[Federal Register: May 22, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 99)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 27961-27969]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH53

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Delisting the 
Plant Frankenia johnstonii (Johnston's frankenia) and Notice of 
Petition Finding

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
proposal to remove the plant Frankenia johnstonii (Johnston's 
frankenia) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This 
species is endemic to three counties in south Texas and an adjacent 
area in northeastern Mexico. Due to an expansion of our knowledge of 
the species' known range, the number of newly discovered populations, 
some with large numbers of individual plants, increased knowledge of 
the life history requirements of this species, and clarification of the 
degree of threats to its continued existence, we have determined that 
Johnston's frankenia is not in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range now or within the foreseeable future. 
This proposed rule also constitutes our 90-day and 12-month finding for 
the petition to delist Frankenia johnstonii.

DATES: We will consider comments on this proposal if they are received 
by August 20, 2003. Public hearing requests must be received by July 7, 

ADDRESSES: Written comments and materials concerning this proposal 
should be sent to: Field Supervisor, Ecological Services Field Office, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, c/o TAMU-CC, Campus Box 338, 6300 Ocean 
Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412. The proposal, supporting data, and 
comments are available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robyn Cobb, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, at the above address, or telephone 361-994-9005 or e-mail to 


    Frankenia johnstonii (Correll) was first collected in 1966 in 
Zapata County, Texas, by Dr. D. S. Correll who later named the species 
in honor of Dr. M. C. Johnston (Correll 1966). Frankenia johnstonii is 
a low, somewhat sprawling, perennial shrub, in the Frankeniaceae 
Family. Mature plants are approximately 30 centimeters (cm) (12 inches 
(in)) in height, 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in) wide, and rounded or sphere-
shaped in appearance. This spineless subshrub has a woody, trunk-like 
stem which gives rise to several-to-many ascending or recurved (bent or 
curved downward or backward) herbaceous stems. The entire plant may be 
grayish-green or bluish-green in color most of the year, turning 
crimson red in late fall when it is easily detected among its 
surrounding deciduous neighbors. This color change can also be brought 
on by severe drought conditions (Janssen and Williamson 1994). The 
gray-green leaf surfaces are haired, with salt crystals frequently 
visible on the underside of the leaves. Leaf margins are somewhat 
rolled or turned under. Flowers are small, with five slightly fringed 
or toothed white petals and a distinct yellow center. Flowering occurs 
from April to November, especially when stimulated by rainfall events 
(Janssen and Williamson 1994).
    Frankenia johnstonii generally grows on open or sparsely vegetated, 
rocky, gypseous hillsides or saline flats. In Texas, this species is 
endemic to Webb, Zapata and Starr Counties, where it occurs within the 
mesquite-blackbrush community encompassed in the South Texas Plains 
vegetation zone as described by McMahan (et al. 1984). Frankenia 
johnstonii populations have a clumped distribution, occurring in 
openings of the Tamaulipan thornscrub where the plant thrives in a high 
light intensity setting. Populations of this species appear to be 
restricted to pockets of hyper-saline soil, analysis of which shows 
salinity and sodium content that is approximately 10 times greater than 
that found in soils occurring outside the populations (Janssen and 
Williamson 1994). The population in Mexico occurs in the transition 
zone between the Tamaulipan Scrub and the Chihuahuan Desert (Whalen 
    Frankenia johnstonii was listed August 7, 1984 (49 FR 31418), as an 
endangered species under the Act. Critical habitat was never designated 
for this species. The Johnston's Frankenia (Frankenia johnstonii) 
Recovery Plan, completed in 1988, did not quantify criteria for down-
listing or delisting due

[[Page 27962]]

