[Federal Register: July 5, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 128)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 36635-36646]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List the Casey's June Beetle (Dinacoma caseyi) as 
Endangered With Critical Habitat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of a 12-month petition finding.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list Casey's June beetle (Dinacoma 
caseyi) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). The petition also asked that critical habitat be 
designated for the species. After review of all available scientific 
and commercial information, we find that listing is warranted. 
Currently, however, listing of Casey's June beetle is precluded by 
higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition 
finding, Casey's June beetle will be added to our candidate species 
list. We will develop a proposed rule to list this species as our 
priorities allow. Any determination on critical habitat will be made 
during development of the proposed listing rule.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on July 5, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Supporting documents for this finding are available for 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6010 
Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011. Please submit any new 
information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding 
to the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES) (telephone 760-431-9440; 
facsimile 760-431-5901). Persons who use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.



    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife or the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants that contains 
substantial scientific and commercial information that listing may be 
warranted, we make a finding within 12 months of the date of our 
receipt of the petition on whether the petitioned action is: (a) Not 
warranted, or (b) warranted, or (c) warranted but the immediate 
proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is 
precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether any species 
is threatened or endangered, and expeditious progress is being made to 
add or remove qualified species from the Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Such 12-month findings are to be 
published promptly in the Federal Register. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the 
Act requires that a petition for which the requested action is found to 
be warranted but precluded shall be treated as though resubmitted on 
the date of such finding, and requiring a subsequent finding to be made 
within 12 months.

Previous Federal Action

    On May 12, 2004, we received a petition, dated May 11, 2004, from 
David H. Wright, Ph.D.; the Center for Biological Diversity; and the 
Sierra Club requesting the emergency listing of Casey's June beetle 
(Dinacoma caseyi) as endangered in accordance with section 4 of the 
Act. On October 4, 2005, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a 
complaint against us in the U.S. District Court for the Central 
District of California challenging our failure to make the required 90-
day and, if appropriate, 12-month finding on their petition to 
emergency list Casey's June beetle under section 4 of the Act. We 
reached a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs on March 28, 2006, 
in which we agreed to submit to the Federal Register a 90-day finding 
by July 27, 2006, and to complete and submit to the Federal Register, 
if a substantial finding is made, a 12-month finding by June 30, 2007. 
On August 8, 2006, we published a 90-day petition finding (71 FR 44960) 
in which we concluded that emergency

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listing was not necessary, but that the petition provided substantial 
information indicating that listing of Casey's June beetle may be 
warranted, and we initiated a status review. This notice constitutes 
the 12-month finding on the May 12, 2004, petition to list Casey's June 
beetle as endangered.


    Casey's June beetle belongs to the scarab family (Scarabidae). The 
genus Dinacoma includes two described species, D. caseyi and D. 
marginata (Blaisdell 1930, pp. 171-176). Delbert La Rue, a researcher 
experienced with the genus Dinacoma and a taxonomic expert stated, 
``Dinacoma caseyi is a distinct species morphologically and comprises 
its own species group--the caseyi complex--the other [species group] 
being the marginata complex which includes the bulk/remainder of the 
genus'' (La Rue 2006, p. 1). The Casey's June beetle was first 
collected in the City of Palm Springs, California, in 1916, and was 
later described by Blaisdell (1930, pp. 174-176) based on male 
specimens. This species measures 0.55 to 0.71 inches (in) (1.4 to 1.8 
centimeters (cm)) long, with dusty brown or whitish coloring, and brown 
and cream longitudinal stripes on the elytra (wing covers and back).
    Recently, entomologists discovered two apparently new species or 
subspecies of Dinacoma, collected respectively from near the city of 
Hemet, California, and in the northwest portion of Joshua Tree National 
Park, California, at Covington Flats (La Rue 2006, p. 2). To date, 
these specimens of Dinacoma have not been formally described in the 
scientific literature, but expert evaluation places them in the other 
Dinacoma species group (marginata complex) (La Rue 2006, p.1). La Rue 
(2006, p. 2) stated that Dinacoma caseyi is the most morphologically 
divergent and distinct species in the genus. The new specimens 
collected from the Hemet area are paler than Casey's June beetle 
specimens and possess morphologically different genitalia (Anderson 
2006a, p.1). Furthermore, the Little San Bernardino Mountains 
geographically isolate the new Dinacoma Joshua Tree population from all 
other known Dinacoma species.


    Based on surveys conducted to assess the species' presence, both 
male and female Casey's June beetles emerge from underground burrows 
sometime between late March and early June, with abundance peaks 
generally occurring in April and May (Duff 1990, p. 3; Barrows 1998, p. 
1). Females are always observed on the ground and are considered 
flightless (Duff 1990, p. 4; Frank Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 7; 
Hovore 2003, p. 3). La Rue (2006, p.1) stated that ``Female Dinacoma 
are very rare in collections. Females display an accentuated sexual 
dimorphism characterized by an enlarged abdomen, reduced legs and 
antennae, and metathoracic wing reduction and venation. These 
characters are likely adaptations to flightlessness and a fossorial 
biology.'' During the active flight season, males emerge from the 
ground and begin flying near dusk (Hovore 2003, p. 3). Males are 
reported to fly back and forth or crawl on the ground where a female 
beetle has been detected (Duff 1990, p. 3). Cornett (2003, p. 5) 
theorized that after emergence, females remain on the ground and 
release pheromones to attract flying males. After mating, females 
return to their burrows or dig a new burrow and deposit eggs. 
Excavations of adult emergence burrows revealed pupal exuviae (casings) 
at depths ranging from approximately 4 to 6 in (10 to 16 cm) (Frank 
Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 6).
    The larval cycle for the species is likely 1 year, based on the 
absence of larvae (grubs) in burrows during the adult flight season (La 
Rue 2004, p. 1). The food source for Casey's June beetle larvae while 
underground is unknown, but other species of June beetle are known to 
eat ``plant roots or plant detritus and associated decay organisms'' 
(La Rue 2004, p.1). La Rue (2006, pp.1-2) stated, ``[Casey's June 
beetle] exhibits no specific host preferences, and larvae likely 
consume any available organic resources--including [layered organic 
debris]--encountered within the alluvial habitat.'' Specific host plant 
associations for Casey's June beetle are not known. Although visual 
surveys have detected a concentration of emergence burrows in the 
vicinity of a number of species of woody shrub in Palm Canyon Wash, 
this may be due to low soil disturbance by vehicles, foot traffic, and 
horses near woody vegetation (Hovore 2003, p. 3).


    La Rue (2006, p.1) stated that all Dinacoma populations are 
ecologically associated with alluvial sediments. Alluvial sediments 
occurring in or contiguous with coastal scrub, montane chaparral, and 
desert dry washes (ephemeral watercourses) are indicative of the 
marginata complex habitat, while bases of desert alluvial fans, and the 
broad, gently sloping, depositional surfaces formed at the base of the 
Santa Rosa mountain ranges in the dry Coachella Valley region by the 
overlapping of individual alluvial fans (bajada) are indicative of the 
caseyi complex habitat (La Rue 2006, p. 1).
    Casey's June beetle is most commonly associated with Carsitas 
series soil (CdC), described by the United States Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) (USDA on-line GIS database, 2000) as gravelly sand 
on 0 to 9 percent slopes. This soil series is associated with alluvial 
fans, rather than areas of aeolian or windblown sand deposits. Hovore 
(2003, p. 2) described soils where Casey's June beetle occurs or 
occurred historically as, ``* * * almost entirely carsitas series, of a 
CdC type, typically gravelly sand, single grain, slightly effervescent, 
moderately alkaline (pH 8.4), loose, non-sticky, non-plastic, deposited 
on 0 to 9 percent slopes. On alluvial terraces and where they occur 
within washes, these soils show light braiding and some organic 
deposition, but [most years] do not receive scouring surface flows.'' 
Although Casey's June beetle has primarily been found on CdC soils, the 
beetle is also associated with Riverwash (RA), and possibly Carsitas 
cobbly sand (ChC), soils in the Palm Canyon Wash area (Anderson and 
Love 2007, p. 1). Its burrowing habit would suggest the Casey's June 
beetle needs soils that are not too rocky or compacted and difficult to 
burrow in.
    Hovore (2003, p.11) and Cornett (2004, p. 14) hypothesized that 
upland habitats provide core refugia from which the species recolonizes 
wash habitat after intense flood scouring events (approximately every 
10 years), and are required for long-term survival of the species. Most 
extant upland habitat in the range of Casey's June beetle has been 
developed as golf courses or suburban housing (Cornett 2004, p. 11). 
Although relatively high numbers of Casey's June beetles (70 
individuals in the first 15 minutes, Powell 2003, p. 4; average 8.5 per 
night, Simonsen-Marchant and Marchant 2000, p. 5; 2001, p. 9) have been 
collected downstream from remaining upland habitat in Palm Canyon Wash, 
occupancy in this area is likely due to movement of sediment and larvae 
by water flow as hypothesized by Hovore (2003, p. 11). Occupied wash 
habitat downstream from all occupied upland habitats (from Smoke Tree 
Ranch to Gene Autry Trail, see distribution discussion below) is likely 
a long-term population ``sink'' for Casey's June beetle (only receiving 
female immigrants, not producing colonizers for upland habitat). 
Although wash habitat isolated from upland refugia may contribute 
relatively little to the

