[Federal Register: March 20, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 54)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 14898-14909]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AE80

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Status 
for Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz tarplant)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
determined threatened status according to the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended, for Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz tarplant). 
Holocarpha macradenia is an aromatic annual herb that is currently 
known from coastal grasslands and prairies in Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, 
and Monterey Counties, California. It is threatened by alteration and 
destruction of habitat due to historic and ongoing urban and commercial 
development, historic habitat alteration due to grazing, limited 
success of seed transplant populations, and competition from nonnative 

DATES: This rule becomes effective April 19, 2000.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for public 
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, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES 
section) (telephone number 805/644-1766; facsimile 805/644-3958).



    Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz tarplant) was first recognized by 
Augustin-Pyramus de Candolle, who published the name Hemizonia 
macradenia in 1836 (Ferris 1960). In 1897, E. L. Greene referred the 
species to the genus Holocarpha with publication of the new combination 
Holocarpha macradenia (DC.) E. Greene (Ferris 1960). This name 
continues to be recognized in the most recent treatment for the genus 
(Keil 1993).
    Holocarpha macradenia, an aromatic annual herb in the aster 
(Asteraceae) family, is one of only four species of Holocarpha, which 
are all geographically restricted to California. The genus name, 
derived from the Greek holos for whole and karphos for chaff, refers to 
the scales found among the florets on the receptacle (the structure 
that supports the florets in the daisy-like flower head). The plant is 
rigid, with lateral branches that arise to the height of the main stem, 
which is 1 to 5 decimeters (dm) (4 to 20 inches (in.)) tall. The lower 
leaves are broadly linear and up to 12 centimeters (cm) (5 in.) long. 
The upper leaves are smaller, with rolled back margins, and are 
truncated by a distinctive craterform gland. The yellow flower head is 
surrounded from beneath by individual bracts that have about 25 stout 
gland-tipped projections (Keil 1993). Holocarpha macradenia is 
distinguished from other members of the genus by its numerous ray 
flowers and black anthers. However, as with all other members of the 
genus, H. macradenia establishes seedbanks, so that sites that support 
a population of this plant, particularly those that support small 
populations (fewer than 100 individuals), may not display individuals 
in any given year, but still have a viable population in other years.
    Habitat for Holocarpha macradenia historically consisted of 
grasslands and prairies found on coastal terraces below 100 meters (m) 
(330 feet (ft)) in elevation, from Monterey County, north to Marin 
County. In the 1800s, coastal prairies covered an estimated 350,000 
hectares (ha) (865,000 acres (ac)) (Huenneke 1989). This coastal 

prairie habitat is becoming increasingly fragmented and restricted in 
distribution. Four major factors contributed to changes in the 
distribution and composition of coastal prairies: grazing; introduction 
of highly competitive, nonnative species; elimination of periodic fire; 
and cultivation (Heady et al. 1988). Currently, the California 
Department of Fish and Game's Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB 1996, 
cited in Holl 1998) lists just over 800 ha (1977 ac) of high-quality 
coastal prairie remaining, of which less than 5 percent is H. 
macradenia habitat.
    Holocarpha macradenia populations occur on the alluvium resulting 
from the terrace deposits (Palmer 1986). Typically terrace soils are 
sandy clay soils; the clay component of these soils holds moisture 
longer into the growing season compared to the surrounding sandy soils. 
In the Santa Cruz area, H. macradenia exists on the gently sloping 
terrace platforms that are separated by steep-sided ``gulches,'' 
whereas in the Watsonville (Santa Cruz County) and Monterey areas, and 
on the east side of San Francisco Bay, the terraces are more 
extensively dissected.
    Although Holocarpha macradenia is historically associated with 
native herbaceous species and grasses (including other tarplants 
(Hemizonia sp.), needlegrass (Nasella sp.) and California oatgrass 
(Danthonia californica)), nonnative grasses, such as wild oats (Avena 
fatua), Mediterranean barley (Hordeum hystrix), and bromes (Bromus 
sp.), have invaded its habitat. At some locations, H. macradenia is 
found with other species that may be threatened or endangered, 
including the Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone; federally proposed 
as endangered), San Francisco popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys diffusus; 
State-listed as endangered), Santa Cruz clover (Trifolium 
buckwestiorum; State-listed as a species of concern), and Gairdner's 
yampah (Perideridia gairdneri) (CNDDB 1997). Other locally unique plant 
species, such as Choris's popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys chorisianus 
var. chorisianus), triteleia (Triteleia ixiodes), coast coyote thistle 
(Eryngium armatum), and San Francisco gumplant (Grindelia hirsutula 
var. maritima) also occur in these areas (Kathy Lyons, pers. comm. 
    Historically, Holocarpha macradenia was known from ``low dry fields 
about San Francisco Bay'' (Jepson 1925). Around the San Francisco Bay, 
herbarium collections were made from Tamalpias in Marin County in 1934; 
near Berkeley, Oakland, and San Lorenzo in Alameda County as early as 
1894; and Pinole in Contra Costa County (CNDDB 1997, Specimen 
Management System for California Herbaria (SMASCH) 1997). All of the 
native San Francisco Bay area populations have since been extirpated. 
The last remaining native population, known as the Pinole Vista 
population, consisting of 10,000 plants, was eliminated in 1993 by a 
commercial development (California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) 
    In 1959, Keck (in Munz 1959) noted the species in Santa Cruz 
County, but also added that the species could possibly be extinct. 
Fortunately, numerous collections were made from the Monterey Bay area 
in Santa Cruz County in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1966 and 
1969, Hoover made the first collection of the species in northern 
Monterey County, just south of the Santa Cruz County line (SMASCH 
1997). Additional populations were found in Monterey County in the

[[Page 14899]]

subsequent decades, although the lack of specific location noted on 
herbarium labels makes it difficult to determine exactly how many 
populations occurred there. According to CNDDB, nine populations in 
Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties have been extirpated by development 
(CDFG 1994). The most recent extirpation occurred in 1993 when a 
population in Watsonville (Anna Street site) was destroyed during 
construction of office buildings and a parking lot (CDFG 1995a).
    Holocarpha macradenia is currently known from a total of 20 
populations; 12 of these are remaining native populations, and 8 are a 
result of experimental seedings. Eleven of the native populations occur 
in Santa Cruz County. Six occur around the City of Santa Cruz (Graham 
Hill Road, Twin Lakes, Arana Gulch, O'Neill/Tan, Winkle, and Fairway), 
and five occur around the City of Watsonville, scattered from 
Watsonville Airport to Hall Road, 8 kilometers (km) (4 miles (mi)) to 
the south-southeast (Watsonville Airport, Harkins Slough, Apple Hill, 
Struve Slough, and Spring Hills Golf Course). Only one population 
(Porter Ranch) occurs in Monterey County, just south of the Santa Cruz 
County line and the City of Watsonville. The size of each of these 
populations and the last year they were surveyed are as follows: Graham 
Hill Road, 475 (1999); Twin Lakes, 16 (1999); Arana Gulch, 12,820 
(1998); O'Neill/Tan, 0 (1998); Winkle, 0 (1994); Fairway, 1,500 (1993); 
Watsonville Airport, 8 million (1999); Harkins Slough, 15,000 (1993); 
Apple Hill, 0 (1999); Struve Slough, 1 (1994); Spring Hills Golf 
Course, 4,000 (1990); Porter Ranch, 3,200 (1993). As stated earlier, 
there are years where few or no plants are present on a site, but a 
viable population is still probable due to the established seedbank.
    The other eight existing populations of Holocarpha macradenia have 
resulted from experimental planting of seeds in Wildcat Regional Park 
in the east San Francisco Bay area. The names of the eight populations 
and their population size, based on 1997/1998/1999 surveys, are as 
follows: Big Belgum, 148/318/74; Big Belgum West, 51/23/0; Upper 
Belgum, 22/59/59; Mezue, 5,000-7,000/3,128/10,000; Fowler, 22/7/0; 
Nimitz Way 0/56/0; Upper Havey, 17/1/2; and Lower Sather 0/2/0 (Olson 
et al. 1997; Olson, pers. comm. 1998; CDFG, in litt. 1999).
    Holocarpha macradenia is threatened primarily by historic and 
recent habitat alteration and destruction caused by residential and 
commercial development. Future loss of habitat may also result from 
recreational development, airport expansion, and agriculture. Occupied 
habitat that has been set aside in preserves, conservation easements, 
and open spaces also suffers secondary impacts from casual use by 
residents, introduction of nonnatives (e.g., French broom (Genista 
monspessulana), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sp.), acacia (Acacia decurrens, 
A. melanoxylon), artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus), and grass 
species), and changes in hydrology, problems that are all exacerbated 
by the lack of management plans. In addition, smaller preserve areas 
with H. macradenia suffer because they are cut off from the ecosystem 
functions that would be present in larger, more contiguous sites. More 
often, these smaller areas are left as open spaces, but without the 
benefit of the grassland management needed to sustain them. Finally, 
random disturbance, including unseasonable fires or a drought event, 
also threatens small populations of this species. Probability of 
population extirpation increases as the number of individuals and the 
area of habitat decrease.

