[Federal Register: December 26, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 248)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 81419-81433]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF33

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule to List 
Nine Bexar County, Texas Invertebrate Species as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine 
nine cave-dwelling invertebrates from Bexar County, Texas, to be 
endangered species under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). Rhadine exilis (no common name) and Rhadine 
infernalis (no common name) are small, essentially eyeless ground 
beetles. Batrisodes venyivi (Helotes mold beetle) is a small, eyeless 
beetle. Texella cokendolpheri (Robber Baron Cave harvestman) is a 
small, eyeless harvestman (daddy-longlegs). Cicurina baronia (Robber 
Baron cave spider), Cicurina madla (Madla's cave spider), Cicurina 
venii (no common name), Cicurina vespera (vesper cave spider), and 
Neoleptoneta microps (Government Canyon cave spider) are all small, 
eyeless or essentially eyeless spiders.
    These species (referred to in this final rule as the nine 
invertebrates) are known from karst topography (limestone formations 
containing caves, sinks, fractures and fissures) in north and northwest 
Bexar County. Threats to the species and their habitat include 
destruction and/or deterioration of habitat by construction; filling of 
caves and karst features and loss of permeable cover; contamination 
from septic effluent, sewer leaks, run-off, pesticides, and other 
sources; predation by and competition with nonnative fire ants; and 
vandalism. This action will implement Federal protection provided by 
the Act for these species. We based our decision on the best available 
information, including that received during public comment on the 
proposal to list these species.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The effective date of this rule is December 26, 2000 
(see EFFECTIVE DATE section under below).

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the Austin Ecological 
Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 

[[Page 81420]]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alisa Shull, Supervisory Fish and 
Wildlife Biologist, Austin Ecological Services Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES section) (telephone 512/490-0057; facsimile 512/490-0974).



    Rhadine exilis and Rhadine infernalis were first collected in 1959 
and described by Barr and Lawrence (1960) as Agonum exile and Agonum 
infernale, respectively. Barr (1974) assigned the species to the genus 
Rhadine. Batrisodes venyivi was first collected in 1984 and described 
by Chandler (1992). Texella cokendolpheri was first collected in 1982 
and described in Ubick and Briggs (1992). Cicurina baronia, Cicurina 
madla, Cicurina venii, and Cicurina vespera were first collected in 
1969, 1963, 1980, and 1965, respectively. In 1992, Gertsch described 
these species. Neoleptoneta microps was first collected in 1965 and 
described by Gertsch (1974) as Leptoneta microps. The species was 
reassigned to Neoleptoneta following Brignoli (1977) and Platnick 
    These nine invertebrates are obligate (capable of surviving in only 
one environment) karst or cave-dwelling species (troglobites) of local 
distribution in karst terrain in Bexar County, Texas. ``Karst'' is a 
type of terrain in which the rock is dissolved by water so that much of 
the drainage occurs into the subsurface rather than as runoff. The 
subsurface drainage leads to passages or other openings within the 
underground rock formations. Some of the features that develop in karst 
areas include cave openings, holes in rocks, cracks, fissures, and 
    Habitat required by the nine karst invertebrate species consists of 
underground, honeycomb limestone that maintains high humidity and 
stable temperatures. The surface environment of karst areas is also an 
integral part of the habitat needed by the animals inhabiting the 
underground areas. Openings to the surface allow energy and nutrients, 
in the form of leaf litter, surface insects, other animals, and animal 
droppings to enter the underground ecosystem. Mammal feces provide a 
medium for the growth of fungi and, subsequently, localized population 
blooms of several species of tiny, hopping insects. These insects 
reproduce rapidly on rich food sources and may become prey for some 
predatory cave invertebrates (Service 1994). While the life habits of 
the nine invertebrates are not well known, the species probably prey on 
the eggs, larvae, or adults of other cave invertebrates.
    We funded a status survey (Veni 1994a; Reddell 1993) of all nine 
species through a grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 
(TPWD) under section 6 of the Act. Researchers obtained landowner 
permission to study and assess threats to 41 caves in north and 
northwest Bexar County, Texas. Landowners denied permission to access 
an additional 36 caves that biologists believed likely to contain 
species of concern. Researchers described all 77 caves, to some extent, 
before the status survey was conducted and some were already known to 
contain at least one of the nine invertebrates.
    During the status survey, the researchers made a collection of the 
invertebrate fauna at each cave studied, assessed the condition of the 
cave environment and threats to the species, and collected geological 
data. They used this information to prepare two reports. One report 
discusses the overall karst geography in the San Antonio region and the 
potential geologic and geographic barriers to karst invertebrate 
migration (on an evolutionary time scale) and limits to their 
distribution (Veni 1994a). The other report (Reddell 1993) details the 
fauna of each cave visited during the study and presents information 
obtained from invertebrate collections.
    Veni's (1994a) report delineates six karst areas (hereafter 
referred to as karst regions) within Bexar County. The karst regions he 
discusses are Stone Oak, UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio), 
Helotes, Government Canyon, Culebra Anticline, and Alamo Heights. The 
boundaries of these karst regions are geological or geographical 
features that may represent obstructions to troglobite movement (on a 
geologic time scale) which has resulted in the present-day distribution 
of endemic (restricted in distribution) karst invertebrates in the San 
Antonio region.
    The harvestman Texella cokendolpheri, Robber Baron Cave harvestman, 
is known only from Robber Baron cave in the Alamo Heights karst region 
on private property. The cave entrance has been donated to the Texas 
Cave Management Association (George Veni, Veni & Associates, pers. 
comm. 1995), which will likely be interested in protection and 
improvement of the cave habitat. However, this cave is relatively 
large, and the land over and around the cave is heavily urbanized. The 
cave has also been subject to extensive commercial and recreational use 
(Veni 1988). No confirmed specimens of T. cokendolpheri were collected 
during the 1993 status survey, but one Texella harvestman collected at 
Robber Baron Cave since completion of the status survey, the species of 
which could not be positively identified, is highly likely to be T. 
cokendolpheri (James Reddell, Texas Memorial Museum, and Dr. Darrell 
Ubick, California Academy of Sciences, pers. comm. 1995).
    Batrisodes venyivi, the Helotes mold beetle, is known from only 
three caves in the vicinity of Helotes, Texas, northwest of San 
Antonio. Two of these caves are located in the Helotes karst region on 
private property. We do not have reliable information on the collection 
from the third cave. The collector of the specimen declined to give us 
a specific site collection record, but we believe it is located on 
private property.
    Rhadine exilis is known from 35 caves in north and northwest Bexar 
County. Twenty-one are located on Department of Defense (DOD) land in 
the Stone Oak karst region. The remainder are distributed among the 
Helotes, UTSA, and Stone Oak karst regions, while one location lies in 
the Government Canyon region. One of the non-DOD sites is located in a 
county road right-of-way, one is located in a state-owned natural area, 
and the remainder are located on private property. Ongoing efforts by 
the DOD to locate and inventory karst features on Camp Bullis and to 
document the karst fauna communities in caves on Camp Bullis resulted 
in discovery of 18 of the 35 caves mentioned above (Veni 1994b; James 
Reddell, pers. comm. 1997).
    Rhadine infernalis is known from 25 caves. This species occurs in 
five of the six karst regions-- Helotes, UTSA, Stone Oak, Culebra 
Anticline, and Government Canyon. Scientists have delineated three 
subspecies (Rhadine infernalis ewersi, Rhadine infernalis infernalis, 
Rhadine infernalis ssp.), and described and named two of these in 
scientific literature (Barr 1960, Barr and Lawrence 1960). In a recent 
report, scientists characterized the third subspecies as distinct, but 
not named (Reddell 1998). Only three caves, all on DOD land, contain 
the subspecies Rhadine infernalis ewersi. Sixteen caves contain the 
subspecies Rhadine infernalis infernalis and lie in the Government 
Canyon, Helotes, UTSA, and Stone Oak regions. Six caves in the Culebra 
Anticline region contain the unnamed subspecies.
    Cicurina venii is known from only one cave, which is located on 
private property in the Culebra Anticline karst region. The species was 
collected in 1980 and 1983, but the cave itself was not initially 
described until 1988

[[Page 81421]]