to a lack of basic knowledge about the species (USFWS 1988). Instead 
the recovery plan concentrated on the major actions believed necessary 
to recover Frankenia johnstonii. These actions included maintenance of 
known populations through landowner cooperation and habitat management, 
provision of permanent Service or conservation group protection of at 
least one site, establishment of populations in botanical gardens, 
obtaining biological information needed to effectively manage the 
species, and developing public support for the preservation of the 
species. Among the potential threats to Frankenia johnstonii identified 
in the recovery plan were habitat modification by land management 
practices that included overgrazing, blading, and bulldozing. The 
recovery plan also recognized the risk of population losses from 
intensive land uses and non-specific habitat alterations, including a 
variety of construction activities. The low reproductive potential of 
this species was considered another threat to its continued existence 
since the restricted number of individual plants was thought to imply a 
small gene pool with limited variability, thereby potentially 
diminishing the species' ability to tolerate stress and threats (USFWS 
1988). Since 1993, intensive surveys in Webb, Zapata, and Starr 
Counties in South Texas, as well as additional information from Mexico 
have shown this species to be more widespread and abundant than was 
previously known (Janssen 1999).
    At the time it was listed, Frankenia johnstonii was known from only 
four sites in Texas, two each in Zapata and Starr Counties, and from 
one locality in Mexico. When the recovery plan for this species was 
finalized in 1988, seven populations (including the original five) had 
been identified, all occurring on private land. At that time, the six 
Texas populations were encompassed within a 56-kilometer (km) (35-mile 
(mi)) radius, with the population in Mexico located approximately 201 
km (125 mi) to the west. Since 1988, the discovery of new populations 
has extended the species' range to north and west of Laredo in Webb 
County, farther east in Zapata County, and farther south in Starr 
County. Currently a total of four populations are known from Mexico. 
Three of the four populations in Mexico are in relatively close 
proximity to one another along Highway 53 in the State of Nuevo Leon, 
while the fourth population location extends the species' range north-
northeast to the vicinity of Nuevo Laredo in western Tamaulipas 
(Janssen 1999).
    Frankenia johnstonii was first collected by Dr. D. S. Correll in 
1966 in Zapata County, Texas, about 40 km (25 mi) northeast of San 
Ygnacio, and soon thereafter at a second site in Starr County, just 
east of El Sauz (Correll and Johnston 1970). The continued existence of 
Frankenia johnstonii at Correll's first site was confirmed by Poole in 
1986, and the population at the second site was revisited by Poole, 
Turner, and Whalen at various times (USFWS 1988). The species was also 
found in 1966 by A. D. Wood in the hills northeast of Roma, Starr 
County (USFWS 1988). In 1967, Correll found a second Zapata County 
population about 8 km (5 mi) south of Zapata. Although Whalen was 
unable to relocate the Roma population during her doctoral research, 
she did relocate Correll's second Zapata County population (USFWS 
1988). Collectors James Everitt and R. J. Fleetwood found Frankenia 
johnstonii at a site approximately 21 km (13 mi) north of Roma, Starr 
County, in 1974. Four different investigators had revisited this 
population by 1986 (USFWS 1988). In 1971, Turner identified what he 
considered to be a new species of Frankenia from a location 100 km (62 
mi) northwest of Monterrey, Mexico, and named it Frankenia leverichii 
(Turner 1973). Whalen later studied specimens from this population as 
part of her doctoral research on the genus Frankenia and concluded that 
it was not distinct from Frankenia johnstonii (Whalen 1980), thus this 
was the single Mexican population referenced in the listing rule and 
the recovery plan.
    An intensive status survey and study of ecological and biological 
characteristics of Frankenia johnstonii was conducted by Texas Parks 
and Wildlife Department (TPWD) botanist Gena Janssen between 1993 and 
1999. The final report for this 6-year study contained documentation 
for 58 populations of Frankenia johnstonii in the U.S. and 4 in Mexico 
(Janssen 1999). Four of the 62 total populations reported by Janssen 
(1999) were part of the 7 populations referenced in the recovery plan. 
The results of this recent status survey have dramatically increased 
the known numbers of individual plants, from approximately 1,500 at the 
time of listing to greater than 9 million by 1999. The TPWD status 
survey resulted in an expansion of the species' known range to the 
northwest, east and south in Texas, and to the north of the previously 
known location in Mexico (Janssen 1999).
    All 58 U.S. populations of Frankenia johnstonii identified in 
Janssen's 1999 report occur primarily on private land, but a portion of 
one population in Starr County is located on a Lower Rio Grande Valley 
National Wildlife Refuge (LRGVNWR) tract. A second population occurs, 
partially, in the Texas Department of Transportation's (TDOT) Highway 
83 right-of-way in Zapata County. A third population, found growing on 
three private ranches in western Zapata County, also extends onto land 
below the 307-foot elevation mark adjacent to Falcon Reservoir. All 
property below this elevation mark is controlled by the International 
Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). A fourth population, also in 
close proximity to Falcon Reservoir, may also be on IBWC-controlled 
land but Janssen was unable to determine exact land ownership for this 
population (Janssen 1999).
    Using Pavlik's suggested method of deriving an estimated minimum 
viable population size (MVP) (Pavlik 1996), we calculated that 
approximately 2,000 individual plants may constitute a conservative 
estimate for a Frankenia johnstonii MVP. We used this estimated MVP to 
evaluate the distribution of known Frankenia johnstonii populations in 
relation to threats to those sites. Table 1 displays the numbers of 
small, intermediate-sized, and large populations in each Texas county 
and in Mexico, grouped with the smallest populations numbering below 
the calculated MVP, the intermediate-sized populations containing 
between 2,000 to 5,000 plants, and the largest populations consisting 
of greater than 5,000 individuals.

      Table 1.--Number and Location of Small, Intermediate-Sized and Large Frankenia Johnstonii Populations
                                                                  Starr       Zapata        Webb
                 Number of individual plants                   County, TX   County, TX   County, TX     Mexico
Less than 2,000.............................................            5           16            1            1
Between 2,000 and 5,000.....................................            1            6            2            1
Greater than 5,000..........................................            1           13            4            0

[[Page 27963]]

Unknown  of plants.................................            9            0            0            2
      Total number of Populations...........................           16           35            7            4

