[Federal Register: May 7, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 88)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 30643-30644]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AG92

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating 
Critical Habitat for Thlaspi californicum (Kneeland Prairie penny-

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and notice of 
availability of draft economic analysis.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the reopening 
of the comment period for the proposed designation of critical habitat 
for Thlaspi californicum (Kneeland Prairie penny-cress), and the 
availability of the draft economic analysis for this proposed 
designation of critical habitat. We are reopening the comment period to 
allow all interested parties to comment simultaneously on the proposed 
rule and the associated draft economic analysis. Comments previously 
submitted need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the 
public record and will be fully considered in the final rule.

DATES: We will accept public comments until June 6, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information should be submitted to 
Field Supervisor, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Field Supervisor, Arcata Fish and 
Wildlife Office, at telephone: 707/822-7201; facsimile: 707/822-8411.



    Thlaspi californicum is a perennial member of the mustard family 
(Brassicaceae). The species grows from 9.5 to 12.5 centimeters (3.7 to 
4.9 inches) tall with a basal cluster of green to purplish, sparsely 
toothed leaves. Leaves borne along the stem are sessile (without a 
stalk) with entire to toothed margins. The white flowers have strongly 
ascending flower stalks. Thlaspi californicum flowers from April to 
June. The fruit is a sharply pointed silicle (a short fruit typically 
no more than two to three times longer than wide), and is elliptic to 
obovate, without wings, and with an ascending stalk.
    Thlaspi californicum is endemic to serpentine soils in Kneeland 
Prairie, located in the outer north coast range of Humboldt County, 
California. Serpentine soils are derived from ultramafic rocks (rocks 
with unusually large amounts of magnesium and iron). The entire known 
distribution of T. californicum occurs on Ashfield Ridge at elevations 
ranging from 792 to 841 meters (m) [2,600 to 2,760 feet (ft)].
    The only known occurrence of Thlaspi californicum includes five 
relatively distinct groups of plants all located within 300 m (980 ft) 
of each other. The species occupies an area divided by the Kneeland 
Airport and Mountain View Road. The known population consists of 
approximately 5,300 individuals. The five colonies occupy an estimated 
0.3 ha (0.8 ac).
    Historically, several land use activities may have altered the 
distribution and abundance of Thlaspi californicum colonies. These 
activities included construction of the county road in the 1800s 
(currently Mountain View Road), the Kneeland Airport in 1964, and the 
California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CDFFP) helitack 
base in 1980. Currently, potential threats to T. californicum include 
small population size; expansion of Kneeland Airport and CDFFP helitack 
base; road realignment; catastrophic events; and spread of exotic 
    On June 17, 1999, our failure to issue a final rule and to make a 
critical habitat determination for Thlaspi californicum was challenged 
in Southwest Center for

[[Page 30644]]

Biological Diversity and California Native Plant Society v. Babbitt 
(Case No. C99-2992 (N.D.Cal.). Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), T. californicum was 
listed as an endangered species on February 9, 2000 (65 FR 6332). On 
October 24, 2001, the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for 
Thlaspi californicum was published in the Federal Register (66 FR 
53756). The original comment period closed on December 24, 2001. We are 
reopening the comment period for an additional 30 days to allow all 
interested parties to comment simultaneously on the proposed rule and 
the associated draft economic analysis.
    We proposed to designate critical habitat in one critical habitat 
unit that includes approximately 30 ha (74 ac), surrounding Kneeland 
Airport and bisected by Mountain View Road. This unit includes all five 
known plant colonies and all other serpentine outcrops in close 
proximity to the colonies. All of the proposed critical habitat for 
Thlaspi californicum is located on Ashfield Ridge in Kneeland Prairie, 
Humboldt County, California. Critical habitat receives protection from 
destruction or adverse modification through required consultation under 
section 7 of the Act with regard to actions carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires 
that we designate or revise critical habitat based upon the best 
scientific and commercial data available, 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 T. californicum, we have prepared a 
draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation. 
The draft economic analysis is available on the Internet and from the 
mailing addresses in the Public Comments Solicited section below.

Public Comments Solicited

    We will accept written comments and information during this comment 
period. If you wish to comment, you may submit written comments and 
materials concerning this proposal by any of several methods:
    (1) You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, 
CA 95521.
    (2) You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: 
FW1_kneelandpennycress@fws.gov. 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 
1018-AG92'' 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 Arcata Fish and 
Wildlife Office at telephone number 707/822-7201.
    (3) You may hand-deliver comments to our Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office at the above address.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours at the address under (1) above. Copies of the 
draft economic analysis are available on the Internet at 
``www.r1.fws.gov/news'' or by writing to the Field Supervisor at the 
address under (1) above.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited herein, as well as others, 
is available upon request from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this notice is Robin Hamlin, Fish and 
Wildlife Biologist, at the above Arcata address.

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

    Dated: April 24, 2002.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-11002 Filed 5-6-02; 8:45 am]