[Federal Register: March 23, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 55)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 13819-13825]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AE75

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Endangered Status for the Plant Fritillaria Gentneri (Gentner's 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposes 
endangered status pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act), for the plant, Fritillaria gentneri (Gentner's 
fritillary (=Mission-bells)). It is endemic to Oregon and only found in 
two counties, Jackson and Josephine. This taxa is threatened by 
residential development, agricultural activities, silvicultural 
activities, road and trail improvement, off-road vehicle use, 
collection for gardens, and increased risk of extinction due to small 
numbers. This proposal, if made final, would implement the Federal 
protection and recovery provisions afforded by the Act for this plant. 
The Service seeks data and comment from the public on this proposal.

DATES: Comments from all interested parties received by May 22, 1998 
will be considered by the Service. Public hearing requests must be 
received by May 7, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials concerning this proposal should be 
sent to the Field Supervisor, Oregon State Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2600 SE 98th Ave. Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266. 
Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrew F. Robinson Jr., Botantist, 
(see ADDRESSES section) (telephone 503/231-6179; facsimile 503/231-



    Fritillaria gentneri was discovered by the Gentner family and was 
first named by Helen M. Gilkey (1951). The original location was in the 
vicinity of Jacksonville, Jackson County, Oregon. It was previously 
considered a form of Fritillaria recurva but Guerrant (1992) identified 
Fritillaria gentneri as a separate species.
    Fritillaria gentneri is in the family Liliaceae. It has a fleshy 
bulb, robust stem, is 5 to 7 decimeters (dm) (19.7 to 27.6 inches (in)) 
high, glaucous (having a coating of bluish caste), and sometimes purple 
mottled. The leaves are lanceolate (arrow shaped), sometimes linear, 7 
to 15 centimeters (cm) (2.8 to 5.9 in) long, 0.7 to 1.5 cm (0.3 to 0.6 
in) wide at the base, and they are often whorled. The flowers are 
solitary or in bracted racemes (simply branched flower stem with a 
small simple leaf at the base of each branch), one to five on long 
pedicels (the stalk supporting a single flower). The campanulate (bell 
shaped) corolla is 3.5 to 4 cm (1.4 to 1.6 in) long and is reddish 
purple with pale yellow streaks (Gilkey 1951, Peck 1961, Meinke 1982).
    Fritillaria gentneri (Gentner's fritillary) is endemic to Oregon 
and known only from scattered localities in southwestern Oregon, along 
the Rogue and Illinois River drainages in Josephine and Jackson 
counties. Fritillaria gentneri occurs in rather dry open woodlands of 
fir or oak at elevations below approximately 1,360 meters (m) (4,450 
feet (ft)). The species is highly localized in a 48 kilometer (km) (30 
mile (mi)) radius of Jacksonville Cemetery. Seventy-three percent of 
the population of Fritillaria gentneri is distributed as a central 
cluster of individuals located within an 11 km (7 mi) radius of the 
Jacksonville Cemetery. The remaining plants occur as outliers of single 
individuals or occasional clusters of individuals sparsely distributed 
across the landscape.
    To analyze the species' trend and status given this sparse 
distribution, Fritillaria gentneri has been documented within 53 macro 
plots, which cover all known occurrences within the species range. The 
macro plot grid is based on dividing the landscape up into blocks 
starting initially with the 7.5' quadrangle map grid developed by the 
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Each 7.5' quadrangle map is further 
divided up into 225 blocks that are 0.5 by 0.5 minutes of latitude and 
longitude and approximately 64 hectares (ha) (157 acres (ac)) in size. 
Each of the 64 ha blocks are further subdivided into 25 cells (macro 
plots) that are 6 by 6 seconds of latitude and longitude (0.1 minute of 
latitude or longitude or approximately 0.1 mi (2.56 ha (6.3 ac) each). 
Each of the macro plots gets a unique code based on its latitude and 
longitude locations. Part of the code is based on USGS Ohio coding 
system for quadrangle maps. The rest of the code for identifying each 
of the 5,625 macro plots found within each USGS quadrangle map was 
developed by Dr. Andrew F. Robinson Jr. This system can be used any 
place in the United States to determine the macro plot code for a 
collection point based on the collection's point latitude and 
longitude. Fritillaria gentneri has been reported from all 53 of the 
identified macro plots but is extant in only 85 percent (45) of the 
macro plots. It has been extirpated from 2 of the 40 macro plots found 
within the central cluster, and nearly half (6) of the 13 occurrences 
outside of the central cluster of the species.
    Thirteen of the macro plots are on lands managed by the Medford 
District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); 2 plots are on an 
Oregon State Highway right-of-way, District 8; 3 plots are on lands 
managed by Southern Oregon University; 7 plots are on lands managed by 
the City of Jacksonville; and the other 25 plots are on lands under 
private ownership. Approximately half of the species' current 
distribution (20 out of 45 macro plots) is on private lands.
    Plant number estimates from the 45 extant sampling units varied 
from a low of 1 to a high of 100 (Pelton Road) individual plants within 
a macro plot. Estimated species population size from the 45 macro plots 
is 340 flowering plants, with 12 of the macro plots having only one 
plant each. The amount of habitat occupied within the macro plot varied 
from 1 square meter (10.75 square feet) to 1.2 hectares (3 ac).
    Fritillaria gentneri ranges from approximately 180 to 1,360 m (600 
to 4,450 ft) in elevation. Fritillaria gentneri is found in three 
habitat types: oak woodlands that are dominated by Oregon white oak 
(Quercus garryana); a mixed hardwood forest type dominated by 
California black oak (Quercus kelloggii), Oregon white oak, and madrone 
(Arbutus menziesii); and coniferous forested areas dominated by madrone 
and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) (J. Kagan, Oregon Natural 
Heritage Program, Portland, Oregon, pers. comm. 1997).
    Fritillaria gentneri typically grows in or on the edge of open 
woodlands with Oregon white oak and madrone as the most common 
overstory plants. Western yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Douglas-fir 
are also frequently present. White-leaved manzanita (Arctostaphylos 
viscida), buckbrush

