[Federal Register: July 22, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 140)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 47726-47740]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI61

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Sonoma 
County Distinct Population Segment of the California Tiger Salamander 
as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Emergency rule.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), exercise our 
authority to emergency list the Sonoma County Distinct Population 
Segment of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), 
as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). Currently, only seven known breeding sites of the Sonoma County 
population remain. In the past two years, four breeding sites have been 
destroyed or have suffered severe degradation. Plans to construct a 
residential development will result in the loss of one of the seven 
remaining breeding sites and severely impact and further isolate 
another two of the remaining breeding sites. Because these losses 
constitute an emergency posing a significant and imminent risk to the 
well-being of the Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment of the 
California tiger salamander, we find that emergency listing is 
    This emergency rule provides Federal protection pursuant to the Act 
for a period of 240 days. A proposed rule to list the Sonoma County 
Distinct Population Segment of the California tiger salamander as 
endangered is published concurrently with this emergency rule in this 
same issue of the Federal Register in the Proposed Rule Section.

DATES: This emergency rule becomes immediately effective July 22, 2002, 
and expires March 19, 2003.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, 
Suite W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.

LaVoie, or Chris Nagano, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, at the 

[[Page 47727]]

listed above (telephone 916/414-6600; facsimile 916/414-6713).



    The California tiger salamander was first described as a full 
species, Ambystoma californiense, by Gray in 1853, based on specimens 
that had been collected in Monterey, California (Grinnell and Camp 
1917). Storer (1925) and Bishop (1943) also considered the California 
tiger salamander to be a species. Dunn (1940), Gehlbach (1967), and 
Frost (1985) stated the California tiger salamander was a subspecies of 
the more widespread tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). However, 
based on recent studies of the genetics, geographic distribution, and 
ecological differences among the members of the A. tigrinum complex, 
the California tiger salamander is now considered to be a distinct 
species (Shaffer and Stanley 1991; Shaffer et al. 1993; Jones 1993; 
Shaffer and McKnight 1996; Irschick and Shaffer 1997; Petranka 1998).
    The California tiger salamander is a large, stocky, terrestrial 
salamander with small eyes and a broad, rounded snout. Adults may reach 
a total length of 208 millimeters (mm) (8.2 inches (in)), with males 
generally averaging about 203 mm (8 in) in total length, and females 
averaging about 173 mm (6.8 in) in total length. For both sexes, the 
average snout-vent length is approximately 91 mm (3.6 in). The small 
eyes have black irises and protrude from the head. Coloration consists 
of white or pale yellow spots or bars on a black background on the back 
and sides. The belly varies from almost uniform white or pale yellow to 
a variegated pattern of white or pale yellow and black. Males can be 
distinguished from females, especially during the breeding season, by 
their swollen cloacae (a common chamber into which the intestinal, 
urinary, and reproductive canals discharge), more developed tail fins, 
and larger overall size (Stebbins 1962; Loredo and Van Vuren 1996).
    California tiger salamanders are restricted to California and their 
range does not naturally overlap with any other species of tiger 
salamander (Stebbins 1985; Petranka 1998). Based on genetic analysis, 
there are seven populations of California tiger salamanders, which are 
found on the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma County, the Sacramento Valley 
area (Yolo, Solano, Colusa, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Sacramento 
Counties), Stanislaus County, the east Central Valley (Madera, Fresno, 
and north Tulare Counties), the Diablo Range (western Merced and San 
Benito Counties), the Inner Coast Range (Monterey and San Luis Obispo 
Counties), and Santa Barbara County (Shaffer et al. 1993). The 
California tiger salamander on the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma County 
inhabits low elevation (below 60 meters (m) (200 feet (ft)) vernal 
pools and seasonal ponds, associated grassland, and oak savannah plant 
