[Federal Register: March 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 60)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 15164-15173]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AE81

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Endangered Status for Four Plants from South Central Coastal California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposes to list 
Cirsium loncholepis (La Graciosa thistle), Eriodictyon capitatum 
(Lompoc yerba santa), Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa (Gaviota 
tarplant), and Lupinus nipomensis (Nipomo Mesa lupine) as endangered, 
pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). These 
plants are in danger of extinction because their habitats have been 
significantly reduced by residential, commercial, and oil and gas 
development. Their remaining habitats have been adversely affected by 
development, military activities, alteration of natural fire cycles and 
the invasion of alien plant species. The limited distribution and small 
population sizes of these four taxa also make them more vulnerable to 
extinction from naturally occurring events. Existing regulations do not

[[Page 15165]]

provide adequate protection to prevent further losses from ongoing 
activities. This proposal, if made final, would extend the Act's 
protection to these plants.

DATES: Comments from all interested parties must be received by May 29, 
1998. Public hearing requests must be received by May 14, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials concerning this proposal should be 
sent to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura 
Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, 
California 93003. Comments and materials received will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carl Benz, Assistant Field Supervisor, 
Listing and Recovery, at the above address (telephone: 805/644-1766; 
facsimile 805/644-3958).



    Cirsium loncholepis (La Graciosa thistle), Eriodictyon capitatum 
(Lompoc yerba santa), Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa (Gaviota 
tarplant), and Lupinus nipomensis (Nipomo Mesa lupine) occur along the 
south central California coast. They are restricted to a narrow area in 
western and northern Santa Barbara County and southern San Luis Obispo 
    These taxa occur in sensitive, declining or altered habitats 
including central dune scrub, central maritime chaparral, valley 
needlegrass grassland, coastal freshwater wetlands, and southern bishop 
pine forest (Holland 1986, Schoenherr 1992). Two of these habitats, 
central dune scrub and coastal freshwater wetlands, are notable for 
their geological and biological value. The largest coastal dune system 
in California is located in southern San Luis Obispo County near 
Guadalupe, where approximately 47 square kilometers (sq km) (18 sq 
miles (mi)) of active dunes create a series of back dune lakes. The 
Department of the Interior added the Guadalupe Dune region to the 
National Natural Landmark system in 1980, recognizing the biological 
and physical diversity of the area (Schoenherr 1992). Two of the taxa 
proposed for listing in this rule (Lupinus nipomensis and Cirsium 
loncholepis) are restricted to these dunes. Coastal dune habitats are 
highly disturbed and all remnants have been invaded by alien plant 
species. Invasive weeds such as Ehrharta calycina (veldt grass), 
Ammophila arenaria (European beach grass), Carpobrotus edulis 
(iceplant), and Mesembryanthemum crystalinum (crystalline iceplant) are 
serious threats to the natural ecological processes of coastal sandy 
habitats and to the viability of these proposed taxa (Smith 1976, 
Zedler and Scheid 1988, Schoenherr 1992).
    Inland from the active dunes, there are remnants of prehistoric 
uplifted dunes that have formed a weakly cemented sandstone that has 
weathered to produce a sandy, extremely well drained, and nearly 
infertile soil (Davis et al. 1988). This substrate has a limited 
distribution, occurring on the following mesas in the area: Nipomo 
Mesa, Casmalia Hills, San Antonio Terrace, Burton Mesa, Lompoc Terrace 
and Purisima Hills. The habitat that occurs on the sand hills has been 
called the maritime chaparral and has been the focus of several studies 
(Ferren et al. 1984, Davis et al. 1988, Philbrick and Odion 1988, Davis 
et al. 1989, Odion et al. 1992). Two of the populations of Eriodictyon 
capitatum occur in the maritime chaparral. Seven local endemic plant 
species that occur in this habitat and at least 16 other uncommon plant 
species are components of a plant community known as the central coast 
maritime chaparral. This community type is an exceptional biological 
resource due to the concentration of rare plants found within it; 
however most of it has been converted to other land uses or is degraded 
by weed invasion and habitat fragmentation (Davis et al. 1988, Odion et 
al. 1992). Central coast maritime chaparral is considered threatened 
and sensitive by the California Department of Fish and Game's (CDFG) 
Natural Heritage Division (Holland 1986). The southern bishop pine 
forest is scattered in the Purisima Hills and occurs largely as a 
component of the central coast maritime chaparral (Holland 1986).
    Cirsium loncholepis (La Graciosa thistle) was first collected by 
Eastwood in 1906 near the village site of La Graciosa (razed in 1877) 
in San Luis Obispo County. The original description was published in 
1917 by Petrak, who wrote a monograph on the genus Cirsium (Abrams and 
Ferris 1960). Cirsium loncholepis is a short-lived (1-2 years), 
spreading, mound-like or erect and often fleshy, spiny member of the 
sunflower family (Asteraceae). Plants are from 1 to 10 decimeters (dm) 
(4 to 40 inches (in)) in height, with one to several stems. The leaves 
are wavy-margined. The lower leaves are 10 to 30 centimeters (cm) (4 to 
12 in) long with spiny petioles and usually deeply lobed with secondary 
lobes or teeth. The leaf base of the middle and upper leaves forms 
short, spiny wings along the petiole. The flower heads are in tight 
clusters at the tips of the stems. Flowering heads are 2 to 4 cm (0.8 
to 1.6 in) wide. The corollas are 25 to 30 mm (1 to 1.2 in) long and 
more or less white with a purplish tube containing purple anthers. This 
species closely resembles Cirsium brevistylum (Indian thistle), a 
taller plant with the upper portion covered with cobwebby hairs. The 
leaves of C. brevistylum are shallowly lobed, whereas the leaves of C. 
loncholepis are deeply lobed with secondary lobes (Keil and Turner 
    Cirsium loncholepis is restricted to back dune and coastal wetlands 
of southern San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County 
from the Pismo Dunes lake area and south historically to the Santa Ynez 
River, a distance of about 32 km (20 mi). The Guadalupe Dune complex, 
in which it occurs, extends inland only up to 3.2 km (2 mi). Deflation 
areas behind the foredunes often intersect the water table, creating 
wetlands and back dune lakes. Cirsium loncholepis is found in wet soils 
surrounding the dune lakes and in the moist dune swales, where it is 
often associated with rush (Juncus spp.), tule (Scirpus spp.), willow 
(Salix spp.), poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), salt grass 
(Distichlis spicata), and coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis). The 
historic distribution of the species included extensive areas in the 
Orcutt region that have been converted from wetland habitat to 
agricultural uses or otherwise developed. It is likely that large 
populations similar to the existing one at the mouth of the Santa Maria 
River occurred in these areas prior to their conversion. As early as 
1950, Smith studied the lack of suitable habitat for C. loncholepis in 
the vicinity of La Graciosa (Abrams and Ferris 1960, Smith 1976). The 
town of Orcutt is likely built near the site of La Graciosa and 
historic maps show the area covered with extensive wetlands which no 
longer exist (Hendrickson 1990).
    The species is now restricted to marshes and the edges of willow 
thickets in damp swales in the Guadalupe dune system (Hendrickson 
1990). The majority of the populations in the dune systems are small 
and isolated and show a reduced reproductive vigor (Hendrickson 1990). 
Seven of these populations have fewer than 60 plants each (California 
Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB) 1997). Only one population has a 
substantial number of plants, fluctuating between 6,000 and 54,000 
individuals; however, it is located at the mouth of the Santa Maria 
River in the floodplain, where it