[[Page 13820]]

(Ceanothus cuneatus), snowbrush (C. velutinus), plume tree (Cercocarpus 
betuloides), Sadler oak (Quercus sadleriana), and poison oak (Rhus 
diversiloba) are commonly encountered understory shrub species. Herb 
and forb layers are typical of those found in the Rogue Valley 
foothills: ashy rock cress (Arabis subpinnatifida), Rouge River 
milkvetch (Astragalus accidens hendersoni), fringed brome (Bromus 
ciliatus), Henderson's shootingstar (Dodecatheon hendersoni), 
California fescue (Festuca californica), Idaho fescue (F. idahoensis), 
woods strawberry (Fragaria vesca bracteata), mission bells (Fritillaria 
lanceolata), scarlet fritillaria (F. recurva), lewisia (Lewisia spp.), 
fineleaf biscuit-root (Lomatium utriculatum), Sandberg's bluegrass (Poa 
sandbergii), western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis), Suksdorf's 
romanzoffia (Romanzoffia suksdorfii), groundsel (Senecio spp.), 
checker-mallow (Sidalcea spp.), Lemmon's needle grass (Stipa lemmonii), 
and American vetch (Vicia americana). Fritillaria gentneri can also 
grow in open chaparral/grassland habitat, which is often found within 
or adjacent to the mixed hardwood forest type, but always where some 
wind or sun protection is provided by other shrubs. It does not grow on 
extremely droughty sites. For unknown reasons, much apparently suitable 
habitat within the species range is unoccupied.
    Rolle (1988e) stated that Fritillaria gentneri often grows in 
places that have experienced human disturbance and eventually became 
revegetated (e.g., old road cuts, alongside trails, bulldozer routes, 
old mounds left from past mining or other earth moving activities). At 
least 50 percent of the sites Rolle (1988e) has seen exhibited signs of 
previous disturbance. Earth-moving activity could spread bulblets and 
increase populations, but this has not been documented. The species 
seems to require some infrequent but regular level of disturbance such 
as would have occurred under the historic pattern of fire frequency in 
the Rogue and Illinois River valleys. Fritillaria gentneri is not an 
early colonizer of these sites but eventually takes advantage of the 
opening or edge effect created. It appears to be a mid-successional 
species in that it establishes in areas after other plants have 
colonized a disturbed area, but before taller more mature vegetation 
types become established and shade it out.
    Fritillaria gentneri is a perennial species that reproduces 
asexually by bulblets. The bulblets break off and form other plants. 
Fritillaria gentneri can reproduce sexually as well (Guerrant, Berry 
Botanic Garden Portland, Oregon, pers. comm. 1997). Guerrant believes 
that the pollinators are hummingbirds or bumble bees. Guerrant (1992) 
sampled eight clusters and found a few plants that had seeds but there 
were not any obvious embryos. He stated that Fritillaria gentneri may 
possibly be sterile, that the plant is largely reproducing asexually, 
and that the sexual reproduction of the plant needs to be better 