Previous Federal Action

    Federal action on this plant began as a result of section 12 of the 
Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), which directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to 
prepare a report on those plants considered to be endangered, 
threatened, or extinct in the United States. This report (House 
Document No. 94-51) was presented to Congress on January 9, 1975, and 
included Holocarpha macradenia as endangered. We published a notice in 
the July 1, 1975, Federal Register (40 FR 27823) of our acceptance of 
the Smithsonian Institution 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 our intention to review the status of the reported 
plant species.
    On June 16, 1976, we 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. Holocarpha 
macradenia was included in this 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). However, 
the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978 required that all 
proposals more than 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), we published a notice of 
withdrawal of the June 16, 1976, proposal, along with four other 
proposals that had expired.
    We published an updated Notice of Review (NOR) for plants on 
December 15, 1980 (45 FR 82480). This notice included Holocarpha 
macradenia as a category 1 candidate species. Category 1 candidates 
were formerly defined as a species for which we had on file substantial 
information on biological vulnerability and threats to support 
preparation of a listing proposal, but for which issuance of a proposed 
rule was precluded by other listing activities of higher priority.
    On February 15, 1983, we published a notice (48 FR 6752) of our 
prior finding that the listing of Holocarpha macradenia was warranted 
but precluded in accordance with section 4(b)(3)(B)(iii) of the Act as 
amended in 1982. Pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act, this 
finding must be recycled annually, until the species is either proposed 
for listing, or the petitioned action is found to be not warranted. 
Each October, from 1983 through 1990, further findings were made that 
the listing of H. macradenia was warranted, but that the listing of 
this species was precluded by other pending proposals of higher 
    Holocarpha macradenia continued to be included as a category 1 
candidate in plant NORs published on September 27, 1985 (50 FR 39526), 
February 1, 1990 (55 FR 6184), and September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144). 
Upon publication of the February 28, 1996 NOR (61 FR 7596), we ceased 
using category designations and included H. macradenia as a candidate. 
Candidate species are those for which we have on file sufficient 
information on biological vulnerability and threats to support 
proposals to list them as threatened or endangered. Our September 19, 
1997, NOR (62 FR 49398) retained H. macradenia as a candidate, with a 
listing priority of 2. On March 30, 1998, we published a proposed rule 
in the Federal Register (63 FR 15142) to list H. macradenia as 
    The processing of this final rule conforms with our Final Listing 
Priority Guidance published in the Federal Register on October 22, 1999 
(64 FR 57114). The guidance clarifies the order in which we will 
process rulemakings. Highest priority is processing emergency listing 
rules for any species determined to face a significant and imminent 
risk to its well-being (Priority 1). Second priority (Priority 2) is 
processing final determinations on proposed additions to the lists of 
endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. Third priority (Priority 
3) is

[[Page 14900]]

processing new proposals to add species to the lists. The processing of 
administrative petition findings (petitions filed under section 4 of 
the Act) is the fourth priority (Priority 4). The processing of this 
final rule is a Priority 2 action.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the March 30, 1998, proposed rule (63 FR 15142), we requested 
interested parties to submit factual reports or information that might 
contribute to development of a final rule. We contacted appropriate 
Federal agencies, State agencies, county and city governments, 
scientific organizations and other interested parties and requested 
information and comments. We published newspaper notices inviting 
public comment in the Monterey Herald, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the 
Oakland Tribune on, respectively, April 2, 3, and 4, 1998. The comment 
period closed on May 29, 1998.
    During the comment period, we received 16 comments from 15 
individuals, agencies, or group representatives concerning the proposed 
rule. Five commenters supported the proposal, six provided neutral 
comments, and four were opposed to the proposal. Several commenters 
provided additional information that, along with other clarifications, 
has been incorporated into the ``Background'' or ``Summary of Factors'' 
sections of this final rule. Opposing and technical comments have been 
organized into specific issues, and our responses to each are 
summarized as follows:
    Issue 1: One commenter stated that the ``tarplant'' is a useless 
and unattractive weed that gums up mowers, is difficult to eradicate, 
and is not worthy of listing. Another commenter offered that there is 
no shortage of ``tarweed,'' as there are about 400 ha (990 ac) of it in 
San Benito County. A third commenter stated that protection is not 
needed because Holocarpha macradenia can be propagated on sites other 
than native stands.
    Our response: Many different plant species are commonly referred to 
as tarweeds or tarplants. However, the species that is the subject of 
this rulemaking is known from only a few locations. The total acreage 
of currently occupied habitat is less than 40 ha (99 ac). The species 
has been eliminated from a number of sites within its historic range 
and has become not only rare, but is likely to become endangered within 
the foreseeable future, throughout its range. Although experimentally 
seeded populations have been established on sites that historically 
have not been occupied by Holocarpha macradenia, these sites have had 
limited success in maintaining a viable population.
    Issue 2: A number of commenters were concerned that listing of the 
species would result in project delays, additional permitting 
requirements or restrictions on private property owners, and increased 
cost of land. For example, several commenters were concerned that 
Federal listing would delay or affect the proposed expansion of the 
Watsonville Airport. On the other hand, one commenter was concerned 
that the airport should not be allowed to expand into habitat for 
Holocarpha macradenia.
    Our response: The Act requires us to base our listing decisions on 
the best scientific and commercial information available, without 
regard to the effects, including economic effects, of listing. The 
Federal listing of Holocarpha macradenia should not lead to significant 
project delays, additional permitting requirements or restrictions on 
private property owners, or increased cost of land. Because the species 
is already State-listed, many project sites have already been subject 
to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and permitting 
requirements under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). 
Agencies responsible for review of those few projects that are pending 
are aware of the declining status of this species and are taking this 
issue into consideration. In addition, most populations of this species 
are on private land where there is no Federal nexus.
    CDFG and the airport are currently developing a memorandum of 
understanding (MOU) to ensure that loss of Holocarpha macradenia 
habitat from airport expansion would be offset by establishing the 
plant in adjacent suitable locations. We are participating in this 
effort. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should also have 
conferred with us under the provisions of section 7(c) of the Act since 
the plant was proposed for listing. Because the conservation solution 
is currently being developed through the MOU, and a conference opinion 
can be expeditiously converted to a biological opinion, pursuant to 
section 7(a)(2) of the Act, the Federal listing in itself should not 
delay the proposed expansion of the airport. Likewise, the expansion of 
the airport, as long as the requirements of both the State and Federal 
regulations are followed, should not adversely affect the H. macradenia 
population currently located at the airport.
    Issue 3: One commenter suggested that cooperation is needed between 
the Service, the University of California Agricultural Extension 
Service, and California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), so 
that the species can be propagated and out-planted on CALTRANS property 
where they can be viewed and appreciated by millions of people. Another 
commenter wanted to know what we know about minimum population size/
areas to support continued existence of the species.
    Our response: We agree that cooperation among agencies is important 
to prevent further losses of currently occupied habitat, as well as for 
developing options for future management and conservation of the 
species. Although our recovery planning process typically occurs after 
the species has been federally listed, the previous State listing of 
this species has served to advance the process of identifying 
appropriate recovery actions. We currently do not know what minimum 
plant population size and habitat areas are needed to support the 
continued existence of this species. However, the specific recovery 
objectives and criteria to delist the species in the future, including 
targets for population/habitat sizes, will be developed during the 
formal recovery planning process. This process will involve species 
experts, scientists, and interested members of the public, in 
accordance with the interagency policy on recovery plans under the Act, 
published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34272).
    Issue 4: One commenter asked what additional protection Federal 
listing will provide given that the species is already State-listed.
    Our response: Federal listing will provide additional protection 
for the species through Federal regulations and recovery efforts. 
Additional protection will potentially be provided through the 
consultation process for projects that are funded, permitted, or 
carried out by a Federal agency. At this time, the only projects in 
occupied habitat, with an identified Federal nexus, are the expansion 
of the Watsonville Airport and the construction of a bicycle path in 
Arana Gulch. In addition, Federal listing of a species generally 
provides for recognition and additional funding, by our agency as well 
as others, for the conservation and recovery of the listed species.
    Issue 5: One commenter believed that the current status of 
Holocarpha macradenia warranted listing as endangered rather than 
threatened. Another commenter thought that the appropriate status 
hinged on opportunities for funding current management needs; should no 

