[Federal Register: June 13, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 114)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 37108-37111]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-day Finding for 
Petitions To List Horkelia hendersonii (Henderson's horkelia) and 
Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis (Ashland lupine) as Threatened or 
Endangered and Commencement of Status Review

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding and initiation of status 


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day 
finding on two petitions to list Horkelia hendersonii (Henderson's 
horkelia) and Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis (Ashland lupine) as 
endangered or threatened species throughout their ranges under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that the 
petitions presented substantial information indicating that listing of 
both species may be warranted. We are initiating a status review to 
determine if listing of either or both species is warranted.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made May 31, 2000. To 
be considered in the 12-month finding for this petition, information 
and comments should be submitted to us by September 11, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Data, information, comments, or questions concerning this 
petition should be submitted to the State Supervisor, Oregon State 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2600 SE. 98th Avenue, Suite 
100, Portland, Oregon 97266. The petition finding, supporting data, and 
comments will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above address.

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



    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that we make a finding on whether a petition to list, delist, or 
reclassify a species, or to revise a critical habitat designation, 
presents substantial scientific or commercial information to 
demonstrate that the petitioned action may be warranted. To the maximum 
extent practicable, this finding is to be made within 90 days of the 
receipt of the petition, and we are to publish the finding promptly in 
the Federal Register. If the finding is that substantial information 
was presented, we are also required to promptly commence a review of 
the status of the involved species and to disclose its findings within 
12 months (12-month finding).
    We received two separate formal petitions from the Rogue Group 
Sierra Club of Ashland, Oregon, both dated September 9, 1999, to list 
Horkelia hendersonii (Henderson's horkelia) and Lupinus ariduse ssp. 
ashlandensis (Ashland lupine) as endangered or threatened throughout 
their ranges, and to designate critical habitat. Accompanying the 
petitions was supporting information relating to taxonomy, ecology, 
threats, and past and present distribution of H. hendersonii and L. 
aridus ssp. ashlandensis.
    The processing of the petitions conforms with our Listing Priority 
Guidance published in the Federal

[[Page 37109]]

Register on October 22, 1999 (64 FR57114). 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 is 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. 
The processing of this petition finding is a Priority 4 action and is 
being completed in accordance with the current Listing Priority 
    Horkelia hendersonii, a member of the rose family, is a perennial, 
mat-forming, rhizomatous herb with several stems arising from a 
branching, woody crown, approximately 10-15 centimeters (cm) (3.9-5.9 
inches (in.)) high. Leaves are silky, 4-6 cm (1.6-3.3 in.) long with 
11-19 leaflets arranged pinnately. Flowers are white to pink with 
petals 4 millimeters (mm) (0.16 in.) long in a somewhat clustered 
terminal inflorescence. The species occurs in alpine areas between 
1,829-2,286 meters (m) (6,000 to 7,500 feet (ft)) elevation, in habitat 
that includes open granitic gravels, alpine forblands, and dwarf 
    Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis is an erect perennial herb forming 
clumps 15-20 cm (5.9-7.9 in.) in diameter and 7-12 cm (2.8-4.7 in.) 
tall. The leaves are palmately compound with 5 to 7 leaflets that are 
up to 3 cm (1.2 in.) long. Leaves are numerous and crowded from the 
basal crown, with pubescent (downy) undersurfaces and glabrous (smooth) 
upper sides. Flowers are blue with petals 10-12 mm (0.39-0.47 in.) 
long. The banner is glabrous and the keel ciliate (fringed with 
hairlike processes) on the margin. L. a. ssp. ashlandensis grows on 
gravelly, granitic soils on the south to southwest slopes near the 
summit at elevations from 2,100 m (6,900 ft) to 2,280 m (7,480 ft). The 
lupine will not grow in dense brush.
    Federal action on Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis 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 Document No. 94-51) was presented to Congress on January 
9, 1975, and included L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis as threatened. 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.
    Both Horkelia hendersonii and Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis were 
included as category 2 candidates in a Notice of Review (NOR) published 
on December 15, 1980 (45 FR 82510). Category 2 formerly included 
species for which information in our possession indicated that 
proposing to list as endangered or threatened was possibly appropriate, 
but for which sufficient data on biological vulnerability and threats 
were not available to support a proposed rule. The plant NOR was again 
revised on September 27, 1985 (50 FR 39526). In this notice, Horkelia 
hendersonii and L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis remained category 2 
candidates. Another revision of the plant notice was published on 
February 21, 1990 (55 FR 6184), which again included H. hendersonii as 
a category 2 candidate. However, L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis was 
upgraded to category 1 status. Category 1 candidates were formerly 
defined as species for which we had on file substantial information on 
biological vulnerability and threats to support preparation of listing 
proposals, but issuance of proposed rules was precluded by other 
listing activities of higher priority. On February 28, 1996, we 
published an NOR in the Federal Register (61 FR 7596) that discontinued 
the designation of category 2 species as candidates. In response to the 
decision to discontinue the category 2 designation, H. hendersonii and 
other former category 2 candidates were not retained as candidates. In 
addition, L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis was dropped from the candidate 
list based on our interpretation of data supplied by the U.S. Forest 