[[Page 15166]]

may be vulnerable to catastrophic floods.
    Groundwater pumping, oil field development, and competition from 
alien plants are ongoing threats to this species (Hendrickson 1990, 
CDFG 1992). Cattle grazing in the riparian habitat at the mouth of the 
Santa Maria River may reduce the competition from other species 
(Hendrickson 1990), but the long term effects of livestock use on the 
habitat are unknown. All known extant populations of Cirsium 
loncholepis are on private lands. The trend for Cirsium loncholepis is 
one of decline (CDFG 1992, CNDDB 1997).
    Eriodictyon capitatum (Lompoc yerba santa) was collected by Hoffman 
in 1932 near Lompoc growing under Pinus muricata, and described the 
following year (Eastwood 1933). Eriodictyon capitatum is a shrub in the 
waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae) with sticky stems up to 3 meters (m) 
(10 feet (ft)) tall. The sticky leaves are narrowly linear. The head-
like inflorescence has lavender corollas that are 6 to 15 mm (0.2 to 
0.6 in) long. It is distinguished from related species by its narrow, 
entire leaves and its head-like inflorescence (Halse 1993).
    Eriodictyon capitatum occurs in maritime chaparral with bush poppy 
(Dendromecon rigida), scrub oaks (Quercus berberidifolia, Q. parvula), 
and buck brush (Ceanothus cuneatus) and in southern bishop pine forests 
(Pinus muricata) that intergrade with chaparral including manzanita 
(Arctostaphylos spp.) and black sage (Salvia mellifera) (Smith 1983). 
The four known populations of E. capitatum occur in western Santa 
Barbara County. Two of these, composed of three colonies, are on 
Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB). The other two populations are located 
in the oilfields south of Orcutt (one colony), and at the western end 
of the Santa Ynez Mountains (three colonies). The latter populations 
are on private land. Based on isozyme analysis, Elam (1994) determined 
that all of the Santa Ynez Mountains colonies and two of the VAFB 
colonies were multiclonal. The other two VAFB colonies are uniclonal. 
The Orcutt colony was not studied due to inaccessibility. A clone is 
composed of many stems produced by the vegetative spread of the root 
system. The three Santa Ynez Mountains colonies had a total of 48 
clones. The three VAFB colonies had a total of 19 clones. Eriodictyon 
capitatum is self-incompatible (i.e., it requires pollen from 
genetically different plants to produce seed) and its fruits are 
parasitized by an insect (Elam 1994). A study of one of the uniclonal 
colonies at VAFB showed that E. capitatum resprouted successfully from 
the base of the plant after a prescribed fire. However, several stems 
died, no seedling recruitment occurred, and there was heavy damage from 
herbivory (Jacks et al. 1984).
    Fire management practices, invasive non-native plant species, low 
seed productivity, and naturally occurring events pose significant 
threats to the long-term survival of this species. None of the colonies 
is actively protected. Eriodictyon capitatum was listed as rare by the 
State of California in 1979 (CDFG 1992).
    Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa (Gaviota tarplant) is member of 
the sunflower family. Tanowitz (1982) described this plant from 
collected material as well as a specimen gathered in 1902 by Elmer from 
Gaviota. Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa is a yellow-flowered, gray-
green, soft hairy annual that is 3 to 9 dm (12 to 35 in) tall with 
stems branching near the base. The lower leaves are 5 to 8.5 cm (2 to 
3.4 in) long and gray-green. The inflorescence is rounded to flat-
topped with 13 ray flowers and 18 to 31 usually sterile disk flowers. 
Two other subspecies, H. i. ssp. increscens and H. i. ssp. foliosa, 
differ from H. i. ssp. villosa by their stiff-bristly, deep green 
foliage (Keil 1993).
    Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa has a highly localized 
distribution in western Santa Barbara County, where it is associated 
with needlegrass grasslands dominated by the non-native wild oat (Avena 
spp.) and occasional native purple needle grass (Nassella spp.) that 
intergrade with coastal sage scrub composed of California sagebrush 
(Artemisia californica), coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis), and 
sawtooth golden bush (Hazardia squarrosa). Its habitat lies on an 
uplifted, narrow marine terrace 46 to 60 m (150 to 200 ft) above sea 
level. The plant is restricted to Conception and Milpitas-Positas 
soils, which consist of acidic, fine sandy loams (AAPC 1990). A 
subsurface clay layer 46 to 90 cm (18 to 36 in) deep may serve as a 
reservoir of soil moisture in an area otherwise characterized by summer 
drought (Howald 1989).
    Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa is known only from a narrow, 3.6 
km (2.2 mi) long band of coastal terrace situated between the Santa 
Ynez Mountains and the ocean near Gaviota, 24 km (15 mi) west of Santa 
Barbara. Within this band, a total of about 24 hectares (ha) (60 acres 
(ac)) of habitat occurs with approximately 20 colonies of the taxon. 
The colonies are often separated by no more than 100 m (330 ft), and 
represent one extended population (Howald 1989). Other pockets of 
Conception and Milpitas-Positas soils occur along the coast to the west 
and east of Gaviota, where the vegetation continues to be altered by 
development, cattle grazing, and farming. Extensive repeated surveys 
have been conducted without success in these areas and it is not likely 
that additional plant populations will be found (Howald 1989). As is 
typical of annual plant species, the number of individuals present from 
one year to the next varies dramatically, depending on climatic 
conditions and other factors. There are some years when colonies may 
contain few to no individuals (Howald 1989). In 1995, the taxon was not 
abundant at any location (Kathy Rindlaub, pers. comm. 1995).
    The narrow coastal terrace is bisected lengthwise by Highway 101, a 
railroad, and several pipelines. Most of the habitat for Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa lies on the north side of the highway on 
private lands owned primarily by Texaco and Chevron. A few colonies 
occur on the south side of Highway 101 on land owned by the California 
Department of Parks and Recreation (Gaviota State Park) that are leased 
and managed by Texaco. In 1995, there were no individuals in the colony 
at the Texaco facility (K. Rindlaub, pers. comm. 1995).
    Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa is threatened by destruction of 
individual plants, habitat loss, and degradation from the development 
of oil and gas facilities, including pipelines, and competition with 
alien weeds. The recent trend for this taxon is one of decline (CDFG 
    Lupinus nipomensis (Nipomo mesa lupine) was collected in 1937 by 
Eastwood and Howell from Nipomo Mesa, San Luis Obispo County; Eastwood 
subsequently published a description of the species (Eastwood 1939). 
Although Munz (Munz and Keck 1973) submerged L. nipomensis as a synonym 
of L. concinnus, other floras, including the most recent treatment, 
recognize L. nipomensis as a species (Abrams 1944, Riggins 1993). 
Lupinus nipomensis is an annual member of the pea family (Fabaceae). It 
is 1 to 2 dm (4 to 8 in) tall and hairy with decumbent stems. The 
leaves, with 5 to 7 leaflets, are 10 to 15 mm (0.4 to 0.6 in) long and 
5 to 6 mm (0.2 to 0.3 in) wide. The inflorescence is not whorled and 
the flowers are 6 to 7 mm (0.2 to 0.3 in) long with pink petals. 
Lupinus nipomensis is distinguished from the related L. concinnus by 
its decumbent inflorescence, succulent leaflets, lack of axillary 
flowers, and its restriction to sand dune habitat (Walters and Walters 