    Of the 7 Frankenia johnstonii populations confirmed in Webb County, 
4 have greater than 5,000 individual plants, and 1 of the 4 is 
described as containing ``hundreds of thousands of plants'' (Janssen 
1999). Two of the 7 populations consist of between 2,000 and 5,000 
plants, and 1 has less than 2,000 plants.
    Thirty-five Frankenia johnstonii populations are documented in 
Zapata County, 13 of which have greater than 5,000 plants, with several 
of the 13 composed of more than a million individuals (Janssen 1999). 
Six of the 35 populations have between 2,000 and 5,000 plants, and 16 
have less than 2,000 plants.
    For the 16 Frankenia johnstonii populations reported from Starr 
County, only 7 were confirmed by Janssen's site visits (Janssen 1999). 
One of the 16 had approximately 10,000 plants, 1 had approximately 
2,000 plants, and 5 had less than 2,000 plants. For the 9 Starr County 
populations not visited by the TPWD principal investigator, locality 
information was provided by another biologist who furnished no data on 
numbers of individuals or condition of the plants (Janssen 1999).
    A total of 5,600 individual plants were estimated from two of the 
four Mexican Frankenia johnstonii populations. Although the individual 
plant numbers are not available for the remaining two populations, one 
was described by a Mexican botanist as being ``Abundante!'' (Janssen 
    In Texas, approximately 80% of potential habitat has been surveyed 
for Frankenia johnstonii (Gena Janssen, Janssen Biological, pers. comm. 
2001). Landowner permission for access was one of the primary factors 
affecting the extent of potential habitat covered by surveys, since 
parts of all populations located to date occur on privately owned land. 
Within Texas, a greater extent of suitable habitat, defined by the 
presence of the correct types of soils, exists in Zapata County rather 
than in the neighboring Starr or Webb Counties (Janssen, pers. comm. 
2000). Zapata was the county most intensively surveyed by Janssen 
between 1993 and 1996, and the relatively higher numbers of landowners 
willing to grant access in this county may be correlated with an 
extensive landowner outreach campaign conducted by TPWD (Janssen 1996, 
1999). In some cases in Zapata County, there was high potential for the 
presence of additional populations on land that adjoined ranches with 
known populations, however permission to access these areas was not 
attainable, therefore presence/absence could not be confirmed. 
Landowner contacts were not as readily available for Starr and Webb 
Counties, and additional population locations are possible in those 
counties. In Mexico, the level of effort to survey for Frankenia 
johnstonii has been limited. It is probable that populations remain 
undiscovered throughout suitable habitat in all three Texas counties, 
with the highest potential in Zapata County, and in Mexico (Janssen, 
pers. comm. 2001). Although only locality data has been documented thus 
far for plants in the nine Starr County populations, further assessment 
of these plants (such as their numbers and condition) is a possibility 
in the future.
    At the time of listing, we considered Frankenia johnstonii to be 
vulnerable to extinction due to the following: (1) The low number and 
restricted distribution of populations; (2) low numbers of individual 
plants; (3) threats to the integrity of the species' habitat such as 
clearing and planting to improve pasture species, including introduced 
grasses; and (4) direct loss from construction associated with 
highways, residential development, and oil- and natural gas-related 
activities; and (5) the species' low reproductive potential.
    The intensive survey effort by TPWD in South Texas has shown 
Frankenia johnstonii to be much more widespread and abundant than was 
known at the time of listing or when the recovery plan was prepared. 
Initial fears regarding the species' vulnerability to competition from 
exotic plant species such as buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) have been 
alleviated by the results of biological and ecological research on this 
species. Analysis of data collected for soils, structural 
characteristics, and composition of the surrounding plant community 
show Frankenia johnstonii to be well adapted to the harsh environment 
in which it is a dominant vegetative component. This plant is a 
halophytic (salt-loving) perennial, suited to life in hyper-saline 
soils in which the elevated salinity and sodium levels are likely to 
exclude buffelgrass, the grass species that is most frequently planted 
for pasture improvement purposes in Webb, Zapata, and Starr Counties 
(John Lloyd-Reilley, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource 
Conservation Service, pers. comm. 2001). In fact, Frankenia johnstonii 
is the dominant woody species within the plant community where it is 
found (Janssen 1999).
    Mechanical and chemical brush-clearing practices that are commonly 
used prior to planting pasture grasses can, however, adversely impact 
Frankenia johnstonii populations or portions thereof by uprooting or 
damaging plants. In order to address conservation concerns associated 
with land management practices, TPWD conducted an extensive endangered 
and rare species education and outreach campaign in Webb, Zapata, and 
Starr Counties that encompassed activities such as landowner meetings, 
coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural 
Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), county fair exhibits, development 
of printed information, and school presentations. This campaign 
promoted conservation of Frankenia johnstonii, in part by sharing the 
results of Janssen's field studies on the ecology and biology of this 
species. In October 2000, a presentation was made to NRCS District 
Conservationists from Webb, Zapata, and Starr Counties to emphasize 
their agency's role in helping landowners identify and avoid impacts to 
Frankenia johnstonii population sites, especially in light of the 
futility of converting the land on these hyper-saline sites to pastures 
of buffelgrass. The inability of buffelgrass to tolerate the high soil 
salinities typically found at Frankenia johnstonii sites results in the 
failure of grass plantings to thrive, the associated loss of time, 
energy, and money in trying to establish the grass, and an increased 
potential for soil erosion since the site is left without vegetative 
cover (Janssen 1999).

[[Page 27964]]

    In a further effort to promote conservation of populations 
occurring on private land, TPWD initiated a voluntary conservation 
agreement in 1995 that was designed to protect Frankenia johnstonii 
from mechanical and chemical habitat alteration and overstocking of 
cattle. These agreements have been signed by 10 landowners controlling 
19 of the largest populations and will endure for 10 years from the 
date of signature (Janssen 1999).
    Protection for Frankenia johnstonii on public land is assured for 
the portion of the one population that extends onto a Lower Rio Grande 
Valley National Wildlife Refuge tract. The refuge monitors the status 
of these plants and considers protection of that part of the population 
whenever activities are being planned for that tract. At the TDOT's 
Highway 83 right-of-way population site, installation of reflector 
stakes is used to protect the plants from mowing and from Border Patrol 
maintenance activities (Janssen, pers. comm. 2001).
    We used a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based analysis of the 
distribution of Frankenia johnstonii populations in relation to 
locations of existing and proposed highways, and residential 
developments (Shelley and Pulich 2000), to pinpoint the U.S. 
populations most likely to be threatened by these types of activities, 
as well as those populations furthest removed from them. The results of 
this analysis showed that 18 of the intermediate-sized and largest 
populations remain in remote locations on rangeland, where threats from 
road and residential construction activities are diminished (Janssen 
1999, Shelley and Pulich 2000). Portions of 10 of the intermediate-
sized and largest populations occur within 1 mile of State Highway 83, 
State Highway 16, or State Highway 359, 3 of the main transportation 
arteries in this region.
    Thirteen of the smallest (less than 2,000 individuals) Frankenia 
johnstonii populations occur on remote rangeland, removed from road and 
residential construction threats. Of the remaining 10 smaller 
populations, 3 occur within 1 mile of State Highway 83 while 4 others 
are found in close proximity to Falcon Reservoir where residential 
construction is likely to remain a threat.
    Oil and gas exploration and production activities, which can pose 
threats to portions of populations via road or well-pad construction or 
clearing of seismic lines, were nearly impossible to quantify or to 
project in terms of future geographic sitings. The TPWD did offer to 
search for populations and delineate perimeters, thereby helping 
companies to avoid Frankenia johnstonii, but no companies have signed 
any type of agreements to date. However, the landowner conservation 
agreements include provisions for landowners to contact TPWD whenever 
damage, including that caused by oil and gas activities, accidentally 
occurs or is anticipated so that TPWD can inspect populations and make 
recommendations for avoidance or recovery.
    Rare species can be vulnerable to reproductive failure, and low 
reproductive potential was considered a potential threat to Frankenia 
johnstonii (Turner 1980, USFWS 1988). Among the factors that can 
contribute to the risk of reproductive failure in plants are high 
dependence on specialized pollinators, absence of back-up reproductive 
mechanisms such as self-fertilization and vegetative reproduction, and 
poor ability to compete for pollinators (Janssen 1999). The results of 
reproductive biology studies for Frankenia johnstonii, as reported in 
Janssen and Williamson (1996) and Janssen (1999), show that this 
species is a generalist rather than a specialist with regard to insect 
pollinators, hosting a variety of bees and flies. This reduces the 
danger associated with declines in any specific pollinator species. The 
high rates of floral visitation at Frankenia johnstonii by these 
insects shows the plant to be competing successfully for pollinators, 
and it is readily cross pollinated (Janssen 1999).

