[Federal Register: March 20, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 54)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 14878-14888]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AE76

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of 
Threatened Status for Chlorogalum purpureum (Purple Amole), a Plant 
From the South Coast Ranges of California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, determine threatened 
status pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act), for the California plant, Chlorogalum purpureum (purple amole). 
This species comprises two varieties, C. p. var. purpureum and C. p. 
var. reductum. Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum is known only from 
the south coast ranges in Monterey County, on lands managed by the 
Department of the Army at Fort Hunter Liggett. It is threatened by loss 
and alteration of habitat, direct loss of plants from construction and 
use of military training facilities and from military field training 
activities, displacement by nonnative annual grasses, and potentially 
by alteration of fire cycles due to military training. Livestock 
grazing is a potential threat, as grazing may be reinstated in occupied 
habitat in the future. The other variety, C. p. var. reductum, is known 
only from two sites in the La Panza region of the coast ranges in San 
Luis Obispo County, on U.S. Forest Service and private lands. It is 
threatened by illegal vehicle trespass into the population on Forest 
Service land, road maintenance, displacement by nonnative annual 
grasses, and by livestock grazing depending upon the intensity of 
grazing use within the population area. This final rule implements the 
Federal protection and recovery provisions afforded by the Act. 
Although this rule lists Chlorogalum purpureum at the species level, 
each variety should be treated as a separate taxonomic unit for the 
purposes of applying the section 7 jeopardy standard and identifying 
recovery units, if applicable.

DATES: This rule is effective April 19, 2000.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Road, 
Suite B, Ventura, California 93003.

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



    Chlorogalum purpureum was first described by Brandegee in 1893 from 
specimens collected in the Santa Lucia Mountains by William Vortriede a 
year earlier (Brandegee 1893). In 1904, E.L. Greene (1904) published 
the new combination Laothoe purpurea when he discovered that the genus 
name Laothoe had been published earlier than Chlorogalum. However, R.F. 
Hoover (1940) reinstated use of the name Chlorogalum through the rule 
of nomen conservandum. Hoover (1964) described the variety reductum 
(Camatta Canyon amole), first collected in the late 1940s, based on its 
shorter stature compared to the nominative variety. This nomenclature 
was retained in the most recent treatment of the genus (Jernstedt 
1993). These two varieties comprise the entire species.
    Chlorogalum purpureum is a bulb-forming perennial herb in the lily 
family (Liliaceae). It has a basal rosette of linear leaves 2 to 5 
millimeters (mm) (0.1 to 0.2 inches (in)) wide with wavy margins. A 
widely branching stem supports bluish-purple flowers with six recurved 
tepals (petals and sepals that have a similar appearance). The stems of 
C. p. var. purpureum are 25 to 40 centimeters (cm) (10 to 16 in) high, 
whereas those of C. p. var. reductum are only 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) 
high (Hoover 1964, Jernstedt 1993). Chlorogalum purpureum is the only 
member of the genus with bluish-purple flowers that open during the day 
(Jernstedt 1993).
    Reproduction in Chlorogalum purpureum is primarily by seed. Each 
flower contains six ovules, although not all develop into seeds in the 
wild (Hoover 1964). The species is reported to be self-compatible, and 
insect pollination appears to result in increased seed set (D. Wilken, 
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, in litt. 1998; M. Elvin, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, pers. com. 1998). Hoover (1940) reports that clonal 
reproduction by longitudinal splitting of the bulbs is rare; some 
splitting has been noted in one population of C. p. var. reductum 
(Alice Koch, California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), pers. comm. 
    Chlorogalum purpureum occurs in grassland, oak woodland, and oak 
savannah between 300 and 620 meters (m) (1,000 and 2,050 feet (ft)) in 
elevation in the south coast ranges of California. Like other members 
of the lily family, C. purpureum is probably mycorrhizal (develops 
root-hyphae relationships with a fungus).
    Mycorrhizal relationships can aid in nutrient and water uptake by a 
host plant and can alter growth and competitive interactions between 
species (Allen 1991).
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum is known from oak woodlands 
and grasslands at three sites near Jolon in Monterey County on lands 
owned and managed by the Department of the Army (Fort Hunter Liggett). 
Historically, appropriate habitat may have existed east of the base, in 
Jolon Valley, but most of the flat areas in that valley have been 
converted to cropland, pasture, or vineyards. At Fort Hunter Liggett, 
the plant occurs on flat or gently sloping terrain with a gravelly 
surface underlain by clay soils, often where other herbaceous 
vegetation is sparse.
    Of the three localities of Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum, 
one comprises discontinuous and fragmented patches of plants scattered 
over an area 7 to 9 kilometers (km) (4 to 6 miles (mi)) long and about 
5 km (3 mi) wide in the cantonment (housing and administration area), 
the Ammunition Supply Point, adjacent Training Area 13, and the 
boundary of Training Area 10 (U.S. Army Reserve Command 1996; map 
provided by D. Hines, in litt. 1998; Painter and Neese 1998). While 
some of the discontinuities in distribution are due to unsuitable 
intervening habitat, other patches have been fragmented by roads, the 
historical settlement of Jolon, and military training facilities. No 
population counts have been made at this site, but estimates of some 
areas within it suggest that it supports several thousand plants (U.S. 

Department of the Army 1997, Painter and Neese 1998). The second 
locality is about 4 km (2.5 mi) to the southeast in Training Area 25. 
The taxon is patchily distributed in an area of about 6 square km (2 
square mi) that is laced with vehicle tracks and dirt roads. At one 
location there, 400 to 500 plants have been recorded (Painter and Neese 
1998), but the entire site may support several thousand individuals. 
The third and southernmost locality is at the boundaries of Training 
Areas 23, 24, and 27. This is the largest known site and contains 
plants in high densities. Following a fire that may have

[[Page 14879]]

