[Federal Register: July 12, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 134)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 42962-42973]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AG27

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Designation of Critical Habitat for the Morro Shoulderband Snail

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose 
designation of critical habitat for the Morro shoulderband snail 
(Helminthoglypta walkeriana) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). A total of approximately 1,039 hectares (2,566 
acres) fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat 
designation. Proposed critical habitat is located in San Luis Obispo 
County, California. If this proposed rule is made final, section 7 of 
the Act would prohibit destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or carried out by any 
Federal agency.
    Section 4 of the Act requires us to consider economic and other 
relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. 
We solicit data and comments from the public on all aspects of this 
proposal, including data on the economic and other impacts of the 
designation and our approaches for handling habitat conservation plans 
(HCPs). We may revise this proposal to incorporate or address new 
information received during the comment period.

DATES: We will accept comments from all interested parties until 
September 11, 2000. Public hearing requests must be received by August 
28, 2000.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 
materials concerning this proposal by any one of several methods.
    1. You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California, 93003.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Ventura Office, at 
the address given above.
    3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
FW1vees_MorrosnailCH@r1.fws.gov. For directions on how to submit 
electronic filing of comments, see Public Comments Solicited section.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the Ventura Office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, at the above address (telephone 805/644-1766; 
facsimile 805/644-3958).



    The Morro shoulderband snail was first described as Helix 
walkeriana by Hemphill (1911) based on collections made ``near Morro, 
California.'' He also described a subspecies, based on sculptural 
features of the shell, Helix walkeriana, Helix var. morroensis, that 
was collected ``near San Luis Obispo City'' (Roth 1985). The Morro 
shoulderband snail is also commonly known as the banded dune snail and 
belongs to the Class Gastropoda and Family Helminthoglyptidae.
    The shell of the Morro shoulderband snail is slightly translucent 
(clear) and has 5-6 whorls. Its dimensions are 18 to 29 millimeters 
(mm) (0.7 to 1.1 inches (in.)) in diameter and 14 to 25 mm (0.6 to 1.0 
in.) in height. The Morro shoulderband snail can be distinguished from 
the Big Sur shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta umbilicata), another

[[Page 42963]]

native snail in the same area, by its more globose (globe shaped) shell 
shape and presence of incised (deeply cut) spiral grooves (Roth 1985). 
The shell of the Big Sur shoulderband snail tends to be flatter and 
shinier. The brown garden snail (Helix aspersa) also occurs in Los Osos 
with the Morro shoulderband snail and has a marbled pattern on its 
shell, whereas the Morro shoulderband snail has one narrow dark brown 
spiral band on the shoulder. The Morro shoulderband's spire is low-
domed, and half or more of the umbilicus (the cavity in the center of 
the base of a spiral shell that is surrounded by the whorls) is covered 
by the apertural (small opening) lip (Roth 1985).
    The Morro shoulderband snail is found only in western San Luis 
Obispo County. At the time of its addition to the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife on December 15, 1994 (59 FR 64613), the Morro 
shoulderband snail was known to be distributed near Morro Bay. Its 
currently known range includes areas south of Morro Bay, west of Los 
Osos Creek and north of Hazard Canyon. Historically, the species has 
also been reported near the city of San Luis Obispo (type locality for 
``morroensis'') and south of Cayucos (Roth 1985).
    The Morro shoulderband snail occurs in coastal dune and scrub 
communities and maritime chaparral. Through most of its range, the 
dominant shrub associated with the snail's habitat is mock heather 
(Ericameria ericoides). Other prominent shrub and succulent species are 
buckwheat (Eriogonum parvifolium), eriastrum (Eriastrum densifolium), 
chamisso lupine (Lupinus chamissonis), dudleya (Dudleya sp.), and in 
more inland locations, California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) and 
black sage (Salvia mellifera) (Roth 1985).
    Away from the immediate coast, immature scrub in earlier 
successional stages may offer more favorable shelter sites than mature 
stands of coastal dune scrub. The immature shrubs provide canopy 
shelter for the snail, whereas the lower limbs of larger older shrubs 
may be too far off the ground to offer good shelter. In addition, 
mature stands produce twiggy litter that is low in food value (Roth 
    No studies or documented observations exist on the feeding 
behaviors of the Morro shoulderband snail. Hill (1974) suggested that 
the snail probably feeds on the fungal mycelia (webs or mats of non-
reproductive fungal strands) growing on decaying plant litter. The 
Morro shoulderband snail is not a garden pest and is essentially 
harmless to gardens (Chambers 1997).
    Sarcophagid flies (family of flies that rely on a host to complete 
its life-cycle) have been observed to parasitize the Morro shoulderband 
snail. Empty puparia (``cases'' left behind by adult flies emerging 
from pupae) were observed in empty snail shells by Hill (1974), Roth 
(1985), and Kim Touneh (Service, pers. comm. 1997). Hill (1974) and 
Roth (1985) suggested that mortality from infestations of larvae of 
this parasitic fly often occurs before the snails reach reproductive 
maturity. The flies may have a significant impact on the population of 
the snail (Roth 1985). Seasonal drought and/or heat may contribute to 
the snail's egg mortality (Roth 1985). Based on shell examination, Roth 
(1985) also suggested that rodents may prey on the snail.
    The Morro shoulderband snail is threatened by destruction of its 
habitat due to increasing development and by degradation of its habitat 
due to invasion of nonnative plant species (e.g., veldt grass (Ehrharta 
calycino)), structural changes to its habitat due to maturing of dune 
vegetation, and recreational use (e.g., heavy off-highway activity). In 
addition to the known threats, possible threats to the snail include 
competition for resources with the nonnative brown garden snail 
(although no assessment has been made of possible dietary overlap 
between the species); the small and isolated nature of the remaining 
populations; the use of pesticides (including snail and slug baits); 
and the introduction of nonnative predatory snails.