[[Page 15167]]

    Lupinus nipomensis grows in stabilized back dune habitat of the 
Guadalupe dunes in the southwestern corner of San Luis Obispo County. 
The plant occurs as 1 extended population in 5 colonies with fewer than 
700 plants. The small patches are spread over 2.4 km (1.5 mi). At least 
three historical localities have been extirpated, including its type 
locality (CDFG 1992, CNDDB 1997). The majority of the habitat is 
considered degraded by either physical disturbance or invasion by non-
native weedy species (Walters and Walters 1988). Even the high quality 
habitat is adversely affected by impacts from non-native invasive 
species. The occurrences in best condition are situated in dune swales 
and contain a higher diversity of native annuals in the vicinity of 
widely spaced individuals of mock heather (Ericameria ericoides), a 
small native subshrub. In both types of habitat, L. nipomensis requires 
pockets of bare sand, suggesting a low tolerance for competition 
(Walters and Walters 1988).
    All known occurrences of Lupinus nipomensis are on private lands 
and remain unprotected. The primary threat to the species is the 
uncontrolled invasion of aggressive non-native weeds and the subsequent 
displacement of the species. The plant was listed by the State as 
endangered in 1987 and the recent trend is one of decline (CDFG 1992).

Previous Federal Action

    Federal action on these plants began as a result of section 12 of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 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 (House Document No. 94-51) was presented to Congress on January 
9, 1975, and included Cirsium loncholepis and Eriodictyon capitatum as 
endangered. The Service published a notice in the 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 to review the status of the plant taxa named 
    On June 16, 1976, the Service published a proposal in the Federal 
Register (41 FR 24523) to determine approximately 1,700 vascular plant 
species to be endangered species pursuant to section 4 of the Act. 
Cirsium loncholepis and Eriodictyon capitatum were included in the June 
16, 1976, Federal Register publication. General comments received in 
relation to the 1976 proposal were summarized in an April 26, 1978, 
Federal Register publication (43 FR 17909). The Endangered Species Act 
Amendments of 1978 required that all proposals over 2 years old be 
withdrawn. A 1-year grace period was given to those proposals already 
more than 2 years old. In the December 10, 1979, Federal Register (44 
FR 70796), the Service published a notice of withdrawal of the June 16, 
1976, proposal along with four other proposals that had expired.
    The Service published an updated Notice of Review for plants on 
December 15, 1980 (45 FR 82480). This notice included Cirsium 
loncholepis, Eriodictyon capitatum, and Lupinus nipomensis as category 
1 candidate species. Category 1 candidates were formerly defined as 
taxa for which the Service had on file substantial information on 
biological vulnerability and threats to support preparation of listing 
proposals, but issuance of the proposed rule was precluded by other 
pending listing proposals of higher priority. On November 28, 1983, the 
Service published a supplement to the Notice of Review in the Federal 
Register (48 FR 53640), in which Cirsium loncholepis and Lupinus 
nipomensis were included as category 2 candidates. Category 2 formerly 
included taxa for which information in the possession of the Service 
indicated that proposing to list as endangered or threatened was 
possibly appropriate, but for which sufficient data on biological 
vulnerability and threats were not available to support proposed rules.
    The plant Notice of Review was again revised on September 27, 1985 
(50 FR 39526). In this notice, Eriodictyon capitatum was included as a 
category 1 candidate, and Cirsium loncholepis and Lupinus nipomensis 
remained category 2 candidates. On February 21, 1990 (55 FR 6184), and 
September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144), revised Notices of Review were 
published that included Cirsium loncholepis, Eriodictyon capitatum, 
Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa, and Lupinus nipomensis as category 1 
candidates. On February 28, 1996, the Service published a Notice of 
Review in the Federal Register (61 FR 7596) that discontinued the 
designation of category 2 species as candidates. That notice included 
as candidates only those taxa meeting the former definition of category 
1, and included the four taxa in this proposed rule. They maintained 
candidate status in the Notice of Review published on September 19, 
1997 (62 FR 49398).
    The processing of this proposed rule conforms with the Service's 
final listing priority guidance for fiscal year 1997, published in the 
Federal Register on December 5, 1996 (61 FR 64475). In a Federal 
Register notice published on October 23, 1997 (62 FR 55628), the 
guidance was extended beyond fiscal year 1997 until such time as the 
fiscal year 1998 appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior 
becomes law and new final guidance is published. The fiscal year 1997 
guidance clarifies the order in which the Service will process 
rulemakings following two related events: (1) The lifting on April 26, 
1996, of the moratorium on final listings imposed on April 10, 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-6), and (2) the restoration of significant funding for 
listing through passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act on 
April 26, 1996, following severe funding constraints imposed by a 
number of continuing resolutions between November 1995 and April 1996. 
Based on biological considerations, this guidance establishes a 
``multi-tiered approach that assigns relative priorities, on a 
descending basis, to actions to be carried out under section 4 of the 
Act'' (61 FR 64479). The guidance calls for giving highest priority to 
handling emergency situations (Tier 1) and second highest priority 
(Tier 2) to resolving the listing status of the outstanding proposed 
listings. Tier 3 includes the processing of new proposed listings for 
species facing high magnitude threats. This proposed rule falls under 
Tier 3, since the taxa all have listing priority numbers of 2 or 3. The 
guidance states that ``effective April 1, 1997, the Service will 
concurrently undertake all of the activities presently included in 
Tiers 1, 2, and 3'' (61 FR 64480). The Service has thus begun 
implementing a more balanced listing program, including processing more 
Tier 3 activities. The completion of this Tier 3 activity follows those 