promoted flowering, this site was estimated to support up to 10,000 
plants (Painter and Neese 1998).
    The primary threats to Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum are the 
loss, fragmentation, and alteration of habitat and direct elimination 
of plants from construction and use of military training facilities, 
military field training activities, displacement by nonnative annual 
grasses, and potentially by alteration of fire cycles due to military 
training. Livestock grazing and associated habitat changes may threaten 
this taxon if grazing is resumed in occupied habitat in the future.
    About 110 km (70 mi) to the south, Chlorogalum purpureum var. 
reductum occurs in one region in the La Panza Range of San Luis Obispo 
County. It is currently known from only two sites. The larger site is 
located adjacent to a two-lane State highway; a smaller site is located 
approximately 5 to 8 km (3 to 5 mi) farther to the south. The larger 
locality is located on a narrow, flat-topped ridge or plateau 
supporting blue oak (Quercus douglasii) savannah. This plateau, 
bisected by a highway, is probably the remains of an ancient elevated 
alluvial terrace (a terrace consisting of material deposited by running 
water), most of which has been eroded away by surrounding drainages 
that are now 90 to 120 m (300 to 400 ft) below the plateau (H. 
Ehrenspeck, in litt. 1994). The soils have been described as well-
drained red clays with a large component of gravel and pebbles (Hoover 
1964, Lopez 1992). North of the highway, the population occurs on 
private lands. South of the highway, it grows on public lands managed 
by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) on Los Padres National Forest (LPNF). 
A few plants may extend into the California Department of 
Transportation (Caltrans) right-of-way along the highway. Caltrans has 
designated both sides of the highway right-of-way in this area as 
Botanical Management Areas. These areas are to be managed for their 
special resource values (D. Magney, consulting biologist, pers. comm. 
    This population is patchily distributed over the plateau and has 
been estimated to occupy just 2 to 3 hectares (ha) (fewer than 8 acres 
(ac)) south of the highway and probably somewhat less on the highway's 
north side (Gaskin 1990; Lopez 1992; M. Borchert and K. Danielsen, 
USFS, pers. comm. 1997). A graded dirt road about 10 m (30 ft) wide 
bisects the portion of the population on public land. The road leads to 
private inholdings and residences on the LPNF and is bounded on either 
side by a pipe barrier that was installed in 1989 or 1990 to prevent 
off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from using the site (David Magney, 
biological consultant, pers. comm. 1997). A removable portion of the 
barrier and a barbed wire section of fence have been routinely breached 
by OHVs. Such illegal use was noted to be increasing from 1995 through 
1997 (A. Koch, California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), in litt. 
1997a). In 1998, after publication of the proposed rule to list the 
species (63 FR 15142), the Forest Service replaced the broken section 
of barbed wire fence with a single post barrier and rewelded sections 
of broken pipe barrier elsewhere.
    Because the site north of the highway is on private land, estimates 
of abundance or recent information on habitat conditions are not 
currently available. Population size estimates south of the highway, on 
public lands, have ranged from 1,000 individuals to several hundred 
thousand individuals (Borchert 1981, Warner 1991, Borchert et al. 
1997). Some of this variability reflects changes in the above-ground 
presence of plants, since bulbs may remain dormant during years with 
unfavorable growing conditions. Monitoring along a 100 m (330 ft) 
transect showed that plant numbers were relatively stable within the 
transect between 1991 and 1997 (Borchert et al. 1997). This transect is 
not located in an area where vehicle trespass has continued to occur 
and is, therefore, not representative of the status of the population 
in areas subject to OHV activity. That portion of the population where 
the transect is located is accessible to livestock.
    The second known locality of Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum 
was first documented by botanists in the mid 1990s. It is located 5 to 
8 km (3 to 5 mi) south of the LPNF population in an area with similar 
soils and topography (David Chipping, California Polytechnic State 
University, in litt. 1997). The taxon has been estimated to occupy less 
than 0.1 ha (0.25 ac) and consists of several hundred plants in two or 
more patches on private land. The landowner has expressed an interest 
in the plant and its protection (D. Chipping, in litt. 1997).
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum is threatened by illegal 
vehicle trespass into the larger locality on LPNF.
    Livestock use may be detrimental to this taxon depending upon the 
intensity of livestock use and the extent to which livestock congregate 
in the population area. The effects of livestock grazing on this taxon 
need further evaluation.

Previous Federal Action

    Federal Government actions on this species began as a result of 
section 12 of the Act, 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 Doc. No. 94-51) was presented to Congress on January 9, 1975, 
and included Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum and C. p. var. 
reductum as endangered. On July 1, 1975, we published a notice in the 
Federal Register (40 FR 27823) of our acceptance of the report 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 of our intention to review 
the status of the plant taxa named therein.
    On June 16, 1976, we published a proposed rule 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. This 
list, which included Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum and C. p. 
var. reductum, was assembled on the basis of comments and data received 
by us and by the Smithsonian Institution in response to House Document 
No. 94-51 and the July 1, 1975, 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). In 1978, 
amendments to the Endangered Species Act 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. Subsequently, on December 10, 1979, we published a 
notice (44 FR 70796) of the withdrawal of the portion of the June 16, 
1976, proposal that had not been made final, along with four other 
proposals that had expired. Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum and C. 
p. var. reductum were included in that withdrawal notice.
    On December 15, 1980, we published an updated Candidate Notice of 
Review (NOR) for plants (45 FR 82480). This notice included Chlorogalum 
purpureum var. purpureum and C. p. var. reductum as ``category 2 
candidates.'' Category 2 candidates were defined as taxa for which we 
had data on biological vulnerability and threats indicating that 
listing was possibly appropriate, but the data were not sufficient to 
support proposed rules. The two Chlorogalum taxa were

[[Page 14880]]