Previous Federal Action

    We entered into a contract with the Sierra Club Foundation, San 
Francisco, California, to investigate the status of California land 
snails. A final report dated August 25, 1975, contained data indicating 
that several of the snails studied could be considered candidates for 
listing as threatened or endangered species. On April 28, 1976, we 
proposed endangered or threatened status for 32 land snails in the 
Federal Register (41 FR 17742). This proposal included the Morro 
shoulderband snail (under the common name ``banded dune snail'') as 
endangered. However, we withdrew the proposed rulemaking on December 
10, 1979 (44 FR 70796), because of the 1978 amendments to the Act, 
which required the withdrawal of proposals over 2 years old.
    In 1984, we undertook a status review of the snail, which ended in 
a report by Roth (1985). Based on that report, we included the Morro 
shoulderband snail as a category one species in the Animal Notices of 
Review of May 22, 1984 (40 FR 675); January 6, 1989 (54 FR 554); and 
November 21, 1991 (56 FR 58820). A category one species is one on which 
we have sufficient information to support a listing.
    On December 23, 1991, we published a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register (56 FR 66400) to list five plants and the Morro shoulderband 
snail as endangered. We reopened the comment period on June 8, 1992 (57 
FR 24221). On December 15, 1994, we published a final rule adding the 
Morro shoulderband snail and four plants to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife as endangered species (59 FR 64613). We published a 
final recovery plan in September 1998.
    At the time of listing, we concluded that designation of critical 
habitat for the Morro shoulderband snail was not prudent because such 
designation would not benefit the species. We were also concerned that 
critical habitat designation would likely result in an increased threat 
of vandalism or collection of the species. However, we have determined 
that instances of vandalism have not increased since the listing of the 
Morro shoulderband snail, and the threats to this species and its 
habitat from specific instances of collection and habitat destruction 
do not outweigh the broader educational, potential regulatory, and 
other possible benefits that designation of critical habitat would 
provide for this species. A designation of critical habitat can provide 
educational benefits by formally identifying those areas essential to 
the conservation of the species. These areas were already identified in 
the recovery plan as the focus of our recovery efforts for the Morro 
shoulderband snail.
    On March 4, 1999, the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, 
the Center for Biological Diversity, and Christians Caring for Creation 
filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service and Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior (Secretary), for failure to designate 
critical habitat for seven species: the Alameda whipsnake (Masticophis 
lateralis euryxanthus), the Zayante band-winged grasshopper 
(Trimerotropis infantilis), the Morro shoulderband snail 
(Helminthoglypta walkeriana), the arroyo southwestern toad (Bufo 
microscaphus californicus), the San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys 
merriami parvus), the spectacled eider (Somateria fischeri), and the 
Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) (Southwest Center for Biological 
Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, CIV 99-1003 MMC). On November 5, 
1999, William Alsup, U.S. District Judge, dismissed the plaintiffs' 

[[Page 42964]]

pursuant to a settlement agreement entered into by the parties. 
Publication of this proposed rule is consistent with that settlement 

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (i) The 
specific areas within the geographic area occupied by a species, at the 
time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those 
physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of 
the species and (II) that may require special management considerations 
or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the geographic area 
occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon a determination 
that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. 
``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and procedures that are 
necessary to bring an endangered species or a threatened species to the 
point at which listing under the Act is no longer necessary.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we base critical habitat 
proposals upon the best scientific and commercial data available, after 
taking into consideration the economic impact, and any other relevant 
impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. We may 
exclude areas from critical habitat designation when the benefits of 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of including the areas within critical 
habitat, provided the exclusion will not result in extinction of the 
species (section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    Designation of critical habitat can help focus conservation 
activities for a listed species by identifying areas that contain the 
physical and biological features that are essential for conservation of 
that species. Designation of critical habitat alerts the public as well 
as land-managing agencies to the importance of these areas.
    Critical habitat also identifies areas that may require special 
management considerations or protection, and may provide protection to 
areas where significant threats to the species have been identified. 
Critical habitat receives some protection from destruction or adverse 
modification through required consultation under section 7 of the Act. 
See ``Section 7 Consultation'' below. Aside from the protection that 
may be provided under section 7, the Act does not provide other forms 
of protection to lands designated as critical habitat.
    Designating critical habitat does not, in itself, lead to recovery 
of a listed species. Designation does not create a management plan, 
establish numerical population goals, prescribe specific management 
actions (inside or outside of critical habitat), or directly affect 
areas not designated as critical habitat. Specific management 
recommendations for areas designated as critical habitat are most 
appropriately addressed in recovery, conservation, and management 
plans, and through section 7 consultations and section 10 permits.


    In determining areas that are essential to conserve the Morro 
shoulderband snail, we used the best scientific and commercial data 
available. This included data from research and survey observations 
published in peer-reviewed articles, recovery criteria outlined in the 
recovery plan, regional Geographic Information System (GIS) vegetation 
coverages, and data collected from reports submitted by biologists 
holding section 10(a)(1)(A) recovery permits.