[[Page 36637]]

species' long-term survival under current circumstances, it is still 
important because it is apparently occupied by a relatively large 
proportion of the remaining population, and would be an important 
source of individuals for future reintroduction and augmentation 
    With regard to current habitat conditions, Cornett (2004, p. 14) 
offered a hypothesis based on higher number of specimens collected or 
observed during surveys within the more developed areas compared to 
undeveloped areas within the gated Smoke Tree Ranch residential 
community (Smoke Tree Ranch). Cornett (2004, p. 14) hypothesized that 
the unique landscape of Smoke Tree Ranch may increase habitat quality 
of Casey's June beetle in this drier upland area with widely spaced 
homes, abundant native vegetation on vacant lots, and some irrigation. 
This hypothesis, if supported by future research, may hold the key to 
effective management for Casey's June beetle in remaining, less 
suitable upland habitat where the species may have been extirpated. 
Alternate hypotheses, such as increased collection sizes due to 
attraction of males to residential lights, should also be investigated. 
Considering Cornett's (2004, p. 14) above hypothesis, and the potential 
for high species density (however temporary) in Palm Canyon Wash, all 
remaining habitat areas with CdC or RA type soils in southern Palm 
Springs are considered important for species' conservation.

Range and Extant Distribution

    Most locality information on Casey's June beetle specimens in 
collections specifies ``Palm Springs,'' or simply Riverside County 
(Duff 1990, p. 2; O'Brian 2007, p.1; Ratcliff 2007, p. 1; Wall 2007, 
p.1). Nineteen of 21 specimens in the Los Angeles County Natural 
History Museum (LACNHM; 1940 to 1989) were labeled as being from the 
city of Palm Springs. Other early collection records identify ``Palm 
Desert'' (``old record''; Duff 1990, p. 3), ``Indian Wells'' (2 
specimens in the LACNHM from 1953), and ``Palm Canyon'' (``old 
record''; Duff 1990, p. 3), all in the western Coachella Valley. Duff 
(1990, p. 2) described two primary areas where the beetle was extant in 
Palm Springs, west of the city near Tahquitz Creek (``specific 
localities: Jct. Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Way; Jct. Palm Canyon 
Drive and Sunny Dunes Road'') and south of the city near the 
intersection of Bogert Trail and South Palm Canyon Drive. Seven 
specimens in the LACNHM were labeled as having been collected near the 
intersection of Bogert Trail and South Palm Canyon Drive (1987, 1988, 
and 1989). The Bogert Trail/South Palm Canyon Drive collections were 
made within the Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians (Tribe) 
Reservation. Recently, numerous collections and observations have been 
made within Smoke Tree Ranch and other areas in, or adjacent to, Palm 
Canyon Wash south of Gene Autry Trail, in the City of Palm Springs. The 
Bogert Trail site and Smoke Tree Ranch have been commonly used as 
reference sites by surveyors (Duff 1990, p. 7; Hovore 1997a, p. 3; 
1997b, p. 1; Barrows and Fisher 2000, p. 1; Cornett 2000, p. 9; Cornett 
2003, p. 5; Hovore 2003, p. 4; Cornett 2004, p. 3). Hovore (Frank 
Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 3) stated that the Casey's June beetles 
collected by University of California-Long Beach (UCLB) students 
``within the past 20 years'' were labeled ``Dead Indian Canyon'' (near 
the cities of Palm Desert and Indian Wells, south of Palm Springs); 
however, Hovore (2006b, p. 1) subsequently explained that this 
information is questionable due to incomplete specimen label 
information and contradictory information provided by the former UCLB 
curator. Because Palm Canyon (in Palm Springs) is joined by the smaller 
Murray, Andreas, and Wentworth Canyons, collectively referred to as the 
``Indian Canyons,'' (for example, Barrows 1998, p. 1), we believe this 
may be the correct collection locality for the UCLB specimens.
    The historical range of Casey's June beetle cannot be determined 
with any certainty, given the lack of specific locality information for 
many of the collection records. Frank Hovore and Associates (1995, p. 
4) described the possible extent of the species' historical range as 
``somewhere around Chino Canyon floodplain (or at most northwest to the 
Snow Creek drainage), south to around Indian Wells.'' Within this 
general geographic area from north to south of Palm Springs (Riverside 
County, California), the species is assumed to have occurred on 
alluvial fan bases flowing from the Santa Rosa Mountains, at or near 
the level contour line, where finer silts and sand are deposited. 
However, this purported range is ``based on inference and fragmentary 
data'' (Frank Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 4).
    Given the lack of collection records, efforts have been made to 
determine the extant (remaining) distribution of Casey's June beetle in 
its purported historical range. Barrows and Fisher (2000, p.1) 
conducted trapping on two separate evenings in Dead Indian Canyon in 
Palm Desert, southeast of Palm Springs, but the species was not 
detected. The University of California-Riverside (UCR) conducted more 
than 10 years of year-round surveys for a variety of species, including 
Casey's June beetle, at the Boyd Deep Canyon Preserve in Palm Desert, 
California (also near Indian Wells, and including portions of Dead 
Indian Canyon). No Casey's June beetles were found during any of the 
UCR surveys (Anderson 2006a, p. 1). Although the May 11, 2004, petition 
references a ``Snow Creek'' collection site northwest of Palm Springs, 
we were not able to obtain any substantiating records for that 
location. A single-night survey conducted by Powell (2003, p. 1) near 
Snow Creek failed to find the species, although the beetle was 
confirmed to be active at Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs at the time.
    La Rue (2006, p. 1) has collected and worked extensively with 
Dinacoma spp. in southern California since the 1980s, but has not 
collected Casey's June beetle outside of its current known range in the 
City of Palm Springs. La Rue (2006, p. 2) stated:

    Many collectors, researchers, ecologists, and others * * * have 
surveyed for D. caseyi throughout the Coachella Valley for years 
without finding additional populations other than those still extant 
in and around Palm Springs. There are several factors that 
contribute to this isolation, a few being: (1) Topographically, the 
City of Palm Springs is protected from high wind events (dessication 
[sic] of necessary substrate) [by] the precipitous San Jacinto 
[Santa Rosa Mountains]; (2) the area where D. caseyi occurs in the 
City of Palm Springs receives a higher amount of annual 
precipitation because of its proximity to the base of the San 
Jacinto/Santa Rosa Mtns [Mountains]. Orographic lift [when an air 
mass is forced from low to higher elevations, it expands, cools, and 
can no longer hold moisture] will deplete most moisture from winter 
storms originating from the Pacific; what little remains falls in 
the Palm Springs area and rarely further into the Coachella Valley. 
Summer monsoonal patterns are insignificant. (3) As mentioned above, 
Dinacoma are restricted to alluvial sediments. Re: D. caseyi; these 
conditions only occur at the base of steep narrow canyons of the San 
Jacinto/Santa Rosa [Mountains].