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) 
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 an endangered or 
threatened species due to one or more of the five factors described in 
section 4(a)(1). These factors and their application to Cirsium 
loncholepis Petrak (La Graciosa thistle), Eriodictyon capitatum Eastw. 
(Lompoc yerba santa), Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa B.D. Tanowitz 
(Gaviota tarplant), and

[[Page 15168]]

Lupinus nipomensis Eastw. (Nipomo Mesa lupine) are as follows:

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of its Habitat or Range

    Habitat fragmentation and alteration of species composition and 
vegetation structure threaten the long term survival of all of the taxa 
in this rule. The taxa in this rule have extremely limited natural 
distributions (Eriodictyon capitatum and Hemizonia increscens ssp. 
villosa) or reduced distributions resulting from loss of habitat 
(Cirsium loncholepis and Lupinus nipomensis).
    Eriodictyon capitatum is associated with the central maritime 
chaparral and bishop pine, threatened habitat types with limited 
distribution, and rich in plant species of limited distribution 
(Holland 1986). Most central maritime chaparral has been converted to a 
variety of land uses, and degraded by development, weed invasion, 
habitat fragmentation and other factors (Hoover 1970, Davis et al. 
1988, Odion et al. 1992, CNDDB 1997). Ice plant invasion threatens to 
convert the maritime chaparral into a habitat dominated by mats of the 
exotic succulent (Odion et al. 1992). Ice plant was documented as an 
invasive in habitat occupied by E. capitatum following a prescribed 
fire (Jacks et al. 1984). Veldt grass was seeded in controlled burns 
and used for soil stabilization at VAFB and has become widespread and 
naturalized (Smith 1976, Jones and Stokes 1997). Comparison of historic 
and current photographs show no veldt grass in 1973, whereas in 1997 
the same site was dominated by veldt grass (Chris Gillespie, VAFB, 
pers. comm. 1997).
    Department of Defense base closures across the nation have resulted 
in the relocation of activities to those bases that remain operational. 
Facility maintenance and development for military and private 
commercial purposes planned at VAFB are likely to result in additional 
loss and alteration of habitat for Eriodictyon capitatum (Al Naydal, 
VAFB, pers. comm. 1993). There is considerable competition for use of 
the commercial spaceport on the base (25 to 30 companies) and launches 
are anticipated to occur every two weeks (C. Gillespie, pers. comm. 
1995). Missile launch operations can adversely affect habitats 
surrounding launch facilities. In 1993, a missile destroyed shortly 
after launching at VAFB started brush fires caused by burning rocket 
fuel and also caused physical damage from large fragments of metal 
blasted downward toward the ground (Wallace 1993). In September 1997, a 
200 ha (500 ac) fire ignited near an active missile silo and a 600 ha 
(1,500 ac) fire burned near occupied habitat of Eriodictyon capitatum 
(Los Angeles Times 1997a; J. Watkins, pers. comm. 1997). Wildfire 
containment lines in the vicinity of the species were observed after 
the fire (J. Watkins, pers. comm. 1997). On November 1, 1997, a 495 ha 
(1,225 ac) fire accidentally set by an explosives disposal team was 
partially contained by back burning the entire 35th Street population 
of E. capitatum (Los Angeles Times 1997b). Invasion by aggressive alien 
plant species occurs after fire in the maritime chaparral habitats (see 
factor E below). The expected increase in launch activities is likely 
to result in an increase in fires.
    Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa occurs within a narrow 3.6 km 
(2.25 mi) band of coastal terrace grassland about 24 ha (60 ac) in 
extent. About 40 percent of the coastal terrace habitat within the 
known range of H. i. ssp. villosa has been destroyed, altered, or 
fragmented by the construction of oil and gas facilities and pipelines. 
Projects during the past five years within the taxon's habitat include 
the installation of a water pipeline for the relocated Vista del Mar 
school, and construction of the Pacific pipeline (oil), the Mariposa 
pipeline (oil/gas), and the Molina drilling station. Molina Energy 
Company is developing a project to extract petroleum from three 
offshore natural gas reserves at an onshore drilling and production 
site. The Molina parcel contains the single largest continuous 
population of H. i. ssp. villosa (M. Meyer, pers. comm. 1996). 
Maintenance of pipelines and facilities will continue to disturb 
habitat for the taxon and facilitate the establishment of invasive weed 
species. Because the Santa Ynez Mountains rise sharply only 0.15 km 
(0.25 mi) inland from the coastline, the relatively flat coastal 
terrace forms a natural corridor for any utility project passing 
between the Gaviota Pass to the west and Santa Barbara to the east. All 
future projects that pass through this corridor are highly likely to 
adversely affect habitat for H. i. ssp. villosa by further destroying, 
degrading, and fragmenting habitat. The highest quality habitat remains 
unprotected and lies within this pipeline corridor. In attempts to 
mitigate habitat loss, a mitigation management area has been 
established by the oil industry; however, it protects less than five 
percent of the habitat. Because invasive species must be managed 
intensively to prevent their dominance, it is questionable whether this 
management area can sustain a colony of Hemizonia without ongoing 
intensive maintenance (K. Rindlaub, pers. comm. 1995). The trend for 
the taxon is one of decline (CDFG 1992).
    The Guadalupe Dunes, which contain occurrences of Cirsium 
loncholepis and Lupinus nipomensis, have been extensively developed and 
altered for petroleum extraction (Rindlaub et al. 1985). About one-
third of the historic occurrences of C. loncholepis have been 
extirpated (CDFG 1992). While the future extent of development and 
habitat alteration is unknown at this time, continued energy-related 
operations, including maintenance activities, hazardous waste clean-up, 
and other commercial development that result in additional habitat 
modification, remain a predominant threat (CDFG 1992). Ground water 
extraction in the Guadalupe Dunes and vicinity is thought to have 
diminished the total area of suitable habitat of C. loncholepis by 
lowering the water table and drying the wetlands (Smith 1976, 
Hendrickson 1990, CDFG 1992). Hydrological alterations remain a 
significant threat to this taxon (CDFG 1992). At least three historic 
populations of Lupinus nipomensis, including the type locality, have 
been extirpated. Development, along with invasion by alien plant 
species (see factor E below), are the primary threats to this species 
(CDFG 1992).

