[Federal Register: October 23, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 204)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 62078-62079]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 62078]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AU99

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of 
Status for Lepidium Papilliferum (Slickspot Peppergrass)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and document 


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), notify the 
public of the reinstatement of our July 15, 2002 proposed rule to list 
Lepidium papilliferum (slickspot peppergrass) as endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), and announce the 
reopening of the public comment period on that proposed listing.

DATES: We will accept comments from all interested parties until 5 p.m. 
Mountain Standard Time on November 13, 2006.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 
materials concerning this proposal by any one of several methods:
    (1) You may mail or hand-deliver written comments and information 
to Field Supervisor, Snake River Fish and Wildlife Office, 1387 S. 
Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709.
    (2) You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: 
fw1srbocomment@fws.gov. Please see the Public Comments Solicited 

section below for file format and other information about electronic 
    (3) You may fax your comments to 208-378-5262.
    (4) You may submit comments online via the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions 

for submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffery Foss, Field Supervisor, Snake 
River Fish and Wildlife Office, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709; 
telephone 208-378-5243.


Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from the proposal to list 
Lepidium papilliferum (slickspot peppergrass) as endangered under the 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) will be as accurate and as effective as 
possible. Therefore, comments or suggestions from the public, other 
concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or 
any other interested party concerning the proposed rule are hereby 
solicited. We are providing further information for the public to 
consider, including a document we prepared entitled ``Draft Best 
Available Biological Information for Slickspot Peppergrass (Lepidium 
papilliferum)'' (BAI), February 27, 2006, a number of peer reviews of 
this document, a matrix of the threats data to be used in making our 
listing determination, and a list of conservation measures for the 
species currently underway.
    Comments particularly are sought concerning:
    (1) Whether our proposed application of our Policy for Evaluation 
of Conservation Efforts (PECE) can be improved.
    (2) Whether the threats matrix contains the best available 
commercial and scientific data and if not what other data we should 
    (3) How might the Service best address the issues raised in the 
peer reviews of the Draft BAI.
    (4) Any additional comments on the BAI.
    (5) Whether the Service has identified all conservation actions 
underway, if any should be added and whether the actions are accurately 
    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
concerning the proposal by any one of several methods (see ADDRESSES 
section). Please submit Internet comments to fw1srbocomment@fws.gov in 
ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters or any form 
of encryption. Please also include ``RIN 1018-AU99'' in your e-mail 
subject header and your name and return address in the body of your 
message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we 
have received your Internet message, contact us directly (see 
ADDRESSES). Please note that the Internet address 
fw1srbocomment@fws.gov will be unavailable at the termination of the 

public comment period.
    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 names and home addresses, etc., but if you wish us to consider 
withholding this information, you must state this prominently at the 
beginning of your comments. In addition, you must present rationale for 
withholding this information. This rationale must demonstrate that 
disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. 
Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. In the absence of 
exceptional, documentable circumstances, this information will be 
released. We will always make submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives of or officials of organizations or businesses, 
available for public inspection in their entirety.

Previous Federal Actions

    For a description of Federal actions concerning Lepidium 
papilliferum that occurred prior to January 22, 2004, please refer to 
our withdrawal of the proposed rule published in the Federal Register 
on January 22, 2004 (69 FR 3094).
    On July 15, 2002, we published a proposed rule (67 FR 46441) to 
list Lepidium papilliferum as endangered under the Act. We accepted 
public comments on the proposal for 60 days, until September 13, 2002. 
We also held a public hearing on August 29, 2002. On September 25, 
2002, and again on July 18, 2003, we reopened the public comment period 
on the proposed listing. On October 30, 2003, we made the Candidate 
Conservation Agreement and Best Available Information for Slickspot 
Peppergrass available for public review and comment (68 FR 61821).
    On January 22, 2004, we published a document withdrawing our 
proposed rule to list Lepidium papilliferum as endangered (69 FR 3094). 
That withdrawal was based on our conclusion that there was ``a lack of 
strong evidence of a negative population trend,'' and the formalized 
conservation plans (e.g., the CCA and INRMPs) had ``sufficient 
certainty that they will be implemented and will be effective such that 
the risk to the species is reduced to a level below the statutory 
definition of endangered or threatened.''
    On April 5, 2004, the Western Watershed Project filed a complaint 
challenging our decision to withdraw the proposed rule to list Lepidium 
papilliferum as endangered (Western Watersheds Project v. Jeffery Foss, 
et al., Case No. CV 04-168-S-EJL). On August 19, 2005, the U.S. 
District Court for the District of Idaho reversed the decision to 
withdraw the proposed rule (which effectively reinstated our July 15, 
2002, proposed rule at 67 FR 46441), with directions that the case be 
remanded to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior for 
reconsideration of ``whether a proposed rule listing the slickspot

[[Page 62079]]

peppergrass as either threatened or endangered should be adopted.''
    Following the August 19, 2005, U.S. District Court for the District 
of Idaho remand order, we notified Federal, State, and local agencies, 
county governments, elected officials, and other interested parties of 
the District Court's decision in a letter dated October 13, 2005. We 
requested new scientific data and information, and comments, about 
Lepidium papilliferum, and requested that any such comments be 
submitted by November 14, 2005. We also stated that scientific 
information received from the public would be utilized in a document 
titled, ``Draft Best Available Biological Information for Slickspot 
Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum)'' (BAI). We extended the comment 
period through December 14, 2005, and we received a total of 13 comment 
letters in response to our request for additional information. From 
February 27, 2006, through March 30, 2006, we opened a public comment 
and peer review period, during which we requested information on the 
BAI and on conservation efforts for the species. We received an 
additional 33 comments.
    A number of threats and potential threats to Lepidium papilliferum 
were identified as a result of past listing actions and a number of 
conservation actions to address those threats have been identified. In 
evaluating the contributions of these conservation actions under the 
PECE, where the Service is party to agreements regarding conservation 
actions for Lepidium papilliferum, we propose to consider whether the 
actions contained in those agreements are likely to be effective over 
time. For those plans that the Service is not a party to, the PECE 
policy evaluation is proposed to be based on their consistency with 
management guidance the Service has provided to other agencies and 
cooperators. We request that commenter's address whether the foregoing 
will result in an appropriate application of the PECE.
    On October, 2006, the Court directed the Service to issue a final 
listing determination by January 4, 2007. The Service will complete its 
review of any information and comments submitted during this comment 
period to comply with that order.

Information Available for Review

    Information received, developed, or analyzed since the August 19, 
2005, U.S. District Court remand of our proposed listing withdrawal is 
available for review by accessing the following Web site: http://www.fws.gov/idahoes/
, or by contacting the Field Supervisor (see 

ADDRESSES above). This information includes the following:
    (1) The document ``Draft Best Available Biological Information for 
Slickspot Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum)'' (BAI), February 27, 
    (2) Peer review comments on the BAI.
    (3) A threats matrix of the data used to make the listing 
    (4) A spreadsheet containing a description of Lepidium papilliferum 
conservation measures in the CCA, including an explanation of how the 
Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts (PECE) will be applied in 
making our determinations regarding the benefits of the conservation 
    Following this public comment period, we will be using any new 
information, along with existing scientific and commercial information 
in assessing species status.


    The primary authors of this notice are staff of the Snake River 
Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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

    Dated: October 17, 2006.
Marshall Jones,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 06-8833 Filed 10-18-06; 4:25 pm]