Previous Federal Action

    Federal government actions on Fritillaria gentneri began as a 
result of section 12 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, (Act) as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which directed the Secretary of the 
Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on those plants considered 
to be endangered, threatened, or extinct in the United States. This 
report, designated as House Document No. 94-51, was presented to 
Congress on January 9, 1975, and included Fritillaria gentneri as a 
threatened species. The Service published a notice on July 1, 1975, 
Federal Register (40 FR 27823) of its acceptance of the report of the 
Smithsonian Institution as a petition within the context of section 
4(c)(2) (petition provisions are now found in section 4(b)(3) of the 
Act) and its intention thereby to review the status of the plant taxa 
named therein.
    Fritillaria gentneri was initially included as a Category 2 
candidate in a Notice of Review published by the Service on December 
15, 1980 (45 FR 82510). Category 2 candidate species were taxa for 
which data in the Service's possession indicated listing may be 
appropriate, but for which additional data on biological vulnerability 
and threats were needed to support a proposed rule. On September 30, 
1993 (58 FR 51166), the Service published a Notice of Review upgrading 
this species to a Category 1 status. Category 1 candidates were those 
for which the Service had sufficient information on biological 
vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list them as 
endangered or threatened species. Upon publication of the February 28, 
1996 notice of review (61 FR 7596), the Service ceased using category 
designations and included Fritillaria gentneri as a candidate species. 
Candidate species are those for which the Service has on file 
sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to 
support proposals to list the species as threatened or endangered. 
Fritillaria gentneri was retained as a candidate species in the 
September 19, 1997, Review of Plant and Animal Taxa (62 FR 49398).
    The processing of this proposed rule conforms with the Service's 
final listing priority guidance published in the Federal Register on 
December 6, 1996 (61 FR 64475) and extended on October 23, 1997 (62 FR 
55268). The guidance clarifies the order in which the Service will 
process rulemakings. The guidance calls for giving highest priority to 
handling emergency situations (Tier 1), second highest priority (Tier 
2) to resolving the listing status of the outstanding proposed 
listings, and third priority (Tier 3) to new proposals to add species 
to the list of threatened and endangered plants and animals. This 
proposed rule constitutes a Tier 3 action.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act and regulations (50 CFR part 424) promulgated 
to implement the listing provisions of the Act set forth the procedures 
for adding species to the Federal lists. A species may be determined to 
be endangered or threatened due to one or more of the five factors 
described in section 4(a)(1). These factors and their application to 
the Fritillaria gentneri are as follows:
    A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of its Habitat or Range
    The term ``development'' used here includes housing construction, 
such as driveway placement, lots for sale, cemetery expansion, trail 
maintenance, road widening, power line maintenance, water system 
construction, and agricultural conversions.
    Fritillaria gentneri is found only in the rural foothills of the 
Rogue and Illinois River valleys in Jackson and Josephine counties, 
Oregon. Within this range, the plant occurs as lone individuals or 
small clusters of individuals sparsely distributed across the landscape 
which together are thought to form one single population of 
approximately 340 plants. This species was originally documented to 
occur in 53 locations (referenced as ``macro plots'' in the BACKGROUND 
section of this notice). Between 1941 and today, the plant has been 
lost from eight of these sites. Three locations, Grants Pass, Medford, 
and Murphy, were vague locations and have never been relocated since 
the original collections by Gentner (1941, 1948-50) and Gilkey (1951). 
Those locations were probably destroyed by development. However, since 
1982, Kagan and Rolle documented losses due to construction for homes 
and schools, associated roads, driveways, and agricultural conversions

[[Page 13821]]

