[Federal Register: August 18, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 159)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 48482-48490]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AJ08

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of 
Helianthus eggertii (Eggert's Sunflower) From the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Plants

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are removing 
the plant Helianthus eggertii (Eggert's sunflower) from the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Plants pursuant to the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (Act), because recovery actions have secured a 
number of populations and identified additional populations not 
previously known. Therefore, the threatened designation no longer 
correctly reflects the current status of this plant. This action is 
based on a review of all available data, which indicate that the 
species is now protected on Federal, State, and county lands; is more 
widespread and abundant than was documented at the time of listing; and 
is more resilient and less vulnerable to certain activities than 
previously thought. Due to the recent development of a management plan 

[[Page 48483]]

H. eggertii, a management plan for the barrens/woodland ecosystem, and 
an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan at the U.S. Air Force's 
Arnold Engineering and Development Center, on whose land a significant 
number of sites/populations occur, new management practices will 
include managing for, and monitoring the areas that contain, this 
species. Occurrences of H. eggertii are also found on six other 
Federal, State, or county lands, five of which now have conservation 
agreements with us to protect, manage, and monitor the species. The 
remaining site is jointly owned by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves 
Commission and The Nature Conservancy and has a dedicated conservation 
easement and a management plan in place to protect H. eggertii.
    At the time of listing, there were 34 known H. eggertii sites 
occurring in 1 county in Alabama, 5 counties in Kentucky, and 8 
counties in Tennessee. The species was not defined in terms of 
``populations'' at that time. Increased knowledge of H. eggertii and 
its habitat has resulted in increased success in locating new plant 
sites. Presently, there are 287 known H. eggertii sites (making up 73 
populations) distributed across 3 counties in Alabama, 9 counties in 
Kentucky, and 15 counties in Tennessee. Consequently, H. eggertii is 
not likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range and, therefore, is 
no longer considered to be threatened.

DATES: This final rule is effective September 19, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of this final rule, are available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
Tennessee Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal 
Street, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501.
    You may obtain copies of the final rule from the field office 
address above, by calling 931-528-6481, or from our Web site at http://cookeville.fws.gov

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy Merritt, Tennessee Field 
Office (telephone 931-528-6481, extension 211; facsimile 931-528-7075).



    Helianthus eggertii (Eggert's sunflower) is a perennial member of 
the aster family (Asteraceae) known only from Alabama, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee. Although it was originally described in 1897, most 
collections have been made since 1990, when extensive searches for the 
species began (Jones 1991; USFWS 1999a). The species is commonly 
associated with the barrens/woodland ecosystem, a complex of generally 
subxeric (somewhat dry) plant communities maintained by drought and 
fire with a grassy ground cover and scattered medium-to-small-canopy 
trees (USFWS 1999a).
    H. eggertii is a tall plant, growing up to 2.5 meters (8 feet), 
with round stems arising from fleshy rhizomes (lateral storage stems 
that grow along or just below the soil's surface). The stems and upper 
leaf surfaces have a blue-waxy coloration and the lower leaf surfaces 
are conspicuously whitened (Jones 1991). It has opposite (rarely 
whorled) leaves that are sessile (without a stalk), lanceolate (lance-
shaped) to narrowly ovate (egg-shaped) in shape, and are either 
scabrous (rough) or glabrous (smooth) on the upper surface. Leaf edges 
are smooth or minutely toothed, and the tip is usually pointed. Large 
yellow flowers 8 centimeters (3 inches) in diameter are borne on the 
upper third of the stem. Seeds are blackish or grayish and mottled, 5 
to 6 millimeters (0.20 to 0.24 inch) long, faintly striated (striped), 
and with a few scattered hairs. Flowering begins in early August and 
continues through mid-September and achenes (small, dry, hard, one-
celled, one-seeded fruit that stays closed at maturity) mature from 
early September to early October (Jones 1991). Jones (1991) observed 
fruit set at between 5 and 25 seeds per flower head. Originally, seed 
germination rates were thought to be low (rarely exceeding 25 percent), 
possibly requiring exposure to cold to break dormancy (USFWS 1999a). 
However, recent data suggest that seed germination rates are relatively 
high (around 65 percent) if the seeds go through a stratification 
process (a period of cold weather, moisture, and darkness needed to 
break dormancy) (Cruzan 2002).
    This sunflower develops an extensive rhizome system that may result 
in the production of dense clusters or patches of stems. These rhizomes 
can live for many years. Because of this extensive rhizome system, the 
plant does not have to produce seeds every year to ensure its survival. 
If environmental conditions change (e.g., increased competition, 
shading, etc.), it can survive for several years by vegetative means, 
as Jones (1991) has noted in several populations. Plants may also be 
established from seeds within these patches, so a mix of different 
individuals can eventually contribute to these extensive patches (Jones 
1991). Cruzan (2002) concluded that the level of genetic diversity in 
this species appears to be relatively high and that the highest levels 
of genetic diversity occur in the southern portion of the species' 
range. Cruzan (2002) also concluded that the range of H. eggertii is 
not geographically subdivided into distinct genetic units.
    H. eggertii is a hexaploid (composed of cells that have six 
chromosome sets) sunflower, and, although its distinctiveness as a 
species has been established by morphological studies (USFWS 1999a) and 
biochemical studies (Spring and Schilling 1991), it probably outcrosses 
(breeds with less closely related individuals) with other hexaploid 
sunflowers (Jones 1991). It is not known how commonly outcrossing 
occurs and to what degree this can eventually degrade the genetic 
integrity of the species. Helianthus strumosus (pale-leaved woodland 
sunflower), occasionally found in association with H. eggertii, has 
been identified as a sunflower with a compatible ploidy (number of sets 
of chromosomes) level (Jones 1991).
    H. eggertii typically occurs on rolling-to-flat uplands and in full 
sun or partial shade. It is often found in open fields or in thickets 
along woodland borders and with other tall herbs and small trees. It 
persists in, and may even invade, roadsides, power line rights-of-way, 
or fields that have suitable open habitat. The distribution of this 
species shows a strong correlation with the barrens (and similar 
habitats) of the Interior Low Plateau Physiographic Province, with some 
records from the Cumberland Plateau Section of the Appalachian Plateau 
Physiographic Province.
    When H. eggertii was listed as threatened in 1997, it was known 
from only 1 site in 1 county in Alabama, 13 sites in 5 counties in 
Kentucky, and 20 sites in 8 counties in Tennessee. While the species 
was not defined in terms of ``populations'' at that time, the Alabama 
site was described as vigorous, while most sites in Kentucky contained 
less than 15 stems, with 4 sites having 5 or fewer stems, and about 50 
percent of the Tennessee sites contained fewer than 20 stems (62 FR 
27973; May 22, 1997). When the recovery plan for this species was 
finalized in 1999, there was 1 known site in Alabama, 27 sites in 6 
counties in Kentucky, and 203 sites in 12 counties in Tennessee.
    The term ``population,'' as it relates to H. eggertii, was first 
defined in the recovery plan as ``a group of plants that is isolated by 
geographic discontinuity or a distance of one-half mile'' (USFWS 
1999a). Recent studies on H. eggertii genetics by Cruzan (2002) 
suggested that a population of fewer than 100 flowering stems is 
unlikely to be