communities. The historic range of the species also may have included 
the Petaluma River watershed, as there is one historic record of a 
specimen from the vicinity of Petaluma from the mid-1800s (Borland 
1856, as cited in Storer 1925).
    California tiger salamanders on the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma 
County are geographically separated from other California tiger 
salamander populations. The closest California tiger salamander 
populations to Sonoma County are located in Contra Costa, Yolo, and 
Solano Counties, which are separated from the Sonoma County population 
by the Coast Range, Napa River, and the Carquinez Straits, a distance 
of about 72 kilometers (km) (45 miles (mi)).
    The known breeding sites of the California tiger salamander in 
Sonoma County are restricted to Huichica-Wright-Zamora and Clear Lake-
Reyes soils series/associations as defined by the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA 1972, 1990). The poorly drained soils in the 
Huichica-Wright-Zamora association (yellow outlined in red on Soil Map) 
are considered prime soils for containing wetlands, and more 
specifically, prime soils for habitat containing California tiger 
salamander (P. Northen Sonoma State University pers. comm.). The 
Huichica-Wright-Zamora association is restricted to the Santa Rosa 
Plain and the vicinity of the town of Sonoma (USDA 1972, 1990). The 
poorly drained soils in the Clear Lake-Reyes association are considered 
suitable to marginal soils for containing wetlands or habitat for 
California tiger salamander (Northen pers. comm.). The Clear Lake-Reyes 
association is found from the Cotati region south and east of Petaluma 
to the tidelands of northern San Francisco Bay where the salt marsh 
habitat is unsuitable for the California tiger salamander. There are 
also scattered areas of the Clear Lake-Reyes association found south 
and southwest of the town of Sonoma (USDA 1972, 1990). There are no 
known records of the California tiger salamander from the area around 
the town of Sonoma (D. McGriff California Department of Fish and Game 
pers. comm.) and there is now extensive urban and agricultural 
development in this portion of the County. The remainder of areas in 
Sonoma County outside of the two soil series/associations discussed 
above contain soils that are well drained, rocky, or otherwise 
unsuitable for habitat for the California tiger salamander.
    Subadult and adult California tiger salamanders spend the dry 
summer and fall months of the year estivating (a state of dormancy or 
inactivity in response to hot, dry weather) in the burrows of small 
mammals, such as California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) 
and Botta's pocket gopher (Thomomys bottae) (Loredo and Van Vuren 1996; 
Petranka 1998; Trenham 1998a). During estivation, California tiger 
salamanders eat very little (Shaffer et al. 1993). Once fall or winter 
rains begin, they emerge from these retreats on nights of high relative 
humidity and during rains to feed and migrate to the breeding ponds 
(Stebbins 1985, 1989; Shaffer et al. 1993). The salamanders breeding 
in, and living around, a seasonal pool or pools, and associated uplands 
where estivation can occur, constitute a breeding site. A breeding site 
is defined as a location where the animals are able to successfully 
breed in years of ``normal'' rainfall and complete their estivation. 
Normal rainfall in Santa Rosa is 76 centimeters (cm) (30 in) per year 
(National Weather Service 2002).
    Adult California tiger salamanders may migrate up to 2 km (1.2 mi) 
from their estivation sites to the breeding ponds (Sam Sweet, 
University of California, Santa Barbara, in litt., 1998). The distance 
between these areas depends on local topography and vegetation, and the 
distribution of ground squirrel or other rodent burrows (Stebbins 1989; 
Lawrence Hunt, consultant, in litt.,1998). Males migrate before females 
(Twitty 1941; Shaffer et al. 1993; Loredo and Van Vuren 1996; Trenham 
1998b). Males usually remain in the ponds for an average of about 6 to 
8 weeks, while females stay for approximately 1 to 2 weeks. In dry 
years, both sexes may stay for shorter periods (Loredo and Van Vuren 
1996; Trenham 1998b). Although most marked salamanders have been 
recaptured at the pond where they were initially captured, in one study 
approximately 20 percent were recaptured at different ponds (Trenham 
1998b). The rate of natural movement of salamanders among breeding 
sites depends on the distance between the ponds or complexes of ponds 
and on the intervening habitat (e.g., salamanders may move more quickly 
through sparsely covered and more open grassland versus more densely 
vegetated lands) (Trenham 1998a). As with migration distances, the 
number of ponds used by an individual over its