which destroyed all the plants occurring within the following five 
locations: Lyman Mountain (Kagan 1982g and pers. comm. 1997; Rolle 
1988f), Merlin (Kagan 1982a and pers. comm. 1997), Ramsey Road (Kagan 
1982f and pers. comm. 1997), State Highway 238 (Gentner 1948, Kagan 
1982c and pers. comm. 1997), and Winona (Kagan 1982b and pers. comm. 
    Habitat loss due to ongoing or future development threatens the 
central core area of this species. Habitat loss may occur in 42 percent 
(19) of the occupied sites (macro plots) within the foreseeable future. 
Ongoing development accounts for 13 percent (6 sites) of the 
anticipated habitat loss, while future development may include loss of 
habitat for the other 29 percent (13) of the occupied sites; most 
development will occur within the central core area.
    Ongoing development is threatening populations of Fritillaria 
gentneri that occur in six locations. Rolle (1988b) noted that at 
Pelton Road, outside the core area, destruction of the habitat was 
taking place as he was sampling the cluster. On that site visit, Rolle 
(1988b) reported 60 flowering plants and 200 non-flowering plants, 
noting that it was the best example of Fritillaria gentneri that he had 
seen. During his observation, he noted that brush was being piled upon 
the plants for a road widening project. Of the 48 plants flagged, 23 
individuals were missing when Rolle (1988d) returned to collect seeds. 
In 1990, Guerrant (1990) reported only 50 to 100 plants at the Pelton 
Road site. According to Rolle (U.S. Forest Service, Ashland, Oregon, 
pers. comm. 1997) one-quarter of the cluster has been destroyed as a 
result of road widening. It is not known what happened to the other 
missing plants. Within the core area, at the Jackson County Landfill, 
at least half of the Fritillaria gentneri plants in one of the five 
sites that occur at the dump was bulldozed as a result of road 
construction and dump expansion in 1988 (Rolle 1988d). Near the 
entrance to Jackson County Landfill, Rolle (1988a) reported four plants 
present. In 1988, Rolle (1988d) flagged three of these plants and 
reported that two of the plants were bulldozed. Guerrant (pers. comm. 
1997) reported that the dump is still expanding and heading toward 
other Fritillaria gentneri plants, but destruction has stopped just 
short of destroying the rest of the plants.
    Future development may include loss of about 29 percent (13 
locations) of the species from the central core area that include 
plants growing in the Bellinger Hill, Britt Grounds, Jacksonville 
Cemetery, Placer Hill Drive, and Sterling Creek Road. Rolle (pers. 
comm. 1997) stated that part of the Bellinger Hill plants occurred in a 
private individuals' backyard. At the time of the sighting, that 
section of the backyard was not maintained, therefore allowing 
Fritillaria gentneri to grow. The other plants were in an area where 
housing development was occurring (Rolle pers. comm. 1997). On Britt 
Grounds, 110 plants of Fritillaria gentneri were documented in 1993 
(Tomlins 1993) on 39 hectares (97 ac) of land managed by BLM or 
Southern Oregon University. Trail construction and construction of the 
city water line threaten the Britt Grounds plants. Maxxon (1985) 
reported that there were approximately 50 plants in the Jacksonville 
Cemetery area with approximately half of the cluster (18-24 plants) on 
private land east of the northeast corner of the cemetery property. 
Kagan (pers. comm. 1997) reported that the city is currently developed 
up to the eastern side of the cemetery, and probably those 18 to 24 
plants have been lost. Within the cemetery proper, Maxxon (1985) mapped 
the location of 12 plants that occur on the cemetery lots. As the 
cemetery fills up, additional plants may be destroyed during the 
excavation; at least eight plants mapped by Maxxon (1985) currently 
grow on unused burial lots. West and uphill from the cemetery, Rolle 
(1988g) documented that there were 15 or so plants at scattered 
stations along the trail system. Any additional trail construction may 
destroy some of these plants. In 1988, Rolle (1988g) found six 
flowering plants of Fritillaria gentneri along Placer Hill Drive and 
flagged five of the plants. On returning, he discovered that a new 
driveway was scheduled to be constructed which would go through the 
Placer Hill Drive location (Rolle 1988d). In 1992, some plants remained 
on the site (Guerrant 1992), but today the property is for sale (Rolle, 
pers. comm. 1997, & Guerrant, pers. comm. 1997). Similarly, Rolle 
(pers. comm. 1997) reported that the Sterling Creek plants occur on 
40.4 square meters (less than .01 acre) and that this area is 
threatened by development. The most threatened areas are on private 
lands where development poses an immediate threat to the population. Of 
the 45 extant locations, 25 occur on private lands and are unlikely to 
remain over the long term.
    The threat of habitat loss to Fritillaria gentneri is evident when 
both the size and the state of the scattered clusters throughout the 
species range are examined. Cluster sizes range from 1 plant to 100. Of 
the 45 macro plots currently occupied by Fritillaria gentneri, only 8 
had occupied habitat that was equal to or greater than 0.4 ha (1 ac). 
Many are smaller than 0.04 ha (0.1 ac). With such limited area, a small 
amount of disturbance could extirpate all of the plants in a local 
    Activities that remove desirable habitat on public lands are still 
occurring. Joan Seevers (BLM, Medford, Oregon, pers. comm. 1997) 
confirmed that of the 13 sites containing plants on BLM lands, 7 were 
threatened with logging. Tomlins (1993) stated that salvage logging had 
disturbed some of the plants at Britt Grounds. Seevers (pers. comm. 
1997) also reported that Britt Grounds and Sterling Mine ditch had 
trails near the cluster of plants. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders 
use the trails and threaten the site by picking and trampling of 
Fritillaria gentneri . At Antioch Road 2, Henshel (1994c) noted that 
the plants were located on either side of a dirt bike trail.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    According to Gilkey (1951), Fritillaria gentneri was successfully 
grown in a garden and used in flower arrangements. Therefore, 
collection of the species is a concern. This native lily is an 
attractive plant which makes it noticeable and more likely to be 
collected. Its noted rarity also makes it susceptible to collection 
from horticulturists seeking to cultivate rare species. Furthermore, 
Fritillaria gentneri has a very poor viable seed set and much of the 
capsule is eaten by wildlife prior to seed maturation (Rolle 1988d). 
Thus, there is even greater pressure to dig the bulbs by collectors, 
since seed collection & germination may not be a feasible option. 
Twenty-two (43 percent) of the known sites had 3 or fewer individuals. 
Because the species occurs in small, isolated clusters, a collector 
could decimate an entire clump in one gathering, extirpating the plant 
from that area. Kagan (1982d), Rolle (1988c, pers. comm.1997), and 
Guerrant (pers. comm. 1997) documented that 40 percent of the total 
estimated number of plants (136) have a good potential for roadside 
collection. The plants are visible from the road at Logtown Cemetery, 
Paradise Ranch Road, Pelton Road, Placer Hill Drive, Poorman's Gulch, 
Sailor Gulch, Sterling Creek Road, and Wagon Trail Drive and when 
flowering, could attract some attention (Guerrant pers. comm. 1997). 
Collecting has been documented in Britt Grounds (Tomlins 1993, Joan 
Seever pers. comm. 1997) along the trails.

