[Federal Register: November 18, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 222)]
[Page 67601-67602]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for Vernal Pool Ecosystems of California and 
Southern Oregon

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 Vernal Pool Ecosystems of 
California and Southern Oregon for public review and comment. This 
draft recovery plan covers 33 species, of which 20 are federally listed 
as threatened or endangered. These species inhabit vernal pool 
ecosystems in California and southern Oregon. This draft recovery plan 
includes recovery criteria and measures for 20 federally listed 
species. Federally endangered plants include Eryngium constancei (Loch 
Lomond button-celery), Lasthenia conjugens (Contra Costa goldfields), 
Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica (Butte County meadowfoam), 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora (few-flowered navarretia), 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha (many-flowered navarretia), 
Orcuttia pilosa (hairy Orcutt grass), Orcuttia viscida (Sacramento 
Orcutt grass), Parvisedum leiocarpum (Lake County stonecrop), Tuctoria 
greenei (Greene's tuctoria), and Tuctoria mucronata (Solano grass). 
Federally threatened plants include Castilleja campestris ssp. 
succulenta (fleshy owl's clover), Chamaesyce hooveri (Hoover's spurge), 
Neostapfia colusana (Colusa grass), Orcuttia inaequalis (San Joaquin 
Valley Orcutt grass), and Orcuttia tenuis (slender Orcutt grass). 
Federally endangered animals include the Conservancy fairy shrimp 
(Branchinecta conservatio), longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta 
longiantenna), and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi). 
Federally threatened animals include the vernal pool fairy shrimp 
(Branchinecta lynchi) and delta green ground beetle (Elaphrus viridis). 
The portions of the plan dealing with the delta green ground beetle and 
Solano grass are a revision of the 1985 Delta Green Ground Beetle and 
Solano Grass Recovery Plan.
    The draft recovery plan addresses conservation of 10 plant species 
of concern, including Astragalus tener var. ferrisiae (Ferris' milk 
vetch), Astragalus tener var. tener (alkali milk vetch), Atriplex 
persistens (persistent-fruited saltscale), Eryngium spinosepalum 
(spiny-sepaled button-celery), Gratiola heterosepala (Boggs Lake hedge-
hyssop), Juncus leiospermus var. ahartii (Ahart's dwarf rush), Legenere 
limosa (legenere), Myosurus minimus var. apus (little mouse tail), 
Navarretia myersii ssp. deminuta (pincushion navarretia), and 
Plagiobothrys hystriculus (bearded popcorn flower). The three animal 
species of concern addressed in the draft recovery plan include the 
mid-valley fairy shrimp (Branchinecta mesovallensis), California fairy 
shrimp (Linderiella occidentalis), and western spadefoot toad (Spea 

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or 
before March 18, 2005.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the draft recovery plan is available for review, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the following U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service locations: Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 
2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, Sacramento, California (telephone (916) 
414-6600); Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, 
Carlsbad, California (telephone (760) 431-9440); Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 
(telephone (805) 644-1766); Southwest Oregon Field Office, 2900 NW., 
Stewart Parkway, Roseburg, Oregon (telephone (541) 957-3473); and 
Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, California 
(telephone (707) 822-7201. An electronic copy of this draft recovery 
plan is also available on the World Wide Web at http://pacific.fws.gov/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/plans.html and http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans.
 Printed copies of the 

draft recovery plan will be available for distribution in 4 to 6 weeks.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Harry McQuillen or Betty Warne, Fish 
and Wildlife Biologists, at the above Sacramento address.



    Restoring endangered or threatened animals and plants to the point 
where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, we are working to prepare recovery plans for 
most of the listed species native to the United States. 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 recovery 
measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) (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 as amended in 1988 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 will result in changes to the plan as appropriate. 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.
    The 33 species covered in this draft recovery plan occur primarily 
in vernal pool, swale, or ephemeral freshwater habitats within 
California and southern Oregon and are largely confined to a limited 
area by topographic constraints, soil types, and climatic conditions. 
Surrounding (or associated) upland habitat is critical to the proper 
ecological function of these vernal pool habitats. Most of the vernal 
pool plants and animals addressed in the draft recovery plan have life 
histories adapted to the short period for growth and reproduction 
within inundated or drying pools interspersed with long dormant periods 
when pools are dry, and extreme year-to-year variation in rainfall. 
Threats to the species include habitat loss, fragmentation, and

[[Page 67602]]

degradation due to urban development, recreation, agricultural 
conversion and practices, and altered hydrology; non-native invasive 
species; inadequate regulatory mechanisms; incompatible grazing 
regimes; and stochastic events. All species covered in the draft 
recovery plan primarily are threatened by the loss, fragmentation, or 
degradation of vernal pool habitat throughout the following areas: the 
Central Valley of California, the southern Sierra foothills, the 
Carrizo Plain, portions of the Coast Ranges, the Modoc Plateau, the 
Transverse Ranges, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas of California, and 
the Klamath Mountains region in Oregon. Therefore, areas currently, 

historically, or potentially occupied by the species are recommended 
for habitat protection and/or special management considerations.
    The objectives of this draft recovery plan are to: (1) Ameliorate 
the threats that caused the species to be listed, and ameliorate any 
other newly identified threats in order to be able to delist these 
species; and (2) ensure the long-term conservation of the species of 
concern. These objectives will be accomplished through implementation 
of a variety of recovery measures including habitat protection, 
management and restoration; monitoring; reintroduction, introduction, 
and enhancement; research and status surveys; and public participation, 
outreach, and education.

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: October 21, 2004.
Paul Henson,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 04-25540 Filed 11-17-04; 8:45 am]