[Federal Register: November 21, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 225)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 70199-70201]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH76

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Critical Habitat 
Designation for Scotts Valley Polygonum (Polygonum hickmanii)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of public comment periods; notice of 
availability of draft economic analysis and final addendum.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft economic analysis and final addendum for the 
proposed designation of critical habitat for Scotts Valley polygonum 
(Polygonum hickmanii), a species restricted to the northern Scotts 
Valley area in Santa Cruz County, California. We are also reopening the 
comment periods for the proposal to list this species as endangered and 
on the proposal to designate critical habitat for this species to allow 
all interested parties to comment simultaneously on the proposed rules, 
draft economic analysis, and final addendum. The economic analysis 
shows a range of likely costs from the designation of the proposed 
critical habitat of between $165,000 to $565,000 over a 10-year period. 
Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they will be 
incorporated into the public record as part of this extended comment 
period, and will be fully considered in the final rule.

DATES: We will accept comments until December 6, 2002. Comments must be 
received by 5 p.m. on the closing date. Any comments that are received 
after the closing date may not be considered in the final decisions.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information should be submitted to the 
Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003. Written 
comments may also be sent by fax to 805-644-3958 or hand-delivered to 
our Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the above address. You may also 
send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to fw1svpolygonum@r1.fws.gov.
    You may view comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, by 
appointment, during normal business hours in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service's Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the above address. You 
may obtain copies of the proposed rule and draft economic analysis from 
the above address, by calling 805-644-1766, or from our Web site at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Noda, Field Supervisor, Ventura 
Fish and Wildlife Office, at the above

[[Page 70200]]

address (telephone 805-644-1766; facsimile 805-644-3958).