[[Page 13822]]

C. Disease or Predation

    Disease and predation occur in Fritillaria gentneri plants, 
reducing their numbers and productivity. Secondary fungal infections 
were present at the Cady Road, Jacksonville Cemetery, Jackson County 
Dump, Pelton Road, Placer Hill Drive, and Wagon Trail Drive sites 
(Rolle 1988d). Many of the plants that were tagged for seed collection 
by Rolle had the capsules eaten by wildlife before the seed capsules 
matured (Rolle 1988d): of the 14 plants tagged at Wagon Trail Drive, 9 
plants had no capsules; at Cady Road 4 of 4 flagged plants had the 
capsules bitten off; at the Jacksonville Cemetery 6 of 6 flagged plants 
had no mature capsules found on any part of the plant; at Pelton Road 
19 of 48 flagged plants were knocked down, eaten or did not develop; 
and at Placer Hill Drive 1 of 5 flagged plants had the capsules bitten 

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    In 1963, the protection of Oregon's natural botanical resources was 
initiated with the passage of the Oregon Wildflower Law (ORS 564.010-
564.040). This law was designed to protect showy botanical groups such 
as lilies, shooting stars, orchids, and rhododendrons from collection 
by horticulturists interested in these species' domestication. The 
Oregon Wildflower Law prohibits the collection of wildflowers within 
60.9 m (200 ft) of a State highway. Although protective in spirit, the 
Oregon Wildflower Law carries minimal penalties and is rarely enforced. 
As a means of protecting Fritillaria gentneri, it has minimal 
    In 1987, Oregon Senate Bill 533 (ORS 564.100) was passed to augment 
the legislative actions available for the protection of the State's 
threatened and endangered species, both plant and animal. This bill, 
known as the Oregon Endangered Species Act, mandated responsibility for 
threatened and endangered plant species in Oregon to the Oregon 
Department of Agriculture (ODA).
    The Oregon Endangered Species Act directs the ODA to maintain a 
strong program to conserve and protect native plant species threatened 
or endangered with extinction. Fritillaria gentneri is State-listed as 
endangered, receiving protection on State-managed lands under the 
Oregon Endangered Species Act. Although the ODA is able to regulate the 
import, export, or trafficking of State-listed plant species (under ORS 
564.120), their ability to protect plant populations is limited to 
State-owned or State-leased lands. Private owners are not required to 
protect State-listed species. As a result, occurrences of Fritillaria 
gentneri on private lands receive no protection from their State status 
as endangered. Plants growing at the Log Town Cemetery are on an Oregon 
Department of Transportation right-of-way and this is the only site 
that falls under protection of the Oregon Endangered Species Act.
    Fritillaria gentneri is classified by the Oregon Natural Heritage 
Program as a G1 category, which identifies taxa that are threatened 
with extinction throughout their entire range. This species category 
recognizes globally rare species, but provides no protection.
    The primary inadequacy in the existing regulations pertains to 
plant sites located on private lands that currently receive no 
protection from threats to their existence. Privately-held sites 
constitute a significant portion of this species' range and play a 
substantial role in their continued existence.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting its Continued Existence