included as category 1 candidates in the revised plant NOR is published 
in the Federal Register on September 27, 1985 (50 FR 39526), February 
21, 1990 (55 FR 6184), and September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144). Category 1 
candidates were defined as those taxa for which we had on file 
sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to 
support the preparation of listing proposals, but issuance of proposed 
rules was precluded by other pending listing proposals of higher 
priority. The two Chlorogalum taxa were included as candidates in the 
NOR published on February 28, 1996 (61 FR 7596), as well as in the NOR 
published on September 19, 1997 (62 FR 49398). The definition formerly 
applied to category 1 candidates now applies to candidates as a whole. 
On March 30, 1998, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register 
(63 FR 15142) to list Chlorogalum purpureum as threatened.
    The processing of this final rule conforms with our fiscal year 
2000 listing priority guidance, published in the Federal Register on 
October 22, 1999 (64 FR 57114). The guidance establishes the order in 
which we will process rulemakings. The guidance calls for giving 
highest priority to handling emergency situations (Priority 1). With 
the exception of emergency actions, all other listing activities may be 
undertaken simultaneously; however, relative priorities for non-
emergency listing actions may be based on the following priority 
levels. Processing final decisions on pending proposed listings are 
priority 2 actions. Priority 3 actions are the resolution of the 
conservation status of species identified as candidates (resulting in a 
new proposed rule or a candidate removal). Priority 4 actions are the 
processing of 90-day or 12-month administrative findings on petitions. 
Critical habitat determinations, which were previously included in 
final listing rules published in the Federal Register, may now be 
processed separately, in which case stand-alone critical habitat 
determinations will be published as notices in the Federal Register. 
This final rule is a priority 2 action and is being completed in 
accordance with the current listing priority guidance.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the March 30, 1998, proposed rule (63 FR 15142), all interested 
parties were requested to submit factual reports or information that 
might contribute to development of a final rule. Appropriate Federal 
agencies, State agencies, county and city governments, scientific 
organizations, and other interested parties were contacted and 
requested to provide comments. Newspaper notices inviting public 
comment were published in the San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune 
on April 2, 1998, and in the Monterey Herald on April 10, 1998. The 
comment period closed on May 29, 1998.
    Nine comments were provided by individuals, organizations, and 
agencies on the proposed rule. Six of the commenters supported the 
listing, and two commenters opposed it. Several commenters provided 
additional technical information that, along with other clarifications, 
has been incorporated into the ``Background'' or ``Summary of Factors 
Affecting the Species'' sections of this final rule. Issues raised by 
commenters, and our response to each, are summarized as follows:
    Issue 1: Two commenters noted that Chlorogalum purpureum var. 
purpureum is present in old roadbeds and areas that have been used or 
disturbed by vehicles. They speculated that disturbance may be 
beneficial to the plant; one commenter noted that we did not address 
this possibility in the proposed rule.
    Our response: Observations of flowering Chlorogalum purpureum in 
vehicle tracks and scraped areas do exist (Gaskin 1990, Koch 1997). 
Because C. purpureum grows from an underground bulb, some mature plants 
may be able to survive situations when the above-ground portions are 
crushed by vehicles. The reduction in other vegetation may make the 
flowering C. purpureum more visible, as even a light cover by annual 
grasses can obscure the flowers of this species due to its short 
stature. It is also possible that the removal or suppression of 
competing vegetation that may occur due to multiple passes of a vehicle 
may temporarily make available greater light, water, or nutrient 
resources to the surviving C. purpureum plants. Mature C. purpureum 
plants may respond to this temporary increase in available resources by 
flowering. However, it would be inappropriate to therefore conclude 
that the species responds ``favorably'' to disturbance. The type of 
``disturbance'' and its effects on all life history stages of the plant 
must be considered. For instance, increased flowering has been observed 
in many bulb-forming plants following fires (Gill 1977, Zedler and 
Zammit 1989). While scraping or vehicle use may mimic the removal of 
vegetation that occurs following fires, these activities do not mimic 
the other effects of fire (e.g., conversion of thatch and other plant 
biomass to ash, alteration of nutrient availability, and soil chemistry 
(Gill 1977, Zedler and Zammit 1989)). In addition to crushing or 
removal of competing vegetation, vehicle-use in grassland habitats is 
also likely to cause soil compaction, loss of cryptogamic crusts, and 
introduction and spread of nonnative plant species; damage mycorrhizae; 
and crush seedlings, adult rosettes, and flowering stalks. Seedling 
establishment of C. purpureum var. reductum in compacted soils is 
reduced in comparison to establishment in loosened soils (Koch 1997). 
While C. purpureum has evolved in systems that are periodically 
``disturbed'' by events such as wildfire, the human-caused 
``disturbances'' addressed here do not mimic those with which the plant 
has evolved, have many unfavorable effects (as mentioned above), and 
take place in an environment where nonnative invasive plants are now 
established. We are not aware of any evidence to suggest that vehicle 
use, soil surface scraping, and excessive trampling in populations of 
C. purpureum would be other than detrimental to their long-term 
    Issue 2: One commenter suggested that quantitative data is 
inadequate to support listing Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum and 
that threats to this taxon discussed in the proposed rule should be 
considered only ``potential'' threats. The commenter stated that the 
number of documented locations of C. p. var. purpureum has increased, 
since 1994, from 5 to about 100, with few documented losses.
    Our response: The Act requires that we use the best available 
scientific information as the basis for our listing decisions. In 
addition to published papers in peer-reviewed journals, scientific 
reports, letters, and personal correspondence, we consider professional 
judgment and expert opinion by knowledgeable biologists in making 
decisions. We have assessed the best available information provided by 
the Army at Fort Hunter Liggett and by other parties on the activities 
occurring in the locations supporting C. p. var. purpureum. While the 
Army has been responsive and shown initiative in implementing their 
environmental review process and while this may benefit C. p. var. 
purpureum and other sensitive plant species, we conclude that the 
activities occurring in the populations of C. p. var. purpureum, and 
the damage to associated soils and vegetation, are of sufficient 
magnitude that the taxon is imperiled and meets the definition of 
``threatened'' under the Act. To assess the comment on the number of 
locations of C. p. var. purpureum, we compared the data on

[[Page 14881]]

