[Federal Register: January 18, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 12)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 4783-4794]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH05

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Designation of Critical Habitat for Sidalcea oregana var. calva 
(Wenatchee Mountains checker-mallow)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
designate critical habitat for Sidalcea oregana var. calva (Wenatchee 
Mountains checker-mallow), pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). An estimated maximum of 2,486 hectares (6,137 
acres) lies within the boundary of the proposed critical habitat 
designation, located in Chelan County, Washington. If this proposal is 
made final, section 7 of the Act requires Federal agencies to insure 
that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out does not result in 
the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Section 4 
of the Act requires us to consider economic and other impacts of 
specifying any particular area as critical habitat. We solicit data and 
comments from the public on all aspects of this proposal, including 
data on the economic and other impacts of the designation. We may 
revise this proposal to incorporate or address new information received 
during the comment period.

DATES: We will accept comments until March 19, 2001. Public hearing 
requests must be received by March 5, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Comment Submission: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
your comments and materials concerning this proposal by any one of 
several methods:
    You may submit written comments and information to Gerry Jackson, 
Manager, Western Washington Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 510 
Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102, Lacey, Washington, 98503-1263.
    You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: 
checkermallow@fws.gov. See the Public Comments Solicited section below 
for file format and other information about electronic filing.
    You may hand-deliver comments to our Western Washington Office at 
the address given above.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours 
at the address listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ted Thomas, Ecologist, Endangered 
Species Branch, Western Washington Office (see ADDRESSES section) 
(telephone 360/753-4327; facsimile 360/534-9331).



    Sidalcea oregana var. calva, the Wenatchee Mountains checker-
mallow, is known to occur at six sites (populations). It is a plant 
found in mid-elevation wetlands and moist meadows in central 
Washington. The plant communities where the species is found are 
usually associated with meadows that have surface water or saturated 
soils during the spring and early summer. The species may also be found 
in open conifer forests dominated by Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine) 
and Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir), and on the margins of shrub 
and hardwood thickets adjacent to seeps, springs, or small drainages. 
Soils are primarily composed of silt loams and clay loams with a high 
percentage content of organic material, and they are poorly drained.
    A member of the mallow family (Malvaceae), Sidalcea oregana var. 
calva is an herbaceous perennial with a stout taproot that branches at 
the root-crown giving rise to several stems. Plants range in height 
from 20 to 150 centimeters (cm) (8 to 60 inches (in.)). Plants vary 
from glabrous (lacking hairs and glands) to pubescent (hairy) or 
stellate (with star-shaped hairs) below, and finely stellate above. 
Flower clusters with one to many stalked flowers are arranged singly 
along a common stem. The flowers have pink petals 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 
in.) long, and are borne on stalks ranging from 1 to 10 millimeters 
(mm) (0.04 to 0.4 in.) in length. The calyx (outer whorl of floral 
parts) ranges from uniformly finely stellate to bristly with a mixture 
of longer, simple to four-rayed, spreading hairs. These hairs are 
sometimes as long as 2.5 to 3 mm (0.1 to 0.12 in.) (Hitchcock and 
Cronquist 1961).
    Flowering begins in the middle of June and peaks in the middle to 
end of July. Fruits are ripe in August. The species reproduces only 
from seed. Based on examination of seed capsules the production of seed 
appears to be high (Gamon 1987). The somewhat clumped distribution of 
mature Sidalcea oregana var. calva plants suggests that seed dispersal 
is restricted to the areas near to mature plants, unless the seeds

[[Page 4784]]

are moved by animals or transported by water.
    The physical and biological habitat features essential to the 
conservation of Sidalcea oregana var. calva include open meadows with 
surface water or saturated upper soil profiles in the spring and early 
summer; open conifer forests dominated by ponderosa pine and Douglas-
fir; and the margins of shrub and hardwood thickets. All of these 
habitats have surface water or saturated soils well into the early 
summer. Elevations range from 488 to 1,000 meters (m) (1,600 to 3,300 
feet (ft)). The species is generally found on flats or benches, but may 
also occur in small ravines and occasionally on gently sloping uplands.
    Concentrations of Sidalcea oregana var. calva are found in the 
wetter portions of moist meadow habitat, in open forests in slight 
topographic depressions, on the perimeter of shrub and hardwood 
thickets dominated by quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), and along 
permanent or intermittent streams in sparsely forested draws. 
Frequently associated plant species include quaking aspen, black 
hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii), common snowberry (Symphoricarpos 
albus), serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), few-flowered peavine 
(Lathyrus pauciflorus), northern mule's-ear (Wyethia amplexicaulis), 
sticky purple geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), western bistort 
(Polygonum bistortoides), leafy aster (Aster foliaceus), Watson's 
willow-herb (Epilobium watsonii), false hellebore (Veratrum 
californica), and rudbeckia (Rudbeckia occidentalis) (Washington 
Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) 2000). One-half of the Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva populations are found in association with Delphinium 
viridescens (Wenatchee larkspur), a former Federal category 1 candidate 
plant species. The latter species was removed from candidate status on 
February 28, 1996 (61 FR 7610), because it was found to be more 
abundant or widespread than previously believed.
    At the time the final rule for Sidalcea oregana var. calva was 
published (64 FR 71680), just five sites were known to exist. During 
mid-summer 1999, a sixth population was discovered on private property 
in Pendleton Canyon, an area that was burned and opened up by the Tyee 
Fire of 1994. This location is less than 8 kilometers (km) (5 miles 
(mi)) from the Camas Meadow population.
    The wetland and moist meadow complex at Camas Meadows, an area 
managed as a Natural Area Preserve (NAP) by the WDNR, contains the 
largest population of Sidalcea oregana var. calva The Camas Meadow NAP 
includes approximately 539 hectares (ha) (1,333 acres (ac)) (WDNR 
2000), and is located in the rural/wildland interface about 16 km (10 
mi) south of Leavenworth, Washington. An estimated 3,300 Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva individuals occur there. Low density, rural 
residential home sites have been developed adjacent to the NAP. Also, 
the Camas Meadows Bible Camp has occupied the southern perimeter of the 
meadow since the late 1940s, and the U.S. Forest Service (Forest 
Service) administers properties surrounding the NAP.
    Another population is located north of the Camas Meadow NAP, on 
land administered by WDNR, and has approximately 30 individual plants. 
At the time the final rule was published (64 FR 71680), this population 
occurred on private land. The private landowners have since traded this 
land to the State.
    In addition to these two populations of Sidalcea oregana var. 
calva, two other populations of Sidalcea oregana var. calva are known 
to be present on private lands. One population, of about 200 
individuals, is located at the Mountain Home Resort. The second 
population is located in Pendleton Canyon, and consists of about 60 
plants. The last two known populations are located on Forest Service 
lands, containing less than 10 individual plants combined. The combined 
number of individual plants for all six populations is approximately 
    The primary threats to Sidalcea oregana var. calva include habitat 
fragmentation and destruction due to alterations of hydrology, rural 
residential development and associated activities, conversion of native 
wetlands to orchards and other agricultural uses, competition from 
native and non-native plants, recreation, seed and plant collection, 
and fire suppression and associated activities. To a lesser extent, the 
species is threatened by livestock grazing, road construction, and 
timber harvesting and associated impacts including changes in surface 
runoff in the small watersheds in which the plant occurs.