    Succession caused by fire suppression is allowing Fritillaria 
gentneri's preferred open oak woodland habitat to close in and exclude 
the species, while the increase of homes in the area makes prescribed 
burning difficult. According to Rolle (pers. comm. 1997 ) and Kagan 
(pers. comm. 1997), Fritillaria gentneri grows best in forest openings 
and closure of the canopy due to successional occurrence can result in 
shading of the plants. The closure of the forest canopy by the 
encroachment of Douglas fir and madrone at the Wagon Trail site is 
currently occurring and threatens the continued occupancy of this macro 
plot by the 14 Fritillaria gentneri plants (Rolle, pers. comm. 1997).
    The oak woodland habitat requires a frequent, low intensity fire 
management regime to maintain the open canopy. Southeastern Oregon 
averages 500 dry lightening strikes a month during drought conditions 
in the summer, creating a natural fire frequency of every 12 to 15 
years. When the area became developed, 50 to 60 years of fire 
suppression began. This suppression essentially transformed the 
traditional oak woodlands with a grassy understory to oak woodlands 
with a shrub understory. With the current trend toward rural 
development, it has now become increasingly difficult to restore fire 
to the habitat. Therefore, although much of the species' habitat has 
not been developed, it has changed to densely closed woodland with a 
dry shrub understory. However, prescribed fire would be a good tool in 
managing for Fritillaria gentneri on BLM lands. Given that fire 
suppression will likely continue, the effects of succession pose a 
threat to Fritillaria gentneri on both private and BLM lands.
    Another threat to Fritillaria gentneri is the possibility of 
decreased vigor and viability due to the sparsely distributed clusters 
ranging from 1 plant to 100 plants. Small numbers and disjunct 
individuals increase the risk of stochastic loss through genetic or 
demographic factors. Small clusters may be genetically depauperate as a 
result of changes in gene frequencies, owing to founder effects or 
inbreeding. If a population suffers from inbreeding depression, then 
its short-term viability may be compromised. The effects of inbreeding 
in populations have been used to recommend a general effective minimal 
viable population (MVP) of 50 individuals (Falk and Hoslinger 1991). 
For long-term evolutionary flexibility a MVP of 500 is suggested. That 
means that any population below 50 is subject to genetic depression 
over the short-term and any population under 500 will suffer over the 
long-term. Even though the size at which a population begins to face 
severe genetic depression is still contested, the negative genetic 
effects of this to a small population of 340 plants become difficult to 
    With 44 of the 45 sites containing so few individuals of 
Fritillaria gentneri plants, the threat of extinction due to 
demographic and naturally occurring events can play a significant role 
in the viability of the species as a whole. Four of the sites had 11 to 
34 flowering plants and only 1 had 100 flowering plants. The rest had 
10 flowering plants or fewer. Due to the small area occupied by the 
majority of Fritillaria gentneri, naturally occurring environmental 
events could play a role in extirpation. Small clusters can disappear 
with one environmental event. The sites are small and isolated from 
each other due to habitat fragmentation. This isolation could inhibit 
re-colonization to other suitable areas and could result in a permanent 
loss of localized occurrences once they fall below a critical level.
    Herbicide spraying could play an important role in extirpation of 
small, localized occurrences that are found along roadsides. 
Approximately 29 percent (13) of the plant occurrences are reported 
along roadsides and could be affected or potentially extirpated by 
spraying or other roadside maintenance activities.
    The Service has carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past,

[[Page 13823]]