[[Page 14901]]

be available for appropriate management, the status of the species 
should more appropriately be endangered.
    Our response: We believe that the determination of threatened 
status is appropriate for the species at this time because ongoing 
intensive management has forestalled imminent extinction. However, 
should factors such as reduced funding for managing the species result 
in its continued decline, we would have the option of reclassifying the 
species to endangered.
    Issue 6: One commenter suggested that we lack jurisdiction to enact 
the proposed rule and that the rule should be withdrawn, believing that 
no connection exists between regulation of these plants and a 
substantial effect on interstate commerce.
    Our response: The Federal Government has the authority under the 
Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to protect this species, for 
the reasons given in Judge Wald's opinion and Judge Henderson's 
concurring opinion in National Association of Home Builders v. Babbitt, 
130 F.3d 1041 (D.C. Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 1185 S.Ct. 2340 (1998). 
That case involved a challenge to application of the Act's prohibitions 
to protect the listed Delhi Sands flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas 
terminatus abdominalis). As with Holocarpha macradenia, the Delhi Sands 
flower-loving fly is endemic to only one State. Judge Wald held that 
application of the Act's prohibition against taking of endangered 
species to this fly was a proper exercise of Commerce Clause power to 
regulate: (1) use of channels of interstate commerce; and (2) 
activities substantially affecting interstate commerce, because 
applying the Act in that case prevented destructive interstate 
competition and loss of biodiversity. Judge Henderson upheld protection 
of the fly because doing so prevents harm to the ecosystem upon which 
interstate commerce depends and regulates commercial development that 
is part of interstate commerce.

Peer Review

    We requested and received the expert opinions of four peer 
reviewers regarding pertinent scientific or commercial data and 
assumptions related to population status and supporting biological and 
ecological information for Holocarpha macradenia. This action is 
consistent with the interagency policy on peer review published on July 
1, 1994 (59 FR 34270). Three of the four reviewers supported the 
listing of the species, and one reviewer was neutral. One of the 
reviewers provided typographical corrections to the proposed rule. The 
second reviewer provided minor technical corrections and updates to the 
background information on several of the populations. Both reviewers 
also addressed the lack of funding available to provide management for 
populations at Arana Gulch and in the East Bay Regional Parks District. 
The third reviewer commented that, with lack of needed management, the 
species qualified for endangered rather than threatened status, 
particularly because the viability of seed banks at unmanaged locations 
could be extirpated within a decade. The fourth reviewer provided 
updates on the Graham Hill Road, Arana Gulch, and O'Neill/Tan sites.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act and regulations (50 CFR part 424) issued 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) of the Act. These factors and 
their application to Holocarpha macradenia (DC.) Greene are as follows:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range. Urbanization has been responsible 
for severely reducing the extent of coastal prairie habitat that 
supports Holocarpha macradenia. Since H. macradenia was listed as 
endangered by the State of California in 1979, CDFG has been tracking 
the status of its populations. Although it is difficult to assess the 
total number of historical populations, since herbarium specimens often 
have only general location information, it is apparent that the species 
has declined considerably. All native populations of H. macradenia have 
been extirpated from Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties around 
the San Francisco Bay (CDFG 1997a). Habitat for the last naturally 
occurring population in the San Francisco Bay area, near Pinole in 
Contra Costa County, was converted to a shopping center in 1993 (CDFG 
1997a, CNDDB 1997). The only populations that persist in this area are 
eight populations that were planted from seed in Wildcat Canyon 
Regional Park in Contra Costa County. The CDFG has also determined that 
the plant has been extirpated from nine locations around the Monterey 
Bay since 1979 (CDFG 1993, CNDDB 1997). Most recently, sometime after a 
1992 survey, a population at the Anna Street site in Watsonville was 
destroyed during construction of office buildings and a parking lot 
(CDFG 1995a, CNDDB 1997).
    In the last 5 years, increasing concern over the loss of Holocarpha 
macradenia habitat and populations has prompted some permitting 
agencies to require conservation of remaining habitat through the 
review and permitting of development projects. This permitting 
requirement has decreased the rate of habitat destruction. However, 
although occupied habitat has been conserved in developed areas, the 
indirect effects of residential and local use in these areas often 
threaten the remaining H. macradenia habitat and populations. In many 
cases, the historical alteration of native H. macradenia habitat has 
been further exacerbated by current human activities. Descriptions of 
the 12 remaining native sites and the current threats of habitat 
destruction or modification facing these sites are given below. These 
descriptions do not include the eight sites that were seeded with H. 
macradenia in Contra Costa County where the species was not known to be 
native. The threats to those sites are discussed under ``Factor E.''
    The Graham Hill Road site is owned by Standard Pacific Corporation. 
An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was approved by the County of 
Santa Cruz in 1996 for a development that comprises 52 residences, a 
fire station, a common area, a park, and an equestrian facility and 
trails on a 69-ha (170-ac) parcel (Environmental Science Associates 
1996). The approved EIR also includes 0.2 ha (0.5 ac) of occupied 
Holocarpha macradenia habitat, and 4 ha (10 ac) of coastal prairie 
habitat within a 7-ha (17-ac) conservation easement. The EIR provides 
for prairie management, habitat restoration, and a 20-year maintenance 
and monitoring program (Lyons, in litt. 1998). In 1994, five colonies 
of H. macradenia occupied less than 0.4 ha (1 ac) of habitat. One 
colony supported 10,000 individuals, and the other four collectively 
supported 2,000 individuals. By this time, French broom had invaded the 
coastal prairie habitat and threatened all of the plant species of 
concern, including H. macradenia (Environmental Science Associates 
1995). In 1998, French broom was removed from the conservation easement 
area, and in June and September, mowing was implemented (Valerie Haley, 
Native Vegetation Network, pers. comm. 1998). In 1998, only 2 of the 5 
colonies were located, supporting a total of 675 individuals (V. Haley, 
pers. comm. 1998). In addition to H. macradenia, other species of 
concern occur on the site, including Gairdner's