Previous Federal Action

    Federal government actions on this species began with section 12 of 
the Act, which directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to 
prepare a report on those plants considered to be endangered, 
threatened, or extinct. This report (House Document No. 94-51), which 
included Frankenia johnstonii in the endangered category, was presented 
to Congress on January 9, 1975. On July 1, 1975, we published a notice 
in the Federal Register (40 FR 27823) that formally accepted the 
Smithsonian report as a petition within the context of section 
4(c)(20), now section 4(b)(3)(A), of the Act, and of our intention 
thereby to review the status of those plants. Frankenia johnstonii was 
included as endangered in this notice. On June 16, 1976, we published a 
notice in the Federal Register (41 FR 24524) soliciting comments on the 
Smithsonian report in order for the finally adopted rule to be as 
accurate and effective as possible. Frankenia johnstonii was proposed 
for listing as an endangered species on July 8, 1983 (48 FR 31414). The 
final rule listing Frankenia johnstonii as an endangered species was 
published August 7, 1984 (49 FR 31418). The Johnston's Frankenia 
Recovery Plan was completed in 1988 (USFWS 1988).
    Federal involvement with Frankenia johnstonii subsequent to listing 
has included funding for activities such as surveys for new locations, 
monitoring of known and new populations, and collection and analysis of 
ecological and biological data. A GIS-based approach for analyzing 
threats to the continued existence of the species was contracted by us 
to Southwest Texas State University (Shelley and Pulich 2000). The 
species has been included in all informal section 7 consultations over 
Federal projects occurring in suitable habitat in Starr and Zapata 
Counties, and more recently in Webb County, Texas, as new populations 
were delimited. This species has not been included in any formal 
    On February 8, 1997, we received a petition dated February 3, 1997, 
from the National Wilderness Institute. The petitioner requested that 
the Service remove Frankenia johnstonii from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants on the basis of original data error. We 
were not able to act on this petition upon receipt due to the low 
priority assigned to delisting activities in our Fiscal Year 1997 
Listing Priority Guidance which was published in the Federal Register 
on December 5, 1996 (61 FR 64475). That guidance clarified the order in 
which the Service would process rulemakings following two related 
events--(1) the lifting on April 26, 1996, of the moratorium on final 
listings imposed on April 10, 1995 (Pub. L. 104-6), and (2) the 
restoration of significant funding for listing through the passage of 
the omnibus budget reconciliation law on April 26, 1996, following 
severe funding constraints imposed by a number of continuing 
resolutions between November 1995 and April 1996.
    The Fiscal Year 1997 Listing Priority Guidance identified delisting 
activities as the lowest priority (Tier 4). Due to the large backlog of 
higher priority listing actions, we did not conduct any delisting 
activities during Fiscal Year 1997. In Fiscal Year 1998, with a reduced 
backlog of higher priority listing actions, we were able to return to a 
more balanced listing program. We also placed delisting activities 
within Tier 2 in our Fiscal Years 1998 and 1999 Listing Priority 
Guidance, published in the Federal Register on May 8, 1998 (63 FR 
    We began to process the Frankenia johnstonii petition under the 
1998 guidance. At that time we believed that

[[Page 27965]]

the petitioners did not adequately present information about the 
status, distribution, and abundance of the species and that they did 
not address any of the potential threats to the species. The petition 
requested that we remove this plant from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants on the basis of original data error and 
cited the Report to Congress on the Endangered and Threatened Species 
Recovery Program, USFWS, 1990, Washington DC, as stating that ``New 
populations have been found in the lower Rio Grande Valley and this 
species now appears to be more abundant and widespread than previously 
thought.'' The petitioner also indicated that information already in 
our possession showed that this plant was significantly more abundant 
than known at the time of listing.
    Although the petitioner referred to sufficient information being in 
our possession to validate their request for delisting, we did not have 
this level of data within our files at that time. We also did not have 
locality maps, size or viability information for all the known 
populations, or the data to analyze threats to these populations at the 
time of the draft administrative finding. We also anticipated extensive 
new information being made available in the near future from an ongoing 
study of the species by TPWD. Thus we did not go forward with a finding 
at that time.
    We received the TPWD report, dated December 15, 1999, in the spring 
of 2000. Based upon information contained in the report, as discussed 
throughout this proposed rule, we made a determination to proceed with 
a proposed rule to delist Frankenia johnstonii. Thus, this proposed 
rule constitutes our 90-day and 12-month finding for the petition to 
delist Frankenia johnstonii.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    After a thorough review and consideration of all the available 
information, including the TPWD's 1999 status report, we have 
determined that Frankenia johnstonii (Correll) should be removed from 
the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Section 
4(a)(1) of the Act and regulations (50 CFR part 424) issued to 
implement the listing provisions of the Act set forth the procedures 
for adding species to the Federal lists of threatened and endangered 
species. The same procedures apply to reclassifying species or removing 
them from these lists. A species may be determined to be an endangered 
or threatened species based on the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding one or more of the five factors 
described in section 4(a)(1). These factors and their application to 
Frankenia johnstonii (Correll) (Johnston's frankenia) are as follows:

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of Its Habitat or Range

    The extent of past land conversion activities across the range of 
Frankenia johnstonii, including brush control, planting of buffelgrass 
or other non-native grasses, or construction activities that may have 
resulted in the loss of this plant, has not been quantified (Janssen, 
pers. comm. 1998). In the 1990s, road construction proliferated across 
the South Texas landscape, concentrating in corridors along the Rio 
Grande with the growth of small towns and multiplication of 
international bridges. Oil and gas exploration and production 
activities have proceeded throughout the region, accompanied by 
associated pipeline construction, including extensions of pipelines 
into Mexico. Fiber optic lines and cellular communication towers are 
frequent additions to the landscape as we have seen from the 
increasingly visible presence of the towers and section 7 consultations 
for these structures. These types of construction activities have 
accelerated since the passage of the North American Free Trade 
Agreement and have the potential to fragment habitat and destroy 
portions of Frankenia johnstonii populations (Shelley and Pulich 2000).
    Frankenia johnstonii is restricted to highly specialized habitats 
with high salt, and sometimes gypsum content, in the soils. Although 
the historical land use at these locations has primarily been livestock 
grazing, the recovery plan alludes to additional intensive land uses 
(e.g., road construction, oil and gas activities, and gypsum mining, as 
well as other widespread, non-specific habitat alterations such as 
residential development and reservoir construction) which can destroy 
these specialized habitats (USFWS 1988).
    Across the South Texas Plain, the practice of woody brush 
eradication, frequently undertaken to improve pasture for grazing, has 
the potential to adversely affect Frankenia johnstonii populations or 
parts of populations. These brush removal efforts have generally been 
accomplished with mechanical means such as bulldozing, blading, root 
plowing and/or chaining, or by use of herbicides. After clearing, the 
land is often reseeded with highly competitive, non-native grasses, 
primarily buffelgrass in this region of Texas. The practice of root 
plowing (pulling a plow equipped with 3 to 6-foot-long tines) has 
historically been the favored technique for brush clearing in this 
region of south Texas, although this practice has diminished in recent 
years as cost-share funding for brush clearing has declined. 
Fluctuating cattle markets and continuing drought in the area have 
provided impetus to south Texas ranchers to diversify their sources of 
income. As a result many ranchers have shown increased interest in 
retaining native brush habitat to enhance wildlife habitat and hunting 
opportunities, and this has also decreased brush clearing and pasture 
improvement activities (Arturo Ibarra, USDA NRCS, pers. comm. 2001).
    Although the actual mechanical and chemical means of brush clearing 
can directly destroy individual plants (USFWS 1988), ecological 
research shows that long-term replacement of Frankenia johnstonii by 
buffelgrass or other improved range grass species is unlikely due to 
the extraordinarily harsh conditions of the soils underlying Frankenia 
johnstonii populations. Janssen (1999) reported soil analyses from 
within and outside of Frankenia johnstonii populations that showed soil 
salinity, sodium and sodium absorption ratios differed drastically 
between the two areas. Soil salinity within populations averaged 4,444 
parts per million (ppm), ranging from 949 to 10,400 ppm. Outside 
populations, this parameter averaged 423 ppm, ranging from 123 to 1,430 
ppm. Soil sodium averaged 4,429 ppm within populations (1,011 to 
112,404 ppm), while outside of the populations, the average was 383 ppm 
(21 to 2,983 ppm). Sodium absorption ratios averaged 19.02 (5.84-55.52) 
within the populations, while 3.38 (0.34-10.05) was the average 
outside. Janssen (1999) found Frankenia johnstonii growing in and/or 
recolonizing areas that were root plowed 6, 10, or 15 years in the 
past. She observed regrowth of this plant in eight populations or 
subpopulations and described one subpopulation, still replowed 
annually, as having ``pockets of Frankenia johnstonii hanging on.''
    Frankenia johnstonii has leaves with a number of structural 
features characteristic of both halophytes and xerophytes, enabling the 
plant to tolerate extremely saline soils. As a halophyte, the plant can 
absorb and accumulate salt. This salt accumulation within the plant 
changes the osmotic gradient, allowing the root cells to absorb water 
from the soil solution. Salt glands within the leaves then extrude the 
salt onto the leaf surface. These structural adaptations equip the 

[[Page 27966]]

to live in extremely salty soils. Although Frankenia johnstonii is 
found in arid, saline, gypseous (relatively high gypsum content) 
habitat in open areas with high light intensities, it is not found in 
adjacent, less saline soils. The patchy occurrence of these high-
salinity soil pockets or inclusions (units too small to be mapped 
within a soil series) within larger areas of less saline soils results 
in the characteristic clumped pattern of Frankenia johnstonii's 
distribution. Relatively few other plant species occur within the 
Frankenia johnstonii populations, but this species assemblage is 
consistently found at all Frankenia johnstonii sites. Janssen (1999) 
suggests that this species successfully competes within, but not 
outside, these saline pockets of soil.
    Since nearly all of the known populations of Frankenia johnstonii 
occur on private land, the TPWD's voluntary landowner conservation 
agreements were designed to help conserve the species using 
recommendations concerning certain land management practices. These 
recommendations included avoiding root plowing, bulldozing, disking, 
roller chopping and herbicide applications in Frankenia johnstonii 
sites, as well as relieving areas containing populations from grazing 
pressure associated with overstocking of animal units. The agreements 
also provided TPWD personnel access for purposes of monitoring 
populations at least once annually. For the 13 populations that contain 
greater than 10,000 individual plants, 12 are covered under signed 
voluntary conservation agreements. For the 14 populations that contain 
between 2,000 and 10,000 plants, 7 populations are covered by signed 
voluntary conservation agreements. The earliest signatures were 
obtained in June 1996, and the most recent was signed in July 1998.
    The impacts of construction projects on Frankenia johnstonii 
populations, especially highway improvements and/or commercial or 
residential building that is stimulated by highway construction or 
improvements, may be limited to the footprint of the project. Twelve of 
the known U.S. populations of Frankenia johnstonii occur within 1 mile 
of Highways 83, 16, or 359, three of the largest roads crossing the 
Texas range of this species. These highways are also among the roads 
most likely to undergo expansions as trade from Mexico, and commercial 
and residential development, increases.
    Human population growth in Webb, Zapata, and Starr Counties has 
more than doubled since 1970 and is projected to double or triple again 
by 2030; however, this growth is not uniformly distributed across the 
three counties. Instead, people are concentrating residential 
development in a few geographic areas, with the highest level of growth 
in and around the City of Laredo in Webb County. Major areas of growth 
follow the primary transportation corridors including Interstate 35 and 
Highway 83, and along the Rio Grande downstream of the Falcon Lake 
Reservoir (Shelley and Pulich 2000). According to Shelley and Pulich 
(2000), relatively few people are living far from the cities and 
highways. If the current trend in population growth holds, this growth 
is unlikely to impact those individual populations or subpopulations of 
Frankenia johnstonii that are distant from centers of residential 
development or transportation corridors. The fact that much of the land 
within these three counties is away from the well-established 
transportation corridors should have the effect of discouraging 
explosive growth. Additionally, the high salinity of the soils 
supporting Frankenia johnstonii, in conjunction with the arid climate 
of the area, results in highly erodible soils that will not support 
plant communities desired by most real estate developers (Shelley and 
Pulich 2000). Existing Frankenia johnstonii populations that are 
distant from current development are likely to thrive in their unique 
environment (Shelley and Pulich 2000).
    The development of colonias, or low-income, unincorporated 
settlements that lack running water, wastewater treatment, or other 
services, has generally occurred outside of incorporated communities. 
The largest concentrations of colonias are found near the 
transportation corridors and near the cities at the international 
boundary along the Rio Grande (Shelley and Pulich 2000). The majority 
of colonias in Starr County are found along Highway 83 and the Rio 
Grande. One population of Frankenia johnstonii that faces potential 
impacts from developing colonias also extends onto a national wildlife 
refuge tract and would therefore be partially protected.
    In Zapata County, there are fewer recorded colonias, with the 
majority located near the northern end of Falcon Reservoir along 
Highway 83. Two Frankenia johnstonii populations appear to be most at 
risk from colonias in this geographic area. One of these is found 
within a subdivision, and its future is unclear because it consists of 
three ``neighborhood'' subpopulations that extend onto property with 
multiple ownerships and existing homes, suggesting that further 
development may be forthcoming. The plants were described as being in 
excellent-to-good condition when the population was surveyed (Janssen 
1999). The second population, although close to Highway 83, has 
remained in good shape over the 30 years since it was first reported 
(Janssen 1999). This population extends partially on TDOT's roadway 
right-of-way. The TDOT and TPWD have enacted a verbal agreement 
providing for reflector posts around the population to protect it from 
mowing and Border Patrol maintenance activities (Janssen, pers. comm. 
    In Webb County, the majority of colonias are south, east, and north 
of Laredo, concentrated along Highway 83 and the Rio Grande, Farm to 
Market Road 1472 and the Rio Grande, and to the east along Highway 359 
(Shelley and Pulich 2000). In these areas, the Frankenia johnstonii 
population appearing to be most vulnerable occurs within a colonia, and 
future prospects for its long-term survival are described as ``grim'' 
(Janssen 1999).