    Cornett (2004, p. 8) sampled more than 60 locations in Palm Springs 
to determine the current range of Casey's June beetle. Light traps were 
used to attract flying males and placed in relatively undisturbed 
flatlands likely to support Casey's June beetle. Traps were opened by 
6:30 p.m. and remained open until at least 10 p.m. Eight traps were 
opened each evening, and each trapping station was used at least two 
times. To gauge trapping success, at least one trap was opened at Smoke 
Tree Ranch each

[[Page 36638]]

trapping session, where beetles have been reliably collected since 
occupancy was documented in 1998 (Barrows 1998, p. 1). Based on the 
survey results, Cornett (2004, p. 13), in agreement with Hovore (2003, 
p. 7), concluded that Casey's June beetle is currently restricted to 
southern Palm Springs in the vicinity of Palm Canyon and Palm Canyon 
    Despite recent attempts to document Casey's June beetle in areas 
throughout the purported historic range, all recent (1990s or later) 
Casey's June beetle collection locations are from sites near South Palm 
Canyon Drive, Bogert Trail, Smoke Tree Ranch, and portions of Palm 
Canyon Wash south of Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs (Duff 1990, pp. 
2-3; Simonsen-Marchant and Marchant 2000, p. 5 and 2001, p. 8; Hovore 
2003, p. 7; Powell 2003, p. 1; Cornett 2000, p. 13 and 2004, p. 8; 
Yanega 2007, pp. 1-3). For example, one group of collectors associated 
with UCR who checked ``as many sites as possible'' for Casey's June 
beetle in Palm Springs, were apparently only able to collect specimens 
in the vicinity of Smoke Tree Ranch stables, adjacent to Palm Canyon 
Wash (Porcu 2003, p. 8). Localized distributions are typical for 
species of June beetles (superfamily Scarabaeoidea) with flightlessness 
in one or both sexes (Hovore 2006a, p. 1). We believe only one Casey's 
June beetle population remains, occupying the extant, contiguous 
habitat in southern Palm Springs.
    Cornett (2004, p. 11) estimated the range of Casey's June beetle to 
cover approximately 800 acres (ac) (324 hectares (ha)). As discussed in 
our August 8, 2006, 90-day finding (71 FR 44960), based on our GIS 
mapping of Cornett's (2004, p. 13) distribution map, his estimated 
Casey's June beetle range was approximately 707 ac (286 ha) as opposed 
to approximately 800 ac (324 ha) (Cornett 2004, p. 11). To this we 
added another 51 ac (21 ha) of north Palm Canyon Wash between East Palm 
Canyon Drive and South Gene Autry Trail, resulting in an approximately 
758-ac (307-ha) range for Casey's June beetle in the Palm Springs area 
(71 FR 44960). Subsequent analysis for this 12-month finding (see 
discussion below) indicates additional CdC and RA soils in Palm Canyon 
should also have been included in this range estimate. Because 
Cornett's (2004, p. 11) 800-ac (324-ha) range estimate included such 
large, peripheral, non-habitat features as the entire golf course 
between East Murray Canyon Drive and Bogert Trail, a more useful 
``range'' description is the qualitative, habitat-based description 
given by Hovore (2003, p. 7): ``* * * from the lot at Bogert Trail and 
South Palm Canyon Drive east into, and across, Palm Canyon wash onto 
the upland terrace adjacent to the wash, and then downstream 
[northeast] within the wash and on the upland terrace deposits (CdC 
soils) through [Smoke Tree] Ranch to Highway 111, and then just within 
the wash through Seven Lakes Country Club to at least Gene Autry 
[Trail] * * *.'' For the remainder of this finding, our discussion of 
the species' current distribution will not consider a greater 
``range,'' and will be limited to the amount of remaining undeveloped 
habitat (occupancy distribution) that does not include residential 
areas where soils have been graded, developed, or landscaped. Such 
areas are not currently habitable by the species.
    To define the current distribution of extant Casey's June beetle 
habitat within our revised range description above, we used GIS soil 
data from the USDA (USDA on-line GIS database, 2000; CdC and RA soil 
series; see Habitat section above), 2005 satellite imagery, field 
surveys (Anderson 2006b, pp. 1-35), and collection data from Cornett 
(2000, p. 9; 2004, p. 8), Powell (2003, p. 1), Simonsen-Marchant and 
Marchant (2000, p. 5; 2001, p. 6), Barrows (1998, p. 1), and Hovore 
(2003, p. 7; 1997a, p. 2; 1997b, p. 4). All undeveloped CdC and RA 
soils within the area described above were considered extant habitat. 
To account for potential occupancy in undeveloped lots within the 
otherwise developed suburban housing area at Smoke Tree Ranch (Cornett 
2004, p. 14; see Habitat section above), we included half the total 
area of the Smoke Tree Ranch development block (65 ac (26 ha)) in our 
extant habitat area estimate. Smoke Tree Ranch is the only suburban 
area within the distribution of Casey's June beetle that contains 
scattered undeveloped lots throughout the development. Our final 
analysis resulted in an estimate of 576 ac (233 ha) of extant 
undeveloped habitat in 2006 (Anderson and Love 2007, pp. 1-2). Extant 
habitat is limited to Palm Canyon Wash, Smoke Tree Ranch, and CdC soils 
in Palm Canyon south of East Murray Canyon Drive. Based on 1995 or more 
recent collection data (Cornett 2000, p. 9 and 2004, p. 8; Powell 2003, 
p. 1; Simonsen-Marchant and Marchant 2000, p. 3 and 2001, p 6; Barrows 
1998, p. 1; Hovore 2003, p. 7 and 1997a p. 2 and 1997b, p. 4), and CdC 
or RA soils that were contiguous as recently as 1995 with habitat where 
Casey's June beetle was collected (Anderson and Love 2007, pp. 1-2), we 
consider all extant habitat within the species' distribution to be 
occupied or likely occupied.
    Although recent surveys have not recorded Casey's June beetles in 
extant habitat west of South Palm Canyon Drive or south of Acanto Drive 
in Palm Springs (Barrows 1998, p. 1; Simonsen-Marchant and Marchant 
2000, p. 5 and 2001, p. 6; Cornett 2004, pp. 8 and 13), low-density 
populations may be hard to detect. Barrows (1998, p. 1) reported 
observing numerous Casey's June beetle emergence holes ``* * * just 
beyond the entrance gate to the Indian Canyons, indicating with some 
probability their recent occurrence there.'' Hovore (1997a, p. 2) also 
reported ``a few'' potential Casey's June beetle emergence holes ``in a 
small CdC soil area along the toll road.'' Hovore (Frank Hovore and 
Associates 1995 p. 5; Hovore 1997a, p. 3 and 1997b, p. 4) also 
documented occupancy in currently undeveloped habitat west of South 
Palm Canyon Drive. Hovore (Frank Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 5) 
specifically described Casey's June beetle occupancy distribution on 
the west side of South Palm Canyon Drive as, ``* * * in a narrow strip 
along the west side of South Palm Canyon Drive from about the junction 
with Bogert Trail to [Acanto Drive], and extends only about 20-30 
meters away from the roadway.''

Status and Trends

    We do not have population estimates for the beetle or information 
showing decline in numbers. Surveys conducted for this species have 
been site-specific or primarily conducted to demonstrate presence or 
absence. For this reason, we focused our analysis of the decrease in 
the amount of extant habitat and the documented habitat loss over 
specific time periods.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and implementing regulations 
at 50 CFR 424 set forth procedures for adding species to the Federal 
List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. In making this finding, we 
summarize below information regarding the status and threats to this 
species in relation to the five factors in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
In making our 12-month finding, we considered all scientific and 
commercial information in our files, including information received 
during the comment period that ended October 10, 2006 (71 FR 44960).

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of the Species' Habitat or Range

    We analyzed suburban development within southern Palm Springs from

[[Page 36639]]

