[Federal Register: January 27, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 17)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 3871-3872]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI69

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Designation of Critical Habitat for Yermo xanthocephalus (Desert 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the draft economic analysis and draft environmental 
assessment for the proposed designation of critical habitat for Yermo 
xanthocephalus (desert yellowhead) under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended. We also are reopening the public comment period for 
the proposal to designate critical habitat for this species to allow 
all interested parties to comment on the proposed rule and the 
associated draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment. 
Over a 10-year time period, the total section 7-related direct costs 
associated with the Y. xanthocephalus listing and critical habitat are 
estimated at $500,000 to $600,000. Comments previously submitted need 
not be resubmitted as they have been incorporated into the public 
record as part of this extended comment period and will be fully 
considered in preparation of the final rule.

DATES: We will accept and consider all comments received on or before 
February 26, 2004. Any comments that we receive after the closing date 
may not be considered in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4000 Airport Parkway, 
Cheyenne, WY 82001, or by facsimile to 307-772-2358. You may hand 
deliver written comments to our Wyoming Field Office at the address 
given above. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to fw6--
desertyellowhead@fws.gov. See the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section 
below for file format and other information on electronic filing.
    You may obtain copies of the draft economic analysis and draft 
environmental assessment, review comments and materials received, and 
review supporting documentation used in preparation of the proposed 
rule, by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service's Wyoming Field Office. The draft economic 
analysis and draft environmental assessment, as well as the proposed 
rule for the critical habitat designation, also are available on the 
Internet at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/endspp/plants.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian T. Kelly, Field Supervisor, 
Wyoming Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the above 
address (telephone 307-772-2374; facsimile 307-772-2358; e-mail Brian--



    Yermo xanthocephalus, a perennial herb in the sunflower family, is 
known from only one population, which occurs in central Wyoming on 
Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The one 
population numbered approximately 12,000 plants in 2001. Y. 
xanthocephalus has leafy stems up to 12 inches high with alternate, 
lance-shaped leathery leaves and 25 to 80 flower heads on each stem. 
Each flower head contains four to six yellow disk flowers surrounded by 
five small, yellow leaves. Y. xanthocephalus occupies shallow deflation 
hollows shaped by wind and erosion in outcrops of sandstone. Human 
activities, including potential oil and gas development, potential 
mining of uranium and zeolites, and recreational off-road vehicle use, 
resulted in Y. xanthocephalus being listed as a threatened species 
throughout its range on March 14, 2002 (67 FR 11442).
    On March 14, 2003 (68 FR 12326), we proposed to designate critical 
habitat for Yermo xanthocephalus pursuant to the Endangered Species Act 
(Act) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The proposal 
includes approximately 146 hectares (360 acres) of federally-managed 
lands in the Beaver Rim area in Fremont County, Wyoming. This area 
contains the only known population of the desert yellowhead, as well as 
the physical or biological features essential for the conservation of 
the species.
    Critical habitat identifies specific areas, both occupied and 
unoccupied, that are essential to the conservation of a listed species 
and that may require special management considerations or protection. 
If the proposed rule is made final, section 7 of the Act will prohibit 
destruction or adverse modification of

[[Page 3872]]

critical habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or carried out by 
any Federal agency. Federal agencies proposing actions affecting areas 
designated as critical habitat must consult with us on the effects of 
their proposed actions, pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Act.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we consider economic and other 
relevant impacts prior to making a final decision on what areas to 
designate as critical habitat. We have prepared a draft economic 
analysis and draft environmental assessment for the proposal to 
designate certain areas as critical habitat for Y. xanthocephalus. The 
draft economic analysis indicates that, over a 10-year time period, the 
total section 7-related direct costs associated with the Y. 
xanthocephalus listing and critical habitat are estimated to be 
$500,000 to $600,000. We solicit data and comments from the public on 
these draft documents, as well as on all aspects of the proposal. We 
may revise the proposal, or its supporting documents, to incorporate or 
address new information received during the comment period. In 
particular, we may exclude an area from critical habitat if we 
determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits 
of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will 
not result in the extinction of the species.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend any final action resulting from this proposal to 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 do not anticipate extending or 
reopening the comment period on the proposed rule after this comment 
period ends (see DATES). We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (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 threats to the 
species due to designation;
    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of Y. 
xanthocephalus 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 area 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) Whether our approach to critical habitat designation could be 
improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concern and comments.
    We will also accept comments on the proposed critical habitat 
designation. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 
materials concerning this proposal by any one of several methods (see 
ADDRESSES). If you would like to submit comments by electronic format, 
please submit them in ASCII file format and avoid the use of special 
characters and encryption. Please include your name and return e-mail 
address in your e-mail message.
    Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they have 
already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully 
considered in the final rule. Comments submitted during this comment 
period also will be incorporated into the public record and will be 
fully considered in the final rule. In order to comply with the terms 
of a settlement agreement, we are required to complete the final 
designation of critical habitat for Yermo xanthocephalus by March 8, 
2004 (Civil Action Number 01-B-2204). To meet this date, all comments 
or proposed revisions to the proposed rule, associated draft economic 
analysis, and draft environmental assessment need to be submitted to us 
during the comment period reopened by this document (see DATES).
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
If you wish us to withhold your name or address, you must state this 
request prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we will 
not consider anonymous comments. To the extent consistent with 
applicable law, 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.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the Wyoming Field Office (see 


    The primary author of this notice is the Wyoming Field Office staff 

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

    Dated: January 16, 2004.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 04-1626 Filed 1-26-04; 8:45 am]