Previous Federal Action

    Federal action on Sidalcea oregana var. calva began when we 
published an updated Notice of Review for plants, published in the 
Federal Register on December 15, 1980 (45 FR 82480). This notice 
included Sidalcea oregana var. calva as a category 1 candidate species. 
Category 1 candidates were defined as those taxa for which we had 
sufficient information on the biological vulnerability and threats to 
support preparation of listing rules. The Notice of Review published on 
September 27, 1985 (50 FR 39526), included Sidalcea oregana var. calva 
as a category 2 candidate species. Category 2 candidates were defined 
as taxa for which available information indicated that a proposal to 
list as endangered or threatened was possibly appropriate, but for 
which persuasive data on biological vulnerability and threats were not 
sufficient to support a proposed rule.
    Notices of review published on February 21, 1990 (55 FR 6184), and 
September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144), identified the plant as a category 1 
candidate species. Upon publication of the February 28, 1996, Notice of 
Review (61 FR 7596), we ceased using category designations and included 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva as a candidate species. Candidate species 
are those for which we have on file sufficient information on 
biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list the 
species as threatened or endangered.
    On August 1, 1997, we published the proposed rule to list Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva as an endangered species (62 FR 41328). The final 
determination to list Sidalcea oregana var. calva as an endangered 
species was published in the Federal Register on December 22, 1999 (64 
FR 71680). In the final rule, we found that designation of critical 
habitat for the species was prudent. Due to insufficient funding in our 
listing budget at the time, critical habitat designation was deferred 
in order to focus our limited resources on higher priority critical 
habitat, including court-ordered designations, and other listing 
actions (64 FR 71685), while still allowing us to put in place 
protections needed for the protection of S. oregana var. calva through 
the listing process.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as--(i) the 
specific areas within the geographic 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 that are 
necessary to bring an endangered or a threatened species to the point 
at which listing under the Act is no longer necessary.

[[Page 4785]]

    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the prohibition against destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat with regard to actions carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency. Section 7 also requires conferences on 
Federal actions that are likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. In our regulations at 50 CFR 402.02, 
we define destruction or adverse modification as ``* * * the direct or 
indirect alteration that appreciably diminishes the value of critical 
habitat for both the survival and recovery of a listed species. Such 
alterations include, but are not limited to, alterations adversely 
modifying any of those physical or biological features that were the 
basis for determining the habitat to be critical.'' Aside from the 
added protection that may be provided under section 7, the Act does not 
provide other forms of protection to lands designated as critical 
habitat. Because consultation under section 7 of the Act does not apply 
to activities on private or other non-Federal lands that do not involve 
a Federal nexus, critical habitat designation would not afford any 
additional protections under the Act against such activities.
    In order to be included in a critical habitat designation, the 
habitat must first be ``essential to the conservation of the species.'' 
Critical habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the 
best scientific and commercial data available, habitat areas that 
provide essential life cycle needs of the species (i.e., areas on which 
are found the primary constituent elements, as defined at 50 CFR 
    Section 4 requires that we designate critical habitat at the time 
of listing and based on what we know at the time of the designation. 
When we designate critical habitat at the time of listing or under 
short court-ordered deadlines, we will often not have sufficient 
information to identify all areas of critical habitat. We are required, 
nevertheless, to make a decision and thus must base our designations on 
what, at the time of designation, we know to be critical habitat.
    Within the geographic area occupied by the species, we will 
designate only areas currently known to be essential. Essential areas 
should already have the features and habitat characteristics that are 
necessary to sustain the species. We will not speculate about what 
areas might be found to be essential if better information became 
available, or what areas may become essential over time. If the 
information available at the time of designation does not show that an 
area provides essential life cycle needs of the species, then the area 
should not be included in the critical habitat designation. Within the 
geographic area occupied by the species, we will not designate areas 
that do not now have the primary constituent elements, as defined at 50 
CFR 424.12(b), that provide essential life cycle needs of the species.
    Our regulations state that, ``The Secretary shall designate as 
critical habitat areas outside the geographic area presently occupied 
by the species only when a designation limited to its present range 
would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species.'' (50 
CFR 424.12(e)). Accordingly, when the best available scientific and 
commercial data do not demonstrate that the conservation needs of the 
species require designation of critical habitat outside of occupied 
areas, we will not designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographic area occupied by the species.
    The Service's Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act, published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (Vol. 
59, p. 34271), provides criteria, establishes procedures, and provides 
guidance to ensure that decisions made by the Service represent the 
best scientific and commercial data available. It requires Service 
biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific and commercial data available, to use primary and 
original sources of information as the basis for recommendations to 
designate critical habitat. When determining which areas are critical 
habitat, a primary source of information should be the listing package 
for the species. Additional information may be obtained from a recovery 
plan, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans developed 
by states and counties, scientific status surveys and studies, and 
biological assessments or other unpublished materials (i.e. gray 
    Habitat is often dynamic, and species may move from one area to 
another over time. Furthermore, we recognize that designation of 
critical habitat may not include all of the habitat areas that may 
eventually be determined to be necessary for the recovery of the 
species. For these reasons, all should understand that critical habitat 
designations do not signal that habitat outside the designation is 
unimportant or may not be required for recovery. Areas outside the 
critical habitat designation will continue to be subject to 
conservation actions that may be implemented under Section 7(a)(1) and 
to the regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy 
standard and the Section 9 take prohibition, as determined on the basis 
of the best available information at the time of the action. We 
specifically anticipate that federally funded or assisted projects 
affecting listed species outside their designated critical habitat 
areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some cases. Similarly, 
critical habitat designations made on the basis of the best available 
information at the time of designation will not control the direction 
and substance of future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans, or 
other species conservation planning efforts if new information 
available to these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.