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

    Overutilization is not known to be a factor affecting the taxa in 
this rule.

C. Disease or Predation

    Disease is not known to be a factor affecting any of the taxa in 
this rule. Herbivory by pocket gophers (Thomomys bottae) has been 
documented to consume whole colonies of Lupinus nipomensis and is 
considered a major threat (Walters and Walters 1988). Veldt grass 
provides a year-round food source for the pocket gopher, thus creating 
artificially high densities of gophers and increased predation pressure 
upon L. nipomensis. Veldt grass was observed to be increasing during 
the course of a three-year monitoring program for L. nipomensis and is 
forming pure stands in the backdune habitat of L. nipomensis (Walters 
and Walters 1988). This increase in food source exacerbates the threat 
posed by pocket gopher predation.
    Several invertebrate species have been documented as predators of 
Lupinus nipomensis, reducing the vigor and seed production of this 
species. The most significant predator is an anthomyid fly

[[Page 15169]]

(Hylemya lupini Coquillett) whose larvae burrow into the terminal 
inflorescence, reducing seed production and sometimes killing the 
entire plant (Walters and Walters 1988). Other invertebrate predators 
noted are mites, the caterpillars of the common painted lady butterfly 
(Vanessa cardui) and a noctuid moth that feed on leaves, a tent-
building microlepidopteran larva (family Pyralidae) that causes leaf 
damage, and a lupine blue butterfly larva (Plebejus lupini monticola 
Clemence) that feeds on seed pods (Walters and Walters 1988). Predation 
by these taxa does not threaten the species in and of itself, but 
because of the limited range and small population size, predation in 
combination with other threats could adversely affect population 
    Cattle grazing occurs within the habitats of Cirsium loncholepis 
and Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa. Low levels of grazing may 
enhance the opportunities for both taxa to propagate successfully, as 
it may serve to reduce competition from other native species. 
Nevertheless, recent evidence indicates that heavy grazing has affected 
individuals of H. increscens ssp. villosa by reducing their stature and 
reducing the number of seeds that can be produced (AAPC 1990). Similar 
observations were made in the Guadalupe dunes and along the Santa Maria 
River where C. loncholepis was adversely affected (Hendrickson 1990).