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    There is no evidence to indicate that this species is collected for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes.

C. Disease or Predation

    Turner's 1980 status report and the species' recovery plan allude 
to Frankenia johnstonii plants under heavy grazing pressure having a 
``hedged or clipped appearance common in plants grazed by cattle.'' The 
detrimental effects referred to in the recovery plan (USFWS 1988) were 
browsing of tender, new growth that might contribute to lowered 
reproductive success and direct trampling of young plants or seedlings, 
as well as soil compaction, which may negatively affect germination. 
Janssen (Janssen and Williamson 1993) observed that the population 
showing the most harmful effects of grazing was one where the fenced 
area was inadequate to support the number of cattle being stocked and 
the animals were not receiving any type of supplemental feed. R. Cobb 
observed cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits nibbling on Frankenia 
johnstonii, and she surmises that other mammals may also browse on it. 
Janssen (1999) summarized anecdotally that she had seen little 
difference in the appearance of Frankenia johnstonii populations 
between ranches with and without cattle in 6 years of field 
observations and concluded that grazing is not a direct threat, except 
possibly to

[[Page 27967]]

those sites under poor range management.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Endangered plants do not receive a high degree of protection on 
private property under the Act. If the landowner is not using Federal 
funding or does not require any type of Federal permit or 
authorization, listed plants may be removed at any time unless 
prohibited by State law. Under chapter 88 of the Texas Parks and 
Wildlife Code, any Texas plant that is placed on the Federal list as 
endangered is also required to be listed by the State as endangered. In 
addition to the State of Texas regulations pertaining to listing, other 
State laws may apply. The State prohibits taking and/or possession of 
listed plants for commercial sale, or sale of all or any part of an 
endangered, threatened, or protected plant from public land. Scientific 
permits are required for purposes of collection of endangered plants or 
plant parts from public lands for scientific or educational purposes. 
Commercial permits must be obtained from the Texas Parks and Wildlife 
Department to collect endangered plants from private land--only if the 
collector intends to sell the plants or plant material. The destruction 
or removal of any plant from a State park without a permit from the 
TPWD Director is unlawful. If this proposed delisting rule is 
finalized, we anticipate that Texas will also remove Frankenia 
johnstonii from its State list of endangered species.
    Section 9(a)(2)(B) of the Act, as amended in 1982, prohibits 
removal and possession of endangered plants from areas under Federal 
jurisdiction. A portion of one population of Frankenia johnstonii is 
located in one of our National Wildlife Refuges. A small portion of 
another population is growing in a highway right-of-way where it is 
afforded some protection from TDOT mowing and Border Patrol maintenance 
activities. Portions of one, and possibly two, other Zapata County 
populations extend onto IBWC-controlled property. The remainder of the 
4 aforementioned populations, as well as the other 54 populations found 
in the United States, are on privately owned land. The regulations 
described above, and the conservation activities agreed upon for 19 
populations between the landowners and the TPWD, help to provide 
protection for a number of the U.S. populations.
    We are not aware of any measures being taken by Mexico to protect 
Frankenia johnstonii. It appears that the populations known to us are 
all on ranchland. We will be contacting the Mexican Government during 
the comment period for this proposed rule for any additional 
information that they may have on the status of the species in Mexico.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    Certain inherent biological characteristics, including small 
numbers of individuals, restricted distribution, and low reproductive 
potential, were also thought to affect the continued existence of 
Frankenia johnstonii (USFWS 1988). Turner (1980) observed seed set at 
less than 50 percent in the natural habitat, and Poole noted that 
seedlings are rarely seen (USFWS 1988). The recovery plan for Frankenia 
johnstonii referred to the approximately 1,500 plants known at the time 
of listing, and their occurrence in small populations with none greater 
than a few hundred plants, as implying a small gene pool with limited 
variability and therefore a diminished capacity for tolerating stresses 
and threats. The recovery plan indicated that scattered populations and 
disjunct distributions are commonly seen in the genus Frankenia. 
Whalen's (1980) reproductive data in the systematic analysis of the 
genus Frankenia showed Frankenia johnstonii had little propensity to 
reproduce. Turner (1980) found low seed viability (<50%) and had 
problems germinating seeds.
    Janssen collected data on reproductive characteristics from six 
large populations in Webb (2), Zapata (3), and Starr (1) Counties. All 
attempts at germination in a greenhouse ended in failure, which was 
attributed to insufficient light conditions within the greenhouse 
(Janssen and Williamson 1996, Janssen 1999). Results of field 
observations showed that this species flowers throughout the year, but 
less abundantly in winter, with the highest numbers of flowers and 
fruit in spring/early summer. The flowers show no apparent 
morphological barriers to self-pollination. For plants having a 
reproductive system where gametophytic (the sexual generation of a 
plant which produces gametes) incompatibility is the case, the 
incompatibility can show up as an inhibition of pollen tube growth, but 
differential pollen tube growth was not observed in Frankenia 
johnstonii. Analysis of pollen grain viability resulted in a variance 
from 94-100% with an average of 96%. A large variety of diurnal 
pollinators visited Frankenia johnstonii flowers including flies, bees, 
and butterflies, with bee flies and bees being the most common. Within 
the fruit, only one of three ovules typically developed into a seed; 
the other two aborted (Janssen 1999). The percentage of seed set among 
populations that Janssen studied ranged from 15-30 percent. Using seed 
viability tests, 31 percent of the seeds were found to be viable. 
Results of soil seed bank analysis from three populations, over 1 
year's time, yielded the germination of only four total seedlings. 
Seedling recruitment, as monitored within two populations, showed 82 