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yampah, San Francisco popcorn flower, and Santa Cruz clover.
    The Twin Lakes site is owned by the California Department of Parks 
and Recreation (CDPR). The site has been fragmented by an access road 
for park vehicles and several hiking paths. The population occupies 
less than 0.4 ha (1 ac) and appears to have been declining since 1986 
(120 individuals in 1986; fewer than 10 in 1994; 1 in 1996; 0 in 1997; 
and 12 in 1998). The decline has been attributed to competition from 
French broom and nonnative grasses (CDFG 1995a; G. Gray, ecologist, 
CDPR, pers. comm. 1997). In the last 3 years, CDPR has made progress in 
removing French broom from the site. They also have experimented with 
management actions that would enhance habitat for Holocarpha macradenia 
through mowing, raking, simulating cattle hoof action with wood blocks, 
and burning. However, the population has continued to decline. In 1997, 
CDPR committed significant funding to continue with experimental 
management actions, and by 1998, a draft management plan was prepared 
(G. Gray, pers. comm. 1997, CDPR 1998). In 1997, a portion of the 
habitat was accidentally disturbed through the use of a road grader; in 
1998, another portion of the habitat was scraped with hand tools. Of 
the 12 plants that appeared in 1998, 6 appeared in each of the 2 
disturbed areas (CDPR 1998).
    The Arana Gulch population is on a 25-ha (62-ac) parcel of land 
that has been owned and managed by the City of Santa Cruz since 1994. 
In the late 1980s, the population comprised approximately 100,000 
individuals. In 1988, cattle grazing was terminated, and over the next 
few years, population sizes decreased due to competition with nonnative 
grasses. In 1993, only 133 individuals appeared, and in 1994, no 
individuals were seen. In 1994, the City of Santa Cruz acquired the 
land from the private landowner. The city entered into an MOU with CDFG 
in 1997 to manage the four remaining colonies, which covered 
approximately 2 ha (5 ac) within a 7-ha (17-ac) management area (CDFG 
1997b). In 1995, management of one colony included fall mowing, raking, 
hoeing, and mechanical scraping of the habitat. By the summer of 1996, 
the Holocarpha macradenia colony had recovered to approximately 7,500 
individuals (summer 1996). However, in the fall of 1996, a portion of 
the treated colony was accidentally burned, and the City and local 
volunteers began management of a second colony (by grass raking, 
hoeing, and mowing). A total of 20,000 individuals were observed in 
these two areas in 1997, and a total of 12,820 were observed in 1998 
(K. Lyons, consultant, pers. comm. 1997, 1998). The City now proposes 
to construct a bicycle path that would bisect the management area 
(Brady and Associates, Inc. 1997). Direct impacts to occupied H. 
macradenia habitat would be avoided, but secondary impacts associated 
with increased recreational use, such as increased trampling from 
humans, pets, and bicycles, may have a negative impact on the remaining 
habitat and increase the difficulty of managing this site.
    The O'Neill/Tan population straddles the boundary of two parcels, 
the O'Neill Ranch owned by the County Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and 
the privately owned Tan property. In 1996, the county approved 
development of the 40-ha (100-ac) O'Neill property into a county park. 
Holocarpha macradenia is located in the upper reaches of the park where 
past recreational use consisted of occasional hiking. A park management 
plan is currently being developed and will include the population of H. 
macradenia in a 6-ha (15-ac) conservation easement that is zoned for 
``passive recreation.'' The plan may recommend fencing around 0.4 ha (1 
ac) of H. macradenia habitat in lieu of trying to restrict hikers to 
designated trails (S. Gilchrist, CRA, pers. comm. 1997). Although the 
site receives light use currently, development of the adjacent Tan 
property will allow easier access to a larger number of people. The 
County hopes to establish a cooperative management strategy with the 
developers of the Tan property to address management of this 
population. The size of the H. macradenia population on the O'Neill 
property has fluctuated from up to 200 plants in 1979 down to 0 in 1998 
(1979--between 100 to 200 plants; 1984-0; 1985-0; 1986-170; 1990-0; 
1991-170; 1993-2; 1997-0; 1998-0) (Brady and Associates 1995, K. Lyons, 
pers. comm. 1998 ). Santa Cruz clover and Gairdner's yampah also occur 
on this site.
    The 43-ha (106-ac) Tan property was approved in 1997 for the 
development of 28 residential units. The habitat mitigation plan for 
this development includes approximately 0.2 ha (0.5 ac) that support 
Holocarpha macradenia in the 4.2-ha (10.4-ac) conservation parcel. This 
parcel will be managed by the homeowner's association (HRG 1996). 
Management prescriptions for the conservation parcel include mowing, 
weed control, fencing, and removal of invasive nonnative plants. These 
invasive nonnative plants include French broom, rattlesnake grass 
(Briza sp.), and eucalyptus (HRG 1996).
    The size of the Holocarpha macradenia population on the Tan parcel 
is difficult to determine because historic surveys did not count these 
individuals separately from those on the O'Neill parcel. However, the 
total number of individuals in the entire population has never been 
larger than 200 individuals, with the Tan parcel supporting only a 
portion of those. In 1996, only one tarplant individual was seen (Val 
Haley, consultant, in litt. 1997). In 1997 and 1998, no individuals 
were seen (K. Lyons, pers. comm. 1997, 1998).
    In addition to Holocarpha macradenia, the privately owned Winkle 
Avenue site also supports populations of the Ohlone tiger beetle and 
Gairdner's yampah. Part of the Holocarpha macradenia population at this 
site was destroyed by two phases of a residential development in 1986, 
and a portion of the remaining 23 ha (57 ac) of habitat was placed in a 
``temporary open space easement'' (Strelow Consulting 1995). The 23-ha 
(57-ac) parcel is now being proposed for the development of 21 
residential units (Parsons Engineering Science, Inc. 1997). Although 
approval by the County of Santa Cruz is still pending, the planning 
department has recommended that the development be limited to 10 
residential units, with the remaining 11 lots being placed in a 
preservation easement (K. Tschantz, County of Santa Cruz Planning 
Department, pers. comm. 1997; CDFG in litt. 1997). In 1993, the H. 
macradenia population consisted of approximately 100 plants covering 16 
cubic meters (174 square feet) (Parsons Engineering Science, Inc 1997). 
In 1994, no plants were seen on the site (CDFG 1995). In addition to 
the threat of development, the population on this site has been subject 
to competition and habitat alteration from the invasion of French broom 
and nonnative grasses.
    The Fairway Drive site is a 12-ha (30-ac) parcel of land that is 
privately owned. In 1989, the year that grazing by horses ceased, the 
site supported a population of approximately 5,000 plants on less than 
0.4 ha (1 ac). At the time, the site was considered a ``well-preserved 
fragment of native grassland'' that supported native bunchgrasses 
(California oatgrass and purple needlegrass (Nasella pulchra)) as well 
as several species of concern, including Gairdner's yampah and San 
Francisco popcorn flower (CNDDB 1997). In 1993, the population was 
approximately 1,500 plants (CDFG 1995a, Greening Associates 1995); the 
decline being attributed to cessation of grazing. Several woody 
nonnative species, including French broom, acacia, pampas