2003 to 2007 to determine habitat impacts of completed and pending 
projects as cited in the petition and referenced in the August 8, 2006, 
90-day finding (71 FR 44960). We were not able to identify all projects 
cited in the petition (and the 90-day finding), as the petitioners did 
not provide specific geographic descriptions, and cited acreages did 
not exactly match calculations in our most recent analysis. However, 
based on site visits and satellite imagery, we identified at least five 
projects that have removed or impacted occupied and likely occupied 
habitat, within the distribution described above, in the past 3 years: 
(1) The 39-ac (16-ha) Monte Sereno project north of Bogart Trail 
adjacent to Palm Canyon Wash (Tribal lands); (2) the 2-ac (1-ha) Desert 
Water Agency wells and pipeline project in the Smoke Tree Ranch 
development; (3) at least 7-ac (3-ha) of the Smoke Tree Ranch Cottages 
development (``Casitas'' development cited in the 90-day finding); (4) 
the 17-ac (7-ha) Smoketree Commons shopping area; and (5) the 34-ac 
(14-ha) Alta project north of Acanto Drive and west of Palm Canyon Wash 
(Tribal lands). These projects have resulted in the loss of, or impacts 
to, approximately 99 ac (40 ha) of occupied and likely occupied Casey's 
June beetle habitat from 2003 to 2006. Hovore (2003, p. 4) hypothesized 
that the destruction and isolation of occupied habitat caused by 
projects 1 and 5 above ``* * * overall may reduce the known range and 
extant population of the species by about one third.''
    We conducted an additional analysis (Anderson and Love 2007, pp. 1-
2) using available aerial photographs (from 1991), satellite imagery 
(from 1996, 2003, and 2005), and 2006 field surveys (Anderson 2006b, 
pp. 1-36) to determine rates of habitat loss in southern Palm Springs 
over the past 16 years. From 1991 to 2006, Casey's June beetle 
experienced an approximate 25 percent reduction in contiguous, 
undeveloped habitat from 770 ac (312 ha) in 1991 to 576 ac (233 ha) in 
2006. Habitat loss has been greatest in recent years: at a rate of 2 
percent per year from 1991 to 1996, at a rate of 1 percent per year 
from 1996 to 2003, and at a rate of 5 percent per year from 2003 to 
2006. At this recent rate, all habitat remaining for Casey's June 
beetle would disappear in about twenty years (the foreseeable future).
    Since publication of the August 8, 2006, 90-day finding (71 FR 
44960), we have become aware of another project that will destroy or 
impact extant Casey's June beetle habitat. The 80- to 100-ac (32- to 
40-ha) Alturas residential sub-division development project (also 
referred to as Eagle Canyon) is currently planned on Tribal lands 
(Davis 2007, p. 1; Park 2007, p. 1) in the area containing CdC soils 
west of South Palm Canyon Drive, and near Bogert Trail and Acanto 
Drive. This project has completed the environmental review process 
(CEQA), and is in the process of obtaining a grading permit (tentative 
tract number 30047). Our analysis (Anderson and Love 2007, pp. 1-3) 
determined that this project would alter the drainage system 
maintaining soil moisture levels in approximately 54 ac likely to be 
occupied by Casey's June beetle, including extant habitat near the 
section of Bogert Trail and South Palm Canyon Drive where occupancy was 
documented by Hovore (Frank Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 5; Hovore 
1997a, p. 2 and 1997b, p. 4). The Alturas project would also directly 
impact CdC soils likely to be occupied, and by disrupting the water 
source maintaining suitable soil moisture levels, potentially decrease 
the 576 ac (233 ha) of remaining extant, suitable habitat by 9 percent. 
Surveys are currently being conducted adjacent to the Alturas project, 
where occupancy was previously documented, to determine likelihood of 
current habitat occupancy (Osborne 2007, p. 1; Park 2007, p. 1).
    All habitat loss calculations above included wash habitat where 
Casey's June beetle may not be able to maintain occupancy following 
severe flood events (Cornett 2004, p. 14; Hovore 2003, p.11). Of the 
total 576 ac (233 ha) estimated remaining habitat, only 328 ac (133 ha) 
is upland habitat (excluding habitat that will be impacted by the 
Alturas project). According to Coachella Valley General Plan data 
(Riverside County 1999), all remaining upland habitat within Smoke Tree 
Ranch and on Tribal land north of Acanto Drive was projected to be 
developed at a density of 2 homes per acre by the year 2020. Although 
the projected land use designation code (``58'') for undeveloped 
habitat south of Acanto Drive was not defined in the documents 
available to us (Riverside County 1999), they have the same code as 
adjacent, already developed land (that is, East Bogert Trail area). 
Land use projections (Riverside County 1999) indicate most of the 328 
ac (133 ha) remaining upland Casey's June beetle habitat could be 
eliminated by development within 12 years.
    The development threat is greatest in upland CdC soil habitat areas 
that are believed to be key refugia for Casey's June beetle (see 
Habitat section above); however, development threats are not limited to 
upland habitat. For example, entire sections of Palm Canyon Wash east 
of occupied habitat near Gene Autry Trail have been converted to golf 
course landscaping (Anderson and Love 2007, p. 3). La Rue (2006, p. 2) 
emphasized the magnitude of development threats to Dinacoma population 
survival: ``Most Dinacoma have a limited range because of unprecedented 
habitat destruction and modification for recreational, residential and 
urban development resulting in serious distributional fragmentation 
throughout [their] former range. Consequently, several populations [of 
the genus Dinacoma] have been extirpated, especially those that once 
existed in Los Angeles County (e.g., Glendale, Eaton Canyon).''
    Analysis of aerial photography in Palm Canyon Wash indicates 
numerous land-disturbance activities affecting occupied wash habitat 
managed by the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation 
District. In the vicinity of the State Route 111 bridge and Araby 
Drive, there appears to be road maintenance and flood control 
activities, as well as unregulated off-road vehicle disturbance. 
Cornett (2003, p. 12) noted similar off-road vehicle impacts during 
Casey's June beetle surveys on a nearby site adjacent to Whitewater 
Wash and the Palm Springs Airport. Any activities that compact or 
disturb soils when adult beetles are active, or affect soils to a depth 
where immature stages or resting adults are found, may affect the 
species' persistence in such areas.
    Casey's June beetle habitat in Palm Springs has been increasingly 
fragmented by development in recent years (see above development 
discussion). Fragmentation of habitat compromises the ability of the 
species to disperse and establish new, or augment declining, 
populations, because females are flightless and males alone cannot 
establish new populations (Frank Hovore and Associates 1995, p. 7). 
Hovore (2003, p. 3) indicated that population movement would be ``slow 
and indirect,'' and suggested the population structure for Casey's June 
beetle in any given area could be described as multiple mini-colonies 
or ``clusters of individuals around areas of repeated female 
emergence.'' This would, in Hovore's (2003, p. 4) assessment, make the 
species susceptible to extirpation resulting from land use changes that 
would remove or alter surface features. Although fragmentation of 
habitat within a population distribution still allows mixing of genes 
by male flight, it would preclude recolonization of a site should all 
flightless female individuals be eliminated.

[[Page 36640]]

 Summary of Factor A
    Since 1991, urban development and construction have removed 25 
percent of remaining habitat. From 2003 to 2006, habitat loss for the 
beetle has occurred at a rate of 5 percent per year. Because 
development trends are continuing (see above discussion of Alturas 
project approved by the City of Palm Springs, 9 percent loss in 2007), 
additional habitat for the beetle will be lost. The estimated amount of 
contiguous, undeveloped habitat currently available for the species is 
approximately 576 ac (233 ha) with some of these areas serving as 
biological ``sinks'' for the species. Based on development trends, the 
most important habitat for species persistence (alluvial uplands with 
CDC soil), is the habitat most likely to be lost to future development. 
Therefore, projected development of remaining upland habitat by the 
year 2020 would result in almost certain extinction of the species. 
Based on recent, current, and likely future habitat loss trends, the 
loss of historically occupied locations, reduced and limited 
distribution, habitat fragmentation, and land use changes associated 
with urbanization, we find that Casey's June beetle is threatened with 
extinction by destruction, modification, and curtailment of its habitat 
and range.

Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational purposes

    We are not aware of any information regarding overutilization of 
Casey's June beetle for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes and do not consider this a threat at this time.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    We are not aware of any information regarding threats of disease or 
predation to the Casey's June beetle and do not consider this a threat 
at this time.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Existing regulatory mechanisms that could provide some protection 
for Casey's June beetle include: (1) Federal laws and regulations, such 
as the National Environmental Policy Act; (2) State laws and 
regulations; and (3) local land use processes and ordinances. However, 
these regulatory mechanisms have not prevented continued habitat 
fragmentation and modification. There are no regulatory mechanisms that 
specifically or indirectly address the management or conservation of 
functional Casey's June beetle habitat. There are no regulatory 
protections for any other species that may provide incidental benefit 
to Casey's June beetle. We discuss existing regulatory mechanisms 
National Environmental Policy Act
    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 
4321-4347), as amended, requires Federal agencies to describe the 
proposed action, consider alternatives, identify and disclose potential 
environmental impacts of each alternative, and involve the public in 
the decision-making process. The resulting documents are primarily 
disclosure documents, and NEPA does not require or guide mitigation for 
impacts. Projects that are covered by certain ``categorical 
exclusions'' are exempt from NEPA biological evaluation. However, 
Federal agencies are not required to select the alternative having the 
least significant environmental impacts. A Federal agency may select an 
action that will adversely affect sensitive species provided that these 
effects were known and identified in a NEPA document.
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA 1970, as amended) 
requires disclosure of potential environmental impacts of public or 
private projects carried out or authorized by all non-Federal agencies 
in California. CEQA guidelines require a finding of significance if the 
project has the potential to ``reduce the number or restrict the range 
of an endangered, rare or threatened species'' (CEQA Guideline 15065). 
The lead agency can either require mitigation for unavoidable 
significant effects, or decide that overriding considerations make 
mitigation infeasible (CEQA Guideline 21002), although such overrides 
are rare. CEQA can provide some protections for a species that, 
although not listed as threatened or endangered, meets one of several 
criteria for rarity (CEQA Guideline 15380). For example, the Monte 
Sereno project (see specific project description (1) under Factor A 
above) impacted approximately 39 ac (16 ha) of occupied habitat. 
Impacts to Casey's June beetle were expected to be mitigated by payment 
of $600 per acre (total of $24,780) to the City of Palm Springs or a 
habitat conservation entity designated by the city for 41.3 ac (16.7 
ha) of ``potential'' Casey's June beetle habitat (Dudek and Associates 
2001, p. 24). However, no specific use of the funds for mitigation was 
specified (Dudek and Associates 2001, p. 24), and to our knowledge, no 
appropriate habitat has been conserved for Casey's June beetle to 
offset the Monte Sereno project impacts.
    Examples of the limitation of CEQA to protect Casey's June beetle 
can also be found with Smoke Tree Ranch properties. In 2006, the City 
of Palm Springs issued a mitigated negative CEQA declaration for Smoke 
Tree Ranch Cottages (see specific project description (3) under Factor 
A above) (City of Palm Springs 2006, p. 2), finding ``no significant 
impact'' to Casey's June beetle, even though at least 7 ac (3 ha) of 
habitat was to be developed that Cornett's study (2004, pp. 18-27) 
identified as occupied. Another example includes the Smoketree Commons 
shopping center (see specific project description (4) under Factor A 
above). The project's Environmental Impact Review (EIR; Pacific 
Municipal Consultants 2005, p. 9) stated that the City of Palm Springs 
was responsible for enforcing and monitoring Casey's June beetle 
mitigation measures prior to issuance of a grading permit, including 
recording a conservation easement and developing a management plan for 
Casey's June beetle on conserved habitat. An easement was established; 
however, no management plan was drafted prior to issuance of the 
grading permit, and no monitoring or management activities are assured 
(Ewing 2007, p. 1).
    We were unable to obtain copies of the Alturas development project 
EIR for review (see Factor A above, and Tribal discussion below) from 
the City of Palm Springs Planning Department or the author (Terra Nova 
Consulting). The project has completed the environmental review, and 
the project proponent has a tentative tract number with the City of 
Palm Springs (tentative tract number 30047).
    The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) provides protections 
for many species of plants, animals, and some invertebrate species. 
However, insect species, such as the Casey's June beetle, are afforded 
no protection under the CESA. This is a further example of an existing 
regulatory mechanism that does not provide for the protection of the 
Casey's June beetle or its habitat.
    Reservation lands of the Agua Caliente Tribe encompass 257 ac (104 
ha), approximately 45 percent of estimated extant Casey's June beetle 
habitat (RA and CdC soils; Anderson and Love 2007, pp. 1-3). All post-
1996 development of occupied habitat, with the exception of the 17-ac 
(7-ha) Smoke Tree Commons project, has occurred on Tribal reservation 
land (see Factor A above). Because the remaining 163 ac (66 ha) of 
upland habitat (CdC soils) on Tribal reservation lands are relatively

[[Page 36641]]

flat and adjacent to or surrounded by recent development (Anderson and 
Love 2007, pp. 1-3), some of these lands are currently approved for 
development (Alturas project discussed above), and will likely continue 
to be targeted for development in the future.
    While development on Tribal lands is sometimes subject to NEPA (42 
U.S.C. 4321-4347), impacts to Casey's June beetle may not always be 
considered during the NEPA process. The inadequacy of NEPA to protect 
occupied Casey's June beetle habitat is demonstrated by the extent of 
development that has occurred over the past 5 years on Tribal lands in 
occupied habitat (see Factor A above).
    In a letter to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office's Field 
Supervisor dated October 10, 2006, the Tribe stated that they had `` * 
* * enacted a Tribal Environmental Policy Act to, among other things, 
ensure protection of natural resources and the environment. See Tribal 
Ordinance No. 28 at I.B., (2000).'' We have reviewed the referenced 
Tribal Environmental Policy Act (Tribal Act) (Tribe 2000) and found the 
Tribal Act to be general, stating that the Tribe is the lead agency for 
preparing environmental review documents, and that Tribal policy is to 
protect the natural environment, including ``all living things.'' 
According to the Tribal Act (Tribe 2000, p. 4), the Tribe will consult 
with any Federal, State, and local agency that has special expertise 
with respect to environmental impacts. Occupancy of the Bogert Trail 
site in the vicinity of South Palm Canyon Drive on Tribal land (Duff 
1990, pp. 2-3, 4; Barrows and Fisher 2000, p. 1; Cornett 2004, p. 3; 
Hovore 1997b, p. 4; Hovore 2003, p. 4) has been greatly reduced, if not 
eliminated, by development since our receipt of the petition in 2004 
(see Factor A above). The Alta and Monte Serano development projects 
eliminated most of the species' upland habitat outside of Smoke Tree 
Ranch estimated to be occupied in 2003. Frank Hovore (2003, p. 4) 
estimated that grading for the Alta project near South Palm Canyon 
Drive in May 2003 reduced the extant Casey's June beetle population 
size by ``about one-third.''
    The Service was not consulted regarding Casey's June beetle prior 
to the recent development of the Alta and Monte Serano projects in 
occupied Casey's June beetle habitat; therefore, the Tribal Act does 
not appear to effectively protect the species' habitat. The Chief 
Planning and Development Officer for the Tribe (Davis 2007, p. 1) 
affirmed that the Tribal Act does not apply to all Tribal reservation 
lands; for example, the currently planned Alturas development project 
(see Factor A above) is not covered, because it is ``fee land.'' 
Although environmental review documents (CEQA EIRs) were prepared by 
consultants and reviewed by the City of Palm Springs, the Tribe did not 
participate in the review or comment with regard to Casey's June beetle 
(Davis 2007, p. 1). The Service will continue to work with the Tribe to 
obtain any other information that illustrates how Tribal actions or 
policies would help conserve Casey's June beetle habitat and protect 
the species; however, we have not documented the protection of occupied 
Casey's June beetle habitat from development on Tribal reservation 
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs)
    Some non-Federal lands within the purported historical range of 
Casey's June beetle are proposed for management under the Coachella 
Valley Association of Governments Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). A 
supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/EIR on the revised 
plan was made available to the public March 30, 2007 (72 FR 15148), and 
the public comment period closed May 29, 2007. Although Casey's June 
beetle was initially considered for coverage under the MSHCP, the March 
2007 release of the final MSHCP, final EIR, and final implementing 
agreement did not include Casey's June beetle as a covered species. 
Because it is not a covered species, the MSHCP will not provide for 
protection or conservation of Casey's June beetle.
    We continue to work with the Tribe on a HCP proposed to cover other 
imperiled species that may be impacted by development activities on 
Tribal land. At a meeting on March 7, 2007, the Tribe indicated a 
willingness to consider including Casey's June beetle in their plan; 
however, the current draft Tribal HCP does not include coverage of 
Casey's June beetle. Therefore, we currently do not anticipate 
conservation measures benefiting Casey's June beetle to result from 
this HCP. However, we have analyzed inclusion of Casey's June beetle as 
a covered species in the Tribal HCP as one of multiple alternatives in 
the draft EIS, which will be available for public review and comment 
during the summer of 2007. Because Casey's June beetle is not included 
as a covered species at this time, we do not consider the draft Tribal 
HCP will provide a conservation benefit to Casey's June beetle.
Candidate Conservation Agreements
    Given the non-inclusion of Casey's June beetle in the final 
Coachella Valley MSHCP and draft Agua Caliente Tribal HCP, the Service 
has been working with Smoke Tree Ranch to develop a Candidate 
Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) to address Casey's June 
beetle conservation. As indicated in comprehensive scientific survey 
report range estimates (Simonsen-Marchant and Marchant 2001, p. 6; 
Cornett 2004, p. 13), Smoke Tree Ranch supports a substantial portion 
of known occupied Casey's June beetle habitat, including a portion of 
the property currently identified in Smoke Tree Ranch codes, covenants, 
and restrictions as ``open space.'' The Service will continue to work 
cooperatively with Smoke Tree Ranch to complete and implement a CCAA 
for Casey's June beetle. The use of a CCAA can be an effective tool to 
conserve species in the absence of listing as threatened or endangered 
under the Act. For example, a CCAA can limit the use of bug-zappers or 
pesticides near occupied habitat or can mandate monitoring and adaptive 
management. However, until such time as a CCAA is completed, current 
regulatory mechanisms at Smoke Tree Ranch are inadequate to ensure 
conservation of the species. This CCAA will not be completed before the 
publication of this 12-month finding.
Summary of Factor D
    Removal of occupied habitat by projects in the Bogert Trail area 
after the 2004 submission of the petition to list Casey's June beetle 
as endangered, and other recent and proposed development in occupied 
habitat, demonstrates existing regulatory mechanisms are not adequate 
to protect remaining occupied and essential Casey's June beetle 
habitat. Therefore, we find that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms presents a threat to the survival of Casey's June beetle.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued 
Existence of the Species