and 85 percent recruitment.
    The results of Janssen and Williamson's reproductive analysis of 
Frankenia johnstonii showed this species to be a generalist with 
respect to pollinators. Floral visitation rates were high, and the 
species appeared to successfully compete for pollinators. Although 
Frankenia johnstonii is readily cross-pollinated, this species also has 
a floral morphology that allows self-pollination, and self-
compatibility is indicated (Janssen and Williamson 1996, Janssen 1999). 
Janssen (1999) concluded that ``although self-pollination can result in 
less genetic variability, it may not be so detrimental for plants that 
occupy narrow ecological habitats.''
    Plant population growth and stability can be limited by the 
production of viable seeds, especially if there is not asexual 
reproduction. Frankenia johnstonii does not reproduce vegetatively, so 
seed production is critical. Seed production depends on plant size, 
fruit-to-flower ratio, and number of seed-producing ovules. With 
respect to the three aforementioned factors, Frankenia johnstonii has 
low fruit-to-flower ratio, low seed set, and low seed viability. 
Janssen (1999) acknowledged that her results regarding these factors 
may reflect decreased vigor in the limited number of populations on 
which she was able to conduct reproductive studies.
    With respect to long-term survival of the seeds, the seed bank does 
not appear to be a persistent reservoir of buried viable seeds. The 
seeds are small in size, may remain for the most part in the above-
ground litter, and probably could not emerge if buried deep. The seed's 
thin coat does not favor long-term survival in the soil, but is suited 
for taking in water fast and then subsequently germinating. This may be 
the reason that, despite low seed set and viability, those seeds that 
do germinate have a high rate of recruitment (82 percent and 85 percent 
in the two populations studied). The fruit does not appear to be 
specialized for dispersal, and the seedlings are always found in close 
proximity to the parent. Timing of

[[Page 27968]]

germination and seedling size are critical in determining the fate of 
seedlings. The variation in timing of germination and seedling survival 
seen in Frankenia johnstonii may be tied to rainfall amounts. Seedling 
loss seems to be primarily a result of browsing, trampling, and drought 
stress (Janssen 1999).
    Frankenia johnstonii occurs in well-defined clumps within well-
delineated salt flats or saline openings in the brush (Janssen and 
Williamson 1994). This species lives in open areas (amount of bare 
ground equaling 50 percent within populations) where it is subjected to 
high light intensities. The plant assemblages within Frankenia 
johnstonii populations differ from those in the brush community outside 
of those populations. Line intercept sampling data from 29 populations 
showed a distinct, recurring assemblage of plants at each Frankenia 
johnstonii population site (Janssen 1999). This species is the woody 
dominant where it occurs, having the highest relative dominance, 
frequency, density, and coverage compared to other woody species within 
this hypersaline environment. Frankenia johnstonii also has the highest 
importance value in this species assemblage, followed by Varilla 
texana, Prosopis reptans, Thymophylla pentachaeta, and Opuntia 
leptocaulis, respectively. The importance value provides an indication 
of the importance of the species in the habitat since its value is 
equal to the sum of the relative density, relative dominance, and 
relative frequency of the species. These five plant species are 
consistently found at each Frankenia johnstonii population site 
(Janssen 1999).
    In summary, the threats to Frankenia johnstonii's future, as 
discussed in Factor E, focused on the species' small number of 
individuals, restricted distribution, and low reproductive potential. 
With regard to the small number of individuals, it is now known that 
Frankenia johnstonii is much more prevalent than originally thought, 
with greater than 9 million plants found between 1993 and 1999. The 
discovery of 51 new populations since the time the recovery plan was 
approved has brought the total to 58 known locations. These new 
population discoveries have expanded the geographic range of the 
species to include a third county in Texas and a third state in Mexico. 
Although the reproductive characteristics of Frankenia johnstonii may 
contribute to a reproductive potential that is relatively lower than 
many flowering plant species, this plant appears to be adapted to the 
arid climate and the saline soils which it inhabits. This species can 
take advantage of sporadic rainfall events, using the available 
moisture to germinate quickly. It readily cross pollinates, but also 
has the capability to self-fertilize. This plant hosts a variety of 
pollinators, reducing its dependence on the survival of any one 
pollinator species. It is unlikely that human activities have altered 
the effectiveness of Frankenia johnstonii's reproduction, except in 
cases where seedling survival has been adversely impacted by livestock 
trampling, a situation exacerbated by overstocking.
    The regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d) state that a species may be 
delisted if (1) it becomes extinct, (2) it recovers, or (3) the 
original classification data were in error. We conclude that the data 
supporting the original classification were incomplete, and new data 
show that removing Frankenia johnstonii from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants is warranted. After conducting a review 
of the species' status, we determine that the species is not in danger 
of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, nor 
is it likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable 
future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Given the 
expanded range, number of newly discovered population locations and 
individuals, the lack of competition from introduced grasses, the 
remoteness of some of the larger populations, and the protection 
offered by a number of landowners who control those populations, we 
conclude, based on the best scientific and commercial information, that 
Frankenia johnstonii does not warrant the protection of the Act.
    The Act requires us to make biological decisions based upon the 
best scientific and commercial data available. In accordance with our 
peer review policy (59 FR 34270), we will solicit the expert opinions 
of three appropriate and independent specialists regarding pertinent 
scientific or commercial data and assumptions relating to the taxonomy, 
population models, and supportive biological and ecological information 
on this proposed rule.