[[Page 14903]]

grass (Cortaderia jubata), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), have 
invaded the grasslands and are rapidly spreading. In 1996, the County 
approved a lot split into four parcels, with the condition that the 
coastal terrace prairie habitat be placed in a preservation easement of 
approximately 6 ha (15 ac) and a management plan be developed and 
implemented (K. Tschantz, pers. comm. 1997).
    The Watsonville Airport site, owned by the City of Watsonville, 
supports the largest population of H. macradenia. Successive population 
estimates at this site show an overall increase in population size and 
extent over time: 459,000 plants in 1993; 240,000 plants in 1994 (CNDDB 
1997); 27,854,000 plants in 1998 (a year with greater than average 
rainfall) (John Gilchrist & Associates 1999); and 8,200,000 plants in 
1999 (L. Kiguchi, John Gilchrist & Associates, pers. comm. 1999). 
Portions of the 15-ha (37-ac) site are grazed, and other portions are 
mowed several times between late spring and late summer to maintain 
visual clearance of the runways. This management appears to have 
benefitted H. macradenia by reducing competition from nonnative 
species. In 1994, the City released an initial study for a proposed 
clay mining operation and a 20-year airport expansion plan. Both 
activities would potentially reduce available H. macradenia habitat 
(Denise Duffy & Associates 1994). Since then, the proposal to mine clay 
has been removed from consideration due to permitting complications. 
CDFG is working with city representatives to formalize an agreement to 
use ongoing management activities to enhance the available habitat, but 
a final agreement has not been reached. CDFG is also working with 
representatives from the City of Watsonville to develop a strategy to 
phase in airport expansion over a number of years so that loss of 
habitat would be mitigated in advance, by enhancing habitat for H. 
macradenia in adjacent suitable areas.
    The Harkins Slough site is privately owned. In 1993, the population 
consisted of about 15,000 plants in 2 colonies; the current status of 
the population is unknown due to limited access to the property. The 
first colony covers 0.4 ha (1 ac), and the other colony is 0.4 ha (1 
ac) in size. Cattle grazing was discontinued in 1990. Current uses of 
the property include fava bean production. In 1997, the owners 
requested that the property be annexed to the City of Watsonville in 
anticipation of developing residences and a golf course. The city 
council turned down the request due to public concern over the loss of 
prime agricultural land in the area. The CDFG has approached the owners 
with a proposal to assist in conservation efforts; however, no 
agreement has been reached.
    The Apple Hill site is owned by CALTRANS. The population previously 
comprised three colonies. However, two colonies were extirpated by the 
construction of a housing development on adjacent private property. The 
remaining colony occurs on a strip of land between the housing 
development and Highway 152. The continued existence of this colony is 
in jeopardy due to use of the habitat strip by local residents as a 
play area, repository for yard waste, and walkway to adjacent 
businesses (CDFG 1994; G. Smith, resource ecologist, CDPR, pers. comm 
1997). In an effort to protect the colony, CALTRANS had proposed 
placing a fence along the highway to limit access (G. Ruggerone, 
CALTRANS, pers. comm. 1997). However, prior to taking this action, CDFG 
and CALTRANS agreed that additional fencing would also limit access to 
the site for mowing and that a monitoring program to determine the 
extent of indirect effects posed by the adjacent development and the 
fence should be established (CALTRANS and CDFG pers. comm. 1999). The 
Holocarpha macradenia population has fluctuated between 4,000 (1986) 
and 81 plants (1994). In 1995, the population supported 700 individuals 
(CNDDB 1997). In 1998, the population supported 1,000 individuals, and 
habitat was mowed in the fall to reduce biomass of nonnative grasses 
(Thomas M. Edell, in litt. 1998). In 1999, no plants appeared at this 
site (T. Edell, pers. comm. 1999).
    The privately owned Struve Slough site currently supports a very 
small population of Holocarpha macradenia, as well as the Santa Cruz 
long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum), a federally 
endangered species. In the late 1980s, the site supported one of the 
largest populations of Santa Cruz tarplant, occupying 2 ha (5 ac) and 
comprising 400,000 plants (CDFG 1995). When cattle grazing was 
terminated on the site in 1989, the population size dropped 
considerably. This trend currently continues. The site is now dominated 
by nonnative wild oats (Avena sp.), prickly lettuce (Picrus echioides), 
and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), which are outcompeting the H. 
macradenia (CDFG 1995). As of 1994, only one Santa Cruz tarplant has 
been observed. In 1992, the City of Watsonville approved an 
Environmental Impact Report for the Bay Breeze housing development at 
this site. In 1999, the City circulated a draft supplemental EIR for 
the housing project. It proposed to set aside a portion of the site 
that supports H. macradenia as a conservation area, but proposed no 
active management plan for the project. Due to the extent of area that 
is occupied by nonnative grasses, it is unlikely that H. macradenia 
will reappear at the site unless it is actively managed. The CDFG has 
expressed an interest in enlisting the property owners in conservation 
efforts, but no agreements have yet been reached (D. Hillyard, plant 
ecologist, CDFG, pers. comm. 1997).
    The Spring Hills Golf Course site is privately owned. In 1989, 
Holocarpha macradenia was observed growing in five separate colonies 
scattered over 5 ha (12 ac) in unlandscaped patches between the 
fairways of the golf course. The distribution of the colonies suggests 
that H. macradenia habitat was altered by development of the golf 
course, especially in the fairways. In 1989 and 1990, the largest 
colony supported 2,000 to 3,000 plants. Each of the other four colonies 
supported between 100 and 400 plants (CNDDB 1997). H. macradenia was 
last observed at this site in 1995; no population size estimates were 
made, but all of the colonies appeared to still be present (B. Davilla, 
pers. comm. 1997). In 1997, CDFG approached representatives of the golf 
course and expressed an interest in enlisting them in conservation 
efforts. To date, however, no agreements have been made (D. Hillyard, 
pers. comm. 1997). Since there are no apparent plans for expansion of 
the golf course, the continued threats to H. macradenia on this site 
are uncertain.
    The Porter Ranch site, the only site in Monterey County, is 
privately owned. Taylor (1990) noted that this site is unusual in that 
the Holocarpha macradenia population is primarily in the bottom of a 
small canyon, rather than on the adjacent terrace or upper slope. The 
population is scattered over approximately 1 ha (2.5 ac). Between 1984 
and 1993, population sizes fluctuated between 1,500 (1984) and 43,000 
plants (1989) (CNDDB 1997). The most recent population estimate in 1993 
was 3,200 plants. Cattle grazing at this site continues with varying 
intensity (M. Silberstein, Elkhorn Slough Foundation, pers. comm. 
1997). Within cattle exclosures, constructed to protect H. macradenia 
from heavy grazing, the number of plants had decreased to fewer than 
100 by 1996 (R. Morgan, pers. comm. 1997). The owners are interested in 
developing management plans in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy 
that would address

[[Page 14904]]