Primary Constituent Elements

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act, and regulations 
at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas to propose as critical 
habitat, we are required to consider those physical and biological 
features (primary constituent elements) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. These include, but are not limited to, 
space for individual and population growth and for normal behavior; 
food, water, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; cover 
or shelter; sites for breeding and reproduction; and habitats that are 
protected from disturbance or are representative of the historic and 
ecological distributions of a species.
    The primary constituent elements of critical habitat for the Morro 
shoulderband snail are those habitat components that are essential for 
the primary biological needs of foraging, sheltering, reproduction, and 
dispersal. The areas we are proposing to designate as critical habitat 
provide some or all of the primary constituent elements, which are: 
sand or sandy soils; a slope not greater than 10 percent; and the 
presence of, or the capacity to develop, native coastal dune scrub 
vegetation. This vegetation is typically represented, but not 
exclusively, by mock heather, buckwheat, eriastrum, chamisso lupine, 
dudleya, and in more inland locations, California sagebrush and black 
sage. Some of the habitat in the proposed units could be improved 
through habitat rehabilitation or improved management (e.g., removal of 
nonnative species).

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    In an effort to map areas that have the features essential to the 
conservation of the species, we used data on known Morro shoulderband 
snail locations and conservation planning areas that were identified in 
the final recovery plan (Service 1998) as essential for the recovery of 
the species. All of the proposed critical habitat areas are occupied.
    We did not map critical habitat in sufficient detail to exclude all 
developed areas such as towns, housing developments, and other lands 
unlikely to contain primary constituent elements essential for Morro 
shoulderband snail conservation. Areas of existing features and 
structures within the unit boundaries, such as buildings, roads, 
aqueducts, railroads, airports, and paved areas, will not contain one 
or more of the primary constituent elements. Federal actions limited to 
these areas, therefore, would not trigger a section 7 consultation, 
unless they affect the species and/or the primary constituent elements 
in adjacent critical habitat.
    We also considered the existing status of lands in designating 
areas as critical habitat. The Morro shoulderband snail is known to 
occur on State, county, and private lands. Section 10(a) of the Act 
authorizes us to issue permits for the taking of listed species 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities. An incidental take permit 
application must be supported by a habitat conservation plan (HCP) that 
identifies conservation measures that the permittee agrees to implement 
for the species to minimize and mitigate the impacts of the requested 
incidental take. Non-Federal and private lands that are covered by an 
existing operative HCP and an executed implementation agreement (IA) 
for Morro shoulderband snail under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act 
receive special management and protection under the terms of the HCP/IA 
and therefore are not proposed for inclusion in critical habitat since 
then do not meet the definition of critical habitat in section 3(5) of 
the Act.
    Critical habitat designation is not intended to discourage the 
development of HCPs to protect essential habitat areas for the Morro 
shoulderband snail on non-Federal lands. To the contrary, we consider 
HCPs to be one of the most important methods through which non-Federal 
landowners can help conserve listed species while resolving potential 
land-use conflicts. We provide technical assistance and work closely 
with applicants throughout development of

[[Page 42965]]

HCPs to help identify special management considerations for listed 
species. We intend that HCPs provide a package of protection and 
management measures sufficient to address the conservation needs of the 

Proposed Critical Habitat Designation

    The approximate area encompassing proposed critical habitat by land 
ownership is shown in Table 1. Proposed critical habitat includes Morro 
shoulderband snail habitat throughout the species' existing range in 
the United States (i.e., San Luis Obispo County, California). Lands 
proposed are under private and State and local ownership. The species 
is not known to occur or to have historically occurred on Federal 
lands. Lands proposed as critical habitat have been divided into three 
Critical Habitat Units. Brief descriptions of each unit, and our 
reasons for proposing it as critical habitat, are presented below.

       Table 1.--Approximate Critical Habitat in Hectares (ha) and Acres (ac) by County and Land Ownership
 [Area estimates reflect critical habitat unit boundaries. Not all the areas within those broad boundaries, such
  as cities, towns, or other developments, will be considered critical habitat since these areas do not contain
                 habitat considered essential to the survival of the Morro shoulderband snail.]
             County                 Federal land     Local/state land     Private land             Total
San Luis Obispo................  N/A..............  790 ha...........  249 ha...........  1,039 ha.
                                                    (1,951 ac).......  (615 ac).........  (2,566 ac).