[[Page 48484]]

sufficiently large enough to maintain genetic diversity, while more 
recently Starnes (2004) has stated that populations larger than 50 
stems showed a ``high amount of genetic diversity.'' Cruzan (2002) also 
estimated a reasonable fragmentation threshold of 1 kilometer (km) (0.6 
mile (mi)); that is, sites within that distance of each other were 
close enough to exchange genetic material. The further use of the term 
``population'' in this document indicates a site, or sites, that 
cumulatively have more than 100 flowering plants and that do not occur 
more than 1 km (0.6 mi) apart. Based on 2004 data from the Alabama, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee Natural Heritage Programs and the Service, 
there are 10 known sites in 3 counties in north Alabama, 33 sites in 9 
counties in central Kentucky, and 244 sites in 15 counties in middle 
Tennessee (Alabama Natural Heritage Database 2003, 2004; Kentucky 
Natural Heritage Database 2003, 2004; Tennessee Natural Heritage 
Database 2003, 2004; Service unpublished data). Applying the definition 
above to the current situation for this species, Alabama has 7 
populations, Kentucky has 18 populations, and Tennessee has 48 
populations; 27 of these 73 populations occur on public lands. 
Furthermore, the total of 287 currently known sites of H. eggertii far 
exceeds the 34 sites known at the time the species was listed.

Previous Federal Actions

    Federal actions on this species began in 1973, when the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) was passed. Section 12 of the Act directed the 
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on those 
plants considered to be endangered, threatened, or extinct. This 
report, designated as House Document No. 9451, 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)(2) 
(now section 4(b)(3)) of the Act. By accepting this report as a 
petition, we also acknowledged our intention to review the status of 
those plant taxa named within the report. Helianthus eggertii was 
included in the Smithsonian report and also in the July 1, 1975, Notice 
of Review (FR 27823). On June 16, 1976, we published a notice in the 
Federal Register (41 FR 24523) that determined approximately 1,700 
vascular plant taxa, including H. eggertii, to be endangered pursuant 
to section 4 of the Act.
    The 1978 amendments to the Act required that all proposals that 
were not finalized within 2 years be withdrawn. On December 10, 1979 
(44 FR 70796), we published a notice withdrawing all plant species 
proposed in the June 16, 1976, rule. The revised Notice of Review for 
Native Plants published on December 15, 1980 (45 FR 82480), included H. 
eggertii as a category 2 species. Category 2 species were described as 
those taxa for which the Service had information indicating that 
proposing to list them as endangered or threatened might be 
appropriate, or for which substantial data on biological vulnerability 
and threats were not known at the time or were not on file to support 
the listing. It was subsequently retained as a category 2 species when 
the Notice of Review for Native Plants was revised in 1983 (48 FR 
53640), 1985 (50 FR 39526), and 1990 (55 FR 6184).
    All plant taxa included in the comprehensive plant notices are 
treated as if under a petition. Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act, as 
amended in 1982, requires the Secretary to make certain findings on 
pending petitions within 12 months of their receipt. Section 2(b)(1) of 
the 1982 amendments further requires that all petitions pending as of 
October 13, 1982, be treated as having been newly submitted on that 
date. This was the case for H. eggertii because of the acceptance of 
the 1975 Smithsonian report as a petition. In 1983, we found that the 
petition calling for the listing of H. eggertii was not warranted 
because of insufficient data on its distribution, vulnerability, and 
degrees of threat. We funded a survey in 1989 to determine the status 
of H. eggertii in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In 1990, the 
Service had not yet received the results of the survey we had funded, 
and it was believed that additional surveys of potential habitat and 
further identification of threats were needed before a decision could 
be made on whether to propose listing the species.
    In 1991, we accepted a final report on these surveys (Jones 1991). 
Information contained in the 1991 final report completed informational 
gaps and provided what was then thought to be sufficient data to 
warrant preparation of a proposed rule to list the species. H. eggertii 
was accepted as a category 1 species on August 30, 1993, and was 
included in the revised Notice of Review for Native Plants published on 
September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144). On September 9, 1994 (59 FR 46607), 
we published a proposal to list H. eggertii as a threatened species. A 
final rule placing H. eggertii on the Federal List of Endangered and 
Threatened Plants as a threatened species was published on May 22, 1997 
(62 FR 27973). That decision included a determination that the 
designation of critical habitat was not prudent for H. eggertii.
    The final recovery plan for H. eggertii was completed in December 
1999. The recovery plan provides the following criteria to consider H. 
eggertii for delisting: (1) The long-term conservation/protection of 20 
geographically distinct, self-sustaining populations (distributed 
throughout the species' range or as determined by genetic uniqueness) 
must be provided through management agreements or conservation 
easements on public land or land owned by private conservation groups, 
and (2) these populations must be under a management regime designed to 
maintain or improve the habitat and each population must be stable or 
increasing for 5 years. There are presently 27 populations that are 
under a management regime that benefits the species and that occur on 
public land or land owned by a private conservation group (i.e., The 
Nature Conservancy (TNC)). These are geographically distinct (separated 
by more than 1 km (0.6 mi)), and self-sustaining (greater than 100 
flowering stems). These populations are scattered throughout the 
species' historic range. We have 5 years of monitoring data on each of 
the 27 populations that show they are stable or increasing. We have 
finalized cooperative management agreements with Kentucky 
Transportation Cabinet (KTC) (1 population), Tennessee Wildlife 
Resources Agency (TWRA) (8 populations), City of Nashville's A.G. 
Beaman Park (AGBP) (2 populations), TNC's Baumberger Barrens (1 
population), Arnold Air Force Base (AAFB) (11 populations), and Mammoth 
Cave National Park (MCNP) (3 populations) for the long-term protection 
of H. eggertii. These cooperative management agreements will remain in 
place even if the species is delisted. The Kentucky State Nature 
Preserves Commission (KSNPC) and TNC each hold a 50 percent undivided 
interest in the Eastview Barrens in Hardin County, Kentucky. There is a 
permanent conservation easement for the Eastview Barrens as well as a 
management plan to protect and maintain the barrens, which includes one 
population of H. eggertii.
    Other Federal involvement with H. eggertii subsequent to listing 
has included funding for recovery activities such as surveys for new 
locations, monitoring of known populations, population and ecological 
genetics studies, and collection and analysis of ecological and 
biological data. We have also been involved with the