appropriate grazing levels to benefit H. macradenia (CDFG 1994, M. 
Silberstein, pers. comm. 1997). In 1998, CDFG acquired a 16-ha (40-ac) 
conservation easement on the Porter Ranch that surrounds the H. 
macradenia population (D. Hillyard, in litt. 1998). The threats to H. 
macradenia on this site are uncertain.
    In summary, development, with its associated effects, is a primary 
threat to Holocarpha macradenia. Six of the 12 remaining native 
populations are on privately owned lands that are currently or 
anticipated to be proposed for urban development (Graham Hill Road, the 
Tan portion of O'Neill/Tan, Winkle Avenue, Fairway Drive, Harkins 
Slough, and Struve Slough). One site has plans for a phased, 20-year 
airport expansion (Watsonville Airport). Three sites have also been 
subjected to secondary effects of adjacent residential development 
(Arana Gulch, Twin Lakes, Apple Hill). Seven of the 12 sites include 
plans for conservation of H. macradenia, either through development-
related mitigation, or by virtue of being on city, county, or State 
agency lands. However, none of these conservation plans have yet been 
successful. In particular, the size and quality of conservation areas 
and management actions prescribed through the environmental review 
process (see Factor D) may not be biologically adequate to meet the 
goal of long-term conservation of the species. Also, some H. macradenia 
conservation areas where populations are small in number, small in 
area, whose habitat is degraded, or that continue to receive secondary 
effects of adjacent human activities are more vulnerable to extirpation 
from random, natural events (see Factor E).
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. Overutilization is not known to be a problem for 
this species.
    C. Disease or predation. Disease is not known to be a problem for 
this species. Predation of adult plants by cattle, livestock, or other 
wildlife species is not known to occur, probably due to the presence of 
oil glands that would make the plant unpalatable. Whether very young 
plants are subject to predation prior to maturation of oil glands is 
    Although Holocarpha macradenia does not appear to be directly 
impacted by grazing, it has altered the plant's habitat at a number of 
sites (Arana Gulch, O'Neill/Tan, Watsonville Airport, Harkins Slough, 
Struve Slough, Porter Ranch, and all eight seed transplant populations 
in Wildcat Regional Park). Prior to the spread of nonnative annual 
grasses in the valleys and foothills of California, the openings 
between perennial grasses in grassland and oak woodland communities 
were probably occupied by native herbaceous plants (Barbour et al. 
1993). With the introduction of nonnative grasses, cattle grazing has 
changed, and continues to alter, the species composition of grasslands 
in several ways. The hooves of cattle sufficiently disturb soil to 
create open ground and a seedbed for the establishment of nonnative 
species. Cattle selectively forage on native species, thus favoring the 
establishment of nonnative species (Painter 1995). Cattle also act as 
dispersal vectors for nonnative species to new sites (Heady 1977, 
Willoughby 1986, Sauer 1988). Once nonnative plants become established, 
these species compete with native herbs and grasses for water, 
nutrients, and light (Heady 1977, McClintock 1986). Because nonnative 
grasses are typically prolific seeders, they continue to increase in 
abundance at the expense of the native taxa, even after grazing is 
discontinued (Painter 1995).
    Once Holocarpha macradenia habitat has been altered by grazers and 
nonnative plants have proliferated throughout the native ecosystem, 
continued grazing may either be deleterious or beneficial to the 
viability of H. macradenia. The indirect effects of continued grazing 
depend on several factors, including the current condition of the site, 
the timing, and the amount of grazing. In some cases, light to moderate 
grazing will remove sufficient biomass of nonnative grasses to allow H. 
macradenia to persist (CDFG 1995a, CDFG 1995b). For example, a 
combination of mowing and grazing has likely favored the persistence of 
H. macradenia at the Watsonville Airport site. The decline of H. 
macradenia on the Struve Slough site has been attributed to the 
elimination of grazers without new grassland management (Taylor 1990, 
CDFG 1995a). On the other hand, the indirect result of heavy grazing is 
most likely responsible for the decline or restriction in H. macradenia 
population sizes at the Arana Gulch, Tan, and portions of the Porter 
Ranch sites (CDFG 1995a, CNDDB 1997), as well as one of the seed 
transplant populations (Big Belgum) in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park 
(CDFG 1995b). Additional discussion on this issue is found under Factor 
E of this rule.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The California 
Fish and Game Commission listed Holocarpha macradenia as an endangered 
species in 1979 under the California Native Plant Protection Act 
(CNPPA) (Division 2, chapter 10 section 1900 et seq. of the CDFG Code). 
In 1984, this species became an endangered species under the California 
Endangered Species Act (CESA) (Division 3, chapter 1.5 sec. 2050 et 
seq.). Although the ``take'' of State-listed plants has long been 
prohibited under the CNPPA (Division 2, chapter 10, section 1908) and 
CESA (Division 3, chapter 1.5, section 2080), these statutes do not 
provided adequate protection for such plants from the impacts of 
habitat modification and land use change. For example, under CNPPA, 
certain activities, such as agricultural or timber operations, mining 
assessment work, or removal of plants from a right-of-way (e.g., canal, 
lateral ditches, building site or road), are exempt from the general 
take prohibitions. Also under CNPPA, after CDFG notifies a landowner 
that a State-listed plant grows on his or her property, the statute 
requires only that the landowner notify the agency ``at least ten days 
in advance of changing the land use to allow salvage of such plant'' 
(section 1913). With recent amendments to CESA, a permit under section 
2081(b) of the CDFG Code is required to ``take'' State-listed species 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities. The amendments require that 
impacts to the species be fully mitigated. However, these new 
requirements have not yet been tested, and evaluating their 
effectiveness will take several years. The scope of these exceptions to 
the CNPPA take prohibition, and consequently to the protections for 
plants under CESA, have been the subject of some controversy, even 
after an opinion in 1998 by the California Attorney General (Opinion 
#98-105, June 23, 1998). This opinion cataloged the legal mechanisms 
for take of California-listed plants, and included both incidental take 
permits issued under the CESA and projects that are statutorily exempt 
from CNPPA's take prohibition. The opinion did not, however, clarify 
the scope of the CNPPA exemptions, including a provision that allows 
the removal of California-listed rare and endangered plants from 
building sites.
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a full 
disclosure of the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects 
on State-or federally listed species or species that are eligible for 
State listing as rare, threatened, or endangered but have not yet been 
listed. 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 other agencies 
concerned with the resources affected by the project. However, 
protection of listed species through

[[Page 14905]]