    In determining areas that are essential to conserve Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva, we used the best scientific information available 
to us. This information included habitat suitability and site-specific 
species information, as well as discussions with Wenatchee National 
Forest and WDNR scientists about the management and conservation of 
this species. We have emphasized areas of current and historical 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva occurrences; maintenance of the genetic 
interchange necessary for the viability of a regional metapopulation; 
and maintenance of the integrity of the watershed hydrologic processes 
on which the wetlands and moist meadows that support the species 
depend. A metapopulation is a group of spatially separated populations 
that can occasionally exchange genes. The populations in a 
metapopulation are usually thought of as undergoing interdependent 
extinction and colonization, where individual populations may go 
extinct, but later recolonize from another population. Linking the 
known populations provides pathways for gene flow as well as 
opportunities for colonization by the species of areas where it may be 
extirpated. We believe that the maintenance of a viable regional 
metapopulation as well as the integrity of the hydrologic processes 
that control the wetland and moist meadow habitat are essential to the 
conservation of Sidalcea oregana var. calva.
    We used data on known and historic locations and soil maps to 
identify areas important to the species. We mapped critical habitat 
based on orthoquads and aerial photos available from WDNR, and ground-
checked these areas. We included areas with wetland vegetation 
communities dominated by native grasses and forbs and generally free of

[[Page 4786]]

woody shrubs, hardwood trees, or conifers that would produce shade and/
or compete with Sidalcea oregana var. calva. Seeps, springs and 
riparian corridors that have clay loam and silt loam soils were 
included because of their importance to maintaining the hydrologic 
processes that are essential to the conservation of the species. 
Inclusion of these areas also allows for the natural expansion of 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva populations that is essential for the 
conservation of the species.

Primary Constituent Elements

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act and regulations at 
50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas to propose as critical 
habitat, we must consider those physical and biological features 
(primary constituent elements) that are essential to the conservation 
of the species. These include, but are not limited to, the following: 
space for individual and population growth, and for normal behavior; 
food, water, air, light, minerals or nutrients, or physiological 
requirements; cover or shelter; sites for breeding, reproduction, or 
rearing of offspring, germination, or seed dispersal; and habitats that 
are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historic 
geographical and ecological distribution of a species.
    The primary constituent elements of critical habitat for Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva are those that are essential for the primary 
biological needs of the species. The area we propose to designate as 
critical habitat provides the primary constituent elements for the 
species, which include: surface water or saturated upper soil profiles; 
a wetland plant community dominated by native grasses and forbs, and 
generally free of woody shrubs and conifers that would produce shade 
and competition for Sidalcea oregana var. calva; seeps and springs on 
fine textured soils (clay loams and silt loams), which contribute to 
the maintenance of hydrologic processes necessary to support meadows 
which remain moist into the early summer; and elevations of 488 m-1,000 
m (1,600-3,300 ft).

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    In an effort to map areas that have the features essential to the 
conservation of the species, we used data on known Sidalcea oregana 
var. calva locations. We also considered the existing status of lands 
in designating areas as critical habitat. Sidalcea oregana var. calva 
is known to occur on Federal, State, and private lands. We are not 
aware of any Tribal lands essential to the conservation of Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva, or any in or near the proposed critical habitat 
designation. However, should we learn of any Tribal lands in the 
vicinity of the critical habitat designation subsequent to this 
proposal, we will coordinate with the Tribes before making a final 
determination as to whether any Tribal lands should be included as 
critical habitat for Sidalcea oregana var. calva.
    In defining critical habitat boundaries, we made an effort to avoid 
developed areas, such as towns and other similar lands, that are 
unlikely to contribute to Sidalcea oregana var. calva conservation. 
However, limitations in our ability to map critical habitat for 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva did not allow us to exclude all developed 
areas, such as towns, or housing developments, or other lands unlikely 
to contain the primary constituent elements essential for conservation 
of Sidalcea oregana var. calva. Existing features and structures within 
the boundaries of the mapped unit, such as buildings, roads, aqueducts, 
railroads, airports, other paved areas, lawns, and other rural 
residential landscaped areas will not contain one or more of the 
primary constituent elements and are, therefore, not critical habitat. 
Federal actions limited to those areas would not trigger a section 7 
consultation, unless they affect the species and/or primary constituent 
elements in adjacent critical habitat.

Proposed Critical Habitat

    We are proposing critical habitat in one unit, comprised of 2,484 
ha (6,135 ac). The approximate area, by land ownership, of this unit is 
shown in Table 1; lands proposed are under private, State, and Federal 
ownership. All of the proposed critical habitat for Sidalcea oregana 
var. calva is in Chelan County, Washington, and includes Camas Creek 
and the adjacent Pendleton Canyon sub-basin. The area proposed for 
critical habitat includes all of the lands that have the primary 
constituent elements below 1,000 m (3,300 ft) within the Camas Creek 
watershed and in the small tributary within Pendleton Canyon before its 
confluence with Peshastin Creek, and includes: (1) The entire area 
encompassed by the Camas Meadow Natural Area Preserve, which is 
administered by the WDNR; (2) two populations located on Forest Service 
land; (3) the small drainage north of the Camas Land, administered by 
the WDNR; and (4) the population on private property located in 
Pendleton Canyon.
    Portions of the designated critical habitat are presumably 
unoccupied by Sidalcea oregana var. calva at present, although the 
entire area has not been recently surveyed. Soil maps indicate that the 
entire area provides suitable habitat for the species, and there may be 
additional, but currently unknown, populations present here. Because 
protection of the hydrological processes is necessary to ensure the 
viability of the wetland habitat of the species, we consider the entire 
area essential to the survival, eventual recovery, and delisting of 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva.
    Wetlands and moist meadow habitat (native grassland and forb-
dominated vegetation) suitable for Sidalcea oregana var. calva is 
generally surrounded by upland conditions, which are dominated by 
ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests. These upland conditions are 
less suitable as habitat for the species and are not essential to the 
conservation of the species. Moist meadow openings within sparse 
ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests, however, are suitable habitat 
and are included in this proposed critical habitat designation.
    Pursuant to the definition of critical habitat in section 3 of the 
Act, any area so designated must also require ``special managment 
considerations or protections.'' Some areas essential to the 
conservation of the species may not be designated critical habitat if 
they already have adequate special management. Adequate special 
management or protection is provided by a legally operative plan that 
addresses the maintenance and improvement of the essential elements and 
provides for the long-term conservation of the species. The Service 
considers a plan adequate when it meets all of the following three 
criteria: (1) The plan provides a conservation benefit to the species 
(i.e., the plan must maintain or provide for an increase in the 
species' population or the enhancement or restoration of its habitat 
within the area covered by the plan); (2) the plan provides assurances 
that the management plan will be implemented (i.e., those responsible 
for implementing the plan are capable of accomplishing the objectives, 
have an implementation schedule and/or have adequate funding to 
implement the management plan); and, (3) the plan provides assurances 
the conservation plan will be effective (i.e., it identifies biological 
goals, has provisions for reporting progress, and is of a duration 
sufficient to implement the plan and achieve the plan's goals and 
objectives). If an area is covered by a plan that meets these criteria, 
it does not