[[Page 48485]]

development of the Eggert's Sunflower Management Plan, Barrens 
Management Plan, and the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan 
for AAFB in Tennessee. All of these plans address H. eggertii and its 
habitat (see discussion under Factor A). We have evaluated potential 
impacts to this species from 262 Federal actions. The majority of these 
actions were highway and pipeline projects. We have conducted two 
formal consultations, one resulting in a ``no effect'' to the species 
finding and the other a ``not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence'' of the species finding. No plants were adversely affected 
by either project.
    On October 12, 2000, the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project 
filed suit against us, challenging our determination that designation 
of critical habitat for H. eggertii was not prudent (Southern 
Appalachian Biodiversity Project v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et 
al. (CN 2:00-CV-361 (E.D. Tenn.). On November 8, 2001, the District 
Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee issued an order directing 
us to reconsider our previous prudency determination and submit a new 
prudency determination for H. eggertii no later than December 29, 2003. 
On January 8, 2004, the court extended the submission deadline to March 
30, 2004. On April 5, 2004, we published a proposal in the Federal 
Register (69 FR 17627) to delist H. eggertii. In that proposal, we 
submitted a new prudency determination in which we determined that 
designation of critical habitat for H. eggertii would not be prudent.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the April 5, 2004, proposed rule, we requested that all 
interested parties submit comments or information concerning the 
proposed delisting of Helianthus eggertii (69 FR 17627). We provided 
notification of this document through e-mail, telephone calls, letters, 
and news releases faxed and/or mailed to the appropriate Federal, 
State, and local agencies, county governments, elected officials, media 
outlets, local jurisdictions, scientific organizations, interest 
groups, and other interested parties. We also provided the document on 
the Service's Tennessee Field Office Internet site following its 
    We accepted public comments on the proposal for 60 days, ending 
June 4, 2004. By that date, we received comments from two parties, 
specifically one Federal agency and one nonprofit organization. One 
commenter supported the proposed delisting, and one was opposed.
    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited independent opinions from three 
knowledgeable individuals who have expertise with the species, who are 
within the geographic region where the species occurs, and/or are 
familiar with the principles of conservation biology. We received 
comments from all three of the peer reviewers, all of whom are employed 
by State agencies, which are included in the summary below and are 
incorporated into the final rule.
    We reviewed all comments received from the peer reviewers and the 
public for substantive issues and new information regarding the 
proposed delisting of H. eggertii. Substantive comments received during 
the comment period have been addressed below and, where appropriate, 
incorporated directly into this final rule. The comments are grouped 
below according to peer review or public comments.

Peer Review/State Comments

    (1) Comment: The commenter concurred with our reasons for proposing 
to remove H. eggertii from the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants 
pursuant to the Act. The commenter stated that H. eggertii was indeed 
more widespread and abundant than previously known at the time of its 
listing and that it was also more resilient and less vulnerable to 
certain habitat-altering activities than previously believed. The 
species appears to be sufficiently protected on Federal, State, county, 
and private conservation lands. The commenter concurred that the 
species now meets the recovery criteria as defined in the species' 
recovery plan.
    Response: We appreciate the support we have received from our 
Federal, State, and private partners and acknowledge their role in this 
joint effort to recover and delist this species.
    (2) Comment: Although the 27 protected populations under a 
management regime are distributed across the species' known range, the 
commenter believes that cooperative management agreements should be 
pursued prior to removal of the species' protection under the Act in 
order to ensure population persistence.
    Response: We have completed cooperative management agreements for 
26 of the 27 populations on public lands and a conservation easement 
for 1 population on land owned by a private conservation group (i.e., 
TNC). We have finalized cooperative management agreements with KTC (1 
population), TWRA (8 populations), AGBP (2 populations), TNC Baumberger 
Barrens (1 population), AAFB (11 populations), and MCNP (3 populations) 
for the long-term protection of H. eggertii. These cooperative 
management agreements will remain in place after the species is 
delisted. The KSNPC and TNC each hold a 50 percent undivided interest 
in the Eastview Barrens in Hardin County, Kentucky. There is a 
conservation easement for the Eastview Barrens as well as a management 
plan to protect and maintain the barrens, which includes one population 
of H. eggertii. This conservation easement is more restrictive than our 
cooperative management agreements.
    (3) Comment: The commenter suggests that the Service work with the 
Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to develop and maintain 
rights-of-way mowing regimes similar to those developed in Kentucky and 
Alabama to benefit existing occurrences of H. eggertii along 
Tennessee's transportation rights-of-way.
    Response: None of the 27 populations that occur on public lands are 
in rights-of-ways maintained by the State highway departments. The 
Service will continue to work with State highway departments to adopt a 
rights-of-way mowing regime that would be favorable to H. eggertii. 
However, these sites are not required in order to meet the delisting 
requirements for this species.
    (4) Comment: The Tennessee Department of Environment and 
Conservation (TDEC) manages the Carter Cave State Natural Area in 
Franklin County, Tennessee. A population of H. eggertii occurs on this 
land. There was no mention in the proposed rule of a cooperative 
management agreement being pursued with TDEC for this site.
    Response: We visited the Carter Cave State Natural Area site on 
August 8, 2003. We counted 250 total stems, including 150 flowering 
stems. However, the entire stand appeared to have hybrid 
characteristics. We could not find any individuals that we could 
clearly determine to be pure H. eggertii. We believe that further 
research needs to be conducted to determine if this site contains any 
pure H. eggertii before a cooperative management agreement is pursued. 
Since we need only 20 protected populations to meet the delisting 
criteria and we have 27 protected populations, it was not necessary to 
complete an agreement for this site before H. eggertii could be 
delisted. We will pursue an agreement if it is determined that the site 
does contain non-hybridized H. eggertii.
    (5) Comment: The commenter believes that the agencies which have 
signed cooperative management