Unit 1: Morro Spit and West Pecho
    Unit 1 encompasses areas managed by Montana de Oro State Park 
(Dunes Natural Preserve) and the City of Morro Bay (north end of spit), 
including the length of the spit and the foredune areas extending south 
toward Hazard Canyon. The unit is occupied by the Morro shoulderband 
snail, and it provides dune scrub habitat for the species. The spit's 
windward side and its north end are nonvegetated; patches of vegetation 
occur along its leeward side on Morro Bay. The West Pecho portion of 
this unit lies to the east of the Morro Spit Conservation Planning Area 
and is bounded on the east by Pecho Road and the community of Los Osos. 
It extends north to the Bay and south to Hazard Canyon. Elevations 
range from sea level on the Bay to about 75 meters (m) (250 feet (ft)) 
along its southeastern edge. Vegetation associations include coastal 
dune scrub, with coastal sage scrub closer to Hazard Canyon. The 
California Department of Fish and Game owns an ecological reserve in 
this unit, which is managed cooperatively with adjoining State Park 
property. Privately owned lands occur to the northeast in the community 
of Los Osos, but no private lands are included in this unit and are not 
reflected in the approximate area of the critical habitat proposed. 
Approximately 676 hectares (ha) (1,670 acres (ac)) occur on State land, 
and 65 ha (160 ac) occur on local government land.
Unit 2: South Los Osos
    Unit 2 is bounded on the north and east by residential development 
in the community of Los Osos and agricultural fields. The area on the 
lower slopes of the Irish Hills, where the vegetation is composed of 
maritime chaparral, is currently occupied by the Morro shoulderband 
snail and is considered essential. We are designating approximately 130 
ha (320 ac) of this area as critical habitat. This area is privately 
Unit 3: Northeast Los Osos
    The Northeast Los Osos Critical Habitat Unit includes undeveloped 
areas between Los Osos Creek and Baywood Park and is divided by South 
Bay Boulevard. Its elevation range is from sea level to about 30 m (100 
ft). Vegetation is dominated by variants of coastal sage and dune 
scrub, with scattered stands of manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) and 
coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia). The Morro shoulderband snail is 
known to occupy this unit. This unit includes the State-and county-
owned Elfin Forest Preserve, portions of Morro Bay State Park, and 
privately owned lands. The Los Osos Center, Hord Residential, and MCI/
Worldcom HCPs fall within the unit boundaries, but areas where take has 
been authorized are not being proposed for critical habitat. 
Approximately 49 ha (121 ac) of proposed critical habitat in this unit 
occur on State land, and 119 ha (295 ac) occur on private land.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out do 
not destroy or adversely modify critical habitat to the extent that the 
action appreciably diminishes the value of the critical habitat for the 
survival and recovery of the species. When multiple units of critical 
habitat are designated, each unit may serve as the basis of a jeopardy 
analysis if protection of different facets of the species' life cycle 
or its distribution are essential to the species as a whole for both 
its survival and recovery. Individuals, organizations, States, local 
governments, and other non-Federal entities are affected by the 
designation of critical habitat only if their actions occur on Federal 
lands, require a Federal permit, license, or other authorization, or 
involve Federal funding.
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as 
endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical habitat, if 
any is designated or proposed. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. In 50 CFR 402.02, ``jeopardize the continued existence'' (of 
a species) is defined as engaging in an activity likely to result in an 
appreciable reduction in the likelihood of survival and recovery of a 
listed species. ``Destruction or adverse modification'' (of critical 
habitat) is defined as a direct or indirect alteration that appreciably 
diminishes the value of critical habitat for the survival and recovery 
of the listed species for which critical habitat was designated. Thus, 
the definitions of ``jeopardy'' to the species and ``adverse 
modification'' of critical habitat are nearly identical.
    Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer with us on any 
action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a 
proposed species or result in destruction or adverse modification of 
proposed critical habitat. Conference reports provide conservation 
recommendations to assist the agency in eliminating conflicts that may 
be caused by the proposed action. The conservation recommendations in a 
conference report are advisory.
    We may issue a formal conference report if requested by a Federal 
agency. Formal conference reports on proposed

[[Page 42966]]

critical habitat contain a biological opinion that is prepared 
according to 50 CFR 402.14, as if critical habitat were designated. We 
may adopt the formal conference report as a biological opinion if the 
critical habitat is designated, if no significant new information or 
changes in the action alter the content of the opinion (see 50 CFR 
    Under section 7(a)(2), if a Federal action may affect a listed 
species or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency must 
enter into consultation with us. Through this consultation, we would 
advise the agencies whether the permitted actions would likely 
jeopardize the continued existence of the species or adversely modify 
critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat, we also provide reasonable and prudent alternatives to the 
project, if any are identifiable. Reasonable and prudent alternatives 
are defined at 50 CFR 402.02 as alternative actions identified during 
consultation that can be implemented in a manner consistent with the 
intended purpose of the action, that are consistent with the scope of 
the Federal agency's legal authority and jurisdiction, that are 
economically and technologically feasible, and that the Director 
believes would avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing the continued 
existence of listed species or resulting in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. Reasonable and prudent alternatives 
can vary from slight project modifications to extensive redesign or 
relocation of the project. Costs associated with implementing a 
reasonable and prudent alternative are similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where critical 
habitat is subsequently designated and the Federal agency has retained 
discretionary involvement or control over the action or such 
discretionary involvement or control is authorized by law. 
Consequently, some Federal agencies may request reinitiation of 
consultation or conferencing with us on actions for which formal 
consultation has been completed, if those actions may affect designated 
critical habitat or adversely modify or destroy proposed critical 
    Activities on private or State lands requiring a permit from a 
Federal agency, such as a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE) under section 404 of the Clean Water Act or a section 
10(a)(1)(B) permit from the Service, or some other Federal action, 
including funding (e.g., from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or Federal Emergency Management 
Agency (FEMA)), will also be subject to the section 7 consultation 
process. Federal actions not affecting listed species or critical 
habitat, and actions on non-Federal lands that are not federally 
funded, authorized, or permitted, do not require section 7 
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat those activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation. Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat include those that alter the primary constituent elements to an 
extent that the value of critical habitat for both the survival and 
recovery of the Morro shoulderband snail is appreciably reduced. We 
note that such activities may also jeopardize the continued existence 
of the species.
    Activities that, when carried out, funded, or authorized by a 
Federal agency, may destroy or adversely modify critical habitat 
include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Activities that result in excavation, mechanized land clearing, 
or uncontrolled burning of coastal dune scrub vegetation; and
    (2) Activities that could lead to the introduction of exotic 
species into occupied Morro shoulderband snail habitat.
    To properly portray the effects of critical habitat designation, we 
must first compare the section 7 requirements for actions that may 
``result in the destruction or adverse modification of''critical 
habitat with the requirements for actions that may ``jeopardize the 
continued existence of'' a listed species. Common to both definitions 
is an appreciable detrimental effect on both survival and recovery of a 
listed species. Given the similarity of these definitions, actions 
likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat would almost 
always result in jeopardy to the species concerned, particularly when 
the area of the proposed action is occupied by the species concerned. 
In those cases, the ramifications of its designation are few or none. 
Designation of critical habitat in areas occupied by the Morro 
shoulderband snail is not likely to result in a regulatory burden above 
that already in place due to the presence of the listed species. When 
critical habitat is designated in unoccupied areas, the designation 
could result in an increase in regulatory requirements on Federal 
agencies; however, all of the proposed critical habitat for the Morro 
shoulderband snail is occupied.
    Federal agencies already consult with us on activities in areas 
currently occupied by the species to ensure that their actions do not 
jeopardize the continued existence of the species. The actions we 
consult on include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Activities conducted by the USACE (e.g., ordnance removal);
    (2) Road construction and maintenance funded by the FHA; and
    (3) Other activities funded or permitted by Federal agencies (e.g., 