CEQA is dependent upon the discretion of the agency involved. 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 may require mitigation for those effects by 
changing the project or deciding that overriding considerations make 
the significant effects acceptable. In the latter case, projects may be 
approved that cause significant environmental damage, such as 
destruction of endangered species.
    The County of Santa Cruz recently revised its Local Coastal Program 
and General Plan (Santa Cruz County 1994). Under this plan, 
``grasslands in the coastal zone'' are identified as one of a number of 
official Sensitive Habitats. Uses allowed within Sensitive Habitat 
areas are restricted to those that are dependent on the habitat's 
resources unless other uses are ``(a) consistent with protection 
policies and serve a specific purpose beneficial to the public; (b) it 
is determined through environmental review that any adverse impacts on 
the resource will be completely mitigated and that there is no feasible 
less-damaging alternative; and (c) legally necessary to allow a 
reasonable economic use of the land, and there is no feasible less-
damaging alternative'' (Santa Cruz County 1994). The County has 
attempted to protect Holocarpha macradenia during the review of 
proposals for development that fall under their jurisdiction with 
conservation easements voluntarily established by the project 
applicant, or preservation easements requested of the applicant by the 
County. To date, these include development projects at the Graham Hill 
Road, O'Neill, Tan, Winkle, and Fairway Drive sites. These easements 
typically set aside all or most of the occupied habitat of H. 
macradenia and provide for implementation of management plans for the 
coastal prairie habitat. Despite these efforts, the easements cover 
only small remnants that represent a fragment of the coastal prairie 
habitat that historically occurred in the region. Intensive grassland 
management will be needed to sustain and enhance populations of H. 
macradenia on these sites.
    In the late 1980s and early 1990s, CDFG became more concerned about 
the status of Holocarpha macradenia when it became apparent that native 
populations were being destroyed by development, both in the San 
Francisco Bay area and the Monterey Bay area. In 1993 and 1995, CDFG 
hosted three H. macradenia recovery workshops to review the status of 
the species and identify actions needed to conserve the species. These 
workshops resulted in the development of an MOU between the CDFG and 
the City of Santa Cruz to address management of the population at Arana 
Gulch. The workshops also initiated discussion with the City of 
Watsonville regarding the development of an MOU for management of the 
Watsonville Airport site. Funding for management of several populations 
was generated (including those at Arana Gulch and at Wildcat Regional 
Park), and a conservation plan was developed for the species that 
included a list of four sites to be targeted. In 1998, CDFG secured a 
conservation easement over a 16.4-ha (40.5-ac) parcel on one of the 
four sites (Porter Ranch) prioritized for conservation. Currently, 
however, efforts to secure conservation easements with the other three 
property owners have been suspended (Cochrane, in litt., 1998).
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence. In addition to the threats described above, three additional 
factors threaten the continued existence of Holocarpha macradenia: 
limited success of transplant efforts conducted as part of mitigation 
projects, competition with nonnative plants, and extinction caused by 
random, naturally occurring events.
    In Factor A above, detailed accounts were given of the 12 remaining 
native populations of Holocarpha macradenia. The other eight existing 
populations of H. macradenia are the result of experimental seed 
transplants. In 1911, Jepson referred to H. macradenia as being 
``abundant'' in west Berkeley and Oakland (Havlik 1986). However, close 
to 50 years later, due to loss of habitat to urbanization, Munz (1959) 
considered the taxon ``possibly extinct.'' Therefore, when several 
populations were found near Pinole and Richmond in Contra Costa County 
in the late 1970s and early 1980s, botanists placed a high priority on 
establishing additional populations to forestall extinction. 
Experiments were carried out to establish new populations by seeding 
what was thought to be appropriate habitat (Havlik 1986). Most of the 
seedings were done at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, which straddles 
Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, but several were done on lands owned 
and managed by East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD).
    Havlik (1989) reviewed the first 7 years of monitoring sites that 
were seeded with Holocarpha macradenia and included discussions on how 
habitat characteristics such as soil type, grazing pressure (cattle), 
and landscape position within the coastal fog belt may have affected 
the species' seeding success. In initial results, populations exposed 
to moderate grazing pressure were larger than those exposed to low 
grazing pressure. From 1982 to 1986, 22 sites were seeded within 
Wildcat Regional Park and on EBMUD land. Most of the sites are 
monitored annually. By 1989, 3 sites supported over 3,000 plants; 2 had 
over 1,000 plants; 11 had over 100 plants; 2 had over 10 plants; and 4 
had no plants.
    By 1993, 1 site (referred to as Mezue) supported a population of 
6,400 plants; 4 had fewer than 300 plants; 2 had fewer than 100 plants; 
10 had no plants; and 3 sites could not be relocated (CDFG 1994). By 
1997, the Mezue site supported between 5,000 and 7,000 plants; one had 
fewer than 300 plants; 4 had fewer than 100 plants; and 7 had no 
plants. Most of the remaining sites were not checked because previous 
multiple-year monitoring indicated that plants had disappeared from 
those sites. In 1998, the Mezue site supported 3,128 plants; one had 
318 plants; 6 had fewer than 100 plants; and 5 had no plants (B. Olson, 
pers. comm. 1998). Although more sites supported plants in 1998 (eight 
compared to six in 1997), the total number of plants was less. Also, of 
those sites that support small populations (fewer than 100 
individuals), some may not display any individuals in a given year, 
even though a seedbank may be present. Although the seeds were probably 
planted in less than perfect habitat, the competition for limited 
resources between H. macradenia and artichoke thistle and nonnative 
grasses probably contributed to the decline in populations of the 
    Although the information gathered from these seeded sites has been 
valuable for understanding the life-history of the plant and how it 
responds to various types of management, these sites have had limited 
success in establishing viable populations of Holocarpha macradenia. 
The seeded sites, therefore, have a limited value for maintaining the 
viability of the species when compared to the native populations.
    One of the most prevalent forms of habitat alteration occurring 
within the coastal prairie habitat of Holocarpha macradenia is the 
conversion of the plant community from one dominated by native grasses 
to one dominated by nonnative grass species. Nonnative grasses may 
quickly gain a competitive advantage over native grasses because they 
germinate early and seed prolifically (Heady 1977, McClintock

[[Page 14906]]

1986). As discussed in Factors A and C, the conversion of native 
prairie habitats to grazing lands enhances the opportunity for 
nonnative grasses to be introduced and disseminated into the 
surrounding areas. Field survey reports show that nonnative grasses 
often dominate coastal prairie habitat and represent a potential threat 
at eight H. macradenia sites (Arana Gulch, Twin Lakes, Tan, Watsonville 
Airport, Harkins Slough, Struve Slough, Spring Hills and Porter sites) 
(CNDDB 1997, Taylor 1990).
    In 1989, the Struve Slough site supported one of the largest 
populations of Holocarpha macradenia. Before 1989, the cattle grazing 
regime in place favored the presence of nonnative grasses such as 
oatgrass (Avena barbada), ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), and quaking 
grass (Briza maxima). However, even after cattle were removed from the 
site in 1989, wild oat and other nonnatives, primarily prickly lettuce 
and wild fennel, further invaded the site. Even without continual 
grazing to facilitate the growth of nonnative plants, previous grazing 
practices had established sufficient numbers of these nonnative plants 
that they could outcompete the native plants and increase their 
abundance. Probably as a result of nonnative competition, H. macradenia 
has not been seen on the site since 1994, despite the apparent 
existence of a seedbank.
    Both the native populations and the seeded ones are threatened to 
some extent by competition with artichoke thistle. An individual 
thistle, the wild variety of the edible artichoke, occupies a large 
area, has allelopathic properties, and creates shade (Kelly and Pepper 
1996). The artichoke thistle also resprouts vigorously from a perennial 
taproot, has extended flowering, and prolific seed production. Other 
weedy characteristics of the artichoke thistle include germinating and 
resprouting in a variety of environmental conditions and over several 
seasons (Kelly and Pepper 1996). In the 1880s, artichoke thistle was 
introduced around Benicia, only a few miles north of the Regional Park. 
By the 1930s, 28,330 ha (70,000 ac) in the hills around the east and 
north side of San Francisco Bay were infested with the artichoke 
thistle (Ball in Thomsen et al. 1986). In 1996, the Regional Park and 
Alameda County initiated a cooperative artichoke thistle removal 
program using herbicides. Although sites that support Holocarpha 
macradenia are a priority for artichoke thistle removal, the abundance 
of artichoke thistle in adjacent areas allows it to reseed back into 
treated areas.
    Nonnative grasses also occur with Holocarpha macradenia at the 
eight seeded sites. All eight sites are grazed by cattle. If nonnative 
grasses become too abundant, they can outcompete H. macradenia. As 
stated above in Factor C, cattle grazing can decrease the abundance of 
nonnative grasses; however, at the Big Belgum site an increase in 
grazing pressure is believed to have caused the H. macradenia 
population to decline (CDFG 1995b).
    French broom is another aggressive nonnative species that threatens 
Holocarpha macradenia. French broom colonizes easily and spreads 
rapidly in many types of habitats. It is especially aggressive in 
disturbed areas such as roadsides and newly cleared land. French broom 
can eventually form dense thickets that displace native vegetation, 
including H. macradenia (Habitat Restoration Group (HRG) n.d.). French 
broom occurs at five of the natural H. macradenia sites (Arana Gulch, 
Graham Hill Road, Twin Lakes, O'Neill/Tan, Fairway Drive) (CDFG 1997, 
HRG 1996).
    So much of the coastal prairie habitat that supports Holocarpha 
macradenia has been altered, fragmented, or destroyed that most of the 
remaining habitat is of small acreage and supports only very small 
populations. Species with a small number of populations and few 
individuals (compared to historical numbers) are vulnerable to the 
threat of local extinction from random, naturally occurring events. 
Such random events can affect long-term survival or cause extinction at 
several different levels--genetic, demographic, environmental, and 
catastrophic. For example, the random loss of a few individuals in 
these small populations can further decrease a species' already 
diminished gene pool. This loss of genetic diversity can affect the 
species' ability to adapt to routine environmental change, such as 
drought. The loss of genetic diversity is often manifested in depressed 
reproductive vigor. In other circumstances, sites with small 
populations or few individuals may be vulnerable to forces that affect 
their ability to successfully complete their life cycle. For example, 
the loss of pollinators may reduce successful seed-set, and could lead 
to reduced species viability and possible extirpation over time. Large-
scale disturbances such as floods, drought, or untimely fire can 
destroy a significant percentage of a species' individuals or entire 
    Since Holocarpha macradenia populations naturally tend to fluctuate 
in number due to climatic factors, the species is especially vulnerable 
to catastrophic disturbance during periods when population numbers are 
low. Watsonville Airport, the largest of the 12 native sites, supports 
a population that fluctuates from 200,000 to 28 million plants on 15 ha 
(37 ac). The Struve Slough site formerly supported 400,000 individuals 
on 1.6 ha (4 ac), but had declined to a single individual in 1994. The 
Spring Hills Golf Course site supports up to 3,500 plants on 5 ha (12 
ac). The Porter Ranch site once supported 43,000 plants on 1 ha (2.5 
ac), but by 1996, the population had declined to fewer than 100 plants. 
The Arana Gulch site supported 12,820 plants on 2 ha (5 ac) in 1998. 
The remaining seven native sites support approximately 0.4 ha (1 ac) or 
less of occupied habitat. In 1997, 2 of these native sites (Twin Lakes 
and O'Neill/Tan) had no plants, while Twin Lakes had only 12 plants in 
1998. Of the 8 seed transplant sites in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, 
in the east San Francisco Bay area, 1 site supported a population of 
3,128 individuals, and the remaining 7 supported between 0 and 318 
individuals (1998). Each of these sites is estimated to cover 0.4 to 
1.2 ha (1 to 3 ac). The total area of all eight seeded sites is between 
3 and 8 ha (8 and 20 ac) (B. Olson, biologist, EBRPD, pers. comm. 
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by this taxon in determining to make this final rule. Based on 
this evaluation, we find that Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz 
tarplant) meets the definition of a threatened species under the Act. 
This species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range due to habitat 
alteration and destruction, resulting primarily from urban and 
commercial development; invasion of its habitat and competition from 
nonnative species due to grazing; limited success of seed transplant 
populations; and vulnerability to random disturbance in populations of 
small size and number. Although a few of the native populations are on 
city, county, or State lands, most are on private lands. Conservation 
efforts indicate that this species may be maintained by applying 
intensive management techniques. These efforts will be most effective 
on sites with large tracts of remaining habitat that support naturally 
large populations and that can be secured from threats to the species. 
Although conservation efforts have been prescribed as part of 
mitigation for a number of development projects, the