[[Page 47728]]

lifetime will be dependent on landscape features and environmental 
    The adults mate in the ponds and the females lay their eggs in the 
water (Twitty 1941; Shaffer et al. 1993). Females attach their eggs 
singly, or in rare circumstances, in groups of two to four, to twigs, 
grass stems, vegetation, or debris (Storer 1925; Twitty 1941). In ponds 
with limited or no vegetation, they may be attached to objects, such as 
rocks and boards, on the bottom (Jennings and Hayes 1994). After 
breeding, adults leave the pond and return to the small mammal burrows 
(Loredo et al. 1996; Trenham 1998a), although they may continue to come 
out nightly for approximately the next 2 weeks to feed (Shaffer et al. 
1993). In drought years, the seasonal ponds may not form and the adults 
cannot breed (Barry and Shaffer 1994).
    Eggs hatch in 10 to 14 days, with newly hatched larvae ranging from 
11.5 to 14.2 mm (0.45 to 0.56 in) in total length. The young 
salamanders (larvae) are aquatic. They are yellowish gray in color and 
have broad heads, large, feathery gills, and broad dorsal fins that 
extend well onto their back. The larvae feed on zooplankton, small 
crustaceans, and aquatic insects for about 6 weeks after hatching, 
after which they switch to larger prey (Anderson 1968). Larger larvae 
have been known to consume smaller tadpoles of Pacific treefrogs 
(Pseudacris regilla) and California red-legged frogs (Rana aurora) (J. 
Anderson 1968; P. Anderson 1968). The larvae are among the top aquatic 
predators in the seasonal pond ecosystems. The larvae often rest on the 
pond bottom in shallow water, but also may be found at different layers 
in the water column in deeper water. The young salamanders are wary and 
when approached by potential predators will dart into the vegetation on 
the bottom of the ponds (Storer 1925).
    The larval stage of the California tiger salamander usually lasts 3 
to 6 months, as most ponds dry up during the summer (Petranka 1998). 
Amphibian larvae must grow to a critical minimum body size before they 
can metamorphose (change into a different physical form) to the 
terrestrial stage (Wilbur and Collins 1973). Individuals collected near 
Stockton in the Central Valley during April varied from 47 to 58 mm 
(1.85 to 2.28 in) in length (Storer 1925). Feaver (1971) found that 
California tiger salamander larvae metamorphosed into terrestrial 
juveniles and left the breeding ponds 60 to 94 days after the eggs had 
been laid, with larvae developing faster in smaller, more rapidly 
drying ponds. The longer the ponding duration, the larger the larvae 
are able to grow, and the more likely they are to survive as 
metamorphosed juveniles and reproduce as adults (Semlitsch et al. 1988; 
Morey 1998). The larvae will perish if a site dries before they 
complete metamorphosis (P.R. Anderson 1968; Feaver 1971). Pechmann et 
al. (1988) found a strong positive correlation between ponding duration 
and total number of metamorphosed juveniles in five salamander species.
    When the metamorphosed juveniles leave their ponds, in the late 
spring or early summer, before the ponds dry completely, they settle in 
small mammal burrows at the end of their nightly movements (Zeiner et 
al. 1988; Shaffer et al. 1993; Loredo et al. 1996). Like the adults, 
juveniles may emerge from these retreats to feed during nights of high 
relative humidity (Storer 1925; Shaffer et al. 1993) before settling in 
their selected estivation sites for the dry hot summer months. 
Juveniles have been observed to migrate up to 1.6 km (1 mi) from 
breeding ponds to estivation areas (Austin and Shaffer 1992).
    Lifetime reproductive success for California and other tiger 
salamanders is low. Trenham et al. (2000) found the average female bred 
1.3 times and produced 8.5 young that survived to metamorphosis per 
reproductive effort; this resulted in roughly 11 metamorphic offspring 
over the lifetime of a female. Preliminary data suggest that most 
individuals of the California tiger salamanders require 2 years to 
become sexually mature, but some individuals may be slower to mature 
(Shaffer et al. 1993). Some animals do not breed until they are 4 to 6 
years old. While individuals may survive for more than 10 years, many 
may breed only once, and, in some populations, less than 5 percent of 
marked juveniles survive to become breeding adults (Trenham 1998b). 
With such low recruitment, isolated populations can decline greatly 
from unusual, randomly occurring natural events as well as from human-
caused factors that reduce breeding success and individual survival. 
Factors that repeatedly lower breeding success in isolated ponds that 
are too far from other ponds for migrating individuals to replenish the 
population can function to quickly extirpate a population.
    The life history and ecology of the California tiger salamander on 
the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma County make it likely that this 
population has a metapopulation structure (Hanski and Gilpin 1991). A 
metapopulation is a set of local populations or breeding sites within 
an area, where typically migration from one local population or 
breeding site to other areas containing suitable habitat is possible, 
but not routine. Movement between areas containing suitable habitat 
(i.e., dispersal) is restricted due to inhospitable conditions around 
and between areas of suitable habitat. Because many of the areas of 
suitable habitat may be small, and support small numbers of 
salamanders, local extinction of these small units may be common. A 
metapopulation's persistence depends on the combined dynamics of these 
local extinctions and the subsequent recolonization of these areas by 
dispersal (Hanski and Gilpin 1991, 1997; McCullough 1996; Hanski 1999).
    We believe habitat loss has reduced the sizes and connectivity 
between patches of suitable and occupied salamander habitat on the 
Santa Rosa Plain. The reduction in the extent and amount of suitable 
water bodies, grasslands, and other suitable upland habitats likely has 
eliminated connectivity among most of the known breeding sites, making 
recolonization of some sites more difficult following local extinction. 
In addition, the reduction of habitat below a certain size threshold 
has the effect of reducing the quality of the remaining habitat by 
reducing the size of habitat boundaries, and making effects of other 
factors such as amount of food, availability of rodent burrows, 
pesticide use, mortality from vehicles, and predators more pronounced 
given the smaller area now exposed to such impacts. There is not enough 
data to determine what the size threshold for habitat might be, whereby 
any further reduction would lower the quality of the remaining habitat. 
But it is probable that the acreage is dependent on factors such as the 
type of building occurring along habitat boundaries (i.e., residential, 
industrial, community park), number of roads bordering the habitat and 
the amount of traffic those roads experience, amount of pesticide use 
within the breeding pool watershed, or whether domestic animals or 
people have access to the site during periods when salamanders are 
vulnerable such as migrating to or from estivation sites. It is likely 
that there is a size beyond which the combination of various impacts 
will result in the loss of more salamanders than the Sonoma County 
California tiger salamander population can produce, and thus local 
extinction will occur.

Previous Federal Action

    On September 18, 1985, we published the Vertebrate Notice of Review 
(NOR) (50 FR 37958), which included the California tiger salamander as 
a category 2 candidate species for possible future