known locations of C. p. var. purpureum submitted by this commenter 
with data we had received previously from this commenter and others on 
the locations of C. p. var. purpureum and found no substantial 
difference, other than how the locations are described. For instance, 
in the proposed rule, we described the northern site of C. p. var. 
purpureum as patches of plants occurring over an area 7 to 9 km (4 to 6 
mi) long, while the commenter has this area mapped as about 60 
individual locations. Because many of the patches of C. p. var. 
purpureum in this area grow within 100 meters of one another, gene flow 
may be occurring between them, and they may function as one or multiple 
populations. Therefore, we concluded that it is most appropriate to 
describe the distribution of plants in this area as a single 
discontinuous locality. Plants had been documented in this locality by 
    Issue 3: One commenter stated that the effects of military training 
activities on Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum are not known and 
that no evidence exists that foot traffic resulting from use of the 
obstacle course will degrade the C. p. var. purpureum sites. In 
response to our observation that no areas where this taxon occurs are 
off-limits to training, the commenter stated that eliminating military 
training from C. p. var. purpureum localities may not be needed because 
the plant is doing well at Fort Hunter Liggett under current 
    Our response: We disagree that the plant is doing well at Fort 
Hunter Liggett under current conditions. Military training activities, 
including field maneuvers, occur in the populations of Chlorogalum 
purpureum var. purpureum. Their effects are most evident in the 
locality in Training Area 25. Field maneuvers typically involve tracked 
and wheeled vehicles, placement of temporary housing (tents) for 
troops, digging of latrines, protection berms or bunkers, and use by 
hundreds of troops (U.S. Army Reserve Command 1996). Field maneuvers 
and bivouacking (temporary encampments) have resulted in soil 
compaction, ruts in the soil that alter microhabitat characteristics 
(Painter and Neese 1998; D. Steeck, pers. obs. 1998; J. Chesnut, 
consulting biologist, in litt. 1998), and loss of most herbaceous 
vegetation in areas where troop use is heavy (D. Steeck, pers. obs. 
1997, 1998) and may result in direct crushing or trampling of 
vegetative or reproductive parts of purple amole. Such activity may 
also increase the spread or abundance of nonnative plant species. Other 
training activities involve the use of developed facilities, such as 
obstacle courses. According to their records (Hormann 1996), the Army 
at Fort Hunter Liggett avoided placing individual obstacles for the 
obstacle course directly on plants, however the obstacles were placed 
within the population. Use of the obstacle course is likely to reduce 
seedling establishment through crushing and soil compaction, and the 
construction of the course and its use may increase the abundance of 
nonnative grasses and weedy species on the site. We conclude that 
adequate evidence exists that military training activities, including 
field maneuvers and development and use of training facilities such as 
the obstacle course, are detrimental to C. p. var. purpureum at Fort 
Hunter Liggett.
    Issue 4: One commenter stated that, because the historical 
distribution of Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum is not known, the 
extent of fragmentation cannot be known.
    Our response: We agree that the extent of fragmentation of 
Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum populations is not known. Patches 
of plants may be discontinuous due to differences in soils and 
microhabitat conditions, even without human-induced changes to the 
landscape. However, in numerous places at Fort Hunter Liggett, plants 
occur up to, and on both sides of, a road or other human structure, 
strongly suggesting that they were once continuous (for instance, 
plants within the ``triangle'' of roads at the entrance gate, those on 
both sides of Mission Creek Road and on both sides of the dirt road 
leading to the rifle range and conditioning course). In these cases, 
depending on pollinator type and amount and type of converted habitat, 
gene flow from seed and pollen dispersal between the isolated or 
fragmented patches of plants will be reduced. We conclude that the 
historical settlement of Jolon on Fort Hunter Liggett and the 
construction and use of training areas, roads, and buildings have 
fragmented and isolated patches of C. p. var. purpureum.
    Issue 5: One commenter suggested that we should not have included 
Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum in the proposed rule because it 
had a candidate listing priority number of 9, suggesting less threat 
than that for C. p. var. reductum, which had a candidate listing 
priority number of 3.
    Our response: Assigning listing priority numbers to candidates, 
based on immediacy and degree of threat, is simply a method to help us 
prioritize the order in which candidates will be proposed for listing. 
By definition, a candidate species is one for which we have determined 
that we have adequate information on file to propose listing. When 
candidate species occur together in the same habitat or have close 
taxonomic affinities, we often include them together in a listing 
package to increase efficiency. The two taxa addressed in this listing 
make up the entire species Chlorogalum purpureum, so it is appropriate 
to address the entire species in one rule.
    Issue 6: One commenter stated that a new road was not constructed 
at Fort Hunter Liggett as had been reported in 1988 by an observer. The 
commenter stated that Fort Hunter Liggett simply repaved an abandoned 
road that had fallen into disrepair. An aerial photograph from 1950 was 
presented to document the statement.
    Our response: We have reviewed the photo and agree that it appears 
that the road in question was in place by 1950. The area where the 
plants are located (the commenter has illustrated their location on the 
photo) does not appear to have been surrounded by roads in 1950, 
however, suggesting that additional road construction since 1950 has 
occurred and has resulted in their being left in a triangular-shaped 
area, bounded on all sides by roads.
    Issue 7: One commenter clarified that, since 1995, under the Army's 
environmental review procedures, projects have been modified in all 
cases where it was necessary to protect the Chlorogalum purpureum var. 
purpureum, not in just some cases, as the proposed rule described.
    Our response: We are pleased to learn that, during the 
environmental review process, projects have been modified in all cases 
where needed to reduce impacts to this taxon. Our assessment is that 
these modifications have not always been sufficient. The wording in 
this final rule has been altered to reflect this determination. We also 
recognize that some activities that threaten this plant, such as 
bivouacking, are not addressed through the environmental review process 
but cause substantial modification of habitat for Chlorogalum 
purpureum, particularly in Training Area 25.
    Issue 8: One commenter stated that Chlorogalum purpureum, 
particularly var. reductum, should be listed as endangered, due to the 
combined effects of livestock grazing and OHV trespass, which are 
degrading a significant portion of this taxon's range.
    Our response: Although Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum occupies 
a very limited area, the taxon is abundant within that area. The 
species is long-lived, and the threat of OHV trespass has been 
partially addressed by the

[[Page 14882]]

USFS through fencing, although more rigorous monitoring and maintenance 
of the barriers are needed. Transect data have shown that recruitment 
is occurring in the transect area where numbers of C. p. var. reductum 
have been relatively stable over the last 7 years (Borchert et al. 
1997). The transect is in an area accessible to cattle, but is not in 
an area where OHV trespass has continued to occur and cannot be 
considered representative of the population. We have concluded that, 
while not currently in danger of extinction, C. p. var. reductum is ``* 
* * likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range'' (the definition of 
``threatened'') if impacts from increasing OHV trespass, road use and 
maintenance, livestock grazing, and potential displacement by nonnative 
species continue or increase.
    Issue 9: One commenter stated that the Service, in the proposed 
rule, failed to address means, other than grazing, of reducing the 
impacts of invasive nonnative species on Chlorogalum purpureum var. 
reductum. The commenter also requested that the final rule include 
measures the USFS will take to reduce vehicle trespass into the 
population area.
    Our response: We do not typically make management recommendations 
in proposed or final rules. Therefore, in this rule we have not 
included a discussion of methods to reduce the impacts of nonnative 
plants on Chlorogalum purpureum populations or the measures by which 
the USFS will address vehicle trespass. The latter will be addressed in 
the consultation process under section 7 of the Act, and both issues 
will be addressed through the recovery planning process after the 
species is listed. In the proposed rule, we noted that previous reports 
had suggested that C. purpureum might benefit from grazing if it 
reduced the abundance of nonnative annual grasses that occur in the 
population area and which may displace C. purpureum. These reports were 
not based on monitoring data, as none is available that address the 
effects of livestock on nonnative grasses at this site. In the proposed 
rule, we did not advocate or oppose livestock grazing as a means to 
reduce the effects of nonnative plants on C. purpureum; we believe 
studies investigating the effects of livestock grazing on C. purpureum 
are necessary should cattle continue to have access to the habitat of 
this taxon on Federal lands.
    Issue 10: One commenter stated that our argument for not 
designating critical habitat was not well justified and that a 
designation of critical habitat would provide additional benefit to 
Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum through the section 7 process.
    Our response: We are deferring a critical habitat determination for 
Chlorogalum purpureum in accordance with the Final Listing Priority 
Guidance for FY 2000 (64 FR 57114). The Critical Habitat section in 
this rule contains further discussion of this issue.
    Issue 11: One commenter stated that we lack jurisdiction to enact 
the proposed rule and that the rule should be withdrawn since there is 
no connection between regulation of these plants and a substantial 
effect on ``interstate commerce.''
    Our response: Congress does have the authority pursuant to the 
Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, to extend the regulatory 
protection of the Act to species that occur in a single site, such as 
the one in this final rule. A recent federal court case has upheld this 
authority (National Association of Home Builders v. Babbitt, 130 F. 3d 
1041 (D.C. Cir. 1997). cert. denied 118 S.Ct. 1998).