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The California Fish and Game Commission has listed Eriodictyon 
capitatum as rare, Cirsium loncholepis as threatened, and Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa and Lupinus nipomensis as endangered under the 
Native Plant Protection Act (NPPA) (chapter 1.5 sec. 1900 et seq. of 
the California Fish and Game Code) and the California Endangered 
Species Act (CESA) (chapter 1.5 sec. 2050 et seq.). California Senate 
Bill 879, passed in 1997 and effective January 1, 1998, requires 
individuals to obtain a section 2081(b) permit from CDFG to take a 
listed species incidental to otherwise lawful activities, and requires 
that all impacts be fully mitigated and all measures be capable of 
successful implementation. These requirements have not been tested; it 
will be several years before their effectiveness can be evaluated. In 
the past, attempts to mitigate rare plant populations have largely 
failed (Howald 1993).
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a full 
disclosure of the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects. 
The public agency with primary authority or jurisdiction over the 
project is designated as the lead agency, and is responsible for 
conducting a review of the project and consulting with the other 
agencies concerned with the resources affected by the project. Section 
15065 of the CEQA Guidelines requires a finding of significance if a 
project has the potential to ``reduce the number or restrict the range 
of a rare or endangered plant or animal.'' Once significant effects are 
identified, the lead agency has the option to require mitigation for 
effects through changes in the project or to decide that overriding 
considerations make mitigation infeasible. In the latter case, projects 
may be approved that cause significant environmental damage, such as 
destruction of listed species. Protection of listed species through 
CEQA is, therefore, dependent upon the discretion of the agency 
    State agencies reviewing requests for large development projects 
are required by CEQA to conduct surveys of the biological resources of 
a project site. Most public documents such as Environmental Impact 
Reports are prepared by the project proponent for the State agency. 
Sensitive species located during surveys are to be reported to the 
CNDDB, which is maintained by the CDFG Natural Heritage Division. If, 
however, the project proponent considers the information proprietary, 
consulting biologists may not report to the CNDDB.
    One of the taxa in this proposal, Cirsium loncholepis, could 
potentially be affected by projects requiring a permit under section 
404 of the Clean Water Act. Perennial freshwater emergent marshes and 
back dune wetlands are generally small and scattered, and treated as 
isolated wetlands or waters of the United States for regulatory 
purposes by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under section 404 
of the Clean Water Act (CWA). However, the CWA by itself does not 
protect Cirsium loncholepis. For example, Nationwide Permit No. 26 (33 
CFR part 330 Appendix B (26)) was established by the Corps to 
facilitate issuance of permits for discharge of fill into wetlands up 
to 3 ac (1.2 ha). For project proposals falling under Nationwide Permit 
26, the Corps seldom withholds authorization unless a listed threatened 
or endangered species' continued existence would likely be jeopardized 
by the proposed action, regardless of the significance of other wetland 
resources. Current section 404 regulations require an applicant to 
obtain an individual permit to fill isolated wetlands or waters larger 
than 3 ac (1.2 ha). In either case, candidate species receive no 
special consideration. Additionally and equally important, the upland 
watersheds that contribute significantly to the hydrology of marshes 
are not provided any direct protection under section 404. Alterations 
of hydrology resulting from groundwater pumping are thought to pose the 
most likely and serious threat to C. loncholepis. No permit is required 
under the CWA for groundwater pumping. As a consequence, the habitat of 
C. loncholepis receives insufficient protection under section 404 of 
the CWA.
    Although several public agencies manage lands with occurrences of 
these and other sensitive, threatened and endangered species, none of 
those agencies have specific management plans for the taxa proposed for 
listing in this rule. Serious threats to the habitats of all of the 
plants in this rule persist that are not currently being addressed with 
active management (see factor E below). The CDFG has prepared an 
unpublished management plan for the State-listed Cirsium loncholepis 
(Morey 1990), but its recommendations have not yet been implemented.
    Mitigation performed to satisfy CESA requirements for Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa (State-listed endangered) has included 
salvaging seedbank and topsoil for transfer to a habitat creation site, 
seeding of areas disturbed by facility and pipeline construction, and 
enhancement of areas with low density of this taxon (AAPC 1990). These 
experimental mitigation measures are in progress and the long-term 
success of treatments will not be known for years. As of 1995, none of 
the sites showed success (K. Rindlaub, pers. comm. 1995). Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa does not compete well with other annual species 
and long-term survival of relocated plants requires intensive 
maintenance. These experimental mitigation measures focus on 
reintroducing the plant and not necessarily reestablishing the other 
elements of the habitat that would maintain the plant in perpetuity. If 
the original habitat has been destroyed and the mitigation fails, there 
is an irretrievable loss of the resource.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Their Continued Existence

    Other threats to the taxa in this rule include displacement by non-
native weeds, altered fire regimes, facility accidents, small 
population size, and loss of reproductive vigor. The most severe threat 
to the taxa in this rule is the active invasion and subsequent

[[Page 15170]]

modification or conversion of habitat and displacement of native 
species by aggressive alien weeds such as European beach grass, 
iceplant, veldt grass, and crystalline iceplant (Davis et al. 1988, 
Zedler and Schied 1988, Morey 1989, Walters and Walters 1989a, Odion et 
al. 1992, CNDDB 1997). Current research and management approaches are 
inadequate to provide control for the problem of alien plant invasions 
(Hobbs and Humphries 1995, Schierenbeck 1995). The California Exotic 
Pest Plant Council (CalEPPC) has compiled a list of the exotic pest 
plants of greatest ecological concern in California. The list 
categorizes the most invasive wildland pest plants that threaten native 
plants and natural habitats as list A-1, widespread pest plants, and 
list A-2, regional pest plants. Ammophila arenaria and Carpobrotus 
edulis are on list A-1 and Ehrharta calycina is on list A-2 (CalEPPC 
1994). All of the habitats for the taxa in this rule are fragmented and 
dissected by roads and pathways that are the principal corridors for 
introduction of these weedy species (Odion et al. 1992).
    Carpobrotus edulis, widely disseminated in the feces of deer and 
rabbits, tends to displace native plant species, particularly after 
fire or mechanical disturbance. Carpobrotus edulis has invaded native 
vegetation occupied by Eriodictyon capitatum after a prescribed fire, 
resulting in a documented increase in iceplant cover from negligible to 
26 percent 3 years after the fire. This increase was attributed to 
post-fire seedling production of over 7,800 iceplant seedlings per ha 
(2,800 per ac) the year after the fire, with a survivorship of over 70 
percent 3 years later (Zedler and Schied 1988). After establishment, 
each plant can grow to over 6 m (18 ft) in diameter (Vivrette 1993), 
virtually replacing all other vegetation. The Air Force is currently 
conducting prescribed burns on VAFB for fuels management without a 
program to control the subsequent invasion of weedy species (James 
Watkins, pers. comm. 1997). There is an effort to occasionally apply 
herbicides to a burn area; however, it is ineffective without follow-up 
measures to ensure the control of the invasive species. Because fire is 
inevitable in natural habitats, and prescribed burns are utilized for 
hazard fuels reduction, iceplant and other invasive weed invasions will 
continue to degrade habitat and adversely influence Eriodictyon 
capitatum, Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa, and Lupinus nipomensis.
    Other invasive plants, including Atriplex semibaccata (Australian 
saltbush), Ehrharta calycina, and Avena spp. threaten Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa by displacement and the build-up of thatch 
(accumulated dead leaves and stems). Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa 
requires open habitat in which to germinate and become established. 
Thatch from the alien grass species that dominate the habitat 
effectively prevents its establishment (K. Rindlaub, pers. comm. 1995).
    Ehrharta calycina is actively invading occupied habitat of 
Eriodictyon capitatum, Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa, and Lupinus 
nipomensis (Zedler and Schied 1988, Morey 1989, Walters and Walters 
1989a, Wickenheiser and Morey 1990). This alien grass has a mass of 
roots that captures the majority of the moisture, effectively 
outcompeting the native vegetation and dominating habitats as a 
monoculture (David Chipping, California Native Plant Society, pers. 
comm. 1997). The density of E. calycina continues to increase and 
displace L. nipomensis (Bonnie Walters, California Polytechnic State 
University, pers. comm. 1997).
    Eriodictyon capitatum and Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa occupy 
habitats that experience periodic fires. Fire is an important component 
of natural ecosystems in California wildland habitats and suppression 
of natural fires facilitates ecosystem degradation (Schoenherr 1992, 
Keeley 1995). All recent fires in the central maritime chaparral are 
human-caused, resulting from arson, prescribed management, or 
accidental ignition (Philbrick and Odion 1988). The highly fragmented 
nature of the remaining chaparral habitat has ended the occurrence of 
large wildland fires that burn under natural conditions in the coastal 
chaparral areas considered in this rule. Natural fire frequencies and 
intensities are not known, but estimates of burn intervals exceed 30 
years. The use of prescribed burning as a management technique is 
restricted to periods when environmental conditions are favorable to 
preventing the spread of escaped fire, thus preventing a normal, 
wildland fire-spread situation. Wildland fire-spread occurs during high 
wind events that force the fire quickly through a stand of fuel, 
resulting in short burn durations and generally cooler ground 
temperatures. Prescribed fire behavior does not mimic natural 
conditions, since low wind speed is required for control of the fire. 
This causes an increase in the duration and intensity of the fire and 
results in higher mortality of seeds in the soil and reduced post-fire 
species diversity (Odion et al. 1992, Keeley 1995). Additionally, 
burned habitats are rapidly invaded by non-native species that alter 
the type and structure of the fuel (Odion et al. 1992).
    Petroleum-processing plant catastrophes are rare events but have 
the potential to threaten the long-term survival of Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa and Lupinus nipomensis, which have the smallest 
distributions of the taxa in this rule. All known individuals of H. i. 
ssp. villosa are contained within a 3.2 km (2 mi) radius and all known 
locations for L. nipomensis occur within a 1.2 km (0.75 mi) radius of 
oil and gas refineries and associated storage facilities. The Chevron 
Gaviota Processing Facility, managed by at least 12 operating companies 
to consolidate pipelines and treating plants, is at the center of the 
distribution of H. i. ssp. villosa. The Santa Maria UNOCAL refinery and 
storage facilities are near the center of the distribution of L. 
nipomensis. These facilities occur in a tectonically complex and active 
region that is characterized by moderate to locally high historic 
seismicity, which can result in facility catastrophes (AAPC 1990). In 
the event of a facility catastrophe, the resulting habitat modification 
could destroy populations or cause the extinction of taxa with such 
extremely limited distribution.
    Cirsium loncholepis at Mud Lake has been destroyed by herbicide 
application on poison oak (Hendrickson 1990, CNDDB 1997). The 
significance of herbicide application as a threat to the survival of C. 
loncholepis is unknown.
    By virtue of the limited number of individuals or range of the 
existing populations, the taxa proposed in this rule are highly 
vulnerable to naturally occurring events. Loss of genetic variability 
may decrease the ability of these taxa to survive within the 
environment, and is frequently manifested in depressed reproductive 
vigor (Karron 1991). Eriodictyon capitatum is self-incompatible and 
produces few viable seeds. In two colonies of this species, each 
composed of a single genetic unit, there is virtually no seed 
production (Elam 1994). Seeds of Cirsium loncholepis have been shown to 
be of limited viability in its small back dune populations (Hendrickson 
1990). Because of the small population size, this vulnerability is 
exacerbated by natural events such as drought, flooding, fires, 
earthquakes, outbreaks of insects or disease, or other catastrophic 
events that could destroy a significant percentage of the individuals 
of the species.
    The Service has carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by these taxa in determining to propose