[[Page 47729]]

listing as threatened or endangered. Category 2 candidates were those 
taxa for which information contained in our files indicated that 
listing may be appropriate but for which additional data were needed to 
support a listing proposal. The January 6, 1989, and November 21, 1991, 
candidate notices of review (54 FR 554 and 56 FR 58804, respectively) 
also included the California tiger salamander as a category 2 
candidate, soliciting information on the status of the species.
    On February 21, 1992, we received a petition from Dr. H. Bradley 
Shaffer of the University of California at Davis (UCD), to list the 
California tiger salamander as an endangered species. We published a 
90-day petition finding on November 19, 1992 (57 FR 54545), concluding 
that the petition presented substantial information indicating that 
listing may be warranted. On April 18, 1994, we published a 12-month 
petition finding (59 FR 18353) that the listing of the California tiger 
salamander was warranted but precluded by higher priority listing 
actions. We elevated the species to category 1 status at that time, 
which was reflected in the November 15, 1994, NOR (59 FR 58982). 
Category 1 candidates were those taxa for which we had on file 
sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to 
support preparation of listing proposals.
    We discontinued the use of different categories of candidates in 
the NOR, published February 28, 1996 (61 FR 7596), and defined 
``candidate species'' as those meeting the definition of former 
category 1. We maintained the California tiger salamander as a 
candidate species in that NOR, as well as subsequent NORs published 
September 19, 1997 (62 FR 49398), October 25, 1999 (64 FR 57533), and 
October 30, 2001 (66 FR 54808).
    On June 12, 2001, we received a petition dated June 11, 2001, from 
the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Citizens for a 
Sustainable Cotati to emergency list the Sonoma County population of 
the California tiger salamander as an endangered species and to 
designate critical habitat. On February 27, 2002, CBD filed a complaint 
for our failure to emergency list the Sonoma County population of the 
California tiger salamander as endangered (Center for Biological 
Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Case No. C-02-0558 WHA)). 
On June 6, 2002, based on a settlement agreement between ourselves and 
CBD, the court signed an order requiring us to submit for publication 
in the Federal Register, a proposal and/or emergency rule to list the 
species by July 15, 2002. This emergency listing rule, and the 
concurrently published proposed rule, complies with the settlement 

Distinct Vertebrate Population Segment

    Under the Act, we must consider for listing any species, 
subspecies, or, for vertebrates, any Distinct Population Segment (DPS) 
of these taxa if there is sufficient information to indicate that such 
action may be warranted. To implement the measures prescribed by the 
Act and its Congressional guidance, we, along with the National Marine 
Fisheries Service, developed policy that addresses the recognition of 
DPSs for potential listing actions (61 FR 4722). The policy allows for 
a more refined application of the Act that better reflects the 
biological needs of the taxon being considered, and avoids the 
inclusion of entities that do not require its protective measures. 
Under our DPS policy, we use two elements to assess whether a 
population segment under consideration for listing may be recognized as 
a DPS. The elements are: (1) The population segment's discreteness from 
the remainder of the species to which it belongs; and (2) the 
significance of the population segment's to the species to which it 
belongs. If we determine that a population segment being considered for 
listing represents a DPS, then the level of threat to the population is 
evaluated based on the five listing factors established by the Act to 
determine if listing it as either threatened or endangered is 


    A population segment of a vertebrate species may be considered 
discrete if it satisfies either one of the following two conditions: 
(1) It is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon 
as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological, or behavioral 
factors. Quantitative measures of genetic or morphological 
discontinuity may provide evidence of this separation; or (2) it is 
delimited by international governmental boundaries within which 
significant differences in control of exploitation, management of 
habitat, conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist. The 
proposed DPS is based on the first condition, the marked separation 
from other populations.
    The Sonoma County population of the California tiger salamander 
(Sonoma County population) is discrete in relation to the remainder of 
the species as a whole. The population is geographically isolated and 
separate from other California tiger salamanders. The Sonoma County 
population is widely separated geographically from the closest 
populations which are located in Contra Costa, Yolo, and Solano 
Counties. These populations are separated from the Sonoma County 
population by the Coast Range, Napa River, and the Carquinez Straits, a 
distance of about 72 km (45 mi). There are no known records of the 
California tiger salamander in the intervening areas (Dee Warenycia, 
California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), pers. comm., 2002). 
There is no evidence of natural interchange of individuals in the 
Sonoma County population with other California tiger salamander 
populations. As detailed below, this finding is supported by an 
evaluation of the genetic variability of the species.
    Dr. H. Bradley Shaffer analyzed the population genetics of the 
California tiger salamander (Shaffer et al. 1993). Allozyme variation 
(distinct types of enzymes (proteins) in the cells, which are formed 
from an individuals inherited genes) and mitochondrial DNA sequence 
data indicate that there are seven distinct populations of the 
California tiger salamander. These seven populations differ markedly 
from each other in their genetic characteristics, with the Sonoma 
County population having gene sequences not found in any other 
populations (Shaffer et al. 1993). The sequence divergence between the 
Sonoma County population was found to diverge on the order of 2 percent 
from other populations of this species. This high level of genetic 
divergence indicates that there has been little, if any, gene flow 
between the Sonoma County population and other California tiger 
salamanders populations. Shaffer's mitochondrial DNA sequence data 
(Shaffer and McKnight 1996) suggest that the seven distinct populations 
differ markedly in their genetic characteristics, with Sonoma County 
California tiger salamanders having gene sequences not found in other 
California tiger salamanders. These levels of divergence justify 
separate species recognition between the Sonoma County population and 
the other California tiger salamander populations and may warrant 
separate taxonomic recognition (Shaffer et al. 1993; Shaffer and 
McKnight 1996).