Peer Review

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited the expert opinions of three peer reviewers 
regarding pertinent scientific or commercial data and assumptions 
relating to population status and biological and ecological information 
for Chlorogalum purpureum. Two of the three peer reviewers provided 
responses. Both respondents supported the listing of the species and 
described the information included in the rule as factually correct to 
the best of their knowledge. Both provided technical corrections. One 
reviewer also provided additional detailed technical information and 
references pertaining to threats to the species which the reviewer 
suggested needed more thorough discussion than that provided in the 
proposed rule.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act and the regulations (50 CFR part 424) that 
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 Chlorogalum purpureum Brandegee (purple amole) are as 
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range.
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum is known only from three 
localities on Fort Hunter Liggett, Monterey County. The northern site 
comprises discontinuous and fragmented patches over a 7 to 9-km (4 to 
6-mi) area in the cantonment (housing and command center), several 
training areas, the Ammunition Supply point, and near the Jolon 
entrance gate. Habitat for C. p. var. purpureum has been destroyed, and 
patches of plants have been isolated and fragmented by the historical 
settlement of Jolon, roads, and the construction and use of training 
facilities over the past several decades. In the last 50 years, a large 
group of plants near the Jolon entrance gate was isolated by the 
addition of a new road (aerial photos from Hines in litt. 1998). 
Bounded on all sides by roads, this area was used as a vehicle parking 
area in the 1980s. Representatives from Fort Hunter Liggett and the 
Monterey Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) 
cooperated in constructing barriers to reduce impacts to the area 
(Matthews and Branson 1988). Although the military has committed to 
maintaining these protective barriers, this site remains vulnerable due 
to its proximity to roads and isolation from surrounding patches of 
plants. For example, in 1996 a vehicle mishap resulted in a large piece 
of earth-moving machinery entering the site; its tracks through the 
population were still evident in September 1997 (Painter and Neese 
1998; D. Steeck, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pers. obs. 1997).
    In another portion of this northern locality, the Army recently 
expanded training facilities (Hormann 1996). Since 1996, a new obstacle 
course and two small parking areas have been placed in habitat occupied 
by Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum. Although the obstacles and 
parking areas themselves were placed to avoid individual patches of 
plants (Hormann 1996; Hines in litt. 1998), foot traffic and use of the 
training facilities will likely degrade the habitat and eliminate a 
portion of the population. In addition to the obstacle course and 
parking areas, the Army has in the past 3 years constructed a 
confidence course and upgraded a firing range along the stretch of dirt 
road adjacent to the locality. The existence of some training 
facilities made this area more attractive for additional construction 
because the facilities could be located within walking distance of one 
another (Hormann 1996). For the same reason, this area is likely to be 
attractive for the siting of future training facilities,

[[Page 14883]]

although the Army recently stated that they do not intend to develop 
the area further and are willing to enter into an agreement stating 
this decision (Hines in litt. 1998).
    The second locality is in Training Area 25, which is used for field 
training maneuvers and is crossed by numerous dirt roads and tracks. 
Field maneuvers at Fort Hunter Ligget involve setting up temporary 
camps (bivouac sites), which may include excavations for latrines and 
washing facilities, bunkers, and protective berms. Field maneuvers 
routinely involve hundreds of troops and support staff as well as both 
tracked and wheeled vehicles (U.S. Army Reserve Command 1996). Large 
areas where substantial bivouacking occurred in 1997 were denuded, with 
much of the herbaceous vegetation among the oaks destroyed (D. Steeck, 
pers. obs. 1997). Vehicle tracks were evident throughout the site (D. 
Steeck, pers. obs. 1997, 1998) and had been reported by other observers 
(Painter and Neese 1998). Bivouacking typically occurs in these areas 
in summer (U.S. Army Reserve Command 1996). Although soils are not as 
susceptible to compaction at that time, fruiting stalks are destroyed 
and the loss of vegetation may lead to erosion and consequent loss of 
existing seeds and bulbs in the soil, as well as an increase in the 
abundance of nonnative plants. Soil compaction may damage soil 
mycorhizzae, and the loss of cryptobiotic crusts may hinder seedling 
establishment of native species (Belnap 1994), thereby intensifying 
displacement of native species by nonnative grasses. Cryptobiotic 
crusts have been observed in at least one locality where Chlorogalum 
purpureum var. purpureum is found (Painter in litt. 1998). Vehicle 
tracks have also been reported in the third locality of C. p. var. 
purpureum at the boundaries of Training Areas 23, 24, and 27 (Painter 
and Neese 1998, J. Chesnut, in litt. 1998). In 1997, the vegetation of 
this area appeared to be the least affected by training activities, 
although military training the previous year had caused a spring fire 
that burned the site and destroyed most of the year's seed crop 
(Painter and Neese 1998).
    The larger site of Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum, located on 
LPNF and on private land, is estimated to occupy less than 8 ha (20 ac) 
(maps in Borchert 1981, Gaskin 1990; Danielsen pers. comm. 1997). It 
was likely once continuous, but is now divided by a two-lane highway. 
The southern portion of the site, on public lands, is further bisected 
by a dirt road that is currently about 10 m (33 ft) wide and runs the 
length of the population. Although this road has existed for many 
decades, grading during the past 5 years has widened it toward the 
bounds of the pipe barrier fence that lines it, causing direct loss of 
some individuals of C. p. var. reductum and additional habitat loss (D. 
Magney, pers. comm. 1997). Because the roadbed is graded and highly 
compacted, the loss of habitat due to the roadbed is relatively 
permanent, barring extensive restoration efforts. Dust from use of the 
road during late spring may impede pollination in those plants exposed 
to it, and dust coating leaves can reduce photosynthetic abilities 
(Farmer 1993).
    In the 1970s and 1980s, most of the LPNF locality of Chlorogalum 
purpureum var. reductum was used as a staging area by OHV enthusiasts 
(McLeod 1987). An active 4-wheel drive route still exists near the 
population (USFS 1993). A portion of the population was fenced in the 
early 1980s by the CNPS with help from the USFS to protect it from OHV 
use. In 1989 or 1990, due to continued OHV use in the area, the USFS 
installed a pipe barrier on both sides of the dirt road that bisects 
the population, to exclude vehicles from most of the population. 
Vehicles repeatedly trespassed onto the site over the past 5 years 
through broken fences leaving ruts or exposed tracks in the population 
(K. Danielsen pers. comm. 1996; A. Koch, CDFG, in litt. 1997; D. 
Steeck, pers. obs. 1997). In 1998, the USFS replaced a section of 
barbed wire fence with a metal post and rewelded broken pipe barriers. 
Continued monitoring and repairs will be needed to exclude vehicles. In 
addition to causing injury or death of individual plants, vehicle 
passes may destroy cryptobiotic soil crusts (Webb and Wilshire 1983), 
damage soil mycorrhizae, and cause soil compaction, altering the soil's 
water-holding capacity and interfering with the ability of roots to 
penetrate the soil (Webb and Wilshire 1983). The existing scars of 
older vehicle tracks in the population are probably partly the result 
of soil compaction. Biologists attempting to establish seedlings of C. 
p. var. reductum in old OHV tracks in the LPNF population found that 
only 36 percent of the seeds planted in untreated tracks germinated and 
survived through their first 1.5 years. Survival was 66 percent for 
seeds planted in old tracks where the top 10 cm (4 in) of soil was 
loosened prior to planting to reduce the effects of soil compaction. 
Bulbs in unloosened soil of old tracks also had a lower survival rate 
compared to those in loosened soil (Koch 1997). Other tests of 
germination response suggest that seeds require burial for post-
germination survival and that uncompacted soils containing small 
fissures and spaces around gravel components are likely essential to 
successful seedling establishment (D. Wilken, in litt. 1998). Little 
information is available on the portion of this population located on 
private lands north of the highway.
    The second site for Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum, located 
solely on private lands, is reported to be extremely small (less than 
0.1 ha (0.25 ac) with several hundred plants), compared to the 
population managed by the USFS (8 ha). Because this taxon is so 
narrowly distributed, the degradation of even an acre or two of the 
occupied habitat in the LPNF population constitutes a significant 
portion of this taxon's range.
    Most localities of Chlorogalum purpureum are, or have been, subject 
to cattle grazing. The negative effects of livestock use on oak 
savannah habitat, where C. purpureum is most likely to occur, includes 
soil compaction, soil disturbance that enhances the introduction or 
spread of nonnative aggressive weedy species, direct crushing of the 
above-ground portion of plants, and diminished seedling establishment 
from trampling or from destruction of cryptobiotic crusts (Beymer and 
Klopatek 1991). It has been suggested that light grazing in the habitat 
of C. purpureum var. reductum may benefit C. p. var. reductum by 
reducing competition from annual grasses (The Nature Conservancy 1987, 
CDFG 1988). Others have noted, however, that any benefits of cattle use 
in the area may be more than offset by loss of reproductive structures, 
damage to seedlings, and habitat damage caused by livestock, since the 
allotment is in use February through May, a critical season in the life 
cycle of the purple amole (B. Painter in litt. 1998; J. Kuyper, 
Environmental Defense Center, in litt. 1998). Cattle use is likely to 
negatively affect the habitat of this species to the extent that cattle 
actually use the portion of the allotment where the population is 
located. Anecdotal observations in recent years suggest the cattle 
spend more time in other areas of the allotment where water and more 
forage is available (M. Fountain, pers. comm. 1998). However, cattle 
impacts can vary from year-to-year through variation in the grazing, 
congregating, or trailing patterns of the cattle without an increase in 
the permitted level of forage utilization in the allotment. If cattle 
have continued access to the population area, their effect on the 
population on Federal lands must be monitored; the

