[Federal Register: July 16, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 136)]
[Page 46683-46684]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Public Workshops for the Draft Conservation Strategy 
for the Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata Roll.)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of public workshops.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 
that public workshops will be held to introduce the Draft Conservation 
Strategy for the Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata Roll.), a 
candidate species for listing.

DATES: Four public workshops will be held. Two workshops will take 
place on July 23, 2002, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.; and two on 
July 25, 2002, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The public workshops on July 23, 2002, will be held at the 
El Dorado Public Library in the City of South Lake Tahoe, California, 
and the workshops on July 25, 2002, will be held at the North Tahoe 
Conference Center in Kings Beach, California. The Draft Conservation 
Strategy is available for review on the Tahoe Regional Planning 
Agency's Web site at http://www.trpa.org/tyc/Draft--strategy.html, or 
hard copies may be requested by writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 
Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada, 89502. Written comments 
will be accepted at the workshops or may be

[[Page 46684]]

sent to the Field Supervisor. You may also send comments by electronic 
mail (e-mail) to fw1tyc@r1.fws.gov. Please submit comments in ASCII 
file format and avoid the use of special characters and encryption. 
Please include ``Attn: Tahoe yellow cress'' and your name and return 
address in your e-mail message. If you do not receive a confirmation 
from the system that we have received your e-mail message, contact us 
directly by calling our Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office at telephone 
number 775-861-6300.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jody Fraser, Nevada Fish and Wildlife 
Office, at the above address and telephone; (facsimile 775-861-6301).



    Tahoe yellow cress (Rorippa subumbellata Roll.), a member of the 
mustard family (Brassicaceae), is restricted to the shores of Lake 
Tahoe in California and Nevada. This species is a small perennial herb 
with somewhat fleshy stems and leaves and small yellow flowers. It is 
primarily found growing in coarse to medium sand, near the mouths of 
streams or in back-beach depressions around the shore of the lake.
    Because of its limited distribution and threats facing the species 
(see discussion below), a Draft Conservation Strategy has been 
developed to promote the cooperative protection and management of Tahoe 
yellow cress and its habitat. The public workshops are being held to 
provide a brief overview of the Conservation Strategy, introduce the 
objectives of this cooperative effort, and encourage public 
    The distribution and habitat of Tahoe yellow cress are limited. The 
majority of sites supporting this species are found on the west and 
south shores in California where appropriate habitat is relatively 
common. There is limited suitable habitat on the east shore in Nevada, 
which is largely dominated by boulders and rocky cliffs. It grows 
almost exclusively between the elevations of 1,898 m (6,223 ft) and 
1,900 m (6,230 ft). During years with high lake levels, most of the 
available habitat is inundated, but the plant has been observed to 
recolonize newly-exposed beaches after being inundated between 2 to 4 
years (Josselyn et al. 1992).
    Surveys for Tahoe yellow cress have been conducted throughout the 
Lake Tahoe region since 1979. Historically, a total of 51 occurrences 
of this taxon have been documented from around the lakeshore; however, 
the plant has never been observed at all sites at any one time. Survey 
results through the year 2000 showed that Tahoe yellow cress occupied 
only 27 percent of the known, historic sites. Evidence suggests the 
decline in the number of sites occupied by Tahoe yellow cress is 
primarily due to: (1) Alterations in lake level dynamics caused by 
construction and operation of the Truckee River outlet dam and 
reservoir; (2) destruction of known and potentially suitable habitat by 
the construction of piers, jetties, and other structures; (3) high 
levels of recreational activity associated with beaches; (4) 
disturbance of habitat by public and private property maintenance 
activities; and (5) possibly stochastic environmental events. While we 
recognize that this species is apparently adapted to a highly dynamic 
environment, human-induced factors caused us to evaluate the status of 
the species and ultimately designate it as a candidate for listing.
    On February 28, 1996, we published in the Federal Register (61 FR 
7595) a Notice of Review of plant and animal taxa that are candidates 
for listing as endangered or threatened. This combined notice also 
presented revised candidate lists which eliminated the separation of 
species into three categories. The former system led many people to the 
mistaken conclusion that the addition of thousands of species to the 
endangered list was imminent. Under the revised list, only category 1 
candidate species for which there was enough information to support a 
listing proposal would be considered ``candidates.'' In the February 
28, 1996, Notice of Review, we removed Tahoe yellow cress from the 
candidate list because the available information did not support 
issuance of a proposed listing. Following an updated assessment of the 
status of Tahoe yellow cress and its increasing vulnerability to 
threats, we included this taxon as a candidate species in the Notice of 
Review published in the Federal Register on October 25, 1999 (64 FR 
    Tahoe yellow cress has been documented on lands administered by the 
United States Forest Service (USFS), Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit 
(LTBMU), the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation 
(CDPR), the State of Nevada Division of State Parks (NDSP), Placer and 
El Dorado county lands, City of South Lake Tahoe lands, and on private 
    Activities within the Lake Tahoe shorezone, on both public and 
private lands, are regulated under various agency policies and 
management directions, many of which include provisions for protection 
of this species. However, despite these protective mechanisms, current 
protection is not adequate. Because of the imminent threats facing the 
species, a task force has been formed to develop and implement a 
conservation strategy for Tahoe yellow cress. The strategy is coupled 
with a Memorandum of Understanding/conservation agreement (MOU/CA) that 
will be signed by the current participants to demonstrate their long-
term commitment to protection of the species. Parties who wish to take 
a more active role in conservation of this species may be added to the 
MOU/CA in the future. Implementation of this strategy is a cooperative 
effort being carried out under the auspices of a multi-agency and 
private interest group task force. Success of this strategy is largely 
dependent upon voluntary participation and coordination among parties.

Public Meeting

    Public workshops to introduce the Draft Conservation Strategy for 
Tahoe yellow cress are scheduled to be held on July 23, 2002, from 2 to 
4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at the El Dorado Public Library in the City of 
South Lake Tahoe, California, and on July 25, 2002, from 2 to 4 p.m. 
and 5 to 7 p.m. at the North Tahoe Conference Center in Kings Beach, 
California. Please contact the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office at the 
above address with any questions concerning these public workshops.

Public Comments

    We will accept comments on the Draft Conservation Strategy through 
August 8, 2002. Prepared comments will also be accepted at the public 
workshops. Written comments should be submitted to the Field Supervisor 
of the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office in the ADDRESSES section.

    Dated: July 9, 2002.
Miel R. Corbett,
Acting Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1.
[FR Doc. 02-17886 Filed 7-15-02; 8:45 am]