    Under our DPS policy, once we have determined that a population 
segment is discrete, we consider its biological and ecological 
significance to the larger taxon to which it belongs. This 
consideration may include, but is not limited to, evidence of the 
persistence of the discrete population segment in an ecological setting 
that is unique for the taxon; evidence that loss of the population 
segment would result in a

[[Page 47730]]

significant gap in the range of the taxon; evidence that the population 
segment represents the only surviving natural occurrence of a taxon 
that may be more abundant elsewhere as an introduced population outside 
its historic range; and evidence that the discrete population segment 
differs markedly from other populations of the species in its genetic 
characteristics. We have found substantial evidence that two of these 
significance factors are met by the population of the California tiger 
salamander that occurs on the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma County.
    The extinction of the Sonoma County population would result in the 
loss of a significant genetic entity and the curtailment of the range 
of the species. As discussed above, the Sonoma County population is 
genetically distinct from other populations of California tiger 
salamanders. Loss of the Sonoma County population would eliminate the 
most northern coastal extent of the range of the species. The Sonoma 
County population is geographically isolated. Genetic analysis of the 
species supports the hypothesis that no natural interchange of the 
Sonoma County population occurs with other California tiger salamander 


    We evaluated the Sonoma County population as a DPS, addressing the 
two elements which our policy requires us to consider in deciding 
whether a vertebrate population may be recognized as a DPS and 
considered for listing under the Act. We conclude that the Sonoma 
County population is discrete, as per our policy, based on its 
geographic separation and genetic divergence from the rest of the 
California tiger salamander populations. We conclude that the Sonoma 
County population of the California tiger salamander is significant 
because the loss of the species from the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma 
County would result in a significant reduction in the species' range 
and would constitute loss of a genetically divergent portion of the 
species. Because the population segment meets both the discreteness and 
significance criteria of our DPS policy, the DPS qualifies for 
consideration for listing. An evaluation of the level of threat to the 
DPS based on the five listing factors established by the Act follows.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and regulations (50 CFR part 
424) promulgated to implement the listing provisions of the Act 
describe the procedures for adding species to the Federal list. We may 
determine a species to be endangered or threatened due to one or more 
of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1). These factors and 
their application to the Sonoma County DPS of the California tiger 
salamander (Sonoma County California tiger salamander) are as follows:

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of its Habitat or Range

    The Sonoma County California tiger salamander population, as well 
as the population in Santa Barbara County, which we listed as 
endangered (65 FR 57242), are considered to be the most vulnerable of 
the seven populations of the California tiger salamander (Shaffer et 
al. 1993; LSA Associates 2001). Urban development is the primary threat 
to the Sonoma County California tiger salamander. The species now 
occurs in scattered and increasingly isolated breeding sites within a 
small portion of its historic range on the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma 
County. Four known breeding sites have been destroyed in the last two 
years. All of the seven known extant breeding sites are distributed in 
the City of Santa Rosa, and the immediate associated unincorporated 
areas, an area approximately 8 km (5 mi) by 6 km (4 mi) wide. Within 
this area and south to the Cotati area, there are scattered records of 
adult salamanders crossing roads during the fall and winter rains, and 
also instances of breeding in roadside ditches. However, these roadside 
ditches likely do not represent viable breeding sites because they 
either do not have sufficient ponding duration and/or associated 
uplands for estivation.
    The seven known breeding sites are imperiled by the construction of 
high-density housing, office buildings, road construction, and other 
development. The survival and viability of the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamander is directly related to availability of breeding pools 
with hydrological and other factors conducive to their reproduction. 
There also must be adequate upland acreage, with associated small 
mammal burrows, in the vicinity of the Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander breeding pools to accommodate estivation. The Santa Rosa 
Plain once contained extensive valley oak woods, native grasslands, 
riparian, and vernal pools. Vernal pools and seasonal wetlands likely 
were extensive, due to the flat terrain, clay soils, and relative high 
rainfall (CH2M Hill 1995). Based on the topography and habitat type of 
the lands that have been converted to urban development and agriculture 
on the Santa Rosa Plain, the number of breeding ponds, the extent of 
upland habitats, and the quality of the remaining habitats has been 
greatly reduced since Europeans first settled the region.
    The extent of the historic range of the California tiger salamander 
within the Santa Rosa Plain in Sonoma County is uncertain due to 
limited information collected on this population prior to the 1990s 
(Shaffer et al. 1993; Jennings and Hayes 1994). However, based on the 
habitat requirements of the species for low elevation, seasonally 
filled breeding ponds and small rodent burrows, the ecology of the 
taxon, the general trend of urban development into suitable and 
occupied habitat, and other adverse factors affecting the species, we 
believe that it once occupied a more extensive, but still limited area 
within the Santa Rosa Plain.
    There are no available estimates of the total number of individual 
Sonoma County California tiger salamanders. The difficulty of 
estimating total California tiger salamander population size has been 
discussed by a number of biologists (Shaffer et al. 1993; Jennings and 
Hayes 1994). However, estimates have been made for only a few 
populations in Monterey County (Barry and Shaffer 1994; Trenham et al. 
1996). This is due to the lack of data about the numbers of individuals 
of the Sonoma County California tiger salamander, the fact that these 
amphibians spend much of their lives underground, and the fact that 
only a portion of the total number of animals migrate to the ponds to 
breed every year.
    A 1990 study of the Santa Rosa Plain found that 25 percent of an 
11,300 hectare (ha) (28,000 acres (ac)) study area had been converted 
to subdivisions, ``ranchettes,'' golf courses, and commercial buildings 
(Waaland et al. 1990). An additional 17 percent of the study area had 
been converted to agricultural uses. Since 1990, many more acres have 
been urbanized and converted to intensive agriculture, particularly 
vineyards. Even relatively minor habitat modifications, such as 
construction of roads, storm drains, and road curbs that traverse the 
area between breeding and estivation sites, increase habitat 
fragmentation, impede or prevent migration, and result in direct and 
indirect mortality (Mader 1984; S. Sweet, in litt., 1993, 1998; Findlay 
and Houlahan 1996; Launer and Fee 1996; Gibbs 1998). All of the known 
Sonoma County California tiger salamander breeding pools are within 450 
m (1,476 ft) of roads and residential