[[Page 15171]]

this rule. Based on this evaluation, the preferred action is to propose 
listing Cirsium loncholepis, Eriodictyon capitatum, Hemizonia 
increscens ssp. villosa, and Lupinus nipomensis as endangered. The 
habitats for these taxa have been much reduced due to residential, 
commercial, and oil and gas development. These taxa continue to face 
threats from development, military activities, alteration of natural 
fire cycles, and invasion of non-native species. The limited habitat 
for the four taxa and their small population sizes make Cirsium 
loncholepis, Eriodictyon capitatum, Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa, 
and Lupinus nipomensis particularly vulnerable to extinction from 
naturally occurring events. Existing regulations do not provide 
adequate protection to prevent further losses; many actions adversely 
affecting these taxa and their habitats are ongoing. Because the four 
plant taxa are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of their ranges, they fit the Act's definition of 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 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 
the determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of 
the species. ``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and 
procedures needed to bring the species to the point at which listing 
under the Act is no longer necessary.
    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 endangered or threatened. Service 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that designation of critical 
habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following situations 
exist: (1) 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 (2) such designation of critical 
habitat would not be beneficial to the species.
    None of the known occurrences of Cirsium loncholepis are on Federal 
land (CNDDB 1997). Critical habitat designation only applies to Federal 
lands or lands on which there is Federal activity. The primary habitat 
elements essential for conservation of this species at all other 
historical sites have been destroyed by development and agriculture 
(CNDDB 1997). Although C. loncholepis is a wetland species and 
alteration of its habitat may be regulated by the Corps under section 
404 of the CWA, current protection under section 404 is inadequate (see 
factor D in the ``Summary of Factors Affecting the Species'' section 
above). The Service believes that activities regulated under section 
404 that could impact the habitat of C. loncholepis are unlikely to 
occur, and that this species is primarily threatened by unregulated 
hydrological alterations, competition from alien plants, and trampling 
and herbivory by livestock and wildlife. Moreover, the inadequacies of 
the section 404 permitting process for protecting very small plant 
populations, discussed in detail under factor D of the ``Summary of the 
Factors'' section above, apply to this species. In addition, because of 
the small size of the populations of this species and the lack of 
historical habitat elsewhere, any activities that would be regulated 
under section 404 of the CWA and cause adverse modification of its 
habitat would also likely jeopardize its continued existence. 
Designation of critical habitat for C. loncholepis is therefore not 
prudent because it provides no additional benefit to the species beyond 
that conferred by listing under section 7 of the Act.
    Two of the four populations of Eriodictyon capitatum occur on 
private lands with very little likelihood of Federal involvement. 
Critical habitat designation only applies to Federal lands or lands on 
which there is Federal activity. The other two populations, consisting 
of three colonies, occur on VAFB. Two of these three colonies are 
uniclonal, making them highly vulnerable to naturally occurring events. 
All populations are extremely small and the Service believes that any 
adverse modification of designated critical habitat for this species 
would also be likely to jeopardize the species under section 7 of the 
Act. Because the Department of Defense is aware of this species and its 
locations on VAFB, and must consult with the Service on any activities 
likely to affect these populations once the species is listed, there 
would be no additional benefits to the species from designation of 
critical habitat beyond those conferred by listing itself. Designation 
of critical habitat is therefore not prudent for Eriodictyon capitatum 
because of lack of benefit.
    Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa is known only from one population 
on private land where there is very little likelihood of Federal 
involvement. Critical habitat designation only applies to Federal lands 
or lands on which there is Federal activity. Designation of critical 
habitat for Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa is therefore not prudent 
because of a lack of benefit.
    Only a single population of Lupinus nipomensis is known to be 
extant. The only other known occurrence was extirpated by land 
conversion. The plant occurs only on private lands with very little 
likelihood of Federal involvement. Critical habitat designation only 
applies to Federal lands or lands on which there is Federal activity. 
No Federal lands occur within the historical range of the species. 
Designation of critical habitat for Lupinus nipomensis is therefore not 
prudent because of a lack of benefit.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act include recognition, 
recovery actions, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions 
against certain practices. 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 from willing sellers 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 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 any proposed or 
designated critical habitat. 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,