[[Page 48486]]

agreements need to continue reporting the status of populations in 
Kentucky over the next few years.
    Response: Under the Act, the status of all species that are 
delisted due to recovery must be monitored for at least 5 years. The 
Service is committed to conducting at least 5 years of monitoring of 
these 27 populations of H. eggertii to ensure that the species remains 
stable or improving. (For more information, see the Post-delisting 
Monitoring section later in this notice). If the monitoring data show 
that the species is declining, there is a mechanism for emergency re-
listing of the species.
    (6) Comment: The commenter believes that the inclusion of the 
relocated H. eggertii at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 
property at Nolin Lake should not be considered a functioning 
population, since this was a preliminary experiment to determine 
whether this species could be relocated.
    Response: Personnel with the USACE were contacted concerning the 
relocated H. eggertii at Nolin Lake in Kentucky. They advised us that 
in about 1999-2000, approximately 120 stems were moved onto Nolin Lake 
property from a highway project 0.8 km (0.5 mi) off of the USACE 
property. There are presently about 136 stems at the Nolin Lake site. 
We concur that this site, at this time, should not be considered a 
functioning population and, as such, have not included it in the 27 
populations that are being protected and managed under a cooperative 
management agreement.
    (7) Comment: The commenter believes that pertinent literature for 
the delisting proposal should be comprehensive, and should have 
included the 1994 journal article on ``The status of Helianthus 
eggertii Small in the southeastern United States'' in Castanea 
    Response: The references listed were only those that were cited in 
the proposed rule. It was not intended to be a complete list of 
pertinent literature for the species.
    (8) Comment: One commenter noted that several other species of 
sunflowers, especially Helianthus strumosus, can be easily 
misidentified as H. eggertii, and some populations that are attributed 
to H. eggertii may be of hybrid origin.
    Response: We are aware that there are other species of sunflowers 
similar to H. eggertii and have even observed hybrid sunflowers in the 
field. However, we were diligent in identifying and counting only those 
sites that contained true H. eggertii. We also have confidence in the 
identifications made by State botanists for Alabama, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee, since we revisited many of these sites and verified their 
    (9) Comment: The unprotected populations of H. eggertii will 
continue to exist only if there is sufficient ``natural'' barrens 
habitat available, or if there is sufficient human-caused disturbance 
in the near vicinity of the populations.
    Response: There are presently 73 populations of H. eggertii 
occurring in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The majority of these 
populations occur along roadsides and power line right-of-ways. Most of 
these sites receive periodic mowing, which appears to be sufficient 
disturbance for the H. eggertii at these sites to continue to exist. We 
have cooperative management agreements in place for all of the 27 
populations on public lands. These agreements ensure that these 
populations of H. eggertii will be properly managed. This exceeds the 
number of protected populations (20) required in the recovery plan for 
    (10) Comment: One commenter noted that attempting to protect a 
plant species by maintaining only a few populations on public land is 
like trying to protect endangered mammals by only keeping a few 
breeding pairs in zoos, and not worrying about those in the wild. These 
efforts are rarely successful.
    Response: The 27 protected populations on public lands are in 
habitat that is as wild and natural as that of any of the other 46 
populations that occur on private lands. We have exceeded the delisting 
criteria of 20 protected populations. Even though the populations on 
private lands do not have cooperative management agreements, it is 
highly unlikely that all of these 46 populations that are not covered 
by an agreement will disappear. Many of these populations occur along 
road and power line rights-of-way and receive periodic maintenance that 
keeps these areas open and free of trees. All of the 46 populations 
have 100 or more flowering stems. However, even if we lose all the 46 
populations, we still have enough protected populations on public lands 
to delist the species and ensure its continued survival.