[[Page 47731]]

development, and five of the seven remaining viable breeding locations 
are within 100 m (328 ft) of major development activities.
Urban Development
    Urban development poses a significant threat to all of the known 
breeding sites of the Sonoma County California tiger salamander. All of 
these sites are found in and around the former Santa Rosa Air Center 
that is located in west Santa Rosa. This area contains one of the 
largest undeveloped blocks of land within the city limits of Santa 
Rosa. Urban development is proposed on or near locations containing 
three of the seven known breeding sites in the Santa Rosa area (Santa 
Rosa Department of Community Development 1994; EIP Associates 2000). 
The airport was closed and the property sold to the City of Santa Rosa 
in the mid-1980s. The City of Santa Rosa is proposing the majority of 
the area be developed as part of their Southwest Area Plan (Santa Rosa 
Department of Community Development 1994; EIP Associates 2000). Urban 
development of this area is proceeding rapidly. Demographic data 
obtained from the City of Santa Rosa Housing and Community Development 
Commission indicate that since 1980, Santa Rosa has experienced a 
greater than 53 percent increase in its population. From 1980 until 
1997, the number of housing units grew by 66 percent from 35,403 units 
in 1980 to 53,558 units by January 1, 1997 (Michael Enright, City of 
Santa Rosa, pers. comm., 2001).
    Four known breeding sites were lost within the past two years, two 
of which were lost due to urban development/housing with another lost 
to commercial development. As recently as June 2002, the fourth 
breeding site near Cotati was destroyed when the pond was filled for 
unknown reasons (David Cook, The Wildlife Society, in litt., 2002; Liam 
Davis, CDFG, in litt., 2002). The Cotati location was considered highly 
productive for salamanders (D. Cook, in litt., 2002).
Roads and Highways
    California tiger salamanders require a large amount of barrier-free 
landscape for successful migration (Shaffer et al. 1993; Loredo et al. 
1996). Roads and highways are permanent physical obstacles that can 
block the animals from moving to new breeding habitat, or prevent them 
from returning to their breeding ponds or estivation sites. Road 
construction can reduce or completely eliminate a breeding site, and in 
some cases, larger portions of a metapopulation.
    All the pools at the known extant Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander breeding sites are within 460 m (1,509 ft) of roads of 
various sizes. Findlay and Houlahan (1996) found that roads within 
2000m (1.2 mi) of wetlands adversely affected the number of amphibian 
species. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/Broadmore North 
Preserve, and Hall Road Preserve are the only lands with known breeding 
sites where salamanders can access breeding pools from estivation areas 
without crossing roads.
    Large numbers of California tiger salamanders at some locations in 
the Central Valley, up to 15 or 20 per mile of road (Joe Medeiros, 
Sierra College, pers. comm., 1993), have been killed as they crossed 
roads on breeding migrations (Hansen and Tremper 1993; S. Sweet, in 
litt., 1993). Estimates of losses to automobile traffic range from 25 
to 72 percent of the breeding population for several different 
populations of the species (Twitty 1941; S. Sweet, in litt., 1993; 
Launer and Fee 1996). Curbs and berms as low as 9 to 13 cm (3.5 to 5 
in), which allow salamanders to climb onto the road but can restrict or 
prevent their movements off the roads, can effectively turn the roads 
into sources of high mortality (Launer and Fee 1996; S. Sweet, in 
litt., 1998). Automobile traffic along Stony Point Road in western 
Santa Rosa has probably quadrupled in the past 5 years (D. Cook, pers. 
comm., 2002). This was once a moderately used rural road and is now a 
major route for commuter traffic. Between November 21, 2001, and 
December 5, 2001, 26 California tiger salamanders were found killed by 
cars on this road between Santa Rosa and Cotati. Fourteen of these dead 
California tiger salamanders were found along Stoney Point Road near 
Meachum Road (D. Cook, pers. comm., 2002).
Description of the Breeding Sites
    Except for the Hall Road Preserve and the FEMA/Broadmore North 
Preserve, all of the known breeding sites of the Sonoma County 
California tiger salamander are found on small locations in areas being 
rapidly converted from low-intensity farming, cattle grazing, and low-
density housing, to high density housing, and office buildings. The 
Hall Road Preserve and the FEMA/Broadmore North Preserve have 
hydrologic regimes that are adequate to provide recruitment for SCTS in 
normal to dry years. All other known breeding locations are either 
slated for development or will have their hydrology altered by 
disrupting the natural runoff from surrounding uplands. A description 
of the known extant breeding sites of the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamander is presented below.
    (1) Hall Road Preserve: This 74 ha (183 ac) site is owned by CDFG. 
It is the largest preserved area where the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamander is currently known to occur. It contains two pools 
with ponding levels adequate for successful breeding during drought 
years. This preserve contains seven additional breeding pools that are 
relatively shallow and do not pond water long enough for successful 
breeding in years of moderate to low rainfall. Surveys conducted over 
the past 2 years indicate this preserve does not function as a highly 
productive breeding site (Cook and Northern 2001). The land surrounding 
the preserve is privately owned, and the City of Santa Rosa has issued 
permits for urban development. Urban development has occurred on 
adjacent lands to the east and west, and agriculture to the north of 
the preserve. Exotic predators of the salamander, such as Louisiana 
crayfish (Procrambus clarkii), sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus, a 
fish), and possibly bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are present at the 
Hall Road Preserve.
    (2) FEMA/Broadmore North Preserve: This breeding site consists of 
two properties, the FEMA Preserve and the Broadmore North Preserve. The 
24 ha (59 ac) FEMA Preserve is owned by CDFG and it contains one of the 
most productive Sonoma County California tiger salamander breeding 
sites. The 6.5 ha (16 ac) Broadmore North Preserve is a conservation 
area that was set aside as mitigation by the Bellvue School District. 
It is also managed by CDFG. The two breeding sites are contiguous and 
encompass 30 ha (75 ac) containing three breeding pools. The FEMA 
Preserve has two large, deep pools that remain ponded late in the 
season. Salamanders probably breed there during most years. The one 
breeding pool on Broadmore North is shallow and does not contribute 
salamanders to the population in dry years (i.e., there is no 
recruitment) (D. Cook, pers. comm., 2001). While there is no 
hydrological connection between this site and the deeper pools 
contained on the FEMA Preserve, the FEMA Preserve probably allows the 
salamanders at the Broadmore North Preserve the opportunity to breed 
during dry years. Urban development has occurred to the north and east 
sides of the preserves. Although these breeding sites are protected, 
urbanization imperils upland habitats on private land to the east and 
west of them. A new road and housing development on lands adjacent to 