[[Page 15172]]

if any is designated. If a Federal action may affect a listed species 
or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency must enter into 
formal consultation with the Service.
    VAFB will likely become involved with two of these plant taxa 
through the section 7 consultation process. While no activities are 
known at this time, future activities may affect populations of or 
habitat for Cirsium loncholepis and Eriodictyon capitatum. The Corps 
might become involved with C. loncholepis through its permitting 
authority as described under section 404 of the CWA, although the 
Service believes that activities regulated under section 404 are not a 
likely threat to this species. As previously discussed, nationwide or 
individual permits cannot be issued when a federally listed endangered 
or threatened species would be affected by a proposed project without 
first completing a section 7 consultation with the Service.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all threatened and 
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. 
In addition, for plants listed as endangered, the Act prohibits the 
malicious damage or destruction of 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 also provide for the issuance of 
permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities involving 
endangered plant species under certain circumstances. 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 these species are not in cultivation 
or common in the wild. Information collections associated with these 
permits are approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq., and assigned Office of Management and Budget clearance number 
1018-0094. For additional information concerning these permits and 
associated requirements, see 50 CFR 17.62. Requests for copies of the 
regulations concerning listed plants and general inquiries regarding 
prohibitions and permits may be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Endangered Species Permits, 911 N.E. 11th Avenue, Portland, 
Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone 503/231-2063; facsimile 503/231-6243).
    It is the policy of the Service, published in the Federal Register 
(59 FR 34272) on July 1, 1994, to identify to the maximum extent 
practicable those activities that would or would not be likely to 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act if a species is listed. 
The intent of this policy is to increase public awareness of the effect 
of the species' listing on proposed and ongoing activities within its 
range. The Service believes that, based upon the best available 
information, the following actions would not result in a violation of 
section 9, provided these activities were carried out in accordance 
with existing regulations and permit requirements:
    (1) Activities authorized, funded, or carried out by Federal 
agencies (e.g., military activities, grazing management, agricultural 
conversions, wetland and riparian habitat modification, flood and 
erosion control, residential development, recreational trail 
development, road construction and maintenance, hazardous material 
containment and cleanup activities, prescribed burns, pesticide/
herbicide application, pipelines or utility line crossing suitable 
habitat, other land use activities that would significantly modify the 
habitat of the taxa) 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 the four taxa proposed in 
this rule and does not alter the hydrology or habitat supporting those 
    (2) Casual, dispersed human activities on foot or horseback (e.g., 
camping, hiking, bird-watching, sightseeing, photography).
    (3) 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, residential development, road 
construction, pesticide/herbicide application, residential landscape 
maintenance, and pipelines or utility lines crossing suitable habitat.
    The Service believes that the actions listed below might 
potentially result in a violation of section 9; however, possible 
violations are not limited to these actions alone:
    (1) Unauthorized collecting of the taxa 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, would constitute a violation of section 9, should these taxa 
be listed, should be directed to the Field Supervisor of the Ventura 
Fish and Wildlife 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 concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this proposed rule are hereby solicited. The Fish and 
Wildlife Service will follow its peer review policy (July 1, 1994; 59 
FR 34270) in the processing of this rule. Comments are particularly 
sought concerning:
    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to these taxa;
    (2) The location of any additional populations of these taxa 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 these taxa; and
    (4) Current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on these taxa.
    A final determination of whether to list these taxa will take into 
consideration the comments and any additional information received by 
the Service. Such communications may lead to a final decision-making 
document that differs from this proposal.
    The Act provides for a public hearing on this proposal, if 
requested. Requests must be received within 45 days of the date of 
publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. Such requests must 
be made in writing and addressed

[[Page 15173]]

to the Field Supervisor (see ADDRESSES section).

National Environmental Policy Act

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

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon 
request from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES 
    Author: The primary author of this proposed rule is Tim Thomas, 
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (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 section 17.12(h) by adding the following, in alphabetical 
order under FLOWERING PLANTS, to the List of Endangered and Threatened 

Sec. 17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------    Historic range           Family            Status      When listed    Critical     Special  
         Scientific name                Common name                                                                               habitat       rules   
         Flowering Plants                                                                                                                               
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  
Cirsium loncholepis..............  La Graciosa thistle.  U.S.A. (CA)........  Asteraceae--Sunflow  E               ...........           NA           NA
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  
Eriodictyon capitatum............  Lompoc yerba santa..  U.S.A. (CA)........  Hydrophyllaceae--Wa  E               ...........           NA           NA
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  
Hemizonia increscens ssp. villosa  Gaviota tarplant....  U.S.A. (CA)........  Asteraceae--Sunflow  E               ...........           NA           NA
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  
Lupinus nipomensis...............  Nipomo Mesa lupine..  U.S.A. (CA)........  Fabaceae--Pea......  E               ...........           NA           NA
                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  

    Dated: March 17, 1998.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 98-8049 Filed 3-27-98; 8:45 am]