distinguished from the Big Sur shoulderband 
snail (Helminthoglypta umbilicata), another native snail in the same 
area, by its more globose (globe shaped) shell and presence of incised 
(deeply cut) spiral grooves. The shell of the Big Sur shoulderband 
snail tends to be flatter and shiner. The brown garden snail (Helix 
aspersa) also occurs in Los Osos with the Morro shoulderband snail and 
has a marbled pattern on its shell, whereas the Morro shoulderband 
snail has one narrow dark brown spiral band on the shoulder. The Morro 
shoulderband's spire is low-domed, and half or more of the umbilicus 
(the cavity in the center of the base of a spiral shell that is 
surrounded by the whorls) is covered by the apertural (small opening) 
    The Morro shoulderband snail is found only in western San Luis 
Obispo County. At the time of its addition to the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife on December 15, 1994 (59 FR 64613), the Morro 
shoulderband snail was known to be distributed near Morro Bay. Its 
currently known range includes areas south of Morro Bay, west of Los 
Osos Creek, and north of Hazard Canyon. Historically, the species has 
also been reported near the city of San Luis Obispo (type locality for 
``morroensis'') and south of Cayucos.
    The Morro shoulderband snail occurs in coastal dune and scrub 
communities and maritime chaparral. Through most of its range, the 
dominant shrub associated with the snail's habitat is mock heather 
(Ericameria reicoides). Other prominent shrub and succulent species are 
buckwheat (Eriogonum parvifolium), eriastrum (Eriastrum densifolium), 
chamisso lupine (Lupinus chamissonis), dudleya (Dudleya sp.) and in 
more inland locations, California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) and 
black sage (Salvia mellifera).
    Away from the immediate coast, immature scrub in earlier 
successional stages may offer more favorable shelter sites than mature 
stands of coastal dune scrub. The immature shrubs provide canopy 
shelter for the snail, whereas the lower limbs of larger older shrubs 
may be too far off the ground to offer good shelter. In addition, 
mature stands produce twiggy litter that is low in food value. The 
Morro shoulderband snail is not a garden pest and is essentially 
harmless to gardens.
    The Morro shoulderband snail is threatened by destruction of its 
habitat due to increasing development and by degradation of its habitat 
due to invasion of nonnative plant species (e.g., veldt grass (Ehrharta 
calycino)), structural changes to its habitat due to maturing of dune 
vegetation, and recreational use (e.g., heavy off-highway vehicle 
activity). In addition to the known threats, possible threats to the 
snail include competition for resources with the nonnative brown garden 
snail (although no assessment has been made of possible dietary overlap 
between the species); the isolated nature of the remaining populations; 
the use of pesticides (including snail and slug baits); and the 
introduction of nonnative predatory snails.
    Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
the species was federally listed as endangered on December 15, 1994 (59 
FR 64613). On July 12, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 
FR 42962) a determination proposing critical habitat for the Morro 
shoulderband snail. Approximately 1,040 hectares (2,565 acres) fall 
within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation. 
Proposed critical habitat is located in the community of Los Osos, San 
Luis Obispo County, California, as described in the proposed 

[[Page 69897]]

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that the Secretary shall 
designate or revise critical habitat based upon the best scientific and 
commercial data available and after taking into consideration the 
economic impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. 
Based upon the previously published proposal to designate critical 
habitat for the Morro shoulderband snail and comments received during 
the previous comment period, we have prepared a draft economic analysis 
of the proposed critical habitat designation. The draft economic 
analysis is available at the above Internet and mailing address. We 
will accept written comments during this reopened comment period. The 
current comment period on this proposal closes on December 6, 2000. 
Written comments may be submitted to the Ventura Fish and Wildlife 
Office in the ADDRESSES section.


    The primary author of this notice is Ron Popowski, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003 
(see ADDRESSES section).

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: November 15, 2000.
Cynthia U. Barry,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office.
[FR Doc. 00-29721 Filed 11-20-00; 8:45 am]