[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 56 (Wednesday, March 23, 2011)]
[Pages 16439-16440]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-6638]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2011-N007; 40120-1113-0000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of a Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan for Gentian 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for public comment.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of the technical/agency draft recovery plan for the endangered gentian 
pinkroot (Spigelia gentianoides). The draft recovery plan includes 
specific recovery objectives and criteria the species would have to 
meet in order for us to downlist it to threatened status under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We request review and 
comment on this draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal 
agencies, and the public.

DATES: In order to be considered, we must receive comments on the draft 
recovery plan on or before May 23, 2011.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review this technical/agency draft recovery 
plan, you may obtain a copy by contacting Dr. Vivian Negron-Ortiz, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Panama City Field Office, 1601 Balboa Ave, 
Panama City, FL 32405; tel. (850) 769-0552; or by visiting either the 
Service's recovery plan Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans or the Panama City Field Office Web site at http://www.fws.gov/panamacity/. If you wish to comment, you may submit your 
comments by one of the following methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and materials to Dr. Negron-
Ortiz, at the above address.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Panama City Field 
Office, at the above address, or fax them to (850) 763-2177.
    3. You may send comments by e-mail to vivian_negronortiz@fws.gov.
    For additional information about submitting comments, see the 
``Request for Public Comments'' section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Negron-Ortiz at the above 
addresses or by telephone: (850) 769-0552, ext. 231.



    Spigelia gentianoides was listed as endangered under the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) on November 26, 1990 (55 FR 49046). A plant, S. 
gentianoides, comprises two varieties: Var. gentianoides is restricted 
to five locations within three counties in the Florida Panhandle and 
southern Alabama, and var. alabamensis is a narrow endemic limited to 
the Bibb County Glades in Alabama. The loss or alteration of habitat is 
thought to be the primary reason for the species' decline. The extant 
plants of var. gentianoides are located in fire-dependent longleaf 
pine-wiregrass and pine-oak-hickory ecosystems. Much of this habitat 
has been reduced in its range, converted to pine plantation, and 
managed without fire. Some of the glades in which var. alabamensis is 
located are owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy. This variety 
is threatened by potential development of privately owned glades (open, 
almost treeless areas within woodlands).
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of our endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we prepare recovery plans for most listed species. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting, and

[[Page 16440]]

estimate time and cost for implementing recovery measures.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide a 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during 
recovery plan development. We will consider all information presented 
during a public comment period prior to approval of each new or revised 
recovery plan. We and other Federal agencies will take these comments 
into account in the course of implementing approved recovery plans.

Recovery Plan Components

    The objective of this plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of gentian pinkroot, so that protection under the Act is no 
longer necessary. Defining reasonable delisting criteria is not 
possible at this time given the current low number of populations and 
individuals, the lack of information about the species' biology, and 
the magnitude of current threats from development. Therefore, this 
recovery plan establishes downlisting criteria for S. gentianoides so 
that it may be reclassified to threatened status.
    The recovery of S. gentianoides is challenging because our 
knowledge about the species' biology is limited. Therefore, surveying; 
monitoring; demographic studies; improving management protocols, 
including the establishment of fire management regimes; and securing 
extant populations are the most immediate priorities.
    Downlisting of S. gentianoides from endangered to threatened status 
will be considered when: (1) Extant populations and newly discovered 
sites are identified and mapped; (2) inventories on the total number of 
individuals, number of flowering vs. non-flowering plants, presence of 
pollinators, and whether seedling recruitment is occurring have been 
conducted across the species' historic sites and/or on new locations; 
(3) monitoring programs and management protocols on selected 
populations (e.g., populations with largest number of individuals) are 
established for at least 15 years to track threats to the species and 
habitat (e.g., control exotic species, minimize site disturbance and 
urban development); (4) the extant populations (including 
subpopulations at the Ketona Glades, Bibb County, Alabama) located on 
public land are stable (where fertility and mortality are constant) for 
at least 15 years; (5) the minimum viable population has been 
determined for each variety using population viability analyses (PVA); 
(6) research on key aspects related to demography (e.g., density, 
effect of fire on seedling establishment), reproductive biology, and 
seed ecology is accomplished; and (7) viable germplasm representing > 
50 percent of the populations for each variety is maintained in ex 
situ. In addition, the following specific actions must be completed for 
each variety:
    Var. gentianoides: (1) Sizes of the four largest extant populations 
are increased via prescribed burns until plant numbers are stabilized 
over a period of 15 years; (2) at least one new population is found; 
and (3) at least one population is re-established within the historic 
range, specifically in the sites where the plants are currently known 
to be extirpated.
    Var. alabamensis: Fifty percent of the Bibb County glades known to 
support the variety on private land are protected through conservation 
agreements, easements, or land acquisition.
    Downlisting criteria will be reevaluated and delisting criteria 
will be created as new scientific data and information become available 
and recovery actions are implemented.

Request for Public Comments

    We request written comments on the recovery plan. We will consider 
all comments we receive by the date specified in DATES prior to final 
approval of the plan.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: January 4, 2011.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-6638 Filed 3-22-11; 8:45 am]