(Reddell 1993). The cave entrance was filled during construction of a 
home in 1990. Without excavation, it is difficult to determine what 
effect this incident had on the species; however, there may still be 
some nutrient input, from a reported small side passage.
    Cicurina baronia, the Robber Baron cave spider, is known only from 
Robber Baron Cave in the Alamo Heights karst region. Although the cave 
entrance is owned and operated by the Texas Cave Management 
Association, it is located in a heavily urbanized area.
    Cicurina madla, Madla's cave spider, is known from six caves. One 
cave is within the Government Canyon karst region in Government Canyon 
State Natural Area, one is on DOD land, three are located in the 
Helotes karst region on private property, and one is located on private 
property in the UTSA karst region.
    Biologists have found Cicurina vespera, the vesper cave spider, in 
two caves. One cave is Government Canyon Bat Cave in the Government 
Canyon State Natural Area, and the other is a cave 5 miles northeast of 
Helotes. The location and name of this latter cave have not been 
revealed to us, but we believe it is located on private property.
    Neoleptoneta microps is known only from the Government Canyon karst 
region, from two caves within Government Canyon State Natural Area.
    In the course of conducting the 1993 status survey, Veni contacted 
landowners and requested access to as many caves as possible that were 
believed to be potential habitat for the nine invertebrates. It is 
possible that these species occur in some of the caves that could not 
be visited and that new locations of the nine invertebrates will be 
discovered in the future. Although these new discoveries may increase 
the number of locations where the species are found, they are expected 
to fall within the same general range and are expected to face the same 
threats as the known occurrences of these species. The listing of these 
species is not based on a demonstrable decline in the number of 
individuals or the number of known locations of each species, but 
rather on reliable evidence that each species is subject to threats to 
its continued existence throughout all or a significant portion of its 

Previous Federal Action

    On January 16, 1992, we received a petition dated January 9, 1992, 
to add the nine invertebrates to the List of Threatened and Endangered 
Wildlife. Patricia K. Cunningham of the Helotes Creek Association and 
individuals representing the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation 
Coalition, the Texas Speleological Association, the Alamo Group of the 
Sierra Club, and the Texas Cave Management Association submitted the 
petition. On December 1, 1993, we announced in the Federal Register (58 
FR 63328) a 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial 
information that listing may be warranted. This 90-day finding resulted 
in the requirement under the Act that we review the status of the 
species and, within 12 months of receipt of the petition, issue a 
finding as to whether the petitioned action is warranted (12-month 
    We added eight of the nine invertebrates to the Animal Notice of 
Review as category 2 candidate species in the Federal Register on 
November 15, 1994 (59 FR 58982). We intended to include Rhadine exilis 
in the notice of review, but an oversight occurred and it did not 
appear in the published notice. Category 2 candidates, a classification 
since discontinued, were those taxa for which we had data indicating 
that listing was possibly appropriate, but for which we lacked 
substantial data on biological vulnerability and threats to support 
proposed listing rules.
    The endangered species listing program was disrupted by a listing 
moratorium (Public Law 104-6, April 10, 1995) and rescission of listing 
program funding in Fiscal Year 1996. The moratorium was lifted and 
listing program funding restored on April 26, 1996. On May 16, 1996 (61 
CFR 24722), we issued guidance for priorities in restarting the listing 
program that included four tiers. New proposed listings and petition 
findings fell under tier three, the second-lowest priority. This 
precluded completion of the 12-month finding for these species in that 
Fiscal Year.
    The 12-month petition finding and publication of the proposed rule 
were again precluded by higher priority activities under the listing 
priority guidance for fiscal year 1997, finalized December 5, 1996 (61 
CFR 64475). Processing administrative findings on petitions and 
processing new proposals to add species to the lists were again a tier 
three priority.
    With the publication of listing priority guidance for Fiscal Years 
1998 and 1999 on May 8, 1998 (63 CFR 25502), we returned to a more 
balanced listing program. Processing administrative findings on 
petitions to add species to the lists became a tier two priority, and 
we resumed work on the 12-month finding. This 12-month finding resulted 
in a proposal to list the 9 invertebrates as endangered, which we 
published in the Federal Register on December 30, 1998 (63 FR 71855).
    The processing of this final rule conforms with our current Listing 
Priority Guidance, published in the Federal Register on October 22, 
1999 (64 FR 57114). Priority 1 (highest priority) is processing 
emergency listing rules for any species determined to face a 
significant and imminent risk to its well-being. Priority 2 is 
processing final determinations on proposed additions to the lists of 
endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. Priority 3 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. This final rule is a Priority 2 
action. We updated this rule to reflect any changes in information 
concerning distribution, status, and threats since the publication of 
the proposed rule.
    In 1994, we began discussions with a coalition of landowners, 
developers, and other interested parties about creating a conservation 
agreement that might preclude the need for listing these species. We 
continued working with interested parties to develop a conservation 
strategy and agreement. The issues that needed to be addressed in a 
conservation agreement related primarily to determining the needs for 
the species' conservation, responsibility and commitment for 
implementation and funding, and the amount of time required to 
implement the conservation measures. In January 1999, we provided a 
handout titled ``Criteria and Measures for Long-term Conservation of 
Karst Invertebrates in Bexar Co., TX,'' to the coalition as a guide for 
conservation of species-inhabited caves. However, actions required to 
address the above issues and to reach this goal have not yet occurred.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the December 30, 1998, proposed rule and associated 
notifications, we requested that all interested parties submit factual 
reports or information that might contribute to the development of a 
final rule. We originally scheduled the comment period to close on 
April 29, 1999, but we extended it to May 31, 1999 (64 FR 16890). We 
contacted appropriate Federal and State agencies, county governments, 
scientific organizations, and other interested parties and requested 
that they comment. We requested comments on the proposed rule and 
literature cited from nine scientific experts. We received no comments 
from those nine. We

[[Page 81422]]

published a newspaper notice in the San Antonio Express News on 
December 30, 1998, in which we invited general public comment. We 
received 38 comment letters through the mail.
    Alan Glen, of Drenner and Stuart, and San Antonio Water System 
requested a public hearing. We published a notice of the public hearing 
in the Federal Register (64 FR 16890) and gave written notice to those 
on our mailing list for this topic. We held the public hearing in San 
Antonio at Lee High School on April 29, 1999; a court reporter made a 
verbatim transcript of the hearing testimony. Approximately 75 people 
attended. Of the 22 oral commenters, 8 also submitted written comment 
letters at the public hearing.
    We updated the final rule to reflect comments and information we 
received during the comment period. We address both the written and 
oral comments in the following summary. These comments addressed a 
range of issues regarding the proposal. Because multiple respondents 
offered similar comments in some cases, we combined those comments in 
the following summary. Of the 60 comments (some commenters commented 
more than once) we received from the public hearing and through the 
mail, 5 directly opposed the listing, 27 supported continued efforts on 
the conservation agreement to preclude the need to list, 6 both 
directly opposed the listing and supported continued efforts on the 
conservation agreement, 19 supported the listing, and 3 were neutral. 
In this summary, we do not address comments that are not related to the 
listing decision, such as comments on habitat conservation plans (HCPs) 
or recovery planning.
    Issue 1. So little is known about the species that the Service has 
not even defined habitat for the invertebrates beyond cave openings.
    Our Response: We took this comment into consideration in this final 
rule and included more detailed habitat descriptions (see the 
Background section under Supplementary Information). The Available 
Conservation Measures portion of this final rule discusses criteria for 
habitat preservation and preserve design. Under section 4(b)(1) of the 
Act, we must make our listing decision on the best scientific and 
commercial information available. We believe that substantial evidence 
exists to support a listing determination for these species, but also 
recognize that additional research is important to assist in making 
sound management recommendations.
    Issue 2: These nine invertebrates are insignificant to mankind.
    Our Response: We are responsible for protecting species in danger 
of extinction and ecosystems on which they depend. The Act recognizes 
the importance of all species to properly functioning ecosystems and 
requires us to base listing decisions on the best scientific 
information available. Based on best available scientific information, 
we determined that the Bexar County invertebrates are in danger of 
extinction and warrant protection as endangered species.
    Issue 3: It is inaccurate to describe these species as troglobitic 
without surveys conducted outside of the caves in the surrounding leaf 
litter. Evidence in support of additional habitats for these species 
includes the lack of collected specimens of pupae or larvae from within 
the caves, few records of some species from caves, and closely related 
species (including some with troglobitic features) known to exist in 
non-cave environments.
    Our Response: The scientific literature, published by species 
experts and cited in this final rule, describe the nine Bexar County 
karst invertebrates as troglobitic. There has been no information 
submitted to us to indicate otherwise. As for lack of collections of 
pupae and larvae in caves, we have no evidence discounting the 
occurrence of reproduction and initial life phases in the humanly 
inaccessible recesses of caves. Barr (1974) states that there are 
significantly more caves than entrances, and that approximately ninety 
percent of them are closed off from human access.
    Issue 4: Six of the nine species have common names that are not 
registered with the Entomological Society of America or the American 
Arachnological Society, and may not be accurate descriptors for those 
    Our Response: The official name for these species is the scientific 
name; we list them by their scientific name. The common names we used 
in this rule are for ease of reference for the general public. We 
understand that they are not officially registered common names. If the 
process to register common names is completed in the future, we will 
refer to those common names, but the listing of these species will not 
be affected. Until such time we will continue to use the names listed 
in this document.
    Issue 5: It is believed Batrisodes venyivi is restricted to the 
Helotes karst region, based on past collections. ``In Texas, each 
obligate cave species of [this beetle family] has been restricted to 
small geographic areas, and each is found in only a small number of 
closely situated caves.''
    Our Response: In the ``Background'' section, we refer to three 
locations for this species; two are located in the Helotes karst region 
on private property. We do not have reliable information on the 
location of the third cave. The collector of the specimen declined to 
give us a specific site collection record, but we believe it is located 
on private property.
    Issue 6: How can the threats be so imminent when so many caves are 
owned by governmental entities?
    Our Response: We understand that for some of these species a 
significant number of locations are owned by governmental entities. 
Many of the government-owned sites have some limited protection, but 
fire ants are still a threat. Human activities facilitate movement of 
certain predators, such as fire ants, into an area. Both Camp Bullis 
and Government Canyon State Natural Area are increasingly being 
surrounded by development which provides habitat (construction areas, 
lawns, roadways, and landscaped areas) from which fire ants can 
disperse. The relative accessibility of the shallow caves in Bexar 
County leaves them especially vulnerable to invasion by nonnative 
species. Without continuously implemented management plans in place, 
this threat is still imminent.
    Issue 7: Continued efforts toward developing a conservation 
agreement to preclude the need to list the species was desired. Many 
were disappointed that efforts to develop a conservation agreement were 
terminated in 1998 and the Service continued with publishing the 
proposed rule.
    Our Response: Please see our discussion under the Previous Federal 
Action portion of this final rule. We agree that cooperative, voluntary 
efforts to conserve these species that remove or reduce threats would 
be an alternative to Federal listing if sufficient conservation 
measures were implemented so that the species were no longer in danger 
of extinction. Since 1994, we have been working with a coalition of 
interested parties to develop a conservation strategy and agreement. 
While, we acknowledge that some progress toward conservation of these 
species has been made by this coalition, actions required to address 
the above issues and to reach this goal have not yet occurred.
    Issue 8: With regard to evidence of threats, some believe that in 
the time it has taken the proposed rule to be published there has been 
habitat loss and no protection for the species. Others believe that all 
of the known locations of the nine invertebrate species have been left 
undisturbed throughout the