[[Page 14884]]

allotment should be managed to prevent negative effects to this taxon. 
Predation by cattle is discussed below under Factor C of this section.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes.
    Overutilization is not currently known to be a factor affecting 
this species.
    C. Disease or predation.
    Nearly every locality of Chlorogalum purpureum either is or has 
been subject to cattle grazing. The potential negative effects of 
livestock grazing (actual herbivory) on C. purpureum include the loss 
of flowers, fruit, and leaves. Cattle have been recorded grazing a 
substantial portion of the leaves of other, larger, Chlorogalum species 
(Willoughby 1986). Leaves of C. p. var. purpureum are more likely than 
those of C. p. var. reductum to be attractive to cattle, as the leaves 
of the latter are narrow and only a couple of inches long. All three 
localities of C. p. var. purpureum at Fort Hunter Liggett were in 
grazing allotments prior to 1991. Documented overgrazing occurred from 
1963 to 1977 at Fort Hunter Liggett, after which a study of grazing was 
begun (Stechman 1995). During the grazing study, cattle stocking rates 
continued to exceed the capacity of the habitats to support them, 
especially when combined with the drought of the late 1980s and early 
1990s (Stechman 1995). No specific information is available on the 
condition of the localities of C. p. var. purpureum during the period 
of overgrazing, as no basewide surveys for sensitive plant species had 
been conducted and the status of populations was not tracked. Grazing 
on Fort Hunter Liggett stopped in 1991, following an extended drought 
and poor range condition (Stechman 1995), but is scheduled to be 
resumed in the future, although no date has been set. If the 
recommendations in the grazing assessment are followed, cattle grazing 
leases would include most of the extended northern locality of this 
taxon and all of the second locality in Training Area 25. Only the 
southernmost locality, at the boundaries of Training Areas 23, 24, and 
27, would be completely excluded from cattle use (Stechman 1995).
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum is within an active grazing 
allotment on the LPNF that cattle use from February through May (USFS 
1997). The permitted level of use of the allotment by livestock is 
moderate (USFS 1997). In 1986 livestock use became a problem when 
cattle congregated within the population behind a fence built to block 
vehicle access (The Nature Conservancy 1987). A pipe barrier with low 
sections was later installed to permit cattle movement over the 
barriers. Because the period of cattle use coincides with growth and 
flowering of C. p. var. reductum, it is likely that reproduction would 
be negatively affected if cattle congregated on the plateau within the 
locality containing the population. In 1995 and 1996, cattle appeared 
to have spent little time on the plateau (A. Koch, pers. comm. 1997a). 
In 1997, fecal evidence suggested that cattle spent relatively more 
time within the site (D. Steeck, pers. obs. 1997; A. Koch, pers. comm. 
1997b). Although current monitoring data are insufficient to evaluate 
the use of the allotment on C. p. var. reductum, grazing has the 
potential to negatively affect reproduction and survival (through loss 
of inflorescences and photosynthetic tissue), and may exacerbate damage 
already caused by vehicles or other human activities. We consider the 
inclusion of the population in an active grazing allotment a potential 
threat that should be assessed.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.
    Pursuant to the Native Plant Protection Act (Div. 2, chapter 10 
sec. 1900 et seq. of the California Department of Fish and Game Code) 
and the California Endangered Species Act (Div. 3, chapter 1.5 sec. 
2050 et seq.), the California Fish and Game Commission listed 
Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum as rare in 1978. 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. As applied to State-listed plant species, 
however, these requirements have not been tested; their effectiveness 
cannot be evaluated for several years.
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum occurs primarily on Federal 
lands managed by the LPNF and on private lands. State listing provides 
no consultation or other requirements for protection on Federal lands, 
although it is USFS policy to work with the State in the conservation 
of such taxa. The management of sensitive resources on the LPNF is 
guided by various policies and regulations, including the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-109, 42 U.S.C. 
4321-4347, 83 Stat. 852), National Forest Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1600 et seq.), and the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Los 
Padres National Forest (USFS 1988).
    The NEPA requires that the USFS disclose and consider potential 
environmental impacts of a proposed project. Under new regulations, 10-
year grazing permits are subject to the NEPA process, and the NEPA 
process is under way for the grazing allotment where Chlorogalum 
purpureum var. reductum occurs (USFS 1997). Although NEPA requires 
disclosure of potential effects of Federal actions and allows for 
comment by agencies and the public, it does not, of itself, provide 
additional protection.
    The Land and Resource Management Plan for LPNF (USFS 1988) directs 
the USFS to ensure the viability of sensitive plant species and to 
emphasize the improvement and protection of habitat for sensitive 
species in their management activities. These regulations appear to be 
adequate, but their implementation by the USFS has not been consistent. 
Unless the barriers around portions of the population are regularly 
monitored and maintained, illegal trespass by vehicles into the habitat 
of Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum is likely to continue. To date, 
the USFS has not adequately monitored vehicle trespass, repaired 
fencing, bolstered barriers in a timely manner, or adequately evaluated 
the effects of permitted livestock use on the population on LPNF (D. 
Steeck, pers. obs. 1998).
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum occurs solely on Federal lands 
managed by Fort Hunter Liggett. The Department of Defense has various 
policies and directives to guide the management of sensitive natural 
resources. Army Regulation 200-3 provides for environmental review of 
projects that might affect sensitive and listed species. Fort Hunter 
Liggett has had an environmental review process since 1994, and C. p. 
var. purpureum is included in this process. According to the Army at 
Fort Hunter Liggett (D. Hines in litt. 1998), all projects are modified 
to reduce impacts to this taxon if impacts are predicted to occur. For 
example, a planned bayonet course was relocated to avoid placing it 
within or directly adjacent to patches of C. p. var. purpureum. In 
other cases, such as with the recent construction of the obstacle 
course and parking areas in occupied habitat, project modifications 
have been insufficient, and projects continue to be sited in occupied 
habitat and continue to affect this taxon. In addition, environmental 
review only occurs for projects that require excavation; bivouacking 
and vehicle impacts are not covered by this process. The environmental 
review process does not