[[Page 47732]]

preserves' western boundaries have been permitted by City of Santa 
Rosa. This new road and construction will eliminate the western 
migration route between Southwest Air Center and the FEMA and Broadmore 
North preserves for salamander from this breeding site.
    (3) Northwest Air Center: This breeding site is composed of one 
breeding pond and is located on private land. Much of the associated 
upland has recently been developed. This site is bordered on the west 
and north by roads subject to heavy traffic from housing developments 
that have been constructed under the City of Santa Rosa's Southwest 
Area Development Plan. Housing has eliminated migration routes to the 
east and south, thus leaving this site as an isolated breeding site 
with less than 22 ha (55 ac) of remaining undeveloped upland area and 
pool with private lands surrounding it to the south and east (M. 
Enright, pers. comm., 2001).
    (4) Southwest Air Center: This breeding site is located on private 
land and it contains one breeding pool. The City of Santa Rosa has 
issued permits for a residential development that likely will result in 
the elimination of the salamanders at this location. Preparation of 
this site for construction has been initiated. The grading of the 
upland areas in the summer dry season likely will eliminate estivating 
salamanders at this site. The salamanders at this location also may 
utilize the breeding ponds at the FEMA and Broadmore North preserves by 
an existing migration corridor to the east. The destruction of this 
breeding site likely will further isolate the animals inhabiting this 
location. Loss of this breeding site will contribute to the overall 
isolation of the remaining breeding sites. Based on the completion time 
of the construction of other approved projects in the area, the West 
Air Center breeding site likely will be lost by September 2002.
    (5) North Air Center: There is one breeding pool on this privately 
owned site. Recent residential and commercial developments which border 
this breeding site on three sides severely restrict the potential for 
migration. The City of Santa Rosa has approved residential and road 
projects for this location that will adversely affect the salamanders. 
This site is bordered by houses to the west, a road with high levels of 
automobile traffic to the north, and a corporate park to the east. 
There is a small tract of undeveloped private land to the south. No 
protection exists for the uplands or breeding pool which is located 
directly south of Sebastopol Road. The upland area is about 15 ha (37 
ac). Portions of Sebastopol Road have been widened to four traffic 
lanes, including the construction of storm drains and curbs. The curbs 
likely funnel migrating salamanders into storm drains where they perish 
after being washed into the sewer system. Residential and commercial 
projects currently are under construction in this area, and this 
breeding site likely will be significantly degraded and completely 
isolated by September, 2002.
    (6) Wright Avenue: This breeding site is located on private land. 
Approved development described in the City of Santa Rosa's Southwest 
Area Development Plan will isolate this breeding site through increased 
automobile traffic and residential development along Wright and Ludwig 
avenues. Additionally, there is no construction specifically proposed 
for this property, but no protection exists to prevent the breeding 
site and associated uplands from being developed.
    (7) South Ludwig Avenue: This breeding site is located on private 
land and current threats to the salamanders include increased traffic 
along Ludwig Avenue due to increasing residential development. The 
breeding site and associated uplands are currently not protected from 
potential development on the property.
Conclusion for Factor A
    Maintenance of tracts of habitat between breeding sites will likely 
play a pivotal role in maintenance of the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamander metapopulation dynamics. If breeding sites are 
eliminated and the metapopulation becomes so fragmented that 
individuals are unable to disperse between suitable patches of habitat, 
the probability of natural recolonization will not offset the 
probability of extinction, with a result of population extinction. Some 
of the salamander breeding sites, such as the FEMA Preserve/Broadmore 
North Preserve and the pools at the Hall Road Preserve, are linked to 
each other by suitable habitat. If movements through these linkages are 
disrupted or precluded (e.g., by urban development), then the stability 
of the metapopulation (i.e., the exchange of individuals between 
breeding sites) will be affected. Isolation, whether by geographic 
distance or ecological factors, will prevent the influx of new genetic 
material, and may result in inbreeding and extinction (Levin 2002). We 
believe that the Sonoma County California tiger salamander is at risk 
from increasing fragmentation and isolation that is the result of urban 

