[Federal Register: April 2, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 63)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 16217-16218]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 16217]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Reclassification of Four Candidate Taxa: Pediocactus Paradinei (Kaibab 
Plains Cactus), Castilleja Elongata (Tall Paintbrush), Dalea 
Tentaculoides (Gentry's Indigobush), and Astragalus Oophorus var. 
Clokeyanus (Clokey's Eggvetch)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of candidate taxa reclassification.


SUMMARY: In this document, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
provides the explanation for changes in the status of Pediocactus 
paradinei (Kaibab plains cactus), Castilleja elongata (tall 
paintbrush), Dalea tentaculoides (Gentry's indigobush), and Astragalus 
oophorus var. clokeyanus (Clokey's eggvetch), plant taxa that are under 
review for possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
These taxa are being removed from candidate status at this time.

ADDRESSES: Questions concerning this notice should be submitted to the 
Chief, Division of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
1849 C Street, N.W., Mail Stop 452 ARLSQ, Washington, D.C. 20240.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: E. LaVerne Smith, Chief, Division of 
Endangered Species (see ADDRESSES section) (telephone: 703/358-2171).



    Candidate taxa are those taxa for which the Service has on file 
sufficient information to support issuance of a proposed rule to list 
under the Act. In addition to its annual review of all candidate taxa, 
the Service has an on-going review process, particularly to update taxa 
whose status may have changed markedly. This notice provides the 
specific explanation for the reclassification of four plant taxa.
    It is important to note that candidate assessment is an ongoing 
function and changes in status should be expected. Taxa that are 
removed from the candidate list may be restored to candidate status if 
additional information supporting such a change becomes available to 
the Service. Requests for such information were issued by the Service 
most recently in the plant and animal candidate notice of review 
published in the Federal Register on September 19, 1997 (62 FR 49398).


    Pediocactus paradinei (Kaibab plains cactus) occurs in pinyon-
juniper woodlands and sagebrush valleys in Coconino County, Arizona. 
The cactus is known from 36 sites across a 150 square mile (390 square 
kilometer) area. The species was considered to be threatened by off-
road vehicle use for recreation and fuelwood gathering, road 
construction, recreational activities, livestock grazing, vegetation 
manipulation, and collection. In October of 1996 the U.S. Forest 
Service and the Bureau of Land Management developed a Conservation 
Assessment and Strategy for management of the species. Implementation 
of the strategy since that time has resulted in off-road vehicle use 
and other recreational activities being restricted in certain areas; 
road construction impacts being addressed in project proposals; 
fuelwood harvesting being restricted or prohibited; livestock grazing 
being eliminated in certain areas; vegetation manipulation of pinyon-
juniper woodland being addressed through better management coordination 
and research; and ongoing research to address management needs on an 
ecosystem level. The available information currently indicates that the 
degree of the threats to P. paradinei does not warrant issuance of a 
proposed rule nor continuation of candidate status for this species.
    Castilleja elongata (tall paintbrush) is known from four 
populations in Big Bend National Park in Texas, administered by the 
National Park Service. Habitat loss from range management practices is 
thought to have caused extirpation of C. elongata from historical 
locations. The remaining four populations are considered threatened 
primarily by trail construction and maintenance, trail erosion, natural 
events, and genetic problems associated with small population size. 
However, the taxonomy of C. elongata is now in question. The available 
information concerning whether C. elongata should be classified as a 
distinct species is conflicting. Several university scientists 
considered experts on this group agree that more information is needed 
before a determination can be made regarding the taxonomy of C. 
elongata. The last published treatment of C. elongata incorporates the 
species into C. integra, while publication of two other treatments 
which maintain C. elongata as a species have been canceled. Based on 
the available information, the Service cannot conclude at this time 
that C. elongata meets the Act's definition of ``species.'' Research is 
underway to clarify the taxonomic status of this plant. If information 
becomes available indicating that C. elongata should be considered a 
distinct taxon, the Service will reevaluate its status. The National 
Park Service has advised the Service that it is committed to conserving 
the populations of C. elongata by (1) not locating new trails or other 
recreational amenities in habitat areas of the plant; (2) developing 
policies and procedures to improve communication between resource 
managers, trail crews, and other maintenance personnel to prevent 
impacts to the plant from maintenance activities; (3) if necessary, 
rerouting trails to decrease visitor access and actual or potential 
impacts to the plant and its habitat, placing signs to encourage hikers 
to stay on trails, and prohibiting tethering of horses and trail 
animals; (4) improving visitor interpretation programs and staff and 
volunteer training materials to increase awareness of the potential 
adverse impacts of activities in fragile habitats; (5) conducting 
studies to determine the need for prescribed fire in maintaining the 
habitat for the plant, and until management needs are identified, 
protecting all known populations of the plant from fire; and (6) 
designing any revegetation or erosion control projects to avoid impacts 
to the plant and its habitat. In addition, seeds of C. elongata are 
being collected and transferred from known populations into seed banks 
or cultivation refugia. Therefore, the Service is removing C. elongata 
from candidate status.
    Prior to 1995, Dalea tentaculoides (Gentry's indigobush) was known 
from a single site in the Sycamore Canyon drainage within the Coronado 
National Forest in Arizona. The species was considered to be threatened 
by erosion and sedimentation caused by the impacts of livestock grazing 
in the upper watershed, grazing by cattle entering the U.S. from Mexico 
through cut border fences, and natural events. Since 1995, two 
additional populations have been discovered, one in southern Arizona, 
and one in Mexico over 250 miles (402 kilometers) south of the U.S. 
border. The Sycamore Canyon site is located within a designated 
Wilderness Area and Research Natural Area. Although the upper watershed 
is not within the Wilderness Area and Research Natural Area, it is 
within designated critical habitat for the Sonoran chub (Gila 
ditaenia), a

[[Page 16218]]

threatened species. Institution of improved livestock grazing practices 
in the upper watershed through the section 7 consultation process for 
the Sonoran chub has lessened the threat of impacts to D. tentaculoides 
from erosion and sedimentation. There is no evidence that grazing by 
cattle entering the U.S. from Mexico has reduced the size of the 
Sycamore Canyon population. The discovery of two additional populations 
has reduced the threat that a natural event which could extirpate a 
population could cause extinction of the species. The available 
information indicates that the degree of the threats to D. 
tentaculoides does not warrant issuance of a proposed rule nor 
continuation of candidate status for this species.
    Until 1995, Astragalus oophorus var. clokeyanus (Clokey's eggvetch) 
was believed to occur at only 13 sites in the Spring Mountains in 
Nevada. The taxon was considered to be threatened primarily by 
recreational activities at the U.S. Forest Service's Spring Mountains 
National Recreation Area, by military activities and feral horses at 
the Nellis Air Force Range, and by military and energy projects at the 
Department of Energy's Tonopah Test Range and Nevada Test Site. Since 
1995, 15 additional populations have been discovered. Also, 
conservation actions and policies to protect A. oophorus var. 
clokeyanus on Forest Service, Air Force, and Department of Energy lands 
are now in place and are being implemented. Based on this information, 
continuation of candidate status for this taxon is not warranted.


    This notice was compiled from materials supplied by staff 
biologists located in the Service's regional and field offices. The 
materials were compiled by Martin J. Miller, Division of Endangered 
Species (see ADDRESSES section).


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

    Dated: March 30, 1998.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 98-8610 Filed 3-31-98; 9:04 am]