[[Page 4787]]

constitute critical habitat as defined by the Act.
    The Camas Land NAP is managed by the WDNR, and a final Management 
Plan (Plan) for the area was approved in June, 2000. The NAP was 
established in 1989 to protect the large populations of Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva and Delphinium viridescens (Wenatchee larkspur) that 
occur at Camas Meadow. The general management policy described in the 
Plan applies to all NAPs managed by the WDNR. These include: (1) 
Protection of outstanding examples of rare or vanishing terrestrial or 
aquatic ecosystems, rare plant and animal species and unique geologic 
features; (2) the role of NAPs as a baseline to compare with similar 
ecosystems that are under the influence of human activities; and (3) 
areas that are important to preserving natural features of scientific 
or educational value. However, the Plan does not provide a specific 
management plan or prescription designed to conserve Sidalcea oregana 
var. calva, beyond permitting natural ecological and physical processes 
to continue (WDNR 2000). The Plan does call for management actions to 
enhance wet meadow habitat, which will benefit Sidalcea oregana var. 
calva by removing competing vegetation, including controlling noxious 
weeds; thinning ponderosa pine in the uplands; and improving and 
replacing culverts. However, these actions have not yet been 
implemented, and it is too early to assess their effectiveness.
    Although the species is listed as endangered by the WDNR's Natural 
Heritage Program (1994), there is no State Endangered Species Act in 
the State of Washington. The WDNR designation provides no legal 
protection for Sidalcea oregana var. calva, and there are no State laws 
that specifically protect plants on State lands. Therefore, we believe 
that this management plan alone does not provide sufficient protection 
for Sidalcea oregana var. calva, and have included the Camas Land NAP 
within the proposed critical habitat designation.
    Private residential properties on the periphery of the Camas Land 
NAP and the Camas Meadow Bible Camp located on the south side of the 
Camas Land, within the area designated as critical habitat, are not 
included in the designation. Private residential properties in the 
vicinity of the Camas Land NAP have been altered by the planting of 
lawns, installation of septic systems, and horse pastures. These 
properties are generally located in upland conditions that do not 
provide the primary constituent elements of critical habitat necessary 
for the long-term protection and conservation of Sidalcea oregana var. 

       Table 1.--Approximate Area of Proposed Critical Habitat in Hectares (ha) and Acres (ac) \1\ in Chelan County, Washington, by Land Ownership
 [Area estimates reflect the proposed critical habitat unit boundaries; however, existing features and structures, such as buildings, roads, aqueducts,
    railroads, airports, other paved areas, lawns, and other rural residential landscaped areas not containing one or more of the primary constituent
                                    elements are not designated as critical habitat for Sidalcea oregana var. calva]
                                                              Federal                Local/state                Private                   Total
Areas Known to be Currently Occupied................            0.5 ha (1 ac)            38 ha (94 ac)            0.5 ha (1 ac)            39 ha (96 ac)
Areas of Suitable Habitat of Unknown Occupancy......        830 ha (2,050 ac)        540 ha (1,334 ac)      1,075 ha (2,655 ac)      2,445 ha (6,039 ac)
      Total.........................................                                                                                2,484 ha (6,135 ac)
\1\ Approximate acres have been converted to hectares (1 ha = 2.47 ac). Hectares and acres greater than 1 have been rounded to the nearest 5, except for
  totals which are sums of rows or columns.

    We have determined that the habitat supporting the population found 
at the Mountain Home Resort (Resort) is not essential to the 
conservation of the species. This population is disjunct from the 
remaining populations, and located in an area entirely surrounded with 
private residences, private timberlands, and a road administered by 
Chelan County. The habitat on this property that contains Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva, and the former candidate species Delphinium 
viridescens, is confined to a small linear area associated with a 
drainage ditch adjacent to the Mountain Home road and is bordered on 
the north and south by gravel access roads leading to residences. It is 
likely that the habitat resulted from the construction of the road and 
the creation of the drainage ditch. The habitat is now dominated by 
non-native, sod-forming grasses and forbs mixed with native vegetation 
(Dottie Knecht, Forest Service, pers. comm. 2000). The class-B 
Washington State noxious weed, Potentilla recta (sulfur cinquefoil) 
(Washington Administrative Code 16-750-011) is frequently encountered 
in monitoring plots at this site, although at low cover (D. Knecht, 
pers. comm. 2000). Moving out of the occupied habitat and up the hill 
towards the Resort, the vegetation is also dominated by sod-forming 
pasture and lawn grasses, including Agrostis alba (creeping bentgrass), 
Alopecuris pratensis (meadow foxtail), Phleum pratense (timothy grass), 
and Bromus inermis (smooth brome). These species are not consistent 
with the primary constituent elements.
    Through observation of the adjacent properties along the Mountain 
Home road, it is evident that, if the Resort were not present and the 
land had not been cleared to create a vista, the marginal habitat where 
the small population is found at this site would be forested with 
conifers mixed with hardwood trees and shrubs. Such habitat does not 
contain the vegetative requirements and open conditions of the primary 
constituent elements.
    The population at the Resort is also disjunct from the other 
populations of the species, which are more than 16 km (10 mi) distant. 
Because of fragmentation and the patchy distribution of habitat between 
this population and other populations of the species, the persistence 
of this population cannot be assured. We believe that the most 
appropriate conservation strategy for Sidalcea oregana var. calva is 
one that focuses on the protection and expansion of the core habitat of 
the species rather than the protection of isolated populations of 
doubtful viability. Except through artificial means, there is no 
opportunity for gene exchange between this population and the other 
populations. Although no genetic testing has been conducted for this 
species, a small population, such as that found at the Resort, is 
likely to have reduced genetic diversity, which can result in decreased