Public Comments

    (11) Comment: One commenter noted that the protection of barrens 
habitat was overlooked in the proposal to delist H. eggertii.
    Response: Protection under section 4 of the Act is limited to 
listed species and designated critical habitat (which was not 
designated for this plant). However, since H. eggertii does occur on 
barrens habitat, barrens have also received some ancillary protection 
by the listing of H. eggertii. For example, AAFB, which contains the 
largest known concentration of H. eggertii (11 populations), has 
developed and implemented a barrens restoration plan that includes 
protections for many of the species normally associated with a barrens 
habitat, including H. eggertii. We concur that the barrens habitat 
needs to be protected, and we are working with our partners to protect 
this habitat type along with H. eggertii. However, our current actions 
have enabled us to meet the delisting criteria in the recovery plan and 
we believe that this species no longer needs the protections of the 
    (12) Comment: One commenter noted that because there has been no 
determination of the optimal habitat for seedling establishment, the 
actions required under the recovery plan have not been met.
    Response: We have met the recovery criteria outlined in the 
recovery plan for delisting this species. While not every recovery task 
has been completed, we have taken the steps necessary to ensure the 
long-term conservation/protection of 27 populations of H. eggertii that 
are distributed throughout its range. The recovery plan only requires 
20 populations. Recent research has shown that genetic diversity was 
high at both MCNP (3 populations) and AAFB (11 populations) (Starnes 
2004). Starnes (2004) found that the high genetic diversity observed 
suggests that while clones may exist in a population, seedling 
establishment is actively putting new genetically diverse individuals 
into a population. Starnes' results showed that the current management 
strategies (burning and mowing) are suitable for protecting this 
species. We have incorporated these two management strategies into each 
of the cooperative management agreements in place for the 27 H. 
eggertii populations on publicly owned lands.
    (13) Comment: Cruzan (2002) suggested that populations with less 
than 100 stems are unlikely to be self-sustaining, but there are no 
data to suggest what is sufficient. More research is required to 
determine what constitutes a viable population before delisting 
    Response: The recovery plan requires self-sustaining populations. 
As defined in the recovery plan, a self-sustaining population is one 
that is self-regenerating and maintains sufficient genetic variation to 
enable it to survive and respond to natural habitat changes. Cruzan 
(2002) suggested that less than 100 flowering stems within an isolated

[[Page 48487]]

1 km (0.6 mi) radius are ``unlikely to be sufficiently large for the 
maintenance of genetic diversity'' and included areas of 100 or more 
flowering stems within a 1 km radius in the study area into his 
estimation of functional metapopulations. Furthermore, in a more recent 
study, Starnes (2004) stated that a ``high amount of genetic diversity 
[was] seen in populations larger than 50 stems.'' The recovery plan 
also requires that these populations must be under a management regime 
designed to maintain or improve the habitat and each population must be 
stable or increasing for 5 years. Based on the best available science, 
we believe that a population of H. eggertii that contains 100 flowering 
stems or more and has been stable or improving for the past 5 years 
meets the definition of a self-sustaining population. We have 27 
populations throughout the range of the species (Alabama, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee) that are self-sustaining, based on the above definition, and 
are protected through cooperative management agreements on public 
lands. The recovery plan only requires 20 protected populations to meet 
the delisting criteria. Further, while we use the more conservative 
minimum number of flowering stems (i.e., 100) to define a self-
sustaining population, it is important to note that all of the 27 
populations we have identified consist of well over 100 flowering 
    (14) Comment: The Tennessee National Guard (TNG) expressed its 
support of the proposed removal of H. eggertii from the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Plants and its belief that the existing 
Barrens Restoration and Management Plan, Integrated Natural Resources 
Management Plan, Eggert's Sunflower Management Plan, and the 
Cooperative Management Agreement between AAFB and the Service will 
ensure the long-term protection of H. eggertii.
    Response: We appreciate the opportunity to work with the TNG to 
recover H. eggertii. We concur that the Barrens Restoration and 
Management Plan, Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan, Eggert's 
Sunflower Management Plan, and the cooperative management agreement 
with AAFB will ensure the long-term protection of H. eggertii on AAFB 
property, including the TNG training area.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4(a)(1) of the Act and the regulations (50 CFR part 424) 
issued to implement the listing provisions of the Act set forth five 
criteria to be used in determining whether to add, reclassify, or 
remove a species from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. These five factors and their application to 
Helianthus eggertii are as follows:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range. In 1997, when H. eggertii was 
listed as threatened, most of the 34 known sites of this species were 
thought to be threatened with destruction or modification of their 
habitat. It was estimated that over 50 percent of the known sites were 
threatened by the encroachment of more competitive herbaceous 
vegetation and/or woody plants that produce shade and compete with this 
species for limited water and nutrients. Active management was listed 
as a requirement to ensure the plant's continued survival at all sites. 
Since most of the sites where this species survives are not natural 
barrens, but areas such as rights-of-way or similar habitats that mimic 
barrens, direct destruction of this habitat for commercial, 
residential, or industrial development or intensive rights-of-way 
maintenance (e.g., herbicide use) was thought to be a significant 
threat to the known sites at the time of listing.
    Overall, the activities affecting the species' habitat, such as 
encroachment of more competitive vegetation, direct destruction of 
habitat for commercial and residential development, intensive rights-
of-way maintenance, and conversion of barrens habitat to croplands, 
pasture, or development, appear to have changed very little since 
listing. However, the risk that those threats pose for H. eggertii's 
survival and conservation are considerably less than what was 
understood at the time of listing. H. eggertii appears to respond 
favorably to mild-to-moderate types of disturbance. One site that 
occurs in Coffee County, Tennessee, was known to have hundreds of stems 
in 1998, before the site was clearcut. In 2000, TDEC found that there 
were very few plants left, and it was thought that the logging had 
resulted in the destruction of the plants at this site. However, in 
2003, we found that the site had 1,578 total stems, including 951 
flowering stems. Logging had only a temporary negative effect, and the 
land disturbance resulted in greatly increasing the population size and 
vigor of the plants at this site (Service, unpublished data). This same 
phenomenon has occurred on AAFB. Pine stands that had few to no H. 
eggertii had been clearcut, followed by either the new appearance of H. 
eggertii or a significant increase in population size and vigor of 
existing plants (K. Fitch, Arnold Engineering and Development Center, 
pers. comm. 2003). Many of the known H. eggertii sites occur along road 
and power line rights-of-way. This is probably due to the disturbance 
of these areas from continual maintenance activities. Plants will not 
grow and flower well in very deep shade (i.e., 80 percent shade). 
Moderate levels of shade (from 40 to 60 percent) where H. eggertii 
normally occurs do not appear to have large negative consequences for 
its growth or reproduction (Cruzan 2002). Cruzan (2002) also found that 
H. eggertii competes well against other more widespread species under 
full sunlight and 60 percent shade conditions, a fact that was not 
known at the time of listing.
    At the time of listing, we did not fully understand that H. 
eggertii could readily adapt to certain manmade disturbances that are 
replacing the dwindling natural barrens. We originally thought the 
species was restricted to these natural barren areas. When H. eggertii 
was listed, manmade areas were thought to be low-quality sites where 
the species was making a last-ditch effort to survive. Upon discovering 
that manmade sites were a significant habitat that H. eggertii was 
exploiting and in which it was thriving, we began finding a significant 
number of new sites. In fact, since listing, an additional 253 sites 
have been found that contain the species (Alabama Natural Heritage 
Database 2003, 2004; Kentucky Natural Heritage Database 2003, 2004; 
Tennessee Natural Heritage Database 2003, 2004; Service unpublished 
data). The species is also more widespread than originally thought, 
occurring in 3 counties in Alabama, 9 counties in Kentucky, and 15 
counties in Tennessee. The number of stems has also increased 
dramatically from the time of listing. In Alabama, the one site known 
at the time of listing was described as vigorous; presently, there are 
10 sites and 7 have more than 100 stems (Alabama Natural Heritage 
Database 2003, 2004; Service unpublished). In Kentucky, most of the 13 
original sites at the time of listing contained fewer than 15 stems and 
4 sites had fewer than 5 stems. Presently in Kentucky, there are 33 
known sites; 18 of these sites have more than 100 stems, and are now 
considered viable populations (Kentucky Natural Heritage Database 2003, 
2004). In Tennessee, about one-half of the 20 original sites at the 
time of listing contained fewer than 20 stems. Currently in Tennessee, 
there are 244 known sites, 63 of which have more than 100 stems and are 
now considered viable populations