[[Page 81423]]

entire process, indicating a lack of evidence for perceived habitat-
destruction threats. Additionally, the Service has not provided any 
evidence of contamination, predation on these species, and adverse 
effects from impervious (resistant to seepage of water) cover, closing 
of caves, and vandalism.
    Our Response: During the comment period, we received San Antonio 
Water System (SAWS) documentation that recharge features were sealed 
since the petition was filed to preserve water quality and avoid 
contamination of the aquifer. The Texas Natural Resources Conservation 
Commission (TNRCC), the State agency responsible for water quality and 
filling karst features, does not require that any invertebrate surveys 
be done in assessing karst features and, therefore, may approve the 
filling of the feature even when the species may be present. We believe 
that habitat-destruction is a viable threat when sealing of features 
occurs without investigations for invertebrates.
    In the ``Summary of Factors Affecting the Species'' section of this 
rule, we cite examples of other threats and their negative effects. We 
believe that these threats still exist. We included additional examples 
of contamination on caves under Factor A. Throughout the world there 
are many documented cases describing the effects of contamination on 
caves (IUCN 1997). Under Factor C, we also included additional 
information and citations regarding fire ants and their effects on the 
species and their habitat. In addition, as indicated in the 
``Background'' section of this final rule, some of the known 
invertebrate locations suffered degradation prior to the petition to 
list them.
    In addition, even where existing caves have not been filled or 
polluted, development that encroaches on the area around the cave 
entrance can significantly degrade the surface habitat, decreasing the 
potential for long-term persistence of the population of karst 
invertebrates in that cave. According to data provided by SWCA, Inc., 
ten of the known locations for these species have less than 10.1 
hectares (ha) (25 acres (ac)) of undeveloped area remaining surrounding 
the caves and several of these have as little as 0.4 to 2 ha (1 to 5 
ac). In February 2000, Service personnel observed construction within 
30 meters (m) (100 feet (ft))of 2 known locations of Rhadine exilis, 
which is currently reducing the potential for preservation around these 
sites. We believe that such small areas of native, surface habitat are 
not sufficient for sustainable support of karst invertebrate 
    Issue 9: How can fire ants be a predator on the nine invertebrates 
when Veni et al. (1995) found fire ants in different zones, or physical 
divisions within the cave, than the invertebrates during a survey at 
Camp Bullis, and Porter and Savignano (1990) found that crickets and 
roaches increased in the presence of fire ants?
    Our Response: Veni (pers. comm. 1999) has since done additional 
work at Camp Bullis and believes the reduced observations of fire ants 
are due to low population numbers on the property as a result of 
minimal ground disturbance. Elliott (in litt 1993-1997) found several 
instances, in two caves in the Austin area, when fire ants and 
troglobites were located within the same zones. Reddell (1993, in litt) 
documented observations of fire ant predation on three species of 
troglobites and on cave crickets. Even if fire ants did not prey on the 
nine invertebrates, heavy predation on cave crickets would reduce 
available food for the nine invertebrates. As for Porter's and 
Savignano's (1990) findings, the crickets that increased in abundance 
with fire ants were ground crickets (Gryllidae: Nemobiinae), not cave 
crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.), which are the species critical for 
nutrient input for the nine karst invertebrate species. Only very few 
species, including the ground cricket, the roach, and a beetle that is 
symbiotic with the imported fire ants, increased in abundance in 
infested areas. However, even when including the increase in these few 
species, the total abundance of arthropods (excluding fire ants) in 
infested areas was 75 percent less than uninfested areas. In addition, 
fire ant infestation reduced biodiversity; there were 40 percent fewer 
species in infested areas.
    Issue 10: Some commenters believe the existing regulations of the 
TNRCC, City of San Antonio (City), and SAWS, the primary water and 
wastewater purveyor in Bexar County, are adequate to protect the 
species and their habitat, while other commenters believed they are 
    Our Response: Our analysis of the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms found that additional measures are needed to protect these 
species from extinction. Although certain rules and regulations provide 
some protection, they do not alleviate all of the identified threats. 
We reviewed current programs and regulations of the TNRCC, the City, 
and SAWS. The purpose of the existing regulations is to protect water 
quality and the regulations are not adequate to fully protect the 
species from all threats. For further information please see Factor D 
in the ``Summary of Factors Affecting the Species'' section of this 
final rule.
    Issue 11: SAWS initiated a Land Acquisition Program that is 
currently purchasing land in the karst regions. Certainly, this ongoing 
program serves to provide substantial protection to these species and 
their habitat.
    Our Response: The focus of this program is preservation of lands 
for water quality in the Edward's Aquifer and not for caves containing 
the species. This program may have potential to contribute to species 
conservation. However, we have no information that indicates SAWS has 
located and/or preserved caves supporting the nine invertebrates.
    Issue 12: Even if the perceived threats did have an impact on the 
species, the decision to list as endangered will not prevent future 
negative effects from occurring.
    Our Response: Please see our discussion under the Available 
Conservation Measures section of this final rule. The Act provides 
numerous conservation mechanisms for listed species.
    Issue 13: Some believe the listing is primarily for stopping 
development over the Edwards Aquifer and not for the species 
themselves. Others believe that protection of the species and their 
habitat will provide ancillary benefits by protecting their sole-source 
water supply.
    Our Response: We are obligated under the Act to address the status 
of species in relation to the five factors discussed under the Summary 
of Factors Affecting the Species section of this final rule. Other 
benefits or effects of listing cannot be considered in our 
determination whether to list a species.
    Issue 14: The proposed rule does not indicate the nine karst 
invertebrates are bred or hunted for commercial purposes, or that they 
move in interstate commerce. The nine karst invertebrates are 
intrastate species having no effect in commerce and, therefore, are 
beyond Congress' authority to regulate. Thus, the Service lacks 
authority under the Act pursuant to the Commerce Clause of Article 1, 
Section 8 of the United States Constitution to regulate the nine 
proposed karst invertebrates.
    Our Response: A decision in the United States Court of Appeals for 
the District of Columbia circuit (National Association of Homebuilders 
v. Babbitt, 130 F. 3d 1041, D.C. Cir. 1997) makes it clear in its 
application of the test used in the United States Supreme Court case, 
United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), that regulation of species