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    The larvae of non-native tiger salamanders are used as bait by some 
fishermen and are still sold in California for this purpose. The extent 
of the use of the Sonoma County California tiger salamander for this 
purpose is unknown.
    Tiger salamanders are considered to be excellent pets by amateur 
herpetologists (Porras 2002). The Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander does not appear to be particularly popular among amphibian 
and reptile collectors; however, Federal listing could raise the value 
of the species within wildlife trade markets and increase the threat of 
unauthorized collection above current levels (Special Agent Ken 
McCloud, Service, pers. comm., 2002). Even limited interest in the 
species could pose a serious threat to the small population of this 

C. Disease or Predation

    The specific effects of disease on the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamanders is not known and the risks to the animal have not 
been determined. Large numbers of dead and dying California tiger 
salamanders were observed in a pond in the Los Alamos Valley in Santa 
Barbara County, but the cause was not determined (S. Sweet, pers. 
comm., 1998). Several pathogenic (disease-causing) agents, including at 
least one bacterium (Worthylake and Hovingh 1989), a water mold 
(fungus) (Kiesecker and Blaustein 1997; Lefcort et al. 1997), and a 
virus (McLean 1998), have been associated with die-offs of tiger 
salamanders, as well as other amphibian species. Since Sonoma County 
California tiger salamanders are found in only a few sites in a 
relatively small area, a disease outbreak could devastate one or all of 
the known extant breeding sites if introduced into Sonoma County.
    Worthylake and Hovingh (1989) described repeated die-offs of tiger 
salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) at Desolation Lake in the Wasatch 
Mountains of Utah. Affected salamanders had red, swollen hind legs and 
vents, and widespread hemorrhage of the skin and internal organs. The 
researchers determined that the die-offs were due to infection from the 
bacterium Acinetobacter. The number of bacteria in the lake increased 
with increasing nitrogen levels as the lake dried. The nitrogen was 
believed to come from both atmospheric deposition and waste from sheep 
grazing in the

[[Page 47733]]

watershed (Worthylake and Hovingh 1989). Acinetobacter are common in 
soil and animal feces.
    Lefcort et al. (1997) found that tiger salamanders raised in 
natural and artificial ponds contaminated with silt were susceptible to 
infection by the water mold Saprolegnia parasitica at a location in 
Georgia. The fungus first appeared on the feet, spread to the entire 
leg, and then infected animals died. Die-offs of western toads (Bufo 
boreas), Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae), and Pacific treefrogs also 
have been associated with Saprolegnia infections (Kiesecker and 
Blaustein 1997). Saprolegnia is widespread in natural waters and 
commonly grows on dead organic material (Wise 1995).
    In addition to the Acinetobacter, viruses associated with die-offs 
of tiger and spotted salamanders in Maine and North Dakota, have been 
isolated (McLean 1998). In 1995, researchers reported similar die-offs 
attributed to an iridovirus in southern Arizona and near Regina, 
Saskatchewan, Canada (McLean 1998). Iridoviruses are found in both fish 
and frogs and may have been introduced to some sites through fish 
stocking programs. Little is known about the historical distribution of 
iridoviruses in salamander populations. The virus may be carried by 
birds, such as herons and egrets (Family Ardeidae), that feed on the 
salamanders. Such a virus could be devastating to the Sonoma County 
California tiger salamanders.
    Predation and competition by introduced or non-native species 
potentially affects all of the seven known Sonoma County California 
tiger salamander breeding sites. Bullfrogs prey on California tiger 
salamander larvae (P.R. Anderson 1968; Lawler et al. 1999). Morey and 
Guinn (1992) documented a shift in amphibian community composition at a 
vernal pool complex, with California tiger salamanders becoming 
proportionally less abundant as bullfrogs increased in number. Although 
bullfrogs are unable to establish permanent breeding populations in 
unaltered vernal