    The one known remaining Casey's June beetle population in south 
Palm Springs also may be threatened by other natural or 
anthropogenically influenced factors, primarily increased intensity and 
frequency of scouring events in wash habitat. However, there is little 
species-specific scientific information describing the potential for 
these threats, and these issues should be the subject of future 
    Urban development adjacent to natural creek beds or washes

[[Page 36642]]

concentrates stream flow by constraining channel width, thereby 
increasing the speed of water flowing past a given location 
(hydrograph; cubic feet per second) (Leroy et al., p. 772). Therefore, 
although no relevant hydrographic data is available for occupied areas 
of Palm Canyon Wash prior to 1988 (existing levees were already 
constructed; Anderson 2007, p. 9), it can be assumed that development 
adjacent to Palm Canyon Wash and associated flood-control levees has 
increased the intensity of scouring events believed by Hovore (2003, p. 
11) and Cornett (2004, p. 14) to temporarily eliminate Casey's June 
beetles within Palm Canyon Wash. As a result, increased impacts of 
flood scouring to the one remaining population, already impacted and 
threatened by development, must be considered a significant 
contributing factor to the species' extinction probability.
    Casey's June beetle is sensitive to changes in climate factors such 
as wind, temperature (for example, drying of alluvial soils), 
precipitation, and catastrophic flood events (Noss et al. 2001, p. 42; 
La Rue 2006, p. 2). As discussed above, increased intensity and 
frequency of flooding and scouring events in Palm Canyon Wash is of 
particular concern for Casey's June beetle. The frequency of heavy 
precipitation events has increased over most land areas (typically 
post-1960), consistent with warming and observed increases of 
atmospheric water vapor, and it is ``very likely'' (90 percent 
confidence) that heavy precipitation will become even more frequent 
(IPCC 2007, pp. 2 and 8-9). A review of literature and historic climate 
data (Anderson 2007, pp. 1-6) indicates Coachella Valley precipitation, 
peak stream flow (hydrograph; cubic feet per second) in Palm Canyon, 
and other weather patterns since 1950 have been locally consistent with 
global patterns reported by the IPCC (2007 p. 2, pp. 8-9 and 15). 
Therefore, it is likely that the severity and frequency of heavy 
precipitation events will increase in the area.
Summary of Factor E
    The one remaining Casey's June beetle population in southern Palm 
Springs is likely threatened with extirpation in part by increased 
intensity and frequency of catastrophic flood events. We, therefore, 
find that other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species present a likely threat to the survival of 
Casey's June beetle.


    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by this species. We reviewed the petition, available published 
and unpublished scientific and commercial information, and information 
submitted to us during the public comment period following the 
publication of our 90-day petition finding. This 12-month finding 
reflects and incorporates information we received during the public 
comment period, or obtained through consultation, literature research, 
and field visits, and responds to significant issues. We also consulted 
with recognized Casey's June beetle experts. On the basis of this 
review, we find that the listing of Casey's June beetle is warranted, 
due to threats associated with urban development, the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms, and other natural and manmade factors. 
However, listing of Casey's June beetle is precluded at this time by 
pending proposals for other species with higher listing priorities 
based on taxonomic uniqueness (that is, the only species described for 
the genus).
    In making this finding, we recognize that there have been declines 
in the distribution and abundance of Casey's June beetle, primarily 
attributed to suburban development and habitat alteration (Factor A). 
From 1991 to 2006, Casey's June beetle experienced an estimated 25 
percent reduction in contiguous, undeveloped habitat from 770 ac (312 
ha) in 1991 to 576 ac (233 ha) in 2006. Habitat loss has been greatest 
in recent years. From 1991 to 1996, habitat was lost at a rate of 2 
percent per year; from 1996 to 2003, at a rate of 1 percent per year; 
and from 2003 to 2006, at a rate of 5 percent per year. An additional 9 
percent of apparent key refugia habitat will be impacted by development 
in 2007. At this rate, we could expect all remaining habitat will be 
lost within 20 years. Recent trends and projected development 
information indicate that all Casey's June beetle habitat continues to 
be threatened with further loss, degradation, and fragmentation, 
resulting in a negative impact on species' distribution and abundance. 
Federal (NEPA) and State (CEQA) regulations have not been adequate to 
prevent or minimize the loss of occupied habitat, as evidenced by 
recent development projects in occupied habitat. Although protections 
for occupied habitat under a Smoke Tree Ranch CCAA and a Tribal HCP are 
under consideration, these agreements have not been finalized (Factor 
D). Increased intensity and frequency of scouring events in wash 
habitat are threats that have likely contributed to decline of the 
species (Factor E). Since this finding is warranted but precluded, we 
do not need to specifically determine whether it is appropriate to 
perform a ``significant portion of the range'' analysis for this 
species. However, due to the restricted nature of Casey's June beetle's 
range, we generally consider all of the remaining range to be 
significant for the conservation of this species. Because of a small 
and restricted population distribution, and because of threats 
described above, Casey's June beetle should be listed as threatened or 
endangered throughout its entire range. We will review whether to list 
as threatened or endangered during the proposed listing rule process.

Preclusion and Expeditious Progress

    Preclusion is a function of the listing priority of a species in 
relation to the resources that are available and competing demands for 
those resources. Thus, in any given fiscal year (FY), multiple factors 
dictate whether it will be possible to undertake work on a proposed 
listing regulation or whether promulgation of such a proposal is 
warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions.
    The resources available for listing actions are determined through 
the annual Congressional appropriations process. The appropriation for 
the Listing Program is available to support work involving the 
following listing actions: proposed and final listing rules; 90-day and 
12-month findings on petitions to add species to the Lists or to change 
the status of a species from threatened to endangered; resubmitted 
petition findings; proposed and final rules designating critical 
habitat; and litigation-related, administrative, and program management 
functions (including preparing and allocating budgets, responding to 
Congressional and public inquiries, and conducting public outreach 
regarding listing and critical habitat). The work involved in preparing 
various listing documents can be extensive and may include, but is not 
limited to: gathering and assessing the best scientific and commercial 
data available and conducting analyses used as the basis for our 
decisions; writing and publishing documents; and obtaining, reviewing, 
and evaluating public comments and peer review comments on proposed 
rules and incorporating relevant information into final rules. The 
number of listing actions that we can undertake in a given

[[Page 36643]]