[[Page 48488]]

(Tennessee Natural Heritage Database 2003, 2004; Service unpublished 
    Of the 287 sites where H. eggertii is known to occur in Alabama, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee, 126 (which make up 27 total populations) are 
in public ownership or on land owned by TNC and are being managed to 
protect the species. Protection for the species will continue on these 
sites after it is delisted. AAFB has 115 of these sites (11 
populations) and is the largest Federal landowner harboring this 
species. Protection and management strategies for H. eggertii are 
covered by AAFB's Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP), 
a Barrens Management Plan (BMP), and a separate Eggert's Sunflower 
Management Plan (ESMP). The INRMP, BMP, and ESMP are active management 
plans that provide for the long-term conservation of this species by 
focusing on restoring barrens habitat and maintaining the necessary 
ecological processes in habitats the species requires. These processes 
include various silvicultural treatments (e.g., clearcuts, marked 
thinning, and row thinning), prescribed burning, and invasive pest 
plant management (e.g., manual removal and herbicide spot application). 
Regardless of the Federal status of H. eggertii, the BMP, ESMP, and 
INRMP will continue to provide for the protection and management of 
this species (U.S. Air Force (USAF) 2001, 2002). AAFB also recently 
signed a Cooperative Management Agreement with us to further ensure the 
protection of H. eggertii populations on its property even after 
delisting. In Kentucky, MCNP has three populations. MCNP is actively 
managing H. eggertii populations and has implemented a prescribed 
burning regime to provide for the long-term protection of this species. 
In 2004, we signed a 10-year Cooperative Management Agreement with MCNP 
to provide long-term protection of the three H. eggertii populations 
occurring on Park property. These populations, and the barrens habitats 
on which they occur, will be sustained by implementing habitat 
management activities, such as prescribed burns, tree thinning, and 
invasive plant removal, and will be monitored. These cooperative 
management agreements will aid in sustaining H. eggertii populations on 
these Federal lands regardless of the Federal status of this species.
    H. eggertii is an early successional species and, while historic 
barrens habitat is becoming increasingly rare, this species readily 
responds to barrens restoration activities and colonizes manmade 
disturbed areas. The key to long-term survival of H. eggertii is 
periodic burning, mowing, or thinning of the competing vegetation. KTC 
has signed a management agreement with us to maintain, enhance, and 
monitor H. eggertii on its property (41 acres, one population) which 
includes restoring barrens habitat by thinning the existing trees near 
H. eggertii occurrences, conducting periodic prescribed burns, and 
monitoring the success of these management practices to refine them if 
    The Alabama and Tennessee State Departments of Transportation are 
working with us to develop and maintain roadside mowing regimes that 
would benefit existing H. eggertii sites. This will also encourage new 
establishment of plants along road rights-of-way by reducing the 
competing vegetation and keeping the areas open. TWRA, which owns four 
wildlife management areas that contain eight H. eggertii populations, 
is managing these areas for small game, which indirectly benefits this 
species by keeping the area in early successional vegetation. TWRA has 
signed a Cooperative Management Agreement with us to provide for the 
long-term protection of H. eggertii on its lands. This agreement, like 
agreements with Federal agencies, involves habitat management 
activities such as prescribed burns, tree thinning, and invasive plant 
removal, and monitoring the plants and their habitat to ensure the 
protection and management of these sites regardless of the Federal 
status of H. eggertii Similarly, we have signed a Cooperative 
Management Agreement with the City of Nashville, Metro Parks and 
Recreation, which owns and operates A.G. Beaman Park in Davidson 
County, Tennessee. AGBP contains two populations of H. eggertii This 
park is new and plans are being developed for future uses such as 
hiking trails, picnic areas, park headquarters, and maintenance 
buildings. The Cooperative Management Agreement will ensure that AGBP 
and the Service will continue to work together to protect the existing 
H. eggertii populations regardless of the species' Federal status.
    TNC in Kentucky owns a site known as Baumberger Barrens, which 
contains one population of H. eggertii. TNC has an existing management 
plan for the barrens that includes H. eggertii. The site is undergoing 
management, such as removal of woody species, periodic prescribed 
burns, and invasive plant removal, to ensure the native barrens 
species, including H. eggertii, are maintained and protected. We signed 
a 10-year Cooperative Management Agreement with TNC to manage and 
monitor the H. eggertii population that occurs on this site.
    TNC of Kentucky and the State of Kentucky each own 50 percent of a 
site known as Eastview Barrens. One population of H. eggertii occurs at 
Eastview Barrens. These two landowners are working together to manage 
the barrens on this site by removing woody species, conducting periodic 
prescribed burns, and preventing and removing invasive plants to ensure 
the native barrens species, including H. eggertii, are maintained and 
protected. This site is protected by a conservation easement that will 
protect the natural barrens and H. eggertii in perpetuity for the 
citizens of Kentucky.
    The large increase in new H. eggertii sites (253) since listing, 
the increased understanding of the plant's adaptability, and the 
protection and management provided by State and Federal landowners and 
nongovernmental organizations have led us to conclude that the threats 
to H. eggertii's habitat have been adequately addressed and habitat 
destruction is no longer considered to be a threat to the species.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. We have no documented evidence, records, or 
information to indicate that overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes is a threat to H. 
eggertii. We have found no records of unauthorized collection during 
our literature review or in discussions with researchers. This species 
is not believed to be a significant component of the commercial trade 
in native plants, and overutilization does not constitute a threat for 
this species.
    C. Disease or predation. Disease has been observed by the Service 
and other observers on small numbers of H. eggertii plants (T. Gulya, 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, pers comm. 2004). This disease is 
believed to be a rust fungus of either the Puccinia or Coleosporium 
genera (T. Gulya, pers comm. 2004). This rust attacks the vegetation 
and causes orange-to-brown pustules (raised bumps or areas) on the 
surfaces. It does not appear to kill the plants, and we do not believe 
that it is a threat to the species' existence. Predation from insects 
and herbivores has also been noted on small isolated patches of H. 
eggertii. These incidents appear to result from normal environmental 
conditions. Because of the ability of this plant to sprout stems from 
rhizomes, the small amount of predation observed does not pose a threat 
to this species.