Relationship to Habitat Conservation Plans

    Several habitat conservation planning efforts have been completed 
within the range of the Morro shoulderband snail. The Los Osos Center 
HCP, Hord Residential HCP, and MCI/Worldcom HCP contributed funds 
toward the purchase and perpetual management of several acres to serve 
as conservation sites for the Morro shoulderband snail. Because the 
snail habitat preserved in these existing HCP planning areas will be 
managed for the benefit of the snail under the terms of the individual 
HCPs, no additional management considerations or protections are 
required for those lands. Therefore, we have determined that non-
Federal lands within approved HCP planning areas for the Morro 
shoulderband snail do not meet the definition of critical habitat in 
the Act, and we are not proposing designation of such lands as critical 
    HCPs currently under development are intended to provide for 
protection and management of habitat areas essential for the 
conservation of the Morro shoulderband snail, while directing 
development and habitat modification to nonessential areas of lower 
habitat value. The HCP development process provides an opportunity for 
more intensive data collection and analysis regarding the use of 
particular habitat areas by the snail. The process also enables us to 
conduct detailed evaluations of the importance of such lands to the 
long-term survival of the species in the context of constructing a 
biologically configured system of interlinked habitat blocks. We fully 
expect that HCPs undertaken by local jurisdictions (e.g., counties, 
cities) and other parties will identify, protect, and provide 
appropriate management for those

[[Page 42967]]

specific lands within the boundaries of the plans that are essential 
for the long-term conservation of the species. We believe and fully 
expect that our analyses of these proposed HCPs and proposed permits 
under section 7 will show that covered activities carried out in 
accordance with the provisions of the HCPs and permits will not result 
in destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    We provide technical assistance and work closely with applicants 
throughout the development of HCPs to identify appropriate conservation 
management and lands essential for the long-term conservation of the 
Morro shoulderband snail. Several HCP efforts are now under way for 
listed species in areas within the range of the Morro shoulderband 
snail in areas we propose as critical habitat. These HCPs, coupled with 
appropriate adaptive management, should provide for the conservation of 
the species. However, since these HCP are not completed these areas 
have been included in this proposed critical habitat designation. We 
are soliciting comments on whether future approval of HCPs and issuance 
of section 10(a)(1)(B) permits for the Morro shoulderband snail should 
trigger revision of designated critical habitat to exclude lands within 
the HCP area and, if so, by what mechanism (see Public Comments 
Solicited section).
    If you have questions regarding whether specific activities will 
constitute adverse modification of critical habitat, contact the Field 
Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section). 
Requests for copies of the regulations on listed wildlife, and 
inquiries about prohibitions and permits may be addressed to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Endangered Species, Eastside 
Federal Complex, 911 N.E. 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232 (telephone 503/
231-2063; facsimile 503/231-6243).

Economic Analysis

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires us to designate critical 
habitat on the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available, and to consider the economic and other relevant impacts of 
designating a particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude areas 
from critical habitat upon a determination that the benefits of such 
exclusions outweigh the benefits of specifying such areas as critical 
habitat. We cannot exclude such areas from critical habitat when such 
exclusion will result in the extinction of the species. We will conduct 
an analysis of the economic impacts of designating these areas as 
critical habitat prior to a final determination. When completed, we 
will announce the availability of the draft economic analysis with a 
notice in the Federal Register, and we will open a 30-day comment 
period at that time.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit 
comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments 
    (1) The reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined 
to be critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act, including 
whether the benefits of designation will outweigh any benefits of 
    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of Morro 
shoulderband snail habitat, and what habitat is essential to the 
conservation of the species and why;
    (3) Land use practices and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat;
    (4) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of critical habitat, in particular, any impacts on 
small entities or families; and,
    (5) Economic and other values associated with designation of 
critical habitat for the Morro shoulderband snail, such as those 
derived from nonconsumptive uses (e.g., hiking, camping, bird-watching, 
``existence values,'' improved air quality, increased soil retention, 
and changes in administration i.e. maintenance of area).
    In this proposed rule, we do not propose to designate critical 
habitat on non-Federal and private lands within the boundaries of an 
existing approved HCP with an executed IA for Morro shoulderband snail 
approved under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act because the existing HCP 
provides for long-term commitments to conserve the species and areas 
essential to the conservation of the snail. We believe that such areas 
do not meet the definition of critical habitat because they do not need 
special management considerations or protection. However, we are 
specifically soliciting comments on the appropriateness of this 
approach, and on the following or other alternative approaches for 
critical habitat designation in areas covered by existing approved 
    (1) Designate critical habitat without regard to existing HCP 
boundaries and allow the section 7 consultation process on the issuance 
of the incidental take permit to ensure that any take we authorized 
will not destroy or adversely modify critical habitat; or
    (2) Designate as critical habitat reserves, preserves, and other 
conservation lands identified by approved HCPs on the premise that they 
encompass areas that are essential to conservation of the species 
within the HCP area and will continue to require special management 
protection in the future. Under this approach, all other lands covered 
by existing approved HCPs where incidental take for the Morro 
shoulderband snail is authorized under a legally operative permit 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act would be excluded from 
critical habitat.
    The amount of critical habitat we designate for the Morro 
shoulderband snail in a final rule may either increase or decrease, 
depending upon which approach we adopt for dealing with designation in 
areas of existing approved HCPs.
    We are also seeking comments on critical habitat designation 
relative to future HCPs. Several conservation planning efforts are now 
under way within the range of the Morro shoulderband snail, and other 
listed and nonlisted species, in areas we are proposing as critical 
habitat. For areas where HCPs are currently under development, we are 
proposing to designate critical habitat for areas that we believe are 
essential to the conservation of the species and need special 
management or protection. We invite comments on the appropriateness of 
this approach.
    In addition, we invite comments on the following or other 
approaches for addressing critical habitat within the boundaries of 
future approved HCPs upon issuance of section 10(a)(1)(B) permits for 
the Morro shoulderband snail:
    (1) Retain critical habitat designation within the HCP boundaries 
and use the section 7 consultation process on the issuance of the 
incidental take permit to ensure that any take we authorize will not 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat;
    (2) Revise the critical habitat designation upon approval of the 
HCP and issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) permit to retain only 
preserve areas, on the premise that they encompass areas essential for 
the conservation of the species within the HCP area and require special 
management and protection in the future. Assuming that we conclude, at 
the time an HCP is approved and the associated incidental take permit 