[[Page 14885]]

always allow for assessment surveys to be conducted at the time of year 
when the plant can be identified (H. Hormann, in litt. 1997). For 
example, surveys for the proposed bayonet course occurred in late 
summer 1997, when the above-ground portions of the plants were dry and 
difficult to locate.
    Under Army Regulation 200-3, a Species Management Plan for 
Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum and other sensitive species on the 
base has been developed (Hazebrook and Clark 1997). While some of the 
goals will benefit C. p. var. purpureum if achieved, the actual 
protection the plan affords is minimal and based primarily on avoiding 
impacts to populations ``when feasible.'' To date, no areas where C. p. 
var. purpureum occurs on the base are off-limits to training. We 
conclude that Army directives, while improving the consideration that 
this taxon receives on the base, have not yet altered activities to 
sufficiently reduce the threats posed by military activities.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
    Other factors affecting individuals of Chlorogalum purpureum var. 
purpureum include military training, changes in fire frequency, and the 
invasion of this taxon's habitat by nonnative plant species. Training 
activities that involve trampling, camping, or driving through occupied 
habitat can directly crush flowers, fruits, and vegetative parts of C. 
p. var. purpureum and result in diminished reproductive success, lower 
seedling establishment, and reduced plant vigor. At Fort Hunter 
Liggett, training activities increase in the spring, around April, and 
peak in the summer (U.S. Dept. of Army 1997), a period that coincides 
with flowering and fruiting of the taxon. Military field training 
activities can reduce seedling establishment by direct crushing and by 
altering soil bulk density and water-holding capacity. Training 
activities lead to soil compaction and soil disturbance, which also 
encourages the invasion of weedy, nonnative plant species that may 
compete directly with C. p. var. purpureum. Habitat alterations due to 
training activities are further discussed under Factor A.
    The oak savannah and grassland habitats in which Chlorogalum 
purpureum occurs have been invaded by nonnative annual plants such as 
wild oats (Avena sp.), soft chess (Bromus hordeaceus), red brome 
(Bromus madritensis var. rubens), schismus (Schismus barbatus), and 
filaree (Erodium sp.) (Borchert 1981; Magney 1988; Painter and Neese 
1998). Hoover (1970) noted that C. p. var. reductum grew higher under 
oaks where the soil was looser with greater humus content; others have 
noted since then that C. p. var. reductum is not found where annual 
nonnative grasses are dense (Borchert 1981, Painter in litt. 1998), 
which tends to be under oaks at the site on USFS land (D. Steeck, pers. 
obs. 1998). It may be that C. p. var. reductum has been displaced by 
nonnative grasses in these areas, restricting C. p. var. reductum to 
the patches of gravelly soils where nonnative grasses are stunted or 
sparse. Increasing invasion by nonnative annual grasses has been 
implicated in loss of habitat for other rare geophytes (e.g., 
Rosentreter 1994). Cryptobiotic crusts that form on the soil surface 
have been shown to enhance seedling establishment in some native taxa 
(Belnap 1994), and the displacement of crusts may enhance invasion by 
nonnative species. These soil crusts are found in at least some 
populations of C. purpureum (Painter and Neese 1998; B. Painter in 
litt. 1998). Scraping or other activity that disturbs the soil surface 
has been noted in one instance at Fort Hunter Liggett to result in at 
least temporary high abundance of nonnative annual grasses (Painter and 
Neese1998). The rapid, dense growth of nonnative annual grasses may 
also act as an abundant, rapidly replenished fuel source leading to 
more frequent range fires as has been documented in other areas (Wright 
1985) or the need for more frequent prescribed burns to reduce the 
potential of uncontrolled range fires (J. Chesnut, consulting 
biologist, in litt. 1998).
    Burning too frequently or during seasons of growth and reproduction 
may threaten Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum at Fort Hunter 
Liggett. A spring burn swept through the southernmost locality on Fort 
Hunter Liggett in 1995. Botanists conducting a post-fire survey 
reported that all observed fruiting inflorescences were either damaged 
or destroyed, and they concluded that the seed crop was mostly, if not 
completely, destroyed (Painter and Neese 1998). The fire occurred in 
May, rather than summer or early fall, when most seeds would have been 
dispersed (Painter and Neese 1998). Burning too frequently may damage a 
population due to the slow growth rate of seedlings. Estimates of time 
needed for C. purpureum to reach reproductive maturity in the wild 
range from 5 to 15 years (Judy Jernstedt, University of California at 
Davis, in litt. 1998; M. Elvin, pers. comm. 1998). In addition, 
immature plants with small bulbs located near the soil surface may be 
particularly vulnerable to fires. The fire did appear to stimulate an 
increase in the number of plants flowering the following year (Painter 
and Neese 1998).
    In developing this final rule, we have carefully assessed the best 
scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, 
present, and future threats faced by this species. Based on this 
evaluation, the preferred action is to list the species as threatened. 
This species is particularly vulnerable due to the restricted range it 
occupies. Threats to the species are vehicle trespass on USFS lands, 
military activities due to the species' location in active training 
areas and in the housing and administration area of an Army base, road 
use and maintenance, displacement by nonnative plant species, and 
livestock grazing. Because the Army's environmental directives are 
increasing the consideration afforded to this and other rare plant 
species on Fort Hunter Liggett and because the USFS has implemented 
some management actions for this species, we determine that threatened 
status is currently appropriate. The species is not currently in danger 
of extinction, but is likely to become so if substantial use of its 
habitat for military training activities continues and if OHV 
activities or livestock impacts increase in the population area on USFS 

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (i) The 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 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 
a 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, we designate critical habitat at the time the species 
is determined to be endangered or threatened. Our 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--(1) the 
species is threatened by taking or other human activity, and

[[Page 14886]]