[[Page 48489]]

    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The Act does 
not provide protection for plants on private property unless the 
landowner's activity is federally funded or requires Federal approval. 
In all three States (Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee), plants have no 
direct protection under State law on private property. Plants on 
private property are afforded ancillary protection under State criminal 
trespass laws. Once this delisting rule is in effect, the only change 
to the protection of H. eggertii on private land would be that we would 
no longer consult under section 7 of the Act for the activities that 
are federally funded or require Federal approval. However, there are 
enough populations of H. eggertii on public lands (27 populations) to 
afford the long-term conservation of this species based on the recovery 
criteria (20 populations) in the recovery plan. The recovery criteria 
called for the 20 populations to be distributed throughout the species' 
historical range and, based on the number and distribution of 
populations known at that time, determined that the relative 
proportions would be 1 population in Alabama, 3 populations in 
Kentucky, and 16 populations in Tennessee. Although none of the seven 
populations in Alabama are currently under a management plan, we 
believe that the current distribution of populations under such plans 
meets the intent of the recovery criteria because they are 
``distributed throughout the species' historical range,'' including 
populations that occur near the Tennessee/Alabama border.
    Section 9(a)(2)(B) of the Act prohibits removal and possession of 
endangered plants from areas under Federal jurisdiction. Kentucky has 4 
populations and Tennessee has 11 populations of H. eggertii that occur 
on Federal lands. None of the seven populations in Alabama occurs on 
public lands. H. eggertii sites on MCNP in Kentucky are also protected 
from take by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 36, Volume 1, 
which protects all plants on Department of the Interior lands. We have 
Cooperative Management Agreements with the MCNP and AAFB. These 
agreements provide for the management and protection of these important 
H. eggertii sites, regardless of the Federal status of the species. 
Both the plant and its habitat will be protected, managed, and 
monitored under these agreements.
    On public lands in Tennessee and Kentucky, on which 27 populations 
(composed of 126 of the 287 known sites, and including the 15 
populations on Federal lands just discussed) of the plants are found, 
H. eggertii is adequately protected by other laws. Air Force 
Instruction 32-7064 at 7.1.1 provides the same protection for candidate 
and State listed species as for federally listed species ``when 
practical'' on AAFB. It is our understanding that the State of 
Tennessee has no plans to delist H. eggertii in the immediate future. 
In addition, as mentioned previously, H. eggertii is covered under 
three management plans covering AAFB (INRMP, BMP, and ESMP), all of 
which will continue for some years regardless of whether the species is 
delisted. TWRA has a rule (1660-1-14-.14) that protects all vegetation 
on designated wildlife management areas from take regardless of its 
State or Federal status. There are eight known populations of H. 
eggertii that occur on four different State wildlife management areas 
managed by the TWRA (Service unpublished data 2004). We mentioned in 
error 10 populations in our proposed rule. There were only 7 
populations known at the time of the proposed rule (69 FR 17627), and 
now there are 8 with the additional one discovered on Laurel Hill 
Wildlife Management Area in 2004. On public lands in Kentucky, every 
natural component is considered public domain and is, therefore, 
protected from take under State law. Kentucky has three populations of 
H. eggertii that occur on State-owned public lands. This State law will 
remain in effect regardless of whether this species remains federally 
listed or not.
    The Act protects plants on private lands only if the actions which 
might adversely impact them are conducted, permitted, or funded by a 
Federal agency, or constitute criminal trespass or theft of the plants. 
The limited protection afforded by the Act under these circumstances 
would be lost through delisting, and other existing regulations do not 
provide complete protection to all existing habitat on private lands. 
However, we believe the significant protections afforded to the 27 
populations occurring on public lands are adequate to ensure those 
populations of H. eggertii remain viable, and such populations by 
themselves meet or exceed the recovery goals listed in the recovery 
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence. Extended drought conditions and an increase in the potential 
for inbreeding depression due to dwindling numbers were thought to 
affect the continued existence of H. eggertii at the time of listing. 
The known sites of H. eggertii have now increased in number to 287 (73 
populations) and are scattered throughout 27 counties in 3 States. This 
makes the likelihood of a drought adversely affecting all the known 
sites much less than originally thought, when there were only 34 known 
sites. Also, there are 7 populations in Alabama, 18 populations in 
Kentucky, and 48 populations in Tennessee, for a total of 73 
populations that have more than 100 flowering stems. The recovery plan 
criterion requires only 20 populations to be considered for delisting. 
Cruzan (2002) suggested that 100 flowering stems or more were needed to 
maintain genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding depression within a 
population. Inbreeding depression due to low numbers of individuals per 
population is no longer a threat to H. eggertii. We believe the known 
number of sites, the numbers of existing populations, and their 
distribution are sufficient to protect against potential catastrophic 
events (e.g., drought) and no longer consider such events to be a 
threat to this species. There are no other natural or manmade factors 
known to affect the continued existence of H. eggertii; therefore, we 
do not believe these factors will affect the continued existence of 
this species.