[[Page 42968]]

issued, that the plan protects those areas essential to the 
conservation of the Morro shoulderband snail, we would revise the 
critical habitat designation to exclude areas outside the reserves, 
preserves, or other conservation lands established under the plan. 
Consistent with our listing program priorities, we would publish a 
proposed rule in the Federal Register to revise the critical habitat 
    (3) As in (2) above, retain only preserve lands within the critical 
habitat designation, on the premise that they encompass areas essential 
for conservation of the species within the HCP area and require special 
management and protection in the future. However, under this approach, 
the exclusion of areas outside the preserve lands from critical habitat 
would occur automatically upon issuance of the incidental take permit. 
The public would be notified and have the opportunity to comment on the 
boundaries of the preserve lands and the revision of designated 
critical habitat during the public review and comment process for HCP 
approval and permitting;
    (4) Remove designated critical habitat entirely from within the 
boundaries of an HCP when the plan is approved (including preserve 
lands), on the premise that the HCP establishes long-term commitments 
to conserve the species, and no further special management or 
protection is required. Consistent with our listing program priorities, 
we would publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register to revise the 
critical habitat boundaries; or
    (5) Remove designated critical habitat entirely from within the 
boundaries of an HCP when the plan is approved (including preserve 
lands), on the premise that the HCP establishes long-term commitments 
to conserve the species, and no additional special management or 
protection is required. This exclusion from critical habitat would 
occur automatically upon issuance of the incidental take permit. The 
public would be notified and have the opportunity to comment on the 
revision of designated critical habitat during the public notification 
process for HCP approval and permitting.
    Please submit comments as an ASCII file format and avoid the use of 
special characters and encryption. Please also include ``Attn: [RIN 
number]'' and your name and return address in your e-mail message. If 
you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we have received 
your e-mail message, contact us directly by calling our Ventura Office 
at phone number 805/644-1766.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by 
law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/or address, you must 
state this request prominently at the beginning of your comment. 
However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy published in the Federal Register on 
July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert opinions of at 
least three appropriate and independent specialists regarding this 
proposed rule. The purpose of such review is to ensure listing 
decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and 
analyses. We will send these peer reviewers copies of this proposed 
rule immediately following publication in the Federal Register. We will 
invite these peer reviewers to comment, during the public comment 
period, on the specific assumptions and conclusions regarding the 
proposed designation of critical habitat.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
60-day comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a 
final rulemaking. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 

Public Hearings

    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests for public hearings must be made at least 15 
days prior to the close of the public comment period. Such requests 
must be made in writing and be addressed to the Field Supervisor of our 
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section). We will 
schedule public hearings on this proposal, if any are requested, and 
announce the dates, times, and places of those hearings in the Federal 
Register and local newspapers at least 15 days prior to the first 

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations/
notices that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to 
make proposed rules easier to understand including answers to questions 
such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the document clearly 
stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain technical language or jargon 
that interferes with the clarity? (3) Does the format of the proposed 
rule (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, 
etc.) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Is the description of the proposed 
rule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble helpful 
in understanding the proposed rule? What else could we do to make the 
proposed rule easier to understand?

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with Executive Order 12866, this document is a 
significant rule and has been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB), under Executive Order 12866.
    (a) This rule will not have an annual economic effect of $100 
million or more or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, 
jobs, the environment, or other units of government. The Morro 
shoulderband snail was listed as an endangered species in 1994. In 
fiscal years 1994 through 1999, we conducted nine formal section 7 
consultations with other Federal agencies to ensure that their actions 
would not jeopardize the continued existence of the snail.
    Under the Act, critical habitat may not be adversely modified by a 
Federal agency action; critical habitat does not impose any 
restrictions on non-Federal persons unless they are conducting 
activities funded or otherwise sponsored, authorized, or permitted by a 
Federal agency (see Table 2 below). Section 7 requires Federal agencies 
to ensure that they do not jeopardize the continued existence of the 
species. Based upon our experience with the species and its needs, we 
conclude that any Federal action or authorized action that could 
potentially cause an adverse modification of the proposed critical 
habitat would currently be considered as ``jeopardy'' under the Act. 
Accordingly, the designation of currently occupied areas as critical 
habitat does not have any incremental impacts on what actions may or 
may not be conducted by Federal agencies or non-Federal persons that 
receive Federal authorization or funding. Non-Federal persons that do 
not have a Federal ``sponsorship'' of their actions