    Polygonum hickmanii is a small, erect, taprooted annual in the 
buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). It grows from 2 to 5 centimeters (cm) 
(1 to 2 inches (in)) tall, and can be either single stemmed or 
profusely branching near the base in more mature plants. The linear-
shaped leaves are 0.5 to 3.5 cm (0.2 to 1.4 in) long and 1 to 1.5 cm 
(0.4 to 0.6 in) wide and tipped with a sharp point. The single white 
flowers consist of two outer petals and three inner petals and are 
found in the axils of the bracteal leaves. The plant flowers from late 
May to August. Seed production ranges from a few dozen in a typical 
individual to as many as 200 in a particularly robust individual (Randy 
Morgan, biological consultant, pers. comm., 1998). Although pollination 
for this species has not been studied, Morgan observed a sphecid wasp 
(family Sphecidae) visitation to an individual of P. hickmanii (R. 
Morgan, pers. comm., 1998). Other potential pollinators have not been 
identified at this time, and the degree to which P. hickmanii depends 
on insect pollinators (rather than being self-pollinated) has not been 
determined. The nearest location of a closely related species, 
Polygonum parryi, is at Mount Hamilton, about 48 kilometers (km) (30 
miles (mi)) inland. P. hickmanii differs from P. parryi in its larger 
white flowers, longer leaves, larger anthers and seeds, and longer, 
straight stem sheath (Hinds and Morgan 1995).
    Polygonum hickmanii is known from two sites about 1.6 km (1 mi) 
apart at the northern end of Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County, 
California. The species is found on gently sloping to nearly level 
fine-textured shallow soils over outcrops of Santa Cruz mudstone and 
Purisima sandstone (Hinds and Morgan 1995). Polygonum hickmanii occurs 
with Chorizanthe robusta var. hartwegii (Scotts Valley spineflower), a 
federally endangered species, and other small annual herbs in patches 
within a more extensive annual grassland habitat. These small patches 
have been referred to as ``wildflower fields'' because they support a 
large number of native herbs, in contrast to the adjacent annual 
grasslands that support a greater number of non-native grasses and 
herbs. While the wildflower fields are underlain by shallow, well-
draining soils, the surrounding annual grasslands are underlain by 
deeper soils with a greater water-holding capacity, and therefore more 
easily support the growth of non-native grasses and herbs. The surface 
soil texture in the wildflower fields tends to be consolidated and 
crusty rather than loose and sandy (Biotic Resources Group (BRG) 1998). 
Elevation of the sites is from 215 to 245 meters (m) (700 to 800 feet 
(ft)) (Hinds and Morgan 1995).
    Polygonum hickmanii and Chorizanthe robusta var. hartwegii are 
associated with a number of native herbs including goldfields 
(Lasthenia californica), sandwort (Minuartia douglasii), California 
sandwort (Minuartia californica), gilia (Gilia clivorum), owl's clover 
(Castilleja densiflora), sky lupine (Lupinus nanus), brodiaea (Brodiaea 
terrestris), Mount Diablo cottonweed (Stylocline amphibola), Gray's 
clover (Trifolium grayii), and coast tarplant (Hemizonia corymbosa). 
Non-native species present include filago (Filago gallica) and rattail 
(Vulpia myuros) (California Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB) 1998; 
R. Morgan, pers. comm., 1998). In many cases, the habitat also supports 
a crust of mosses and lichens (BRG 1998).
    Approximately 11 colonies of Polygonum hickmanii occur on 2 sites 
in the Scotts Valley area. The first site is located north of Casa Way 
and west of Glenwood Drive in northern Scotts Valley. Referred to as 
the Glenwood site, it contains five colonies of P. hickmanii that occur 
on two privately owned parcels of land. Several colonies are situated 
within a 4-hectare (ha) (9-acre (ac) preserve on a 19-ha (48-ac) parcel 
that is owned by the Scotts Valley Unified School District (Denise 
Duffy and Associates 1998), and other colonies are located 
approximately 0.08 km (0.13 mi) to the west of the School District 
colony on a parcel of land owned by the Salvation Army (CNDDB 1998).
    Additional patches of suitable but unoccupied habitat for Polygonum 
hickmanii, Scotts Valley spineflower, and other wildflower field taxa 
have been mapped on adjacent parcels directly east and north of the 
School District preserve (Denise Duffy and Associates 1998). These 
parcels are owned by American Dream/Glenwood L.P. A residential 
development has been approved for construction; it includes a proposed 
open space parcel that includes all of the suitable but unoccupied 
habitat for P. hickmanii (Impact Sciences 2000a).
    The second site is referred to as the ``Polo Ranch'' site. Located 
just east of Highway 17 and north of Navarra Road in northern Scotts 
Valley, this site is approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) east of the Salvation 
Army and School District colonies. Colonies within the Polo Ranch site 
occur on a parcel of land owned by Greystone Homes (Lyons, in litt., 
1997). Six colonies of Polygonum hickmanii, as well as Scotts Valley 
spineflower, occur within 0.2 km (0.1 mi) of each other on the Polo 
Ranch site (Lyons, in litt., 1997; Impact Sciences 2000b).
    Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), Polygonum hickmanii was proposed as 
endangered on November 9, 2000 (65 FR 67335). On February 15, 2001, we 
published in the Federal Register (66 FR 10440) a rule proposing 
critical habitat for P. hickmanii and Chorizanthe robusta var. 
hartwegii concurrently. Since a final listing determination had not 
been made for P. hickmanii, on September 19, 2001, we published in the 
Federal Register (66 FR 48227) a notice requesting the public to 
comment on the draft economic analysis for only C. robusta var. 
hartwegii. Based on the comments received, a final addendum to the 
draft economic analysis was prepared. The final addendum for the 
economic analysis included both species because it was based on the 
proposed critical habitat designation. The final critical habitat 
determination for C. robusta var. hartwegii was published on May 29, 
2002 (67 FR 37336). A final critical habitat determination has not been 
made for P. hickmanii. We anticipate publishing the final listing and 
critical habitat determinations for P. hickmanii concurrently.
    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, 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 Polygonum hickmanii, and comments received during the previous 
comment period, we have prepared a draft economic analysis and final 
addendum of the proposed critical habitat designation.
    Copies of the draft economic analysis and final addendum are 
available on the Internet at http://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, CA 93003.

Public Comments Solicited

    We have reopened the comment periods at this time in order to 
accept the best and most current scientific and

[[Page 70201]]

commercial data available regarding the proposed listing and critical 
habitat determinations for Polygonum hickmanii, and the draft economic 
analysis and final addendum associated with the designation of critical 
habitat. Previously submitted written comments on the listing or 
critical habitat proposals need not be resubmitted. We will accept 
written comments and information during this reopened comment period. 
If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
concerning this proposal by any of several methods:
    You may mail or hand-deliver written comments and information to 
the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003. Hand 
deliveries must be made during normal business hours.
    You may also send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
fw1svpolygonum@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-AH82'' 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/
    We solicit comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned 
governmental agencies, tribes, the scientific community, industry, or 
any other interested parties concerning the proposal or the draft 
economic analysis. We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Does the analysis adequately address the indirect effects eg: 
property tax losses due to reduced home construction, losses to local 
business due to reduced construction activity.
    (2) Does the analysis accurately define and capture opportunity 


    The primary author of this notice is Connie Rutherford (see 
ADDRESSES section).


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

    Dated: November 7, 2002.
Paul Hoffman,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-29621 Filed 11-19-02; 8:45 am]