Summary of Findings

    According to 50 CFR 424.11(d), a species may be delisted if the 
best scientific and commercial data available substantiate that the 
species is neither endangered nor threatened because of (1) extinction, 
(2) recovery, or (3) error in the original data for classification of 
the species.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by Helianthus eggertii. Based on surveys conducted in 2001, 2002, 
2003, and 2004, we conclude that the threatened designation no longer 
correctly reflects the current status of this plant. Relative to the 
information available at the time of listing, recovery actions have 
resulted in new information that shows a significant (1) expansion in 
the species' known range, (2) increase in the number of known sites, 
and (3) increase in the number of individual plants. Furthermore, 
recovery efforts have provided increased attention and focus on this 
species. This in turn has led to greater protection for the species 
such that the recovery criteria in the recovery plan for this species 
have been met. After conducting a review of the species' status, we 
have determined 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

[[Page 48490]]

foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. Given the expanded range, number of newly discovered population 
locations and individuals, the increased knowledge of the genetics of 
this species, and the protection offered by State and Federal 
landowners, we conclude, based on the best scientific and commercial 
information, that H. eggertii does not warrant the protection of the 
Act. Therefore, we are removing H. eggertii from the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Plants.

Effect of This Rule

    This rule will revise 50 CFR 17.12(h) to remove Helianthus eggertii 
from the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Because no critical 
habitat was ever designated for this species, this rule will not affect 
50 CFR 17.96.
    Once this species is removed from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Plants, Endangered Species Act protection will no longer 
apply. Removal of H. eggertii from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Plants will 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 

Post-Delisting Monitoring

    The 1988 amendments to the Act (section 4(g)(1)) require us to 
implement a system, in cooperation with the States, to monitor all 
species that have been delisted due to recovery for at least 5 years 
following delisting. The purpose of this post-delisting monitoring 
(PDM) is to verify that a species that is delisted due to recovery 
remains secure from the risk of extinction after it no longer has the 
protections of the Act. If the species does not remain secure, we can 
use the emergency listing authorities under section 4(b)(7) of the Act. 
Section 4(g) of the Act explicitly requires cooperation with the States 
in development and implementation of PDM programs. However, we are 
responsible for compliance with section 4(g) and must remain actively 
engaged in all phases of the PDM.
    The Service has drafted a PDM plan for Eggert's sunflower and is 
making it available for review and comment in a separate notice in this 
issue of the Federal Register (see the Notices section of today's 
Federal Register). Following the end of the comment period, any 
comments will be incorporated as appropriate into the final PDM plan.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR 1320, 
which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), require that Federal agencies obtain approval from OMB 
before collecting information from the public. This rule does not 
contain any new collections of information that require approval by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act. This rule will not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements 
on State or local governments, individuals, businesses, or 
organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is 
not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment, as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, in connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) 
of the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our 
reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 
1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

Alabama Natural Heritage Database. 2003. Alabama Natural Heritage 
Program, Montgomery, Alabama.
Alabama Natural Heritage Database. 2004. Alabama Natural Heritage 
Program, Montgomery, Alabama.
Cruzan, M.B. 2002. Population and Ecological Genetics of Helianthus 
eggertii Report. Prepared for Arnold Engineering Development Center 
at Arnold Air Force Base.
Jones, R.L. 1991. Status report on Helianthus eggertii. Prepared for 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville Field Office, through 
the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.
Kentucky Natural Heritage Database. 2003. Kentucky State Nature 
Preserves Commission, Frankfort, Kentucky.
Kentucky Natural Heritage Database. 2004. Kentucky State Nature 
Preserves Commission, Frankfort, Kentucky.
Spring, O., and E.E. Schilling. 1991. The sesquiterpene lactone 
chemistry of Helianthus Sect. Atrorubentes (Asteraceae: 
Heliantheae). Biochemical Systematices and Ecology 19:59-79.
Starnes, J.H. 2004. Effects of Management and Population Size on 
Genetic Diversity of Eggert's Sunflower (Helianthus eggertii; 
Asteraceae). Master Thesis. Western Kentucky University. 62 pp.
Tennessee Natural Heritage Database. 2003. Tennessee Department of 
Environment and Conservation, Division of Natural Heritage, 
Nashville, Tennessee.
Tennessee Natural Heritage Database. 2004. Tennessee Department of 
Environment and Conservation, Division of Natural Heritage, 
Nashville, Tennessee.
U.S. Air Force. 2002. Barrens Management Plan for Arnold Air Force 
Base. Tullahoma, Tennessee. 63 pp.
U.S. Air Force. 2001. Eggert's Sunflower (Helianthus eggertii) 
Management Plan for Arnold Air Force Base. Tullahoma, Tennessee. 47 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999a. Recovery Plan for Helianthus 
eggertii Small (Eggert's sunflower). Atlanta, Georgia. 40 pp.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999b. Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants 50 CFR 17.11 and 17.12; As of December 31, 1999. 
Special Reprint. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 56.


    The primary author of this proposed rule is Timothy Merritt (see 
ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

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


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.

Sec.  17.12  [Amended]

2. Amend Sec.  17.12(h) by removing the entry ``Helianthus eggertii'' 
under ``Flowering Plants'' from the List of Endangered and Threatened 

    Dated: July 20, 2005.
Marshall Jones,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-16274 Filed 8-17-05; 8:45 am]