[[Page 42969]]

are not restricted by the designation of critical habitat (however, 
they continue to be bound by the provisions of the Act concerning 
``take'' of the species).
    (b) This rule will not create inconsistencies with other agencies' 
actions. As discussed above, Federal agencies have been required to 
ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of 
the Morro shoulderband snail since the listing in 1994. The prohibition 
against adverse modification of critical habitat is not expected to 
impose any additional restrictions to those that currently exist 
because all of the proposed critical habitat occurs in occupied areas. 
Because of the potential for impacts on other Federal agency 
activities, we will continue to review this proposed action for any 
inconsistencies with other Federal agency actions.
    (c) This rule will not materially affect entitlements, grants, user 
fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. 
Federal agencies are currently required to ensure that their activities 
do not jeopardize the continued existence of the species, and, as 
discussed above, we do not anticipate that the adverse modification 
prohibition (resulting from critical habitat designation) will have any 
incremental effects in areas of occupied habitat.
    (d) This rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues. The 
proposed rule follows the requirements for determining critical habitat 
contained in the Act.

             Table 2.--Impacts of Morro Shoulderband Snail Listing and Critical Habitat Designation
                                           Activities potentially
        Categories of activities             affected by species      Additional activities potentially affected
                                                listing only              by critical habitat designation\1\
Federal Activities Potentially           Activities conducted by     None.
 Affected\2\.                             USACE (e.g. ordnance
Private or other non-Federal Activities  Activities that require a   None.
 Potentially Affected\3\.                 Federal action (permit,
                                          authorization, or
                                          funding) and may remove
                                          or destroy Morro
                                          shoulderband snail
                                          habitat by mechanical,
                                          chemical, or other means
                                          (e.g., grading,
                                          construction, road
                                          building, herbicide
                                          application, recreational
                                          use, etc.) or appreciably
                                          decrease habitat value or
                                          quality through indirect
                                          effects (e.g., edge
                                          effects, invasion of
                                          exotic plants or animals,
                                          fragmentation of habitat).
\1\ This column represents activities potentially affected by the critical habitat designation in addition to
  those activities potentially affected by listing the species.
\2\ Activities initiated by a Federal agency.
\3\ Activities initiated by a private or other non-Federal entity that may need Federal authorization or

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    In the economic analysis (under section 4 of the Act), we will 
determine whether designation of critical habitat will have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small entities. As 
discussed under Regulatory Planning and Review above, this rule is not 
expected to result in any restrictions in addition to those currently 
in existence for areas of occupied critical habitat. As indicated on 
Table 1 (see Proposed Critical Habitat Designation section), we 
designated property owned by State and local governments, and private 
    Within these areas, the types of Federal actions or authorized 
activities that we have identified as potential concerns are:
    (1) Activities conducted by the USACE (e.g. ordnance removal);
    (2) Road construction and maintenance funded by the FHA; and
    (3) Other activities funded or permitted by Federal agencies (e.g., 
    Many of these activities sponsored by Federal agencies within the 
proposed critical habitat areas are carried out by small entities (as 
defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act) through contract, grant, 
permit, or other Federal authorization. As discussed above, these 
actions are currently required to comply with the listing protections 
of the Act, and the designation of critical habitat is not anticipated 
to have any additional effects on these activities.
    For actions on non-Federal property that do not have a Federal 
connection (such as funding or authorization), the current restrictions 
concerning take of the species remain in effect, and this rule will 
have no additional restrictions.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 804(2))

    In the economic analysis, we will determine whether designation of 
critical habitat will cause (a) any effect on the economy of $100 
million or more, (b) any increases in costs or prices for consumers, 
individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or 
geographic regions; or (c) any significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the 
ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based 
enterprises. As discussed above, we anticipate that the designation of 
critical habitat will not have any additional effects on these 
activities in areas of critical habitat occupied by the species.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.):
    (a) This rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect small 
governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required. Small 
governments will be affected only to the extent that any programs 
having Federal funds, permits, or other authorized activities must 
ensure that their actions will not adversely affect the critical 
habitat. However, as discussed above, these actions are currently 
subject to equivalent restrictions through the listing protections of 
the species, and no further restrictions are anticipated to result from 
critical habitat designation of occupied areas.
    (b) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or 
greater in any year; that is, it is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The designation of 
critical habitat imposes no obligations on State or local governments.


    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the rule does not have 

[[Page 42970]]

takings implications. A takings implication assessment is not required. 
As discussed above, the designation of critical habitat affects only 
Federal agency actions. The rule will not increase or decrease the 
current restrictions on private property concerning take of the Morro 
shoulderband snail. Due to current public knowledge of the species 
protection, the prohibition against take of the species both within and 
outside of the designated areas, and the fact that critical habitat 
provides no incremental restrictions in areas of occupied critical 
habitat, we do not anticipate that property values will be affected by 
the critical habitat designation. Additionally, critical habitat 
designation does not preclude development of HCPs and issuance of 
incidental take permits. Landowners in areas that are included in the 
designated critical habitat will continue to have the opportunity to 
utilize their property in ways consistent with the survival of the 
Morro shoulderband snail.