[[Page 81424]]

limited to one State under the Act is within Congress' commerce clause 
power. On June 22, 1998, the Supreme Court declined to review this case 
(118 S. Ct. 2340 1998). Therefore, our application of the Act to the 
nine karst invertebrates, currently known to be endemic to only one 
county in the State of Texas, is constitutional.
    Issue 15: Listing the nine karst invertebrates as endangered will 
add additional costs and delays to urban development projects.
    Our Response: While economic effects and related concerns cannot be 
considered in listing decisions, such factors are considered in 
recovering listed species. In a Federal Register notice published July 
1, 1994 (59 FR 34272), the Secretaries of Interior and Commerce 
established an interagency policy to minimize social and economic 
impacts consistent with timely recovery of listed species. Thus, it is 
our desire that any recovery actions associated with these nine 
invertebrates minimize adverse social and economic impacts to the 
extent practicable.
    In addition, we have been encouraging voluntary consideration of 
these invertebrates in development planning for several years. We 
believe early coordination can avoid unnecessary increases in costs or 
delays for construction-related activities in areas containing the 
listed species. We encourage Federal or State agencies, private 
developers, and others to contact us during early phases of project 
design so that the necessary measures to minimize or avoid impacts to 
listed species can be incorporated into development projects as early 
as possible. We are committed to working with landowners and others to 
develop cooperative solutions to species conservation that avoid or 
minimize the need for regulatory burdens on landowners.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    After a thorough review and consideration of all information 
available, we determined that nine Bexar County karst invertebrates 
should be classified as endangered species. We followed procedures 
found at section 4(a)(1) of the Act and regulations implementing the 
listing provisions of the Act (50 CFR part 424). A species may be 
determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more 
of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1). These factors and 
their application to the nine invertebrates are as follows:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of their habitat or range. The ranges of the nine 
invertebrates are limited to limestone karst strata in the northern 
portion of Bexar County, which includes a portion of northern San 
Antonio, Texas. Their historical ranges are unknown, but were likely 
similar to their present ranges with the exception of caves that have 
been destroyed or suffered adverse impacts due to the factors discussed 
in the proposed rule and this final rule.
    The proximity of the caves and karst features inhabited by these 
species to the City of San Antonio makes them vulnerable to negative 
impacts as a result of continuing expansion of the San Antonio 
metropolitan area. Destruction of caves in Bexar County and throughout 
central Texas is common (Elliott 1990, Veni 1991). Veni (1991) 
estimated that about 26 percent of known caves in Bexar County have 
been destroyed through filling with dirt, rocks, concrete, or other 
materials; capping or covering by roads or buildings; and blasting by 
construction and quarrying operations.
    Several sources of information from 1991 to 1997 illustrate that 
considerable development has occurred and is expected to continue in 
the San Antonio area in general and in the karst regions in particular. 
For example, a report prepared by the City of San Antonio (1991) 
indicates that 69 percent of the increase in human population that 
occurred in Bexar County between 1980 and 1990, occurred in the 
northwest and northeast quadrants, where the nine invertebrates occur. 
The report describes this period as characterized by ``tremendous 
growth'' in the residential sector with significant increases also 
occurring in non-residential growth. A City of San Antonio Department 
of Planning (2000) map shows that growth of San Antonio from 1971 to 
1999 has been primarily to the northwest. During the 1980s, Bexar 
County saw a 26 percent increase in the single family housing market 
(88 percent of which occurred in the northwest and northeast 
quadrants), a 46 percent increase in the multi-family housing market, 
and an approximate 150 percent increase in availability of non-
residential space (City of San Antonio 1991).
    Overall, the northwest and northeast quadrants of Bexar County 
contain 69 percent of the county's population and 73 percent of the 
available housing (City of San Antonio 1991). From 1980-1990, changes 
in population for the specific census tracts where the nine 
invertebrates occur (census tracts numbering in the 1200s, 1700s, 
1800s, and 1900s) range from a 2.4 percent decrease (tract 1208, Alamo 
Heights) to a 201 percent increase (tract 1720, Culebra Anticline 
area). For the 1200, 1700, 1800, and 1900 census tracts the average 
population increase has been 35.4 percent, 13.1 percent, 54.3 percent, 
and 24.1 percent, respectively. The majority of the increase in 
development and population during that period occurred during the early 
1980s with a drastic decline by 1989.
    A report by the City of San Antonio (1993) showed a steady increase 
in building permit activity, number of plats approved, number of acres 
and lots platted, and new electrical connections during the period from 
1990-1992. That report also indicated that the majority of the growth 
(about 81 percent, as measured by new electrical connections) occurred 
in the northwest and northeast quadrants.
    The recent revitalization of the real estate market and the 
construction industry has intensified the threat to the nine 
invertebrates. A review of new electrical connections for all Bexar 
County census tracts from 1990-1996 (San Antonio Planning Department 
1997) reveals that tracts within the northwest and northeast quadrants 
of the city continued to be the fastest growing areas in the county. 
Census tracts numbering in the 1200s, 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s accounted 
for 21 percent, 10 percent, 31 percent, and 21 percent, respectively, 
of the new electrical connections in the county from 1990 to 1996 (San 
Antonio Planning Department 1997). Further review of the data reveals 
that the majority of the fastest growing sub-tracts are located in 
karst areas.
    Population growth in Texas and Bexar County is expected to continue 
at a rapid rate. The Texas Water Development Board (1997) estimated 
that the current Texas human population size is 19 million; it is 
expected it to nearly double in the next 50 years, reaching over 36 
million residents in the year 2050. Bexar County alone experienced an 
estimated 1.3% population increase between 1998 and 1999, with a 1999 
population estimate of 1.37 million (US Census Bureau 2000). Estimates 
from the Texas State Data Center and the Center for Demographic and 
Socioeconomic Research and Education (2000) indicate that the total 
population size in Bexar County from the year 2000 to the year 2030 
would increase anywhere from 17.2% (assuming no net migration) to 56.9% 
(assuming migration rates are consistent with those observed between 
1990 and 1998), with population sizes of 1.54 million to 2.25 million 
people by the year 2030.

[[Page 81425]]

    Plotting cave locations on 1993 land use maps prepared by the Bexar 
County Appraisal District for northwest Bexar County and the Edwards 
Aquifer recharge zone shows that most of the privately owned caves lie 
on land classified as one of the following: single family residential, 
vacant platted, vacant mixed-use, tax exempt, or ranchland (Table 1). 
Land classified as single family residential is currently occupied by 
single-family dwellings. Land classified as vacant platted is mostly 
interspersed with or surrounded by single family residential areas and, 
since plats have been approved, can be developed at any time. Vacant 
mixed-use land either has no agricultural exemption or includes areas 
where rollback taxes have been paid in preparation for a change in land 
use. Caves located on single family residential, vacant platted, or 
vacant mixed-use land are most vulnerable to negative impacts related 
to development.

                                    Table 1.--Numbers of Karst Features Containing the Nine Invertebrates by Land Use
           [1993 Land use according to Bexar County Appraisal District maps for northwest Bexar County and the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone]
                                                Single-       Vacant       Vacant
                   Species                       family      platted     mixed-use    Ranchland           Tax  exempt 2           Unknown        Ttl
Rhadine exilis..............................            2            1            3          1 2  21 DOD 1 GCSNA 1 Co. ROW                4           35
Rhadine infernalis..........................                                                                                                          25
R. i. ewersi................................                                                      3 DOD
R. i. infernalis............................            2                         6            2  4 GCSNA 1 Church                        1
R. i. new species...........................            2                         1            3
Batrisodes venyivi..........................            1                                      1                                        3 1            3
Texella cokendolpheri.......................            1                                                                                              1
Cicurina baronia............................            1                                                                                              1
Cicurina madla..............................            1                         2            1  1 DOD 1 GCSNA                                        6
Cicurina venii..............................            1                                                                                              1
Cicurina vespera............................                                                      1 GCSNA                                              1
Neoleptoneta microps........................                                                      2 GCSNA                                             2
1 1 in county road right-of-way and 1 across the street from residential neighborhood
2 DOD = Department of Defense; GCSNA = Government Canyon State Natural Area; Co.ROW = county road right-of-way
3 Exact location unknown