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.
    The Final Listing Priority Guidance for FY 2000 (64 FR 57114) 
states, the processing of critical habitat determinations (prudency and 
determinability decisions) and proposed or final designations of 
critical habitat will no longer be subject to prioritization under the 
Listing Priority Guidance. Critical habitat determinations, which were 
previously included in final listing rules published in the Federal 
Register, may now be processed separately, in which case stand-alone 
critical habitat determinations will be published as notices in the 
Federal Register. We will undertake critical habitat determinations and 
designations during FY 2000 as allowed by our funding allocation for 
that year. As explained in detail in the Listing Priority Guidance, our 
listing budget is currently insufficient to allow us to immediately 
complete all of the listing actions required by the Act. Deferral of 
the critical habitat designation for Chlorogalum purpureum will allow 
us to concentrate our limited resources on higher priority critical 
habitat and other listing actions, while allowing us to put in place 
protections needed for the conservation of Chlorogalum purpureum 
without further delay.
    We propose that critical habitat is prudent for Chlorogalum 
purpureum. In the last few years, a series of court decisions have 
overturned Service determinations regarding a variety of species that 
designation of critical habitat would not be prudent (e.g., Natural 
Resources Defense Council v. U.S. Department of the Interior 113 F. 3d 
1121 (9th Cir. 1997); Conservation Council for Hawaii v. Babbitt, 2 F. 
Supp. 2d 1280 (D. Hawaii 1998)). Based on the standards applied in 
those judicial opinions, we believe that designation of critical 
habitat would be prudent for Chlorogalum purpureum.
    In the absence of a finding that critical habitat would increase 
threats to a species, if there are any benefits to critical habitat 
designation, then a prudent finding is warranted. In the case of this 
species, there may be some benefits to designation of critical habitat. 
The primary regulatory effect of critical habitat is the section 7 
requirement that Federal agencies refrain from taking any action that 
destroys or adversely modifies critical habitat. While a critical 
habitat designation for habitat currently occupied by this species 
would not be likely to change the section 7 consultation outcome 
because an action that destroys or adversely modifies such critical 
habitat would also be likely to result in jeopardy to the species, 
there may be instances where section 7 consultation would be triggered 
only if critical habitat is designated. Examples could include 
unoccupied habitat or occupied habitat that may become unoccupied in 
the future. There may also be some educational or informational 
benefits to designating critical habitat. Therefore, we find that 
critical habitat is prudent for Chlorogalum purpureum.
    We plan to employ a priority system for deciding which outstanding 
critical habitat designations should be addressed first. We will focus 
our efforts on those designations that will provide the most 
conservation benefit, taking into consideration the efficacy of 
critical habitat designation in addressing the threats to the species, 
and the magnitude and immediacy of those threats. We will develop a 
proposal to designate critical habitat for the Chlorogalum purpureum as 
soon as feasible, considering our workload priorities.

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 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 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 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 with us 
on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a 
species proposed for listing 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 the species or destroy or 
adversely modify its critical habitat, 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 us.
    Although this final rule lists Chlorogalum purpureum at the 
specific level, we intend through the recovery planning process to 
designate each of the varieties as a separate recovery unit for 
purposes of section 7 consultation and the recovery process. In other 
words, the jeopardy standard would be applied to either C. p. var. 
purpureum or C. p. var. reductum as separately identified recovery 
units, in accordance with our Endangered Species Consultation Handbook.
    Federal agencies that may affect the species proposed in this rule 
through activities they fund, authorize, or carry out are the USFS (at 
Los Padres National Forest), the Department of the Army (at Fort Hunter 
Liggett) and, to a much smaller extent, the Federal Highway 
Administration through funds provided for State highway construction or 
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. purpureum occurs wholly on Federal lands 
managed by the Department of the Army. Activities the Army funds, 
authorizes, or carries out that could affect this taxon include, but 
are not limited to, construction and use of training facilities, field 
training exercises, road construction and maintenance, prescribed 
burning, fire suppression activities, livestock grazing, and hunting.
    Chlorogalum purpureum var. reductum occurs primarily on public 
lands managed by the USFS on Los Padres National Forest. Activities 
that the USFS funds, authorizes, or carries out that could affect this 
taxon include livestock grazing, OHV activities, road maintenance, fire 
suppression activities, and special use permits authorizing use and the 
development of management plans for special use areas.
    Listing Chlorogalum purpureum as threatened will provide for the 
development of a recovery plan. The plan will bring together Federal, 
State, and local efforts for the plant's conservation, establishing a 
framework for cooperation and coordination. The plan will set recovery 
priorities and describe site-specific management actions necessary to 
achieve the conservation of the species. Additionally, pursuant to 
section 6 of the Act, we will be more likely to grant

[[Page 14887]]

funds to the State for management actions promoting the protection and 
recovery of the species.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered or 
threatened plants. All prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act 
implemented by 50 CFR 17.71 for threatened 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 any such species from areas under 
Federal jurisdiction. In addition, for plants listed as endangered, the 
Act prohibits the malicious damage or destruction on 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, or in the course of violation of State criminal trespass 
law. Section 4(d) of the Act allows for the provision of such 
protection to threatened species through regulation. This protection 
may apply to this species in the future if regulations are promulgated. 
Seeds from cultivated specimens of threatened plants are exempt from 
these prohibitions provided that their containers are marked ``Of 
Cultivated Origin.'' Certain exceptions to the prohibitions apply to 
agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
    The Act and 50 CFR 17.62, 17.63, and 17.72 also provide for the 
issuance of permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered or threatened plant species under certain 
circumstances. Such permits are available for scientific purposes and 
to enhance the propagation or survival of the species. For threatened 
plants, permits are also available for botanical or horticultural 
exhibition, educational purposes, or special purposes consistent with 
the purposes of the Act. It is anticipated that few trade permits would 
ever be sought or issued because this species is 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 17.72.
    Requests for copies of the regulations on listed species and 
inquiries about prohibitions and permits may be addressed to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Permits, 911 NE 11th 
Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone: 503/231-2063; 
facsimile: 503/231-6243).
    It is our policy, 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. Collection 
of listed plants are prohibited without a Federal endangered species 
permit. We are unaware of any activities on non-Federal lands that 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 should be directed to the Field Supervisor of 
the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section).

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have 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 our reasons for 
this determination was published in the Federal Register on October 25, 
1983 (48 FR 49244).

Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not subject to review by the Office of Management and 
Budget under Executive Order 12866.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain any information collection requirements 
for which Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. is required. An 
information collection related to the rule pertaining to permits for 
endangered and threatened species has OMB approval and is assigned 
clearance number 1018-0094. For additional information concerning 
permits and associated requirements for threatened plants, see 50 CFR 

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon 
request from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES 
    The primary author of this final rule is Diane Steeck, 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.

Regulations Promulgation

    Accordingly, we hereby 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. 
4201-4205; 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

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Chlorogalum purpureum............  Purple amole........  U.S.A. (CA)........  Liliaceae--Lily....  T                       689           NA           NA

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

[[Page 14888]]

    Dated: March 14, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-6836 Filed 3-15-00; 4:31 pm]