    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. In keeping with Department of the Interior policy, we 
requested information from and coordinated development of this critical 
habitat proposal with appropriate State resource agencies in 
California. The designation of critical habitat in areas currently 
occupied by the Morro shoulderband snail imposes no additional 
restrictions to those currently in place and, therefore, has little 
incremental impact on State and local governments and their activities. 
The designation may have some benefit to these governments in that the 
areas essential to the conservation of the species are more clearly 
defined and the primary constituent elements of the habitat necessary 
to the survival of the species are specifically identified. By making 
this definition and identification, we would not alter where and what 
federally sponsored activities may occur. However, having this 
information may assist these local governments in long-range planning 
(rather than waiting for case-by-case section 7 consultations to 

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order. We propose to designate critical habitat in accordance 
with the provisions of the Act, and plan public hearings, if requested, 
on the proposed designation during the comment period. The rule uses 
standard property descriptions and identifies the primary constituent 
elements within the designated areas to assist the public in 
understanding the habitat needs of the Morro shoulderband snail.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any information collection requirements 
that require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a 
person is not required to respond to collection of information unless 
it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has up to 60 days 
to approve or disapprove the information collection but may respond 
after 30 days. Therefore, to ensure maximum consideration, you must 
send your comments to OMB by the above referenced date.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement as defined by the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in connection with 
regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. We published a 
notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951) and 512 DM 2, we understand that Federally 
recognized Tribes must be related to on a Government-to-Government 
    We determined that no Tribal lands are essential for the 
conservation of the Morro shoulderband snail because no Tribal lands 
support populations of snails or suitable habitat. Therefore, we are 
not proposing to designate critical habitat for the Morro shoulderband 
snail on Tribal lands.

References Cited

    Chambers, S.M. 1997. Channel Islands and California desert snail 
fauna. Pages 25-27, 52, 53 in Mac, M.J., P.A. Opler, C.E. Puckett 
Haecker, and P.D. Doran, eds. Status and trends of the Nation's 
biological resources. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological 
Survey, Washington D.C.
    Hemphill, H. 1911. Descriptions of some varieties of shells with 
short notes on the geographical range and means of distribution of land 
shells. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 
    Hill, D.L. 1974. Helminthoglypta walkeriana: A rare and endangered 
land mollusc. Senior Project, California Polytechnic State University, 
San Luis Obispo. 21 pp.
    Roth, B. 1985. Status survey of the banded dune snail, 
Helminthoglypta walkeriana. Unpublished report prepared for U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California. 27 pp. + figures.
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 1998. Recovery plan for the Morro 
shoulderband snail and four plants from western San Luis Obispo County, 
California. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon. 75 pp.


    The primary authors of this document are Greg Sanders and Ron 
Popowski of our Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons given in the preamble, we propose to amend 50 CFR 
part 17 as set forth below:


    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. In Sec. 17.11(h), revise the entry for ``Snail, Morro 
shoulderband (=Banded dune)'' under ``SNAILS'' to read as follows:

Sec. 17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 42971]]

                        Species                                                    Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                              threatened

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Snail, Morro.....................  Helminthoglypta.....  U.S.A. (CA)........  NA.................  E                       567     17.95(g)           NA
shoulderband.....................  walkeriana..........
(=Banded dune)...................

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

    3. Amend Sec. 17.95 by adding new paragraph (f) to read as follows:

Sec. 17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (f) Clams and snails.

Morro Shoulderband Snail (Helminthoglypta walkeriana)

    1. Critical habitat units are depicted for San Luis Obispo 
County, California, on the map below.


[[Page 42972]]


    Map Units 1 to 3: All located in San Luis Obispo County, 
California. Coastline boundaries are based upon the U.S. Geological 
Survey Morro Bay South 7.5

[[Page 42973]]

minute topographic quadrangle. Other boundaries are based upon the 
Public Land Survey System. Within the historical boundaries of the 
Canada De Los Osos Y Pecho Y Islay Mexican Land Grant, boundaries 
are based upon section lines that are extensions to the Public Land 
Survey System developed by the California Department of Forestry and 
obtained by us from the State of California's Stephen P. Teale Data 
Center. Township and Range numbering is derived from the Mount 
Diablo Base and Meridian.
    Map Unit 1: T. 29 S., R. 10 E., all of section 35 above mean sea 
level (MSL); T. 30 S., R. 10 E. All portions of sections 1, 2, 11, 
12, 14, 22, and 27 above MSL, SW\1/4\NW\1/4\ section 13 above MSL, 
W\1/2\NW\1/4\ section 24, all of section 23 above MSL except S\1/
2\SE\1/4\, NW\1/4\NW\1/4\ section 26, N\1/2\N\1/2\ section 34.
    Map Unit 2: T. 30 S., R. 10 E., E\1/2\NE\1/4\ section 24; T. 30 
S., R, 11 E., E\3/4\N\1/2\ section 19.
    Map Unit 3: T. 30 S., R. 11 E., All of NE\1/4\ section 7 above 
MSL; in section 8, NW\1/4\NW\1/4\, S\1/2\NW\1/4\, SW\1/4\, and NW\1/
    2. Within these areas, the primary constituent elements include, 
but are not limited to, those habitat components that are essential 
for the primary biological needs of foraging, sheltering, 
reproduction, and dispersal. The primary constituent elements for 
the Morro shoulderband snail are the following: sand or sandy soils; 
a slope not greater than 10 percent; and the presence of, or the 
capacity to develop, coastal dune scrub vegetation.
    3. Critical habitat does not include existing developed sites 
consisting of buildings, roads, aqueducts, railroads, airports, 
paved areas, and similar features and structures.

    Dated: June 29, 2000.
Donald J. Barry,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 00-17257 Filed 7-11-00; 8:45 am]