    Ranchland is land with an existing agricultural exemption. These 
areas may be vulnerable to fire ant infestations, siltation due to 
overgrazing, or to chemicals such as pesticides.
    Tax exempt land is government-owned or otherwise tax exempt, and is 
owned primarily by Federal, State, and local governments or church 
groups. These caves may be subject to any of the threats associated 
with other land-use types, depending on the landowner and current land 
use practices. Five caves in TPWD's Government Canyon State Natural 
Area contain a total of five of the nine invertebrates (Reddell 1993). 
The TPWD will likely protect habitat at these sites; however, fire ants 
are present in some of the caves and throughout the property (see 
discussion under Factor C, below). Thus, the invertebrate species 
within those caves are at risk because methods of controlling fire ants 
are only partially effective. To date, there is no management or 
maintenance plan in place that adequately reduces these threats to the 
    A total of 23 caves containing the species are located on Federal 
property at the Camp Bullis Training Site. Twenty caves contain only 
Rhadine exilis, two caves contain only Rhadine infernalis, and one cave 
contains both Rhadine species and Cicurina madla. Efforts are underway 
through the Department of Defense's Legacy program to inventory karst 
features within the recharge zone on Camp Bullis and to determine 
adequate areas for protection of biologically and/or hydrologically 
significant karst features. While the habitat on DOD lands is fairly 
secure, complete protection of the species in these features may 
require additional steps, such as control of fire ants, cave gates, and 
long-term management. Currently DOD is drafting a management plan, but 
until the plan is completed and implemented these threats may not be 
adequately reduced.
    A number of the caves containing the nine invertebrates occur 
within the recharge zone for the Edwards Aquifer. The Edwards 
Underground Water District (1993) presented data suggesting that the 
Edwards Aquifer recharge zone in northwest Bexar County is ``poised for 
explosive development as the economy rebounds.'' Spills, leaking 
storage tanks, and other sources of surface and groundwater pollution 
can harm cave and karst communities as pollutants pass through the 
karst. Since karst systems are affected by both surface and subsurface 
drainage, it is necessary to protect these areas to avoid infiltration 
of contaminants. In a study of small invertebrates that live in 
underground spaces too small to allow human access (interstitial 
spaces), Danielopol (1981) found with increased infiltration of 
pollution into the interstitial spaces, the invertebrates were replaced 
by surface species. He concluded that the ratio between surface and 
interstitial species is proportional to pollution.
    The Texas Water Commission (TWC), now part of the TNRCC, reported 
that in 1988 within the San Antonio segment of the Edwards Aquifer, 28 
oil and chemical spills occurred in Bexar County. This represented the 
greatest number of land-based spills in central Texas that affect 
surface and/or groundwater (TWC 1989). As of July 1988, Bexar County 
had between 26 and 50 confirmed leaking underground storage tanks (TWC 
1989), placing it second among central Texas counties in the number of 
confirmed underground storage tank leaks. The TWC estimates that, on 
average, every leaking underground storage tank will leak about 500 
gallons per year of

[[Page 81426]]

contaminants before the leak is detected. These tanks are considered 
one of the most significant sources of groundwater contamination in the 
State (TWC 1989).
    Increasing urbanization in Bexar County will increase the risk that 
leaks and spills may harm karst ecosystems. The TNRCC (1994) summarizes 
information on groundwater contamination and lists contaminant spills 
on a county-by-county basis as reported by the TNRCC, the Texas 
Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Texas 
Alliance of Groundwater Districts, and the Interagency Pesticide 
Database. Table 1 in TNRCC (1994) lists 350 groundwater contamination 
cases that occurred in Bexar County within the past 2 decades. The 
majority of these cases involve spills or leaks of petroleum products, 
and many of them remain unresolved at present.
    While a number of the cave entrances concerned may not be in 
imminent danger from development at the entrance site, cave 
environments can be negatively impacted by runoff, chemical spills, 
sewer leaks, pesticide use, and septic effluent associated with 
development on nearby properties within the karst zone. Many of these 
caves are situated within the porous limestone that forms the Edwards 
Aquifer and are susceptible to contamination originating on properties 
containing the cave entrances, as well as on properties that lie above 
and adjacent to subterranean reaches of the caves.
    Attributes of cave environments that are conducive to occupation by 
karst invertebrates include a relatively constant high humidity, stable 
temperature, and some energy input (Howarth 1983; Holsinger 1988; 
Elliott and Reddell 1989). Nutrient availability and moisture are 
critical limiting factors for karst animals occupying terrestrial cave 
environments (Barr 1968). Adaptations to the high relative humidity and 
low nutrient availability typical of caves are common among troglobites 
(Howarth 1983; Mitchell 1967; Barr 1968), and the nine invertebrates 
exhibit many of these adaptations (Barr 1960; Barr 1974; Gertsch 1974).
    Nearly all food energy in caves must be imported from the exterior 
(Holsinger 1988). Energy enters areas near the cave entrance via 
species that move between the surface and the cave (including cave 
crickets, bats, racoons, and other small mammals) and by means of 
organic matter that washes or falls into the caves. In deeper reaches 
of the cave, primary input of energy is through water containing 
dissolved organic matter percolating through the karst vertically 
through fissures and solution features (Howarth 1983; Holsinger 1988; 
Elliott and Reddell 1989).
    Culver (1986) discusses several documented threats to caves, and 
indicates that the covering or closing of caves greatly affects 
nutrient input because major food sources for troglobites come in 
through cave entrances. Many caves extend beyond humanly accessible 
points, thereby restricting our knowledge of other access points not 
readily noticeable from the surface. Rapid urbanization in northern 
Bexar County would likely result in a dramatic increase in impermeable 
cover in areas surrounding many of the caves. An increase in 
impermeable cover could result in decreased percolation of water into 
the caves via the karst and have a detrimental effect on the moisture 
regime and nutrient input critical to karst-dwelling species.
    Several of the caves containing the nine invertebrates have been 
subject to vandalism, trash dumping, and other threats that may be 
associated with visitation by humans. Excessive visitation by humans 
can result in habitat disturbance or loss of habitat due to soil 
compaction or changes in atmospheric conditions as well as direct 
mortality of invertebrates. Vandalism may result in the destruction or 
deterioration of the karst ecosystem. Dumping of trash (such as 
alkaline batteries) can lead to contamination of the karst ecosystems. 
Disposal of household and other wastes may attract fire ants or other 
surface-dwelling species harmful to the karst ecosystem.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. These species are of little interest in the 
insect trade or to amateur collectors. They are collected only 
occasionally by scientists conducting studies of cave fauna. While it 
is true that positive identification of karst invertebrates usually 
requires collection and permanent preservation of individual specimens, 
the number of individuals taken for this purpose is small, and such 
collections are made infrequently. We do not believe that collection of 
a few individuals has significantly reduced their numbers. Habitat 
disturbance resulting from searching for species is relatively minor 
when done by experienced collectors, and usually involves turning over 
rocks on the cave floor, which are then returned to their previous 
positions. Thus, we do not consider scientific collecting to be a 
threat at this time. Consequently, any threat from overutilization of 
these species for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational 
purposes is insignificant at this time.
    C. Disease or predation. Human activities facilitate movement of 
certain predators, such as fire ants, into an area. Construction areas, 
lawns, roadways, and landscaped areas provide habitat from which these 
species can disperse. The relative accessibility of the shallow caves 
in Bexar County leaves the nine invertebrates especially vulnerable to 
invasion by nonnative species.
    Nonnative fire ants are a major threat to the nine invertebrates. 
Fire ants are voracious predators and there is evidence that overall 
arthropod diversity drops in their presence (Vinson and Sorensen 1986, 
Porter and Savignano 1990). Reddell (in litt. 1993) lists ten cave-
inhabiting species he has observed being preyed upon by fire ants. 
Although none of the species covered in this final rule are the species 
he observed being preyed upon, several of those observed are closely 
related to the nine invertebrates or to endangered karst invertebrates 
in Travis and Williamson Counties, Texas. It is reasonable to expect 
that the nine Bexar County invertebrates are similiarly affected in 
areas where fire ants are present.
    Elliott (1992) cites other examples of predation and notes that 
fire ant activity has increased dramatically in central Texas since 
1989. Even in the unlikely event that fire ants do not affect the 
listed species directly, their presence in and around caves could have 
a drastic detrimental effect on the cave ecosystem through loss of 
species, inside the cave and out, that provide nutrient input and 
critical links in the food chain. Elliott (1994) found fire ants 
competing intensively with cave crickets during foraging; since cave 
crickets transport nutrients from outside to inside the caves, this 
will probably lead to the eventual decline of cave communities. Porter 
and Savignano (1990) found arthropod species richness and abundance was 
lower in fire ant-infested areas compared to uninfested areas.
    Of 36 caves Veni and Reddell visited while conducting a status 
survey for the nine invertebrates, fire ants were found in 26 caves 
(Reddell 1993). The 1993 status survey revealed that, of 24 caves 
confirmed to contain one or more of the nine invertebrates, at least 15 
had fire ant infestations at the time the study was conducted (Reddell 
1993). Most of the collections for the status survey were done between 
April and June of 1993, at a time during that year when fire ants had 
likely not reached peak densities (Reddell, pers. comm. 1995).