Service (USFS) (Rolle 1993).
    The petitions contained substantial amounts of information relating 
to the distribution of and threats to Horkelia hendersonii and Lupinus 
aridus ssp. ashlandensis. Both species occur within about 1.6 
kilometers (1 mile) of the summit on the western slope of Mt. Ashland, 
Oregon, on the Rogue River and Klamath National Forests. In addition, 
H. hendersonii is found in both National Forests, along the Siskiyou 
Crest in the Dutchman Peak-Jackson Gap area, at Observation Peak, and 
on and near McDonald Peak in Oregon, and at Dry Lake Lookout in the 
Klamath National Forest in California. L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis 
occurs as a single population on the top and western ridge of Mount 
Ashland. Time-series monitoring studies were started by the Forest 
Service in 1995, but the results are not available to us at this time 
(Kagan 1995). Horkelia hendersonii has been found in 16 habitat 
patches, but population trends are not known.
    The petitions provided information regarding effects of habitat 
alteration and development activities on Horkelia hendersonii and 
Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis. According to the petitions, the Mount 
Ashland populations of both species are threatened by the expansion of 
the ski facilities, the communication facilities, and parking lot, road 
widening, and maintenance; development of a cross-country ski corridor; 
and erosion, compaction, and invasion of roadside weeds caused by off-
road vehicle activities. The Mount Ashland Bowl patch of H. 
hendersonii, with 15 plants, is located on a proposed ski area 
expansion site (U.S. Department of Agriculture 1991). A proposed cross-
country ski corridor would cut through a large portion of the eastern 
edge of the Mount Ashland habitat patch and could affect up to 5,000 
individual H. hendersonii and up to 4,500 individual L. aridus ssp. 
ashlandensis (Kagan and Zika 1987a,b). In addition to the proposed ski 
area expansion, 8 individual H. hendersonii and 13 individual L. aridus 
ssp. ashlandensis are growing in areas of potential disturbance for the 
expansion of the U.S. Weather Bureau Radar Station (SRI International 
1994, 1995). An existing four-wheel drive track, leading west from the 
summit access road at the first switchback, provides an avenue for the 
introduction of roadside weeds into the meadow and flat area that 
supports a sizeable population (4,900 plants) of H. hendersonii and a 
small population (350 plants) of L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis (Kagan and 
Zika 1987a,b; Zika 1987; Kagan 1995).
    Although both species occur in open gravelly soils, including the 
gravelly margins of the access road, neither will colonize the 
compacted soils of existing roads (even if vehicle use was reduced or 
eliminated). Neither H. hendersonii nor L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis was 
found on the gravelly fill around the ski area lift towers or building, 
and both are apparently restricted to natural undisturbed substrates 
(Kagan and Zika 1987a,b; Zika 1987).
    In the Dutchman Peak-Jackson Gap area, road maintenance and 
construction and widening of firebreaks threaten three of the habitat 
patches that support Horkelia hendersonii. Construction of firebreaks 
could also involve disturbance of the loose,

[[Page 37110]]