Effect of Delisting

    Removal of Frankenia johnstonii from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants would relieve Federal agencies from the 
need to consult with us to insure that any action they authorize, fund, 
or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
this species.
    The 1988 amendments to the Act require that all species which have 
been delisted due to recovery efforts be monitored for at least 5 years 
following delisting. Frankenia johnstonii is being proposed for 
delisting primarily due to new information about this species, rather 
than due to recovery. This new information has expanded the species' 
known range, has greatly increased number of known populations and 
individual plants, and has clarified life history requirements that 
apparently give Frankenia johnstonii a competitive advantage in the 
unique habitat it occupies. The Act does not require a post-delisting 
monitoring plan for Frankenia johnstonii. However, some voluntary 
monitoring will occur, covering 19 populations on private land and a 
portion of 1 population on refuge land. Ten landowners have signed 
conservation agreements, covering 19 separate populations, with the 
TPWD agreeing to protect this species on their property and allowing 
annual monitoring of its status.
    The objectives listed in the Johnston's Frankenia Recovery Plan 
include protecting the existing habitat in the United States, 
identifying essential habitat required for the species' continued 
existence, contacting landowners and working together to create 
management plans to protect the plants, and obtaining permanent 
protection of at least one site. The TPWD has (beginning in 1999) 
initiated photo-monitoring at those populations located on properties 
for which voluntary conservation agreements were signed. Monitoring 
will continue at those sites for 10 years. The Service's Lower Rio 
Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge will continue to monitor 
Frankenia johnstonii on the one refuge tract where it occurs, as well 
as surveying for this species on any new tracts which are being 
considered for purchase. Samples of Frankenia johnstonii seeds will be 
collected for cryogenic storage as part of a seed collection project 
targeting listed and priority plant species of the Lower Rio Grande 
area, a cooperative effort between the Service and the San Antonio 
Botanical Garden.

National Environmental Policy Act

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

[[Page 27969]]

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 have determined that this 
rule will have no effect on Federally recognized Indian tribes.

Clarity of Regulations

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations 
that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make 
this rule easier to understand, including answers to questions such as 
the following: (1) Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? (2) 
Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that interferes with 
its clarity? (3) Does the format of the rule (grouping and order of 
sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its 
clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to understand if it were divided 
into more (but shorter) sections? (5) Is the description of the rule in 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble helpful in 
understanding the interim rule? What else could we do to make the rule 
easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments about how we could make this rule 
easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of 
the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240. You 
also may e-mail comments to: Exsec@ios.doi.gov.    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. You may call 361/994-9005 to make an appointment to 
view the files. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. Under limited circumstances, as allowable 
by law, we can withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's 
identity. If you wish 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 representing an organization or business, available for 
public inspection in their entirety.

References Cited

Correll, D. S. 1966. Some additions and corrections to the flora of 
Texas--II. Rhodora 68:420-428.
Correll, D. S. and M. C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the Vascular 
Plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation, Renner, Texas.
Janssen, G. K., and P. S. Williamson. 1993. Project No. 50: Site 
Characteristics and Management of Johnston's Frankenia (Frankenia 
Johnstonii). Section 6 Performance Report. Texas Grant No: E-1-5.
Janssen, G. K., and P. S. Williamson. 1994. Project No. 50: Site 
Characteristics and Management of Johnston's Frankenia (Frankenia 
johnstonii). Section 6 Performance Report. Texas Grant No: E-1-6.
Janssen, G. K., and P. S. Williamson. 1996. Project No. 50: Site 
Characteristics and Management of Johnston's Frankenia (Frankenia 
johnstonii). Section 6 Performance Report. Texas Grant No: E-1-7.
Janssen, G. K. 1999. Project No. 50: Site Characteristics and 
Management of Johnston's Frankenia (Frankenia johnstonii). Section 6 
Final Report. Texas Grant No: F-3-1.
McMahan, C. A., R. G. Frye, and K. L. Brown. 1984. The Vegetation 
Types of Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin.
Pavlik, B. M. 1996. Defining and Measuring Success. pp 127-155. In 
Falk, D. A., C. I. Millar and M. Olwell, Eds. Restoring Diversity, 
Island Press, Washington, DC 505 pp.
Shelley, F. M., and M. E. Pulich. 2000. A Geographic Analysis of 
Threats to Frankenia johnstonii Correll (Frankeniaceae).
Turner, B. L. 1973. A new species of Frankenia (Frankeniaceae) from 
a gypseous soil of North Central Mexico. Sida 5:132-135.
Turner, B. L. 1980. Status report on Frankenia johnstonii Correll. 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
USFWS 1988. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Johnston's Frankenia 
(Frankenia johnstonii) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 49 pp.
Whalen, M. A. 1980. A systematic revision of the New World species 
of Frankenia (Frankeniaceae). PhD. Dissertation, University of Texas 
at Austin.


    The primary author of this document is Robyn Cobb, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
record-keeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons given in the preamble, we propose to amend part 17, 
subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
as set forth below:


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

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend Sec.  17.12(h) by removing the entry ``Frankenia 
johnstonii'' under ``FLOWERING PLANTS'' from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

    Dated: August 9, 2003.
Steve Williams,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-12748 Filed 5-21-03; 8:45 am]