[[Page 81427]]

Consequently, fire ant infestations could be worse than reflected by 
the status survey. The rate of infestation is expected to be similar 
for the rest of the 57 caves known to contain one or more of the nine 
    Controlling fire ants once they have invaded a cave and its 
vicinity is difficult. Chemical control methods have some 
effectiveness, but the effect of these agents on non-target species is 
unclear. Consequently, use of chemicals to control fire ants in and 
close to caves is not currently advisable. At present, we recommend 
only boiling water treatment for control of fire ant colonies near 
caves inhabited by endangered karst invertebrates. This method is 
labor-intensive and only moderately effective. Carefully controlled 
chemical treatment may be appropriate in certain circumstances. 
Although control methods are available, the burden of carrying out such 
practices in areas occupied by these species is not a designated or 
mandated duty of any agency, organization, or individual. This type of 
control will likely be needed indefinitely or until a long term method 
of fire ant control is developed.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. Invertebrates 
are not included on the TPWD list of threatened and endangered species 
and are provided no protection by the State. Furthermore, TPWD's 
regulations do not contain provisions for protecting habitat of any 
listed species.
    The TNRCC regulations may give some degree of protection to 
significant aquifer recharge features, but may apply to only a few of 
the caves in which the nine invertebrates are found since the majority 
do not meet TNRCC's definition of ``sensitive feature''. TNRCC defines 
a sensitive feature as a ``permeable geologic or manmade feature 
located on the recharge zone or transition zone where: (A) A potential 
for hydrologic interconnectedness between the surface and the Edwards 
Aquifer exists, and (B) rapid infiltration to the subsurface may 
    The TNRCC regulations are designed to protect the water quality of 
the Edwards Aquifer. This is typically accomplished by prohibiting 
certain activities (for example, locating waste disposal wells or 
concentrated animal feed lots on the recharge zone), filing a Water 
Pollution Abatement Plan, and through the use of Best Management 
Practices. Complying with TNRCC regulations may also entail the capping 
(concrete sealing) of some features to prevent contaminated water from 
entering the aquifer. Such alteration or blocking of natural drainage 
patterns could result in drying of the subterranean habitat and a 
reduction in nutrient input into the karst feature. Karst features 
supporting the nine invertebrates may also be exempted from TNRCC 
regulations because a number are not found in either the recharge or 
transition zone.
    The City of San Antonio regulates development and impervious cover 
within the recharge area of the Edwards Aquifer through Ordinance 
#81491, made effective January 23, 1995. This Ordinance limits types of 
development and impervious cover within the city limits, the 
extraterritorial jurisdiction, and the recharge zone. This Ordinance 
requires, in part, identification of critical environmental features 
and may provide some protection for caves and karst features that 
provide recharge to the Edwards Aquifer. Development setbacks provided 
for in the Ordinance range from 18.3 to 30.5 m (60 to 100 ft). These 
setback distances translate into buffer areas of 0.13 to 0.37 ha (0.33 
to 0.92 ac). Setbacks from recharge features required by the Ordinance 
may not always be adequate to protect entire hydrogeological areas that 
provide surface and subsurface moisture to the karst habitat and 
surface communities that provide nutrient input into the cave. We 
believe that the amount of surface habitat needed for perpetual 
sustainability of the karst ecosystem is on the order of 40 ha (100 ac) 
based upon such factors as foraging distances of cave crickets; minimum 
viable population sizes of the dominant, native plant species; and the 
distance of edge effects on both the floral and faunal communities. In 
addition, most of the caves known to contain the nine invertebrates are 
relatively small and do not provide significant recharge, so it is 
uncertain how these caves would be considered under the Ordinance. Many 
of the caves known to have the nine invertebrates lie outside the 
recharge zone.
    The Ordinance classifies property into three categories. Category 1 
is any property having already filed official documents; such as 
development plats, water or sewer contracts, water pollution abatement 
plans, or zoning changes, or having a valid permit with the City prior 
to the effective date of the Ordinance. The Ordinance does not apply to 
these properties, allowing up to 100 percent impervious cover. Category 
2 properties are those not already designated as Category 1 and that 
lie within the corporate limits of the City of San Antonio. This 
category allows 30 percent, 50 percent, and 65 percent impervious 
cover, respectively, for single-family residential, multi-family, and 
commercial development. Category 3 property is not within Category 1 or 
2, but is within the extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) of the City 
of San Antonio and within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. Impervious 
cover is limited to 15 percent on Category 3 property. In an update by 
SAWS on January 14, 1998, they noted that from January 23, 1995 to the 
end of 1997, 29.25 percent (9,695 ha (23,958 ac)) of development within 
the recharge zone was redesignated from Category 2 or 3 to Category 1. 
As San Antonio grows and extends the corporate limits, impervious cover 
limits for non-developed land will increase with those extensions.
    We are not aware of other regulations that will specifically 
address the protection of the karst features that serve as habitat for 
these invertebrate species. At present, adequate, long term 
conservation of the karst fauna is not assured in any of the caves 
containing one or more of the nine invertebrates.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting their continued 
existence. Just as human activities may facilitate movement of fire 
ants into an area (see discussion under Factor C, above), competitors 
such as cockroaches and sow bugs can also be introduced into cave 
ecosystems in association with human activity. Native and nonnative 
species may increase and compete with the nine invertebrates directly 
by consuming the same foods and using the same habitats, or they may 
compete indirectly by using resources needed by species such as cave 
crickets that provide nutrient input to karst ecosystems. Fire ants can 
be considered both predators and competitors (see discussion under 
Factor C, above).
    Possible impacts from human entry into caves for recreational 
purposes include habitat disturbance or loss due to soil compaction or 
changes in atmospheric conditions; abandonment of the cave by animals, 
including bats, that inhabit caves but must return to the surface for 
food or other necessities, and in so-doing provide nutrient input to 
the cave ecosystem; and direct mortality of karst fauna. These impacts 
may be reduced or avoided depending on the caving skills and caution of 
the person(s) entering the cave.
    Vandalism is also a threat to karst ecosystems and can contribute 
to an alteration of the cave ecosystem through soil compaction, 
temperature changes, and contamination from household chemicals such as 
insecticides (Reddell 1993). Additionally, disturbance of habitat and 
introduction of excess nutrients, such as garbage, may facilitate the 
establishment or increase the numbers of competitors and/or

[[Page 81428]]

predators (including nonnative species) as discussed above. Certain 
caves have frequently been used for parties and other unauthorized 
activities. Trash dumping has occurred in numerous Bexar County caves. 
Reddell (1993) noted that vandalism contributed to the degradation of 
several caves that contain one or more of the nine invertebrates.
    We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by these species in determining to make this rule final. Based on 
this evaluation, the preferred action is to list Rhadine exilis, 
Rhadine infernalis, Batrisodes venyivi, Texella cokendolpheri, Cicurina 
baronia, Cicurina madla, Cicurina venii, Cicurina vespera, and 
Neoleptoneta microps as endangered.
    The Act defines an endangered species as one that is in danger of 
extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A 
threatened species is one that is likely to become an endangered 
species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. We believe that these species are endangered 
because of the high degree and immediacy of threats and their limited 