present, and future threats faced by this species in determining to 
propose this rule. Based on this evaluation, the Service proposes to 
list the Fritillaria gentneri as endangered.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as--(i) the 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of 
the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features (I) 
essential to the conservation of the species and (II) that may require 
special management considerations or protection; and (ii) specific 
areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time 
it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for 
the conservation of the species. ``Conservation'' means the use of all 
methods and procedures that are necessary to bring the species to the 
point at which the measures provided pursuant to the Act are no longer 
    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12) require that, to the maximum extent prudent 
and determinable, the Secretary designate critical habitat at the time 
a species is determined to be threatened or endangered. The Service 
proposes to find that designation of critical habitat is not prudent 
for Fritillaria gentneri. Service regulations (50 CFR 424.12 (a)(1)) 
state that the designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one 
or both of the following situations exist: (i) The species is 
threatened by taking or other human activity, and identification of 
critical habitat can be expected to increase the degree of threat to 
the species; or (ii) such designation of critical habitat would not be 
beneficial to the species.
    There would be little if any additional conservation benefit to the 
species from a critical habitat designation covering the 25 sites that 
occur on private lands, even if sometime in the future there is 
additional Federal involvement through permitting or funding, such as 
through Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or the 
Federal Highway Administration. Federal involvement, where it does 
occur, can be identified without the designation of critical habitat 
because interagency coordination requirements as required by section 7 
of the Act are already in place. The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 
(FWCA) for example, requires that any federally funded or permitted 
water resource development proposal or project be consulted on with the 
Service and State conservation agencies. Designating critical habitat 
would not create a management plan for the plant, or establish 
numerical population goals for long-term survival of the species nor 
directly affect areas not designated as critical habitat.
    There would be no benefit from critical habitat designation for 
those sites on BLM (i.e. Federal) land as BLM is currently aware of the 
plant's occurrence and would be subject to section 7 consultation as a 
result of the listing for any activity it authorized, funded, or 
carried out. The designation would not increase their commitment or 
management efforts. Protection of Fritillaria gentneri will most 
effectively be addressed through the recovery process and the section 7 
consultation process.
    Section 7 of the Act requires that Federal agencies refrain from 
contributing to the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat in any action authorized, funded or carried out by such agency 
(agency action). This requirement is in addition to the section 7 
prohibition against jeopardizing the continued existence of a listed 
species, and it is the only mandatory legal consequence of a critical 
habitat designation. Implementing regulations (50 CFR part 402.02) 
define ``jeopardize the continuing existence of'' and ``destruction or 
adverse modification of'' in very similar terms. To jeopardize the 
continuing existence of a species means to engage in an action ``that 
reasonably would be expected to reduce appreciably the likelihood of 
both the survival and recovery of a listed species.'' Destruction or 
adverse modification of habitat means an ``alteration that appreciably 
diminishes the value of critical habitat for both the survival and 
recovery of a listed species.'' Common to both definitions is an 
appreciable detrimental effect to both the survival and the recovery of 
a listed species. In the case of adverse modification of critical 
habitat, the survival and recovery of the species has been appreciably 
diminished by reducing the value to the species' designated critical 
habitat. An action resulting in adverse modification also would 
jeopardize the continued existence of the species concerned.
    The Service acknowledges that critical habitat designation, in some 
situations, may provide some value to the species by identifying areas 
important for species conservation and calling attention to those areas 
in special need of protection. Critical habitat designation of 
unoccupied habitat may also benefit a species by alerting permitting 
agencies to potential sites for reintroduction and allow them the 
opportunity to evaluate proposals that may affect these areas. However, 
in this case, the existing sites of Fritillaria gentneri are either 
currently known by the BLM and private landowners, or the appropriate 
landowners will be notified prior to publication of the proposed rule. 
If future management actions include unoccupied habitat, any benefit 
provided by designation of such habitat as critical will be 
accomplished more effectively and efficiently with the current 
coordination process.
    Designation of critical habitat for this species would 
substantially increase the threat of collection. Fritillaria gentneri 
is a lily, which is attractive and noticeable and likely to be 
collected. Gilkey has documented that Fritillaria gentneri was 
successfully collected and grown in a garden and used in flower 
arrangements. More recent collection of this species on Britt Grounds, 
which is BLM land, also has been documented (Tomlins 1993, Joan Seever 
pers. comm. 1997). Hitchcock (1971) noted that Fritillaria species are 
rather attractive in the native garden but that digging of the bulbs 
should be discouraged as the species are fast disappearing from much of 
their range. The North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS 1998) 
publishes a seed list on the Internet which lists a multitude of 
Fritillaria species seed available for sale (both wild and garden 
collected). Although Fritillaria gentneri is not specifically on the 
list, the list demonstrates the demand for this genus by collectors. In 
addition, whether showy or not, a species' rarity also makes it 
susceptible to collection from horticulturists seeking to cultivate 
rare species (Mariah Steenson pers. comm. 1997). Disseminating 
specific, sensitive location records can encourage illegal collection 
(M. Bosch, U.S. Forest Service, in litt. 1997). The accessibility of 
this plant on public and private lands makes it susceptible to 
indiscriminate collection by rare plant enthusiasts and researchers. 
Plants, unlike most animal species protected under the Act, are 
particularly vulnerable to trespass because of their inability to 
escape when collectors arrive.
    With the increased publicity of listed species, small roadside 
occurrences could face a higher incidence of vandalism and/or removal. 
Publication of precise maps and descriptions of critical habitat in the 
Federal Register would expose these sites to over-collection and loss 
of individuals, and subsequently loss of isolated populations, 
resulting in the further decline of the species. Due to their low

[[Page 13824]]