granitic gravels on the ridges where H. hendersonii grows.
    Livestock grazing has been observed in Horkelia hendersonii habitat 
at Observation Peak, south of McDonald Peak, and at Dry Lake. Cattle 
cause damage by trampling, and, although we have no direct evidence 
that cattle find H. hendersonii particularly palatable, some damage 
from foraging has been seen (Kagan and Zika 1987a). On the most 
northern habitat patch on McDonald Peak, 100 H. hendersonii plants were 
found in 1985, but only 22 in 1987 (Kagan and Zika 1987a). No cause was 
presented for the reduction in numbers.
    In 1963, the passage of the Oregon Wildflower Law (ORS 564.010-
564.040) established protection for Oregon's natural botanical 
resources. The law was designed to protect showy plants, such as 
lilies, shooting stars, orchids, and rhododendrons, from collection by 
horticulturists interested in these species' domestication. The law 
prohibits the collection of wildflowers from within 61 meters (200 
feet) of a State highway. Although protective in spirit, the Oregon 
Wildflower Law carries minimal penalties and is rarely enforced. In 
addition, since there are no Horkelia hendersonii or Lupinus aridus 
ssp. ashlandensis populations close to State highways, this law 
provided very little protection for these species.
    In 1987, Oregon Senate Bill 533 (ORS 564.100) was passed to augment 
the legislative actions available for the protection of the State's 
threatened and endangered species, both plant and animal. That bill, 
known as the Oregon Endangered Species Act (OESA), mandated 
responsibility for threatened and endangered plant species in Oregon to 
the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). The OESA directs the ODA to 
maintain a strong program to conserve and protect native plant species 
threatened or endangered with extinction. Although the ODA is able to 
regulate the import, export, or trafficking of State-listed plant 
species (under ORS 564.120), their ability to protect plant populations 
is limited to State-owned or State-leased lands. Lupinus aridus ssp. 
ashlandensis is State-listed as endangered, receiving protection under 
OESA on State-managed lands. Horkelia hendersonii is a candidate for 
listing under OESA, but currently receives no protection on State-owned 
or State-leased lands. Currently, both species are considered sensitive 
species by the USFS, and may be afforded some protection during USFS 
project planning processes and implementation.
    It is possible that Horkelia hendersonii and Lupinus aridus ssp. 
ashlandensis could be negatively affected by the expansion of 
brushfields and the establishment of trees onto open alpine on Mount 
Ashland due to fire suppression. The two species are not seen in dense 
herbaceous vegetation, brush, or the full shade of conifers (Zika 
1987). The boundary of both populations on the southwest side of Mount 
Ashland corresponds closely to the brushfield boundary (Rolle 1993). 
Continued fragmentation of the populations by construction and widening 
of roads and other development can reduce genetic exchange between 
patches, reducing the viability of the populations.
    Currently, we are working with the USFS to develop a conservation 
agreement for both species on Mount Ashland. The process was initiated 
in 1995 through a cooperative agreement with the Oregon Natural 
Heritage Program to develop conservation agreements for selected high-
priority candidate species. On July 26, 1999, we provided a draft 
conservation agreement to the Klamath National Forest and Rogue River 
National Forest. The Rogue River National Forest is currently revising 
the draft conservation agreement to cover only Mount Ashland 
populations, but we have not received that draft for evaluation. If 
that draft conservation agreement is signed by all parties and 
implemented, it may remove some or all of the threats faced by H. 
hendersonii and L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis on Mount Ashland, but may 
not reduce threats faced by smaller, more isolated populations of H. 
hendersonii on McDonald Peak, an unnamed peak south of McDonald Peak, 
Dutchman's Peak, Observation Peak, and at Dry Lake Lookout.
    We have reviewed the petitions, as well as other available 
information, including published and unpublished studies and reports, 
and agency files. Based on that information, we find that substantial 
information exists to indicate that listing of Horkelia hendersonii and 
Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis as threatened or endangered throughout 
all of their ranges may be warranted. The petitions also requested 
designation of critical habitat for both species. However, designation 
of critical habitat is not petitionable under the Act. If the 12-month 
finding determines that listing H. hendersonii and L. aridus ssp. 
ashlandensis is warranted, then the designation of critical habitat 
would be addressed in the subsequent proposed rule.

Information Solicited

    When we make a positive 90-day finding, we are required to promptly 
commence a review of the status of the species. To ensure that the 
status review is complete and based on the best available scientific 
and commercial data, we are soliciting information on Horkelia 
hendersonii and Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis concerning the 
following: (1) Historic and current distribution; (2) conditions in 
each habitat patch; (3) basic biology including age-frequency 
distribution of the population(s) in each habitat patch; (4) ongoing 
efforts to protect H. hendersonii and L. aridus ssp. ashlandensis and 
their habitat; and (5) threats to either species and their respective 
habitats in each occupied habitat patch. Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act 
requires that we make a finding within 1 year from the date the 
petitions were received as to whether listing H. hendersonii and L. 
aridus ssp. ashlandensis as threatened or endangered is warranted (12-
month finding).

References Cited

Kagan, J. 1995. Monitoring of Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis--general 
monitoring protocol and 1995 data. Unpublished report. 24 pp.
Kagan, J. and P. Zika. 1987a. Species management guide for Horkelia 
hendersonii. Unpublished report, Oregon Natural Heritage Data Base. 18 
Kagan, J. and P. Zika. 1987b. Species management guide for Lupinus 
aridus ssp. ashlandensis. Unpublished report. Oregon Natural Heritage 
Data Base. 13 pp.
Rolle, W. 1993. Documentation, results, and population estimates for 
Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis, based on a partial census in August 
and September 1991. Unpublished report. 6 pp.
SRI International. 1994. Mt. Ashland weather radar rare plant 
reassessment. Unpublished report. 5 pp.
SRI International. 1995. NEXRAD in-depth site survey report for the 
Medford, Oregon, area (existing site). Unpublished report. 5 pp.
United States Department of Agriculture. 1991. Final environmental 
impact statement, Mount Ashland Ski Area. Ashland Ranger District, 
Rogue River National Forest. 15 pp.
Zika, P. F. 1987. Lupinus aridus ashlandensis and Horkelia hendersonii 
field survey. Unpublished report. 13 pp. + maps.

[[Page 37111]]

    Author: The primary author of this document is Dr. Andrew F. 
Robinson, Jr. (see ADDRESSES section).


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

    Dated: May 31, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-14497 Filed 6-12-00; 8:45 am]