[[Page 4788]]

population viability due to inbreeding (Schemske et al. 1994).
    Although the ability to predict random environmental events 
(stochastic events) is low, events such as forest fires (e.g., the 1994 
Rat Creek and Hatchery Creek Fires) and rain-on-snow flooding do occur. 
The effects of these stochastic events are most acute in small 
populations (Schemske et al. 1994). As a result of an increased 
importance of stochastic processes and changes in ecological 
interactions in declining populations, the probability of a population 
extirpation is expected to be negatively correlated with its size 
(Schemske et al. 1994).
    The population found at Pendleton Canyon is on privately-owned land 
that has been included as critical habitat because it has the primary 
constituent elements required by Sidalcea oregana var. calva. It is 
located in a wildland setting with none of the modifications typically 
associated with a residence, unlike the private residences near Camas 
Meadow or the population of Sidalcea oregana var. calva at the Resort 
which lack the primary constituent elements and have been excluded from 
critical habitat designation.
    The Recovery Team for Sidalcea oregana var. calva will be providing 
guidance on recovery planning for this species. The Recovery Team may 
provide additional guidance regarding the areas proposed for critical 
habitat designation. We will evaluate any of the Recovery Team's 
recommendations and re-examine our critical habitat designation, if 
necessary, to provide for the conservation of the species.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a) of the Act requires that Federal agencies, including 
the Service, must ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry 
out do not destroy or adversely modify critical habitat to the extent 
that the action appreciably diminishes the value of the critical 
habitat for the survival and recovery of the species. Individuals, 
organizations, States, local governments, and other non-Federal 
entities are affected by the designation of critical habitat only if 
their actions occur on Federal lands, require a Federal permit, 
license, or other authorization, or involve Federal funding.
    Under section 7(a) of the Act, Federal agencies, including the 
Service, 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 designated or proposed. Regulations 
implementing this interagency cooperation provision of the Act are 
codified at 50 CFR part 402. Section 7(a)(4) and regulations at 50 CFR 
402.10 requires Federal agencies to confer with us on any action that 
is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a proposed species 
or result in destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical 
habitat. Conference reports provide conservation recommendations to 
assist the agency in eliminating conflicts that may be caused by the 
proposed action. The conservation recommendations in a conference 
report are advisory.
    We may issue a formal conference report if requested by a Federal 
agency. Formal conference reports on proposed critical habitat contain 
a biological opinion that is prepared according to 50 CFR 402.14, as if 
critical habitat were designated. If such designation occurs, we may 
adopt the formal conference report as a biological opinion, if no 
significant new information or changes in the action alter the content 
of the opinion (see 50 CFR 402.10(d)).
    When a species is listed or critical habitat is designated, 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 the species or to destroy or adversely modify 
its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a listed species 
or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency must enter into 
consultation with us. Through this consultation, we would advise the 
agencies whether the permitted actions would likely jeopardize the 
continued existence of the species or destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat, we also provide reasonable and prudent alternatives to the 
project, if any are identifiable. Reasonable and prudent alternatives 
are defined at 50 CFR 402.02 as alternative actions identified during 
consultation that can be implemented in a manner consistent with the 
intended purpose of the action, that are consistent with the scope of 
the Federal agency's legal authority and jurisdiction, that are 
economically and technologically feasible, and that the Director 
believes would avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing the continued 
existence of listed species or resulting in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. Reasonable and prudent alternatives 
can vary from slight project modifications to extensive redesign or 
relocation of the project. Costs associated with implementing a 
reasonable and prudent alternative are similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where critical 
habitat is subsequently designated and the Federal agency has retained 
discretionary involvement or control over the action or such 
discretionary involvement or control is authorized by law. 
Consequently, some Federal agencies may request reinitiation of 
consultation or conferencing with us on actions for which formal 
consultation has been completed, if those actions may affect designated 
critical habitat or adversely modify or destroy proposed critical 
    Activities on private or State lands requiring a permit from a 
Federal agency, such as a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(Corps) under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, or a section 
10(a)(1)(B) permit from the Service, or some other Federal action, 
including funding (e.g., from the Federal Highway Administration or 
Federal Emergency Management Agency will also be subject to the section 
7 consultation process. Federal actions not affecting listed species or 
critical habitat, and actions on non-Federal lands that are not 
federally funded, authorized, or permitted do not require section 7 
consultation. Not all of the areas within the unit is capable of 
supporting Sidalcea oregana var. calva or its primary constituent 
elements, and such areas would not be subject to section 7 
consultation. However, in the interests of having a clear boundary that 
is readily located on the ground, or because of mapping uncertainties, 
we have included some areas that may not be critical habitat as 
described below.
    To properly portray the effects of critical habitat designation, we 
must first compare the section 7 requirements for actions that may 
affect critical habitat with the requirements for actions that may 
affect a listed species. Section 7 prohibits actions funded, 
authorized, or carried out by Federal agencies from jeopardizing the 
continued existence of a listed species or destroying or adversely 
modifying the listed species' critical habitat. Actions likely to 
``jeopardize the continued existence'' of a species are those that 
would appreciably reduce the likelihood of the species' survival and 
recovery. Actions likely to ``destroy or adversely modify'' critical 
habitat are those that would appreciably reduce the value of critical 
habitat for the survival and recovery of the listed species.
    Common to both definitions is an appreciable detrimental effect on 

[[Page 4789]]