[[Page 14907]]

small acreage, small population sizes, and physical proximity of 
threats lessen the chance that such efforts will lead to secure, self-
sustaining populations at these sites.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3, paragraph (5)(A) of the 
Act as 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 essential to the 
conservation of the species and that may require special management 
considerations or protection; and specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed in 
accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the Act, upon a 
determination by the Secretary 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.
    Critical habitat designation, by definition, directly affects only 
Federal agency actions through consultation under section 7(a)(2) of 
the Act. 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 a listed species or destroy or 
adversely modify its critical habitat.
    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 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 activity and the 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.
    In the proposed rule, we indicated that designation of critical 
habitat for Holocarpha macradenia was not prudent because we believed 
that designation of critical habitat would not provide any additional 
benefit beyond that provided through listing as threatened, since most 
of the current populations of the plant occur on private land or on 
local/county/State land that is subject to additional conservation 
    We now find that designation of critical habitat is prudent for 
Holocarpha macradenia. 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 the 
designation of critical habitat for H. macradenia would be prudent.
    Due to the small number of populations, we are concerned that 
Holocarpha macradenia could be vulnerable to unrestricted collection, 
vandalism, or other disturbance. Although we have found no specific 
evidence of such activities, we are also concerned that these threats 
might be exacerbated by the publication of critical habitat maps and 
further dissemination of locational information. However, consistent 
with applicable regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)(i)) and recent case 
law, we do not expect that the identification of critical habitat will 
increase the degree of threat to this species of taking or other human 
    In the absence of a finding that identification of critical habitat 
would increase threats to a species, if any benefits would result from 
a critical habitat designation, then a prudent finding is warranted. In 
the case of this species, designation of critical habitat may provide 
some benefits. 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, in certain instances, section 7 consultation might be 
triggered only if critical habitat is designated. Examples could 
include unoccupied habitat or occupied habitat that may become 
unoccupied in the future. Designating critical habitat may also provide 
some educational or informational benefits. Therefore, we find that 
critical habitat is prudent for Holocarpha macradenia.
    As explained in detail in the Final Listing Priority Guidance for 
FY 2000 (64 FR 57114), our listing budget is currently insufficient to 
allow us to immediately complete all of the listing actions required by 
the Act. We anticipate in FY 2000 and beyond giving higher priority to 
critical habitat designation, including designations deferred pursuant 
to the Final Listing Priority Guidance for FY 2000, such as the 
designation for this species, than we have in recent fiscal years. 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. Therefore, deferral 
of a critical habitat designation for this species will allow us to 
concentrate our limited resources on higher priority critical habitat 
and other listing actions, without delaying the final listing decision 
for Holocarpha macradenia. We will develop a proposal to designate 
critical habitat for H. macradenia as soon as feasible, considering our 
workload priorities. Unfortunately, for the immediate future, most of 
Region 1's listing budget must be directed to complying with numerous 
court orders and settlement agreements, as well as due and overdue 
final listing determinations.

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 public awareness and 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. Funding may be available through section 6 of the Act for the 
State to conduct recovery activities. 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 being designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 

[[Page 14908]]

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) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat, if 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, 
under section 7(a)(2) of the Act. Federal agency involvement, on the 
part of the Federal Highway Administration, has been identified for the 
Arana Gulch site. In addition, the FAA will be involved in the 
expansion of the Watsonville Airport.
    Listing of this plant as threatened provides for the development of 
a recovery plan. Such a plan would bring together Federal, State, and 
local efforts for its conservation. The recovery plan would establish a 
framework for cooperation and coordination in recovery efforts, set 
recovery priorities, and describe site-specific management actions 
necessary to achieve conservation and survival of the listed species. 
Additionally, pursuant to section 6 of the Act, we will be able to 
grant funds to affected States for management actions promoting the 
protection and recovery of this species.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all 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 to possession 
the 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, including 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 Holocarpha macradenia in the future if 
regulations are issued. Seeds from cultivated specimens of threatened 
plant species are exempt from these prohibitions provided that their 
containers are marked ``Of Cultivated Origin.'' Certain exceptions to 
the prohibitions apply to our agents and those of State conservation 
    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 also are available for botanical or horticultural 
exhibition, educational purposes, or special purposes consistent with 
the purposes of the Act. We anticipate that few trade permits would 
ever be sought or issued because this species is not in cultivation or 
common in the wild. 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, Portland Regional Office, 911 NE 
11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (telephone 503/231-6131, 
facsimile 503/231-6243).
    As published in the Federal Register (59 FR 34272) on July 1, 1994, 
our policy is 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 
on Federal lands is prohibited without a Federal endangered species 
permit. Conducting commerce with this species is also prohibited.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities, such as changes in 
land use, will constitute a violation of section 9 should be directed 
to the Field Supervisor, 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. We published a notice outlining our 
reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 
1983 (48 FR 49244).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information other 
than those already approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and assigned Office of Management and Budget 
clearance number 1018-0094. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a 
person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid control number. For additional 
information concerning permit and associated requirements for 
threatened plants, see 50 CFR 17.72.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited herein, as well as others, 
is available upon request from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES section).
    The primary author of this final rule is Constance Rutherford, 
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.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of a 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 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) * * *

[[Page 14909]]

--------------------------------------------------------    Historic range           Family            Status      When listed    Critical     Special
         Scientific name                Common name                                                                               habitat       rules
         Flowering Plants

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Holocarpha macradenia............  Santa Cruz tarplant.  U.S.A. (CA)........  Asteraceae.........  T                       690           NA           NA

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

    Dated: March 13, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-6834 Filed 3-15-00; 4:31 pm]