numbers, specifically 22 of the 45 known sites having three or fewer 
individuals, isolated clusters of Fritillaria gentneri could be 
severely threatened by taking, negatively affecting the species as a 
whole. Since this species has a very poor viable seed set and is 
predominantly reproducing asexually by bulblets (Guerrant 1992 and 
Rolle 1988d), collection of the bulbs could effectively eliminate the 
population at the collection site. Publication of critical habitat 
descriptions and maps would make Fritillaria gentneri more vulnerable 
to illegal collection and would increase enforcement problems.
    The minimal benefit of designating critical habitat would be far 
outweighed by the increased threats to the species that would result 
from identification of critical habitat. All parties and principal 
landowners involved in the recovery of Fritillaria gentneri will be 
notified of the location and importance of protecting these species and 
their habitats prior to publication of the proposed rule.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
activities. Recognition through listing encourages and results in 
conservation actions by Federal, State, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act provides for possible land 
acquisition and cooperation with the States and requires that recovery 
actions be carried out for all listed species. The protection required 
of Federal agencies and the prohibitions against taking and harm of 
animals and certain activities involving listed plants are discussed, 
in part, below.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 
evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or 
listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is being designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer 
informally with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of a proposed species or result in destruction 
or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is 
listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of such a species or to 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action 
may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible 
Federal agency must enter into a formal consultation with the Service.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered 
plants. All prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, implemented by 
50 CFR 17.61 for endangered plants, apply. These prohibitions, in part, 
make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the 
United States to import or export, transport in interstate or foreign 
commerce in the course of a commercial activity, sell or offer for sale 
in interstate or foreign commerce, or remove and reduce the species to 
possession from areas under Federal jurisdiction and the removal, 
cutting, digging up, or damaging or destroying of such plants in 
knowing violation of any State law or regulation, including State 
criminal trespass law. Certain exceptions to the prohibitions apply to 
agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
    The Act and 50 CFR 17.62 and 17.63 for endangered plants also 
provide for the issuance of permits to carry out otherwise prohibited 
activities involving endangered plants under certain circumstances. 
Questions regarding whether specific activities may constitute a 
violation of section 9 should be directed to the Field Supervisor of 
the Oregon State Office (see ADDRESSES section). Requests for copies of 
the regulations on listed plants and inquiries regarding them may be 
addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 
Permits Branch, 911 NE 11th Ave., Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (503/231-
6241). Such permits are available for scientific purposes and to 
enhance the propagation or survival of the species. It is anticipated 
that few trade permits would ever be sought or issued because the 
species is not common in cultivation or in the wild.
    The Service adopted a policy on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34272), to 
identify to the maximum extent practicable at the time a species is 
proposed for listing those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of the listing on 
proposed and ongoing activities within a species' range. The Service 
has determined, based upon the best available information, the 
following actions will not result in a violation of section 9, provided 
these activities are carried out in accordance with existing 
regulations and permit requirements:
    (1) Activities authorized, funded, or carried out by Federal 
agencies (e.g., grazing management, agricultural conversions, land use 
activities that would significantly modify the species' habitat, 
wetland and riparian habitat modification, flood and erosion control, 
housing development, recreational trail development, road and dam 
construction and maintenance, hazardous material containment and 
cleanup activities, prescribed burns, pesticide/herbicide application, 
pipelines or utility line crossing suitable habitat, and logging) when 
such activity is conducted in accordance with any reasonable and 
prudent measures given by the Service according to section 7 of the 
Act; or when such activity does not occur in habitats suitable for the 
survival and recovery of Fritillaria gentneri and does not alter the 
hydrology or habitat supporting the plant.
    (2) Activities on private lands (without Federal funding or 
involvement), such as grazing management, agricultural conversions, 
wetland and riparian habitat modification (not including filling of 
wetlands), flood and erosion control, housing development, road and dam 
construction, cemetery maintenance or expansion, pesticide/herbicide 
application, pipelines or utility line crossing suitable habitat, and 
routine residential landscape maintenance including the clearing of 
vegetation as a fire break around one's personal residence.
    The Service has determined that the actions listed below may 
potentially result in a violation of section 9; however, possible 
violations are not limited to these actions alone:
    (1) Unauthorized collecting of the species on Federal lands;
    (2) Application of herbicides violating label restrictions;
    (3) Interstate or foreign commerce and import/export without 
previously obtaining an appropriate permit. Permits to conduct 
activities are available for purposes of scientific research and 
enhancement of propagation or survival of the species.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities, such as changes in 
land use, will constitute a violation of section 9 should be directed 
to the Service's Oregon State Office (see ADDRESSES section).

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service intends that any final action resulting from this 
proposal will be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, 
comments or suggestions from the public, other

[[Page 13825]]

concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or 
any other interested party concerning this proposed rule are hereby 
solicited. Comments particularly are sought concerning:
    (1) biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to this species;
    (2) the location of any additional occurrences of this species and 
the reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined to be 
critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act;
    (3) additional information concerning the range, distribution, and 
population size of this species; and
    (4) current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on Fritillaria gentneri.
    Final promulgation of the regulation(s) on this species will take 
into consideration the comments and any additional information received 
by the Service. Such communications may lead to a final regulation that 
differs from this proposal.
    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests must be received within 45 days of date of 
publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. Such requests must 
be made in writing and addressed to State Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Oregon State Office (see ADDRESSES section).

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Service has determined that Environmental Assessments and 
Environmental Impact Statements, as defined under the authority of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in 
connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 (a) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. A notice outlining the 
Service's reasons for this determination was published in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

Required Determinations

    This rule does not contain collections of information that require 
approval by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et 


    A complete list of all references cited herein, as well as others, 
is available upon request from the Oregon State Office (see ADDRESSES 
    Author: The primary author of this proposed rule is Andrew F. 
Robinson Jr. (see ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, the Service hereby proposes to amend Part 17, 
Subchapter B of Chapter I, Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
as set forth below:


    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend Sec. 17.12(h) by adding the following, in alphabetical 
order under FLOWERING PLANTS, to the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Plants to read as follows:

Sec. 17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------    Historic range           Family            Status      When listed    Critical     Special  
         Scientific name                Common name                                                                               habitat       rules   
         Flowering Plants                                                                                                                               
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  
Fritillaria gentneri.............  Gentner's fritillary  USA (OR)...........  Liliaceae..........  E               ...........           NA           NA
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  

    Dated: March 6, 1998.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 98-7481 Filed 3-20-98; 8:45 am]