year also is influenced by the complexity of those listing actions, 
that is, more complex actions generally are more costly. For example, 
during the past several years, the cost (excluding publication costs) 
for preparing a 12-month finding, without a proposed rule, has ranged 
from approximately $11,000 for one species with a restricted range and 
involving a relatively uncomplicated analysis, to $305,000 for another 
species that is wide-ranging and involved a complex analysis.
    We cannot spend more than is appropriated for the Listing Program 
without violating the Anti-Deficiency Act (see 31 U.S.C. 
1341(a)(1)(A)). In addition, in FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since 
then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds which may be 
expended for the Listing Program, equal to the amount expressly 
appropriated for that purpose in that fiscal year. This cap was 
designed to prevent funds appropriated for other functions under the 
Act, or for other Service programs, from being used for Listing Program 
actions (see House Report 105-163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 
    Recognizing that designation of critical habitat for species 
already listed would consume most of the overall Listing Program 
appropriation, Congress also put a critical habitat subcap in place in 
FY 2002 and has retained it each subsequent year to ensure that some 
funds are available for other work in the Listing Program: ``The 
critical habitat designation subcap will ensure that some funding is 
available to address other listing activities'' (House Report No. 107-
103, 107th Congress, 1st Session, June 19, 2001). In FY 2002 and each 
year since then, the Service has had to use virtually the entire 
critical habitat subcap to address court-mandated designations of 
critical habitat, and consequently none of the critical habitat subcap 
funds have been available for other listing activities.
    Thus, through the listing cap, the critical habitat subcap, and the 
amount of funds needed to address court-mandated critical habitat 
designations, Congress and the courts have in effect determined the 
amount of money available for other listing activities. Therefore, the 
funds in the listing cap, other than those needed to address court-
mandated critical habitat for already listed species, set the limits on 
our determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress.
    Congress also recognized that the availability of resources was the 
key element in deciding whether, when making a 12-month petition 
finding, we would prepare and issue a listing proposal or make a 
``warranted but precluded'' finding for a given species. The Conference 
Report accompanying Public Law 97-304, which established the current 
statutory deadlines and the warranted-but-precluded finding, states (in 
a discussion on 90-day petition findings that by its own terms also 
covers 12-month findings) that the deadlines were ``not intended to 
allow the Secretary to delay commencing the rulemaking process for any 
reason other than that the existence of pending or imminent proposals 
to list species subject to a greater degree of threat would make 
allocation of resources to such a petition [i.e., for a lower-ranking 
species] unwise.'' Taking into account the information presented above, 
in FY 2007, the outer parameter within which ``expeditious progress'' 
must be measured is that amount of progress that could be achieved by 
spending $5,193,000, which is the amount available in the Listing 
Program appropriation that is not within the critical habitat subcap.
    Our process is to make our determinations of preclusion on a 
nationwide basis to ensure that the species most in need of listing 
will be addressed first and also because we allocate our listing budget 
on a nationwide basis. However, through court orders and court-approved 
settlements, Federal district courts have mandated that we must 
complete certain listing activities with respect to specified species 
and have established the schedules by which we must complete those 
activities. The species involved in these court-mandated listing 
activities are not always those that we have identified as being most 
in need of listing. As described below, a large majority of the 
$5,193,000 appropriation available in FY 2007 for new listings of 
species is being consumed by court-mandated listing activities; by 
ordering or sanctioning these actions, the courts essentially 
determined that these were the highest priority actions to be 
undertaken with available funding. Copies of the court orders and 
settlement agreements referred to below are available from the Service 
and are part of our administrative record.
    The FY 2007 appropriation of $5,193,000 for listing activities 
(that is, the portion of the Listing Program funding not related to 
critical habitat designations for species that already are listed) is 
fully allocated to fund work in the following categories of actions in 
the Listing Program: compliance with court orders and court-approved 
settlement agreements requiring that petition findings or listing 
determinations be completed by a specific date; section 4 (of the Act) 
listing actions with absolute statutory deadlines; essential 
litigation-related and administrative- and program-management 
functions; and a few high-priority listing actions. The allocations for 
each specific listing action are identified in the Service's FY 2007 
Allocation Table. While more funds are available in FY 2007 than in 
previous years to work on listing actions that were not the subject of 
court-orders or court-approved settlement agreements, based on the 
available funds and their allocation for these purposes, only limited 
FY 2007 funds are available for work on proposed listing determinations 
for the following high-priority candidate species: two Oahu plants 
(Doryopteris takeuchii, Melicope hiiakae), seven Kauai plants 
(Chamaesyce eleanoriae, Charpentiera densiflora, Melicope degeneri, 
Myrsine mezii, Pritchardia hardyi, Psychotria grandiflora, Schiedea 
attenuata) and four Hawaiian damselflies (Megalagrion nesiotes, 
Megalagrion leptodemas, Megalagrion oceanicum, Megalagrion pacificum). 
These species have all been assigned a listing priority number (LPN) of 
    Our decision that a proposed rule to list Casey's June beetle is 
warranted but precluded includes consideration of its listing priority. 
In accordance with guidance we published on September 21, 1983, we 
assign a LPN to each candidate species (48 FR 43098). Such a priority 
ranking guidance system is required under section 4(h)(3) of the Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1533(h)(3)). Using this guidance, we assign each candidate a 
LPN of 1 to 12, depending on the magnitude of threats, imminence of 
threats, and taxonomic status; the lower the listing priority number, 
the higher the listing priority (that is, a species with an LPN of 1 
would have the highest listing priority). The threats described above 
for Casey's June beetle occur across its entire range, resulting in a 
negative impact on the species' distribution and abundance. We assigned 
Casey's June beetle an LPN of 2, based on threats that were of a high 
magnitude and imminent, and on its taxonomic status as a species. We 
currently have more than 120 species with an LPN of 2 (see Table 1 of 
the September 12, 2006, Notice of Review; 71 FR 53756). As such, the 
1983 listing priority number system is not adequate to differentiate 
sufficiently among species based on their degree of extinction risk. 
Therefore, we further ranked the candidate species with an LPN of 2 by 
using the following extinction-risk type criteria: IUCN Red list 
status/rank, Heritage rank (provided

[[Page 36644]]

by NatureServe), Heritage threat rank (provided by NatureServe), and 
species currently with fewer than 50 individuals, or 4 or fewer 
populations. Those species with the highest IUCN rank (critically 
endangered), the highest Heritage rank (G1), the highest Heritage 
threat rank (substantial, imminent threats), and currently with fewer 
than 50 individuals, or fewer than 4 populations comprise a list of 
approximately 40 candidate species (``Top 40'') that have the highest 
priority to receive funding to work on a proposed listing 
determination. For the next two years, we have funded proposed listings 
for species in the Top 40. Casey's June beetle is precluded by those 
species we have funded.
    As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but 
precluded also must demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made 
to add and remove qualified species to the Lists. (We note that in this 
finding we do not discuss specific actions taken on progress towards 
removing species from the Lists because that work is conducted using 
appropriations for our Recovery program, a separately budgeted 
component of the Endangered Species Program. As explained above in our 
description of the statutory cap on Listing Program funds, the Recovery 
Program funds and actions supported by them cannot be considered in 
determining expeditious progress made in the Listing Program.) As with 
our ``precluded'' finding, expeditious progress in adding qualified 
species to the Lists is a function of the resources available and the 
competing demands for those funds. Our expeditious progress in FY 2007 
in the Listing Program, up to the date of making this 12-month finding 
for Casey's June beetle, included preparing and publishing the 

                                FY 2007 Completed Listing Actions as of 06/6/2007
         Publication date                         Title                   Species/actions          FR Pages
10/11/2006.......................  Withdrawal of the Proposed Rule to   Final withdrawal,    71 FR 59700-59711.
                                    List the Cow Head Tui Chub (Gila     Threats eliminated.
                                    biocolor vaccaceps) as Endangered.
10/11/2006.......................  Revised 12-Month Finding for the     Notice of 12-month   71 FR 59711-59714.
                                    Beaver Cave Beetle                   petition finding,
                                    (Pseudanophthalmus major); Not       Not warranted.
11/14/2006.......................  12-Month Finding on a Petition to    Notice of 12-month   71 FR 66292-66298.
                                    List the Island Marble Butterfly     petition finding,
                                    (Euchloe ausonides insulanus) as     Not warranted.
                                    Threatened or Endangered.
11/14/2006.......................  90-Day Finding for a Petition to     Notice of 90-day     71 FR 66298-66301.
                                    List the Kennebec River Population   petition finding,
                                    of Anadromous Atlantic Salmon as     Substantial.
                                    Part of the Endangered Gulf Of
                                    Maine Distinct Population Segment.
11/21/2006.......................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     71 FR 67318-67325.
                                    List the Columbian Sharp-Tailed      petition finding,
                                    Grouse as Threatened or Endangered.  Not substantial.
12/5/2006........................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     71 FR 70483-70492.
                                    List the Tricolored Blackbird as     petition finding,
                                    Threatened or Endangered.            Not substantial.
12/6/2006........................  12-Month Finding on a Petition To    Notice of 12-month   71 FR 70717-70733.
                                    List the Cerulean Warbler            petition finding,
                                    (Dendroica cerulea) as Threatened    Not warranted.
                                    with Critical Habitat.
12/6/2006........................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     71 FR 70715-70717.
                                    List the Upper Tidal Potomac River   Petition Finding,
                                    Population of the Northern Water     Not substantial.
                                    Snake (Nerodia sipedon) as an
                                    Endangered Distinct Population
12/14/2006.......................  90-Day Finding on a Petition to      Notice of 5-year     71 FR 75215-75220.
                                    Remove the Uinta Basin Hookless      Review, Initiation.
                                    Cactus From the List of Endangered  Notice of 90-day
                                    and Threatened Plants; 90-Day        petition finding,
                                    Finding on a Petition To List the    Not substantial.
                                    Pariette Cactus as Threatened or    Notice of 90-day
                                    Endangered.                          petition finding,
12/19/2006.......................  Withdrawal of Proposed Rule to List  Notice of            71 FR 76023-76035.
                                    Penstemon grahamii (Graham's         withdrawal, More
                                    beardtongue) as Threatened With      abundant than
                                    Critical Habitat.                    believed, or
                                                                         diminished threats.
12/19/2006.......................  90-Day Finding on Petitions to List  Notice of 90-day     71 FR 76057-76079.
                                    the Mono Basin Area Population of    petition finding,
                                    the Greater Sage-Grouse as           Not substantial.
                                    Threatened or Endangered.
1/9/2007.........................  12-Month Petition Finding and        Notice of 12-month   72 FR 1063-1099.
                                    Proposed Rule To List the Polar      petition finding,
                                    Bear (Ursus maritimus) as            Warranted.
                                    Threatened Throughout Its Range;    Proposed Listing,
                                    Proposed Rule.                       Threatened.
1/10/2007........................  Endangered and Threatened Wildlife   Notice of Guidance.  72 FR 1186-1189.
                                    and Plants; Clarification of
                                    Significant Portion of the Range
                                    for the Contiguous United States
                                    Distinct Population Segment of the
                                    Canada Lynx.
1/12/2007........................  Withdrawal of Proposed Rule To List  Notice of            72 FR 1621-1644.
                                    Lepidium papilliferum (Slickspot     withdrawal, More
                                    Peppergrass) Proposed rule;          abundant than
                                    withdrawal.                          believed, or
                                                                         diminished threats.
2/2/2007.........................  12-Month Finding on a Petition To    Notice of 12-month   72 FR 4967-4997.
                                    List the American Eel as             petition finding,
                                    Threatened or Endangered.            Not warranted.
2/8/2007.........................  Final Rule Designating the Western   Final Deferred date  72 FR 6051-6103.
                                    Great Lakes Populations of Gray     Final Delisting,
                                    Wolves as a Distinct Population      Recovered.
                                    Segment; Removing the Western       Final Listing,
                                    Great Lakes Distinct Population      Endangered.
                                    Segment of the Gray Wolf From the
                                    List of Endangered and Threatened
2/13/2007........................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     72 FR 6699-6703.
                                    List the Jollyville Plateau          petition finding,
                                    Salamander as Endangered.            Substantial.

