[Federal Register: December 18, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 243)]
[Page 70526-70527]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for Deinandra conjugens (Otay Tarplant)

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (``we''), announces the
availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for Deinandra conjugens (Otay
Tarplant) for public review. This draft recovery plan includes specific
criteria and measures to be taken in order to effectively recover the
species to the point where delisting is warranted. We solicit review
and comment from the public and local, State, and Federal agencies on
this draft recovery plan.

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or
before March 2, 2004 to receive our consideration.

ADDRESSES: Hard copies of the draft recovery plan will be available in
2 to 4 weeks. An electronic copy of this draft plan is now available at

Written request for copies of the draft recovery plan and submission of
written comments regarding the plan should be addressed to the Field
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife
Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, California 92009. Supporting
documents are available for inspection, by appointment, during normal
business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Goocher, Fish and Wildlife
Biologist, at the above Carlsbad address (telephone: 760-431-9440).



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a
primary goal of our endangered species program and the Endangered
Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Recovery means improvement
of the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no
longer appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the
Act. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or
delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for implementing
the measures needed for recovery.

[[Page 70527]]

    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed
species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires that public notice
and an opportunity for public review and comment be provided during
recovery plan development. We will consider all information presented
during the public comment period prior to approval of each new or
revised recovery plan. Substantive technical comments may result in
changes to the recovery plan. Substantive comments regarding recovery
plan implementation may not necessarily result in changes to the
recovery plan, but will be forwarded to appropriate Federal or other
entities so that they can take these comments into account during the
course of implementing recovery actions. Individual responses to
comments will not be provided.
    Deinandra conjugens is an annual plant in the family Asteraceae. It
was federally listed as a threatened species on October 13, 1998 (63 FR
54938). The species occurs in southwest San Diego County, California,
and in northern Baja California, Mexico. It occurs predominantly on
clay soils, subsoils, or lenses (isolated areas of clay soil), which
typically support grasslands, but may support some woody vegetation.
    Agriculture and urban development, invasion of nonnative species,
and habitat fragmentation and degradation have resulted in the loss of
suitable habitat across the species' range. The species' self-
incompatible breeding system (an individual plant cannot pollinate
itself, so successful reproduction requires pollination between
genetically unrelated plants), its annual habit, and the extensive
fragmentation of remaining populations potentially create additional
threats from random population fluctuations, reduced populations of
pollinators, a subsequent reduction in cross pollination and gene flow
between populations, and a decline in genetic variation. Maintenance of
the genetic variability within the species, through cross-pollination,
may be critical to long-term survival.
    Within San Diego County, the species occurs entirely within the
Multiple Species Conservation Planning (MSCP) area, primarily within
three associated subarea plans: the City of San Diego Subarea Plan, the
County of San Diego Subarea Plan, and the City of Chula Vista Subarea
Plan. These subarea plans provide for the conservation of Deinandra
conjugens and many other listed and non-listed species by developing a
reserve system with a monitoring and management framework, and
protecting key populations. Additional measures outlined in the draft
recovery plan will enhance the species' ability to achieve recovery.
    This draft recovery plan recognizes efforts by the local
jurisdictions to conserve Deinandra conjugens under the MSCP, and
includes additional conservation measures designed to ensure D.
conjugens will continue to exist, distributed throughout its extant and
historic range. Recovery is dependent upon the conservation of
sufficient habitat to sustain populations of D. conjugens, as well as
populations of its primary pollinators; maintaining genetic variability
within the species; and connect conserved populations to ensure gene
flow (through cross pollination).
    The ultimate goal of this recovery plan is to delist Deinandra
conjugens through implementation of a variety of recovery actions
including: (1) stabilizing and protecting habitat supporting known
populations within the conserved areas under the MSCP; (2) surveying
for new populations; (3) assessing status of known populations; (4)
adaptively managing and monitoring conserved areas; (5) identifying
research needs and conducting studies on biology and ecology of the
species; and (6) developing and implementing a community outreach plan.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the draft recovery plan described.
All comments received by the date specified above will be considered in
developing a final recovery plan.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: November 28, 2003.
D. Kenneth McDermond,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1, Fish and
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-31164 Filed 12-17-03; 8:45 am]