survival and recovery of a listed species. Given the similarity of 
these definitions, actions likely to destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat would almost always result in jeopardy to the species 
concerned, particularly when the area of the proposed action is 
occupied by the species concerned. Designation of critical habitat in 
areas known to be occupied by Sidalcea oregana var. calva, and areas 
where the species is detected in surveys at the time of the action, is 
not likely to result in a significant regulatory burden above that 
already in place due to the presence of the listed species. For some 
previously reviewed actions, in instances where critical habitat is 
subsequently designated, and in those cases where activities occur on 
designated critical habitat where Sidalcea oregana var. calva is not 
found at the time of the action, an additional section 7 consultation 
with the Service not previously required may be necessary for actions 
funded, authorized, or carried out by Federal agencies.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly describe and 
evaluate in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat those activities involving a Federal action that may adversely 
modify such habitat or that may be affected by such designation. When 
determining whether any of these activities may adversely modify 
critical habitat, we base our analysis on the effects of the action on 
the entire critical habitat area and not just on the portion where the 
activity will occur. Adverse effects on constituent elements or 
segments of critical habitat generally do not result in an adverse 
modification determination unless that loss, when added to the 
environmental baseline, is likely to appreciably diminish the 
capability of the critical habitat to satisfy essential requirements of 
the species. In other words, activities that may destroy or adversely 
modify critical habitat include those that alter the primary 
constituent elements (defined above) to an extent that the value of 
critical habitat for both the survival and recovery of the Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva is appreciably diminished.
    Activities that, when carried out, funded, or authorized by a 
Federal agency, may affect critical habitat and require that a section 
7 consultation be conducted include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Damming, water diversion, channelization, excess groundwater 
pumping, repair and replacement of culverts, or other actions that 
appreciably reduce the hydrologic function and surface area of rivers, 
streams, seeps or springs;
    (2) Timber harvesting and road construction that directly or 
indirectly effects the hydrology of sites harboring the species;
    (3) Rural residential construction that include concrete pads for 
foundations and the installation of septic systems where a permit under 
section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344 et seq.) would be 
required from the Corps;
    (4) Activities that alter watershed characteristics in ways that 
would appreciably reduce groundwater recharge or alter natural flooding 
regimes to alter natural, dynamic wetland communities. Such activities 
may include manipulation of vegetation such as timber harvesting, road 
construction, maintaining an unnatural fire regime either through fire 
suppression, or too frequent or poorly-timed prescribed fires, 
residential and commercial development, and grazing of livestock or 
horses that reduces fire frequency or otherwise degrades watershed 
    (5) Activities that appreciably degrade or destroy native wetland 
communities, such as livestock or horse grazing, land clearing, 
harvesting of trees or other forest products, introducing or 
encouraging the spread of non-native plant species; and
    (6) Activities that appreciably alter stream channel morphology 
such as sand and gravel mining, road construction, channelization, 
impoundment, watershed disturbances, off-road vehicle use, heavy or 
poorly planned recreational uses, and possibly other uses.
    Any of the above activities that appreciably diminish the value of 
critical habitat to the degree that they affect the survival and 
recovery of Sidalcea oregana var. calva may be considered an adverse 
modification or destruction of critical habitat. We note that such 
activities may also jeopardize the continued existence of the species.
    If you have questions regarding whether specific activities will 
constitute destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat 
resulting from a Federal action, contact Gerry Jackson, Manager, 
Western Washington Office (see ADDRESSES section). Requests for copies 
of the regulations on listed wildlife, and inquiries about prohibitions 
and permits may be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Branch of Endangered Species, 911 N.E. 11th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97232 
(telephone 503/231-2063; facsimile 503/231-6243).

Available Conservation Measures

    Activities by the landowners of the Mountain Home Resort have 
resulted in positive conservation measures for the species. The 
landowners have cooperated and supported the monitoring of this 
population by the Forest Service since 1994 when, during the Rat Creek 
and Hatchery Creek fires, approximately one-half of the area occupied 
by Sidalcea oregana var. calva and Delphinium viridescens was bulldozed 
and leveled to create a fire safety zone. After the fires, the 
landowners permitted the Forest Service and volunteers to restore and 
plant grass seed on their land to reduce erosion in the small drainage 
area where these two species occur. Within about 2 years, the 
hydrologic processes had returned to normal and Delphinium viridescens 
resprouted from rhizomes. Sidalcea oregana var. calva recolonized by 
seed from neighboring parent plants and the soil seed bank stored in 
soils not disturbed by bulldozers.

Economic Analysis

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires us to designate critical 
habitat on the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available and to consider the economic and other relevant impacts of 
designating a particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude areas 
from critical habitat upon a determination that the benefits of the 
exclusions outweigh the benefits of specifying the areas as critical 
habitat. We cannot exclude the areas from critical habitat when the 
exclusion will result in the extinction of the species. We will conduct 
an analysis of the economic impacts of designating these areas as 
critical habitat prior to making a final determination. When completed, 
we will announce the availability of this economic analysis with a 
notice in the Federal Register; if necessary, we will reopen the 
comment period at that time.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal be as 
accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit comments 
or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, 
the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party 
concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments 
    (1) The reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined 
to be critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act, including 
whether the benefits of designation will outweigh any benefits of 

[[Page 4790]]

    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva and its habitat, and what habitat is essential to 
the conservation of the species and why;
    (3) Land use practices and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat;
    (4) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of critical habitat, in particular, any impacts on 
small entities or families; and
    (5) Economic and other values associated with designating critical 
habitat for Sidalcea oregana var. calva such as those derived from 
nonconsumptive uses (e.g., hiking, camping, birdwatching, enhanced 
watershed protection, improved air quality, increased soil retention, 
and ``existence values.'').
    If you submit comments by e-mail, please submit them as an ASCII 
file and avoid the use of special characters and any form of 
encryption. Please also include ``Attn: [RIN number]'' 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 Western Washington Office at 
telephone number 360/753-9440.
    Our practice is to make comments available for public review during 
regular business hours, including names and home addresses of 
respondents. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their 
home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the 
extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold from 
the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If 
you wish for us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state 
this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not 
consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34270), we will seek the expert opinions of at least three appropriate 
and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule. The purpose 
of this review is to ensure listing decisions are based on 
scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We will send 
these peer reviewers copies of this proposed rule immediately following 
publication in the Federal Register. We will invite these peer 
reviewers to comment, during the public comment period, on the specific 
assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposed designation of 
critical habitat.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
60-day comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a 
final rulemaking. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations/
notices that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to 
make this proposed rule easier to understand including answers to 
questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the 
proposed rule clearly stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain 
technical language or jargon that interferes with the clarity? (3) Does 
the format of the proposed rule (grouping and order of sections, use of 
headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Is the 
description of the proposed rule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of the preamble helpful in understanding the proposed rule? 
What else could we do to make the proposed rule easier to understand? 
Send any comments that concern how we could make this proposed rule 
easier to understand to the Gerry Jackson, Manager, Western Washington 
Office (see ADDRESSES section of this rule).