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2/13/2007........................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     72 FR 6703-6707.
                                    List the San Felipe Gambusia as      petition finding,
                                    Threatened or Endangered.            Not substantial.
2/14/2007........................  90-Day Finding on A Petition to      Notice of 90-day     72 FR 6998-7005.
                                    List Astragalus debequaeus           petition finding,
                                    (DeBeque milkvetch) as Threatened    Not substantial.
                                    or Endangered.
2/21/2007........................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 5-year     72 FR 7843-7852.
                                    Reclassify the Utah Prairie Dog      Review, Initiation.
                                    From Threatened to Endangered and   Notice of 90-day
                                    Initiation of a 5-Year Review.       petition finding,
                                                                         Not substantial.
3/8/2007.........................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     72 FR 10477-10480.
                                    List the Monongahela River Basin     petition finding,
                                    Population of the Longnose Sucker    Not substantial.
                                    as Endangered.
3/29/2007........................  Final Rule Designating the Greater   Final delisting,     72 FR 14865-14938.
                                    Yellowstone Area Population of       Recovered Final
                                    Grizzly Bears as a Distinct          listing,
                                    Population Segment; Removing the     Threatened.
                                    Yellowstone Distinct Population
                                    Segment of Grizzly Bears From the
                                    Federal List of Endangered and
                                    Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day
                                    Finding on a Petition To List as
                                    Endangered the Yellowstone
                                    Distinct Population Segment of
                                    Grizzly Bears.
03/29/2007.......................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     72 FR 14750-14759.
                                    List the Siskiyou Mountains          petition finding,
                                    Salamander and Scott Bar             Substantial.
                                    Salamander as Threatened or
04/04/2007.......................  Adding Four Marine Taxa to the List  Final listing,       72 FR 16284-16286.
                                    of Endangered and Threatened         Endangered; Final
                                    Wildlife (Southern Distinct          listing,
                                    Population Segment (DPS) of green    Threatened.
                                    sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris),
                                    staghorn (Acropora cervicornis)
                                    and elkhorn (Acropora palmata)
                                    corals, and the Southern Resident
                                    killer whale DPS (Orcinus orca)).
04/24/2007.......................  Revised 12-Month Finding for Upper   Notice of 12-month   72 FR 20305-20314.
                                    Missouri River Distinct Population   petition finding,
                                    Segment of Fluvial Arctic Grayling.  Not warranted.
05/02/2007.......................  12-Month Finding on a Petition to    Notice of 12-month   72 FR 24253-24263.
                                    List the Sand Mountain Blue          petition finding,
                                    Butterfly (Euphilotes pallescens     Not warranted.
                                    ssp. arenamontana) as Threatened
                                    or Endangered with Critical
05/30/2007.......................  90-Day Finding on a Petition To      Notice of 90-day     72 FR 29933-29941.
                                    List the Mt. Charleston Blue         petition finding,
                                    Butterfly as Threatened or           Substantial.

    Our expeditious progress also includes work on listing actions for 
29 species for which decisions have not been completed as of the date 
we made this 12-month finding for Casey's June beetle. These actions 
are listed below; we are conducting work on those actions in the top 
section of the table pursuant to a deadline set by a court and on all 
other actions pursuant to meeting statutory timelines, that is, 
timelines required under the Act:

         Listing Actions Funded But Not Yet Completed in FY2007
                Species                               Action
           Actions Subject to Court Order/Settlement Agreement
Wolverine..............................  12-month petition finding
Western sage grouse....................  90-day petition finding
Queen Charlotte goshawk................  Final listing determination.
Rio Grande cutthroat trout.............  12-month petition finding
Sierra Nevada distinct population        12-month petition finding
 segment mountain yellow-legged frog.     (remand).
                        Statutory Listing Actions
Polar bear.............................  Final listing determination.
Ozark chinquapin.......................  90-day petition finding.
Kokanee................................  90-day petition finding.
Goose Creek milkvetch..................  90-day petition finding.
Utah prairie dog.......................  90-day petition finding.
Black-footed albatross.................  90-day petition finding.
Tucson shovel-nosed snake..............  90-day petition finding.
Gopher tortoise--Florida population....  90-day petition finding.
Sacramento Valley tiger beetle.........  90-day petition finding.
Eagle lake trout.......................  90-day petition finding.
Smooth billed ani......................  90-day petition finding.
Mojave ground squirrel.................  90-day petition finding.
Gopher tortoise--Eastern population....  90-day petition finding.
Bay Springs salamander.................  90-day petition finding.
Tehachapi slender salamander...........  90-day petition finding.
Coaster brook trout....................  90-day petition finding.
Mojave fringe-toed lizard..............  90-day petition finding.

[[Page 36646]]

Evening primrose.......................  90-day petition finding.
Palm Springs pocket mouse..............  90-day petition finding.
Northern leopard frog..................  90-day petition finding.
Mountain whitefish--Big Lost River       90-day petition finding.
Giant Palouse earthworm................  90-day petition finding.
Shrike, Island loggerhead..............  90-day petition finding.
Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl...........  90-day petition finding.
    2 Oahu plants......................  Proposed listing.
    7 Kauai plants.....................  Proposed listing.
    4 Hawaiian damselflies.............  Proposed listing.

    We have endeavored to make our listing actions as efficient and 
timely as possible, given the requirements of the relevant laws and 
regulations, and constraints relating to workload and personnel. We are 
continually considering ways to streamline processes or achieve 
economies of scale, such as by batching related actions together. Given 
our limited budget for implementing section 4 of the Act, the actions 
described above collectively constitute expeditious progress.


    We will add Casey's June beetle to the list of candidate species 
upon publication of this notice of 12-month finding. We request that 
interested parties submit any new information on status and threats for 
this species. Natural history and distribution information in 
particular will help us monitor and focus habitat conservation of this 
species. Should an emergency situation develop with this or any 
candidate species, we will act to provide immediate protection, if 
    We intend that any proposed listing action for Casey's June beetle 
will be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we will continue to accept 
additional information and comments from all concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this finding.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited is available on request 
from the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES above).


    The primary author of this document is Alison Anderson of the 
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES above).


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

    Dated: June 28, 2007.
Kevin Adams,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E7-13031 Filed 7-3-07; 8:45 am]