Effective Date

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), we find good cause to make 
this rule effective immediately. Because of the extremely isolated 
nature of the populations of these species, the corresponding 
negligible possibility for recolonization of destroyed habitat, and our 
knowledge that permanent destruction of habitat quality for at least 
two caves, in which some of these invertebrates live, is imminent, the 
protection provided by the Act is granted to the nine invertebrates in 
Bexar County immediately upon publication of this final rule. We 
believe that habitat destruction would temporarily intensify if the 
final rule does not become effective until 30 days after rule 
publication. Through consultations for other threatened and endangered 
species, we are currently aware of numerous developments in the range 
of the nine invertebrates.
    Several in-progress developments have known karst features on the 
property, but it is unknown whether these features support any of the 
nine invertebrates. By making this rule effective immediately, 
developers may experience temporary delays in order to conduct any 
needed surveys for karst features and for the nine invertebrates, and 
to determine how their projects may proceed in compliance with the Act. 
However, the majority of these developments would experience these 
delays regardless of the effective date. Making the rule effective 
immediately upon publication may prevent the destruction of a number of 
significant but as yet unknown locations for these species and speed 
the recovery of the species.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (i) The 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 
those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation 
of the species and (II) that may require special management 
considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. ``Conservation'' as defined in the Act means the use of all 
methods and procedures needed to bring the species to the point at 
which listing under the Act is no longer necessary.
    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act and implementing regulations (50 CFR 
424.12) require that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, 
the Secretary designate critical habitat at the time the species is 
listed. The 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 
human activity, and 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 was not prudent for the nine invertebrates because the 
publication of precise species locations and maps and descriptions of 
critical habitat in the Federal Register would make the nine 
invertebrates more vulnerable to incidents of vandalism through 
increased recreational visits to their cave habitat and through 
purposeful destruction of the caves. We also indicated that designation 
of critical habitat was not prudent because it would not provide any 
additional benefit beyond that provided through listing as endangered.
    In the last few years, a series of court decisions have overturned 
a number of our determinations that designation of critical habitat for 
other species would not be prudent (for example, 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 have reexamined the question of whether critical 
habitat for the nine invertebrates would be prudent.
    We examined the available evidence for the nine invertebrates and 
did not find specific evidence of collection or trade of these or any 
similarly situated species. There have been instances of vandalism to 
caves due to recreational cave use. By designating critical habitat in 
a manner that does not identify specific cave locations, the threat of 
vandalism by recreational visits to the cave or purposeful destruction 
by unknown parties should not be increased.
    In the absence of a finding that critical habitat would 
demonstrably increase threats to a species, if there are any benefits 
to critical habitat designation, then a prudent finding is warranted. 
In the case of these species, there may be some benefits to designation 
of critical habitat. 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 protection from 
destruction or adverse modification through required consultation under 
section 7 of the Act with regard to actions carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency. Section 7 also requires conferences on 
Federal actions that are likely to result in the adverse modification 
or destruction of proposed critical habitat. 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.
    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to consult 
with the Service to ensure that any action they carry out, authorize, 
or fund does not jeopardize the continued existence of a federally 
listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical 
habitat. Our implementing regulations (50 CFR part 402) define 
``jeopardize the continuing existence of'' (a species) and 
``destruction or adverse modification of'' (critical habitat) in very 
similar terms. To jeopardize the continuing existence of a species 
means to engage in an action ``that reasonably would be expected, 
directly or indirectly, to reduce appreciably the likelihood of both 
the survival and recovery of a listed species by reducing the 
reproduction, numbers, or distribution

[[Page 81429]]

of that species.'' Destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat means a ``direct or indirect alteration that appreciably 
diminishes the value of critical habitat for both the survival and 
recovery of a listed species in the wild.'' Both definitions describe 
an action that would result in an appreciable detrimental effect to 
both the survival and recovery of a listed species.
    A critical habitat designation for habitat currently occupied by 
these species would usually result in the same outcome under section 7 
consultation as if the critical habitat had not been designated because 
an action that destroys or adversely modifies such critical habitat 
would also be likely to result in jeopardy for these species. However, 
there may be a few instances where section 7 consultation would be 
triggered only if critical habitat is designated, such as areas where 
the primary constituent elements of critical habitat are present but 
adequate surveys have not yet been conducted to find any of the nine 
invertebrates. Because the nine species are small, inconspicuous, and 
reclusive, and their population levels are low, surveys may have been 
inadequate to detect them based on insufficient number of surveys, 
insufficient effort in surveying, inappropriate climatic conditions for 
surveying, or other factors. It is common that no individuals are seen 
in surveys of caves where they are known to be present.
    Designation of critical habitat can help focus conservation 
activities for a listed species by identifying areas that contain the 
physical and biological features essential for the conservation of that 
species. Designation of critical habitat alerts the public as well as 
land-managing agencies to the importance of these areas.
    We find that critical habitat designation is prudent for the nine 
invertebrates due to the increased benefits to the species described 
above. We find that these benefits are not outweighed by potential 
increased threats of designating critical habitat.
    The Final Listing Priority Guidance for FY 2000 (64 FR 57114) 
states that we will undertake critical habitat determinations and 
designations during FY 2000 as allowed by our funding allocation for 
that year. As explained in detail in the Listing Priority Guidance, our 
listing budget is currently insufficient to allow us to immediately 
complete all of the listing actions required by the Act. Listing these 
nine invertebrate species without designation of critical habitat will 
allow us to concentrate our limited resources on higher-priority 
listing actions, while allowing us to invoke protections needed for the 
conservation of the nine invertebrates without further delay. We will 
propose designation of critical habitat in the future at such time when 
our available resources and priorities allow.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing encourages and results in 
conservation actions by Federal, State, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act provides for possible land 
acquisition and cooperation with the States and requires that recovery 
actions be carried out for all listed species. The protection required 
of Federal agencies and the prohibitions against taking and harm are 
discussed, in part, below.
    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 being designated. Regulations implementing this interagency 
cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR part 402. 
Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer with us on any 
action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a 
species proposed for listing or result in destruction or adverse 
modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is listed 
subsequently, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to ensure that 
activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of the species or to destroy or 
adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a 
listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency 
must enter into formal consultation with us.
    In addition, section 7(a)(1) of the Act requires all Federal 
agencies to review the programs they administer and use these programs 
in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. All Federal agencies, in 
consultation with us, are to carry out programs for the conservation of 
endangered species and threatened species listed pursuant to section 4 
of the Act.
    Examples of Federal agency actions that may require consultation as 
described in the preceding paragraphs include operations at Camp Bullis 
Military Reservation; Environmental Protection Agency authorization, 
registration, and regulation of pesticides and of discharges under the 
Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344 et seq.) such as Construction General 
Permits and any applicable National Pollution Discharge and Elimination 
System permits; Federal Highway Administration and Army Corps of 
Engineers (Corps) involvement in such projects as road and bridge 
construction and maintenance; other Corps projects subject to section 
404 of the Clean Water Act; and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 
Development activities, funding, and authorizations.
    The Act and implementing regulations set forth a series of general 
prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered wildlife. The 
prohibitions, codified at 50 CFR 17.21, in part, make it illegal for 
any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take 
(includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect; or to attempt any of these), import or export, 
ship in interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or 
sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed 
species. It also is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, 
transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. 
Certain exceptions apply to our agents and agents of State conservation 
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered wildlife under certain circumstances. Regulations 
governing permits for endangered wildlife are codified at 50 CFR 17.22 
and 17.23. Such permits are available for scientific purposes, to 
enhance propagation or survival of the species, and/or for incidental 
take in the course of otherwise lawful activities. Because these 
species are not in trade, we do not expect requests for hardship 
exemption permits.
    To obtain a copy of regulations regarding listed wildlife or to ask 
about prohibitions and permits, contact the Legal Instruments Examiner, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Endangered Species, P. O. 
Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103-1306 (telephone 505/248-6920; facsimile 
    The karst features inhabited by these species and the ecosystems on 
which they depend have developed slowly over millions of years and 
cannot be recreated once they are destroyed. Protection of the 
ecosystems that support the nine invertebrates requires maintaining 
moist, humid conditions and stable temperatures in the air-filled 
voids; maintaining an adequate nutrient supply; preventing 
contamination of the water entering the ecosystem;

[[Page 81430]]

preventing or controlling invasion of nonnative species such as fire 
ants; maintaining of a healthy ecosystem surrounding the karst 
features; and other actions as deemed necessary.
    Protecting the karst features inhabited by the nine invertebrates 
entails protecting sufficient natural surface and subsurface area 
surrounding the karst features to maintain the integrity of the karst 
ecosystem. Due to the paucity of light and limited capability for 
photosynthesis, karst ecosystems are almost entirely dependent upon 
surface plant and animal communities for nutrient and energy input.
    Water quality is also an important factor in the conservation of 
karst invertebrates. Caves and karst features are susceptible to 
pollution from contaminated water entering the ground because karst has 
little capacity for purification. Transmission of groundwater flows in 
karst is comparatively rapid and provides little opportunity for 
natural filtering or other purifying effects (IUCN 1997). The area that 
has the greatest potential to contribute water-borne contaminants into 
the karst ecosystem is the surface and subsurface drainage basin that 
supplies water to the ecosystem. Certain activities within this 
hydrologically sensitive area, such as application of pesticides and 
fertilizers, leakage from sewer lines, and urban runoff, could 
contaminate the karst ecosystem. The potential for contaminants to 
travel through karst systems may be increased in some areas relative to 
others due to local geologic features. Areas surrounding the karst 
features providing habitat for the nine invertebrates should be 
maintained so as to minimize the possibility of introducing 
contaminants into the karst ecosystem.
    In addition to providing nutrients to the karst ecosystem, the 
surface plant community also serves to buffer the karst ecosystem 
against changes in temperature and moisture regimes, pollutants 
entering from the surface (Biological Advisory Team 1990, Veni & 
Associates 1988), and other factors such as sedimentation resulting 
from soil erosion. Protecting native vegetation may also help control 
certain nonnative species (such as fire ants) that may compete with 
and/or prey upon the listed species and other karst fauna (Service 
1994). Soil disturbance, introduction of nursery plants and sod 
containing fire ants, dumping of garbage (a potential food source), and 
installation of electrical equipment (fire ants appear to be attracted 
to electrical fields) are some of the factors contributing to fire ant 
    It is our policy (July 1, 1994; 59 FR 34272) to identify to the 
maximum extent practicable at the time a species is listed those 
activities that would or would not likely constitute a violation of 
section 9 of the Act. The intent of this policy is to increase public 
awareness of the effect of the listing on proposed and ongoing 
activities within a species' range.
    Veni 1994(a) defines five karst zones in the San Antonio area based 
on geology, distribution of known caves, distribution of cave fauna, 
and primary factors that determine the presence, size, shape, and 
extent of caves with respect to cave development (see map 1). The five 
zones reflect the likelihood of finding a karst feature that will 
provide habitat for endemic invertebrates as follows:
    Zone 1: Areas known to contain one or more of the nine 
    Zone 2: Areas having a high probability of suitable habitat for the 
    Zone 3: Areas that probably do not contain the invertebrates;
    Zone 4: Areas that require further research but are generally 
equivalent to zone 3, although they may include sections that could be 
classified as zone 2 or zone 5; and
    Zone 5: Areas that do not contain the invertebrates.
    Veni (1994a) includes detailed discussion of the geologic makeup of 
these karst zones. Map 1 simplifies Veni's karst zone maps to show 
where actions may or may not be likely to take karst invertebrates. 
Zones 1 and 2 are combined in the shaded areas, zones 3 and 4 are 
combined in the hatched areas, and the remaining area falls in zone 5. 
Zone 5 does not have karst-forming strata and the nine invertebrates 
are not expected to occur in these areas.