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with Executive Order 12866, this document is a 
significant rule and was reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB). We are preparing a draft analysis of this proposed 
action, which will be available for public comment, to determine the 
economic consequences of designating the specific areas as critical 
habitat. The availability of the draft economic analysis will be 
announced in the Federal Register and in local newspapers so that it is 
available for public review and comments.
    (a) This rule will not have an annual economic effect of $100 
million or more or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, 
jobs, the environment, or other units of government. Sidalcea oregana 
var. calva was listed as an endangered species in 1999. In fiscal years 
1999 through 2000, we conducted 1 formal section 7 consultation with a 
Federal agency to ensure that their actions would not jeopardize the 
continued existence of the species.
    Under the Act, critical habitat may not be adversely modified by a 
Federal agency action; critical habitat does not impose any 
restrictions on non-Federal persons unless they are conducting 
activities funded or otherwise sponsored, authorized, or permitted by a 
Federal agency (see Table 2 below). Section 7 requires Federal agencies 
to ensure that they do not jeopardize the continued existence of the 
species. Based upon our experience with the species and its needs, we 
conclude that any Federal action or authorized action that could 
potentially cause an adverse modification of the proposed critical 
habitat would currently be considered as ``jeopardy'' under the Act in 
areas occupied by Sidalcea oregana var. calva. Accordingly, the 
designation of currently occupied areas as critical habitat does not 
have any incremental impacts on what actions may or may not be 
conducted by Federal agencies or non-Federal persons that receive 
Federal authorization or funding. Designation of unoccupied areas as 
critical habitat may have impacts on what actions may or may not be 
conducted by Federal agencies or non-Federal persons who receive 
Federal authorization or funding. We will evaluate any impact through 
our economic analysis (under section 4 of the Act; see Economic 
Analysis section of this rule). Non-Federal persons that do not have a 
Federal ``sponsorship'' of their actions are not restricted by the 
designation of critical habitat (however, they continue to be bound by 
the provisions of the Act concerning ``take'' of the species).

[[Page 4791]]

            Table 2. Impacts of Sidalcea Oregana var. Calva Listing and Critical Habitat Designation
                                                                                         Additional activities
                                        Activities potentially affected by species      potentially affected by
      Categories of activities                         listing only                        critical habitat
                                                                                            designation \1\
Federal activities potentially       Activities conducted by the Army Corps of        Activities by these
 affected \2\.                        Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Environmental    Federal Agencies in any
                                      Protection Agency, Federal Highway               unoccupied critical
                                      Administration.                                  habitat areas.
Private or other non-Federal         Activities that require a Federal action         Funding, authorization, or
 activities potentially affected      (permit, authorization, or funding) and may      permitting such actions
 \3\.                                 remove or destroy Sidalcea oregana var. calva    by Federal Agencies in
                                      habitat by mechanical, chemical, or other        any unoccupied critical
                                      means (e.g., grading, discing, ripping, and      habitat areas.
                                      tilling, water diversion, impounding,
                                      groundwater pumping, irrigation, construction,
                                      road building, herbicide application,
                                      recreational use, etc.) or appreciably
                                      decrease habitat value or quality through
                                      indirect effects (e.g., edge effects, invasion
                                      of exotic plants or animals, fragmentation of
\1\ This column represents activities potentially affected by the critical habitat designation in addition to
  those activities potentially affected by listing the species.
\2\ Activities initiated by a Federal agency.
\3\ Activities initiated by a private or other non-Federal entity that may need Federal authorization or

    (b) This rule will not create inconsistencies with other agencies' 
actions. As discussed above, Federal agencies have been required to 
ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of 
Sidalcea oregana var. calva since the listing in 1999. The prohibition 
against adverse modification of critical habitat is not expected to 
impose any additional restrictions to those that currently exist in 
areas of occupied habitat. We will evaluate any impact of designating 
unoccupied habitat areas through our economic analysis. Because of the 
potential for impacts on other Federal agency activities, we will 
continue to review this proposed action for any inconsistencies with 
other Federal agency actions.
    (c) This proposed rule, if made final, will not materially affect 
entitlements, grants, user fees, loan programs, or the rights and 
obligations of their recipients. Federal agencies are currently 
required to ensure that their activities do not jeopardize the 
continued existence of the species, and, as discussed above, we do not 
anticipate that the adverse modification prohibition (resulting from 
critical habitat designation) will have any incremental effects in 
areas of occupied habitat.
    (d) This rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues. The 
proposed rule follows the requirements for determining critical habitat 
contained in the Act.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    In the economic analysis (required under section 4 of the Act), we 
will determine whether designation of critical habitat will have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small entities. Many of 
these activities sponsored by Federal agencies within the proposed 
critical habitat areas are carried out by small entities (as defined by 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act) through contract, grant, permit, or 
other Federal authorization. As discussed under Regulatory Planning and 
Review above, this rule is not expected to result in any restrictions 
in addition to those currently in existence for areas of occupied 
critical habitat. We will also evaluate whether critical habitat 
designation of unoccupied areas will significantly affect a substantial 
number of small entities. As indicated on Table 1 (see Proposed 
Critical Habitat Designation section), we designated property owned by 
State and Federal governments, and private property.
    Within these areas, the types of Federal actions or authorized 
activities that we have identified as potential concerns are:
    (1) Activities such as damming, water diversion, channelization, 
excess groundwater pumping, repair and replacement of culverts, or 
other actions that appreciably reduce the hydrologic function and 
surface area of rivers, streams, seeps or springs;
    (2) Activities such as timber harvesting and road construction that 
directly or indirectly effects the hydrology of sites harboring the 
species; and
    (3) Activities such as rural residential construction that include 
concrete pads for foundations and the installation of septic systems 
where a permit under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344 
et seq.) would be required from the Corps.
    (4) Activities that alter watershed characteristics in ways that 
would appreciably reduce groundwater recharge or alter natural flooding 
regimes to alter natural, dynamic wetland communities. Such activities 
may include manipulation of vegetation such as timber harvesting, road 
construction, maintaining an unnatural fire regime either through fire 
suppression, or too frequent or poorly-timed prescribed fires, 
residential and commercial development, and grazing of livestock or 
horses that reduces fire frequency or otherwise degrades watershed 
    (5) Activities that appreciably degrade or destroy native wetland 
communities, such as livestock or horse grazing, land clearing, 
harvesting of trees or other forest products, introducing or 
encouraging the spread of non-native plant species; and
    (6) Activities that appreciably alter stream channel morphology 
such as sand and gravel mining, road construction, channelization, 
impoundment, watershed disturbances, off-road vehicle use, heavy or 
poorly planned recreational uses, and possibly other uses.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 

    In the economic analysis, we will determine whether designation of 
critical habitat will cause (a) any effect on the economy of $100 
million or more, (b) any increases in costs or prices for consumers, 
individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or 
geographic regions; or (c) any significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the 
ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based 
enterprises. As discussed above, we anticipate that the designation of 
critical habitat will not have any additional effects on these 
activities in areas of critical habitat occupied by the species.
    Designation of unoccupied areas as critical habitat may have 
impacts on what actions may or may not be

[[Page 4792]]

conducted, or how they will be conducted, by Federal agencies or non-
Federal persons who receive Federal authorization or funding. We will 
evaluate any impact through our economic analysis.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.):
    (a) We believe this rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' 
affect small governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not 
required. Small governments will be affected only to the extent that 
any programs having Federal funds, permits, or other authorized 
activities must ensure that their actions will not adversely affect the 
critical habitat. However, as discussed above, these actions are 
currently subject to equivalent restrictions through the listing 
protections of the species, and no further restrictions are anticipated 
to result from critical habitat designation of occupied areas. In our 
economic analysis, we will evaluate whether designation of unoccupied 
areas has any significant effect on small governments.
    (b) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or 
greater in any year; that is, it is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The designation of 
critical habitat imposes no obligations on State or local governments.


    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this rule does not have 
significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is 
not required. As discussed above, the designation of critical habitat 
affects only Federal agency actions. The rule will not increase or 
decrease the current restrictions on private property concerning take 
of Sidalcea oregana var. calva. Due to current public knowledge of the 
species' protection under the Act, the prohibition against take of the 
species both within and outside of the designated areas, and the fact 
that critical habitat provides no incremental restrictions in areas of 
occupied critical habitat, we do not anticipate that property values 
will be affected by the critical habitat designation. Additionally, 
critical habitat designation does not preclude development of habitat 
conservation plans and issuance of incidental take permits.


    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and Department of 
Commerce policy, we requested information from and coordinated 
development of this critical habitat proposal with appropriate State 
resource agencies in Washington. The designation of critical habitat in 
areas currently occupied by Sidalcea oregana var. calva imposes no 
additional restrictions to those currently in place and, therefore, has 
little incremental impact on State and local governments and their 
activities. The designation may have some benefit to these governments 
in that the areas essential to the conservation of the species are more 
clearly defined, and the primary constituent elements of the habitat 
necessary to the survival of the species are specifically identified. 
While making this definition and identification does not alter where 
and what federally sponsored activities may occur, it may assist these 
local governments in long-range planning (rather than waiting for case-
by-case section 7 consultations to occur).

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that this rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order. We propose to designate critical habitat in accordance 
with the provisions of the Act and plan a public hearing on the 
proposed designation during the comment period. The rule uses standard 
property descriptions and identifies the primary constituent elements 
within the designated areas to assist the public in understanding the 
habitat needs of Sidalcea oregana var. calva.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any information collection requirements 
that requires Office of Management and Budget approval under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We determined that we do not need to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement as defined by the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in connection with 
regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Endangered Species 
Act, as amended. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this 
determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951) and 512 DM 2, we understand that federally 
recognized Tribes must be related to on a Government-to-Government 
    We are not aware of any Tribal lands essential for the conservation 
of Sidalcea oregana. var calva. therefore, we are not proposing to 
designate critical habitat for Sidalcea oregana var. calva on Tribal 

References Cited

    Gamon, J. G. 1987. Report on the status of Sidalcea oregana (Nutt.) 
Gray var. calva C.L. Hitchcock. Unpublished report to the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Olympia Washington. 41 pp.
    Schemske, D.W., B.C. Husband, M.H. Ruckleshaus, C. Goodwillie, I.M. 
Parker, and J.G. Bishop. 1994. Evaluating approaches to the 
Conservation of Rare and Endangered Plants. Ecology, 75(3). Pp. 584-
    Hitchcock, C.L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson. 1961. 
Part 3. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of 
Washington Press, Seattle. 614 pp.
    Washington Department of Natural Resources. 2000. Management plan 
for Camas Meadows Natural Area Preserve. Unpublished report. 52 pp + 
    Washington Natural Heritage Program. 1994. Endangered, threatened, 
and sensitive vascular plants of Washington, Department of Natural 
Resources, Olympia, Washington. 52 pp.


    The primary author of this proposed rule is Ted Thomas (see 
ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Rule 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:

[[Page 4793]]

    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. In Sec. 17.12(h) revise the entry for Sidalcea oregana var. 
calva under ``FLOWERING PLANTS'' to read as follows:

Sec. 17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

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

          *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Sidalcea oregana var. calva......  Wenatchee Mountains   U.S.A. (WA)........  Malvaceae--(Mallow)  E                       673     17.96(a)          N/A

          *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

    3. In Sec. 17.96, as proposed to be amended at 65 FR 66865, 
November 7, 2000, amend paragraph (b) by adding an entry for Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva after the entry for Kokia drynarioides under the 
family Malvaceae to read as follows:

Sec. 17.96  Critical habitat-plants.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    Family Malvaceae: Sidalcea oregana var. calva (Wenatchee Mountains 
    Washington, Chelan County. From USGS 7.5' quadrangle maps Peshastin 
and Tip Top, Washington. T. 23 N., R 18 E., beginning at a point on 
Camas Creek in the NW\1/4\ of NW\1/4\ of section 35 at approximately 
47 deg.26'52"N latitude and 120 deg.38'57" W longitude proceeding 
downstream (northwesterly), expanding in all directions to include the 
entire wetland complex that comprises the Camas Meadow Natural Area 
Preserve, to a point approximately 0.4 km (0.25 mi) from the confluence 
of Pendleton Creek and Peshastin Creek, located at 47 deg.31'06" and 
120 deg.37'18" W longitude. From this last point, the western boundary 
of the designated critical habitat parallels Peshastin Creek to a point 
at the southwest of the designated area located at 47 deg.28'46" N 
latitude and 120 deg.38'57" W longitude. The maximum elevation of the 
designated critical habitat is 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and the lowest 
elevation is 488 m (1,600 ft).
    Within this area, critical habitat includes water courses and 
wetland habitat out to the beginning of upland habitat. Critical 
habitat does not include existing features and structures, such as 
buildings, roads, aqueducts, railroads, airports, other paved areas, 
lawns, and other rural residential landscaped areas not containing one 
or more of the primary constituent elements.
    Known primary constituent elements of critical habitat for Sidalcea 
oregana var. calva include: surface water or saturated upper soil 
profiles; a wetland plant community dominated by native grasses and 
forbs, and generally free of woody shrubs and conifers that would 
produce shade and competition for Sidalcea oregana var. calva; seeps 
and springs on fine textured soils (clay loams and silt loams), which 
contribute to the maintenance of hydrologic processes necessary to 
support meadows which remain moist into the early summer; and 
elevations of 488 m-1,000 m (1,600-3,300 ft).

    Note: Map follows:

* * * * *

[[Page 4794]]


    Dated: December 27, 2000.
Kenneth L. Smith,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 01-1333 Filed 1-17-01; 8:45 am]