[[Page 81431]]


    The likelihood that activities in zones 1-4 will result in take of 
listed invertebrates is related to the likelihood of species 
occurrence, which in turn is related to the likelihood of karst 
features being present and may require specialized knowledge and 
familiarity with caves, geology of karst areas, and local geology to 
determine. The following paragraphs outline steps suggested to avoid 
the possibility of taking karst invertebrates for properties that lie 
entirely or partially within zones 1, 2, 3, or 4. If a property is in 
zone 5, then no precautions to avoid taking these species should be 
    In zone 1 or 2, a survey by a qualified geologist or geohydrologist 
to search for karst features is recommended. In zones 3 and 4, where 
the presence of karst features is possible, but less likely, we 
recommend that landowners visually inspect their property for obvious 
karst features, noticeable sinks, or caves. If the inspection reveals 
no karst features, and no subterranean voids are encountered during 
subsequent activities, then no further precautions should be necessary. 
However, if an inspection reveals caves, noticeable sinks, or karst 
features on the property, and/or caves, karst features, or subterranean 
voids are discovered during the course of any activity carried out on 
the property, the features should be examined by a qualified biologist, 
who has a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service section 10(a)(1)(A) scientific 
permit, for the presence of the listed karst invertebrates. If karst 
invertebrates are found, contact us for additional advice and 
information on how to avoid

[[Page 81432]]

taking the species or, if taking cannot be avoided, the process for 
obtaining incidental take authorization (see ADDRESSES).
    If property is adjacent to a known occupied cave and within 
geohydrologically sensitive zones of influence on that cave, then 
activities discussed below could lead to take of species on that 
adjacent property. If you are in or adjacent to zone 1 karst, 
consultation with us is advisable to determine if you are adjacent to a 
known occupied cave or within geohydrologically sensitive zones of 
influence on that cave.
    Persons qualified to identify and evaluate the significance of 
karst features may include professional geologists or hydrogeologists, 
biological consultants familiar with cave and karst ecosystems, and 
other similarly knowledgeable persons. Property owners should take care 
in conducting karst surveys or selecting a person to conduct a karst 
survey so as to obtain the most accurate information possible and to 
avoid doing any damage to a karst feature or the karst ecosystem during 
the survey.
    Collection and identification of karst invertebrates requires 
specialized knowledge and familiarity with cave biology and ecology and 
the life histories of karst invertebrates. Identification of some 
specimens will require microscopic examination and expert taxonomic 
assistance. Persons qualified to search for karst invertebrates and 
make preliminary identifications of specimens should also be able to 
evaluate various karst features' suitability as habitat for the 
species. Extreme care must be taken when surveying for invertebrates in 
karst ecosystems, and these invertebrate surveys must only be done by 
qualified individuals who are permitted by the Fish and Wildlife 
Service to conduct such surveys.
    We believe that, based on the best available information, 
activities in zones 1-4 that could potentially result in take include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) Collecting or handling of the species;
    (2) Surface or subsurface activities that may directly result in 
destruction or alteration of species' habitat (such as trenching for 
installation of utility or sewer lines, excavation, etc.);
    (3) Alteration of the topography within the surface or subsurface 
drainage area or other alterations to any cave or karst feature 
providing habitat for the species that results in changes to the cave 
environment. This may include, but is not limited to, such activities 
as filling cave entrances or otherwise reducing airflow, which limits 
oxygen availability; increasing airflow that results in drying; 
altering natural drainage patterns with the result of changing the 
amount of water entering the cave or karst feature; removal or 
disturbance of native surface vegetation; increasing impervious cover 
within the surface or subsurface drainage areas of the cave or karst 
feature; and altering the entrance or opening of the cave or karst 
feature in a way that would disrupt movements of raccoons, opossums, 
cave crickets, or other animals that provide nutrient input, or 
otherwise negatively altering the movement of nutrients into the cave 
or karst feature;
    (4) Discharge or dumping of chemicals, silt, pollutants, household 
or industrial waste, or other harmful material into karst features or 
areas that drain into karst features or that affect surface plant and 
animal communities that support karst ecosystems;
    (5) Pesticide or fertilizer application in or near karst features 
containing the nine invertebrates or areas that drain into these karst 
features or that affect surface plant and animal communities that 
support karst ecosystems. Careful use of pesticides in the vicinity of 
karst features may be necessary in some instances to control nonnative 
fire ants. Guidelines for controlling fire ants in the vicinity of 
karst features are available from us (see ADDRESSES section);
    (6) Activities within caves that lead to soil compaction, changes 
in atmospheric conditions, abandonment of the cave by bats or other 
fauna, or direct mortality of the species; and
    (7) Activities that attract or increase access for fire ants, 
cockroaches, or other invasive predators or competitors to caves or 
karst features (for example, dumping of garbage in or around caves or 
karst features).
    We believe that, based on the best available information, the 
following actions will not result in take, provided such activities do 
not result in any of the situations described above:
    (1) Construction activities in non-karstic areas;
    (2) Maintenance of existing roads (this does not include widening);
    (3) Recreational activities on the surface, including camping, 
hiking, and hunting; and,
    (4) Chemical-free maintenance of established lawns and other 
landscaping features, including mowing, pruning, seeding, removing dead 
trees, and planting trees and shrubs that are free of fire ants, 
particularly using native plant species.
    We welcome the involvement of landowners in conservation efforts 
for the nine invertebrates. Conservation measures for these species may 
include careful fire ant control in the vicinity of occupied karst 
features (following Service-recommended methods); construction/
disturbance setbacks from caves; and avoidance of the use of chemical 
pesticides or fertilizers, surface topography alteration, and trenching 
within specific areas.

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

    This rule does not contain new or revised information collection 
for which Office of Management and Budget approval is required under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act. Information collections associated with 
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) is covered by an existing OMB 
approval, and is assigned OMB Control Number 1018-0094. The Service may 
not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to a 
collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We determined that we do not need to prepare Environmental 
Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, as defined under the 
authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 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).

References Cited

    A complete list of references we cited in this rule is available 
upon request from the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(see ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this final rule is Christina Longacre, Fish 
and Wildlife Service (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, part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations, is amended as set forth below:

[[Page 81433]]


    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. Section 17.11(h) is amended by adding the following to the List 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order under 
``ARACHNIDS'' and ``INSECTS'' to read as follows:

Sec. 17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

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

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
INSECTS...............................    .......................    .......................

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Beetle, [no common name]..............  Rhadine exilis...........  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Beetle, [no common name]..............  Rhadine infernalis.......  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Beetle, Helotes mold..................  Batrisodes venyivi.......  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Harvestman, Robber Baron Cave.........  Texella cokendolpheri....  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Spider, Government Canyon cave........  Neoleptoneta microps.....  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Spider, [no common name]..............  Cicurina venii...........  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Spider, Madla's cave..................  Cicurina madla...........  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Spider, Robber Baron cave.............  Cicurina baronia.........  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                  *                  *                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Spider, vesper cave...................  Cicurina vespera.........  U.S.A. (TX)..............  E                            706           NA           NA

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

    Dated: December 19, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-32809 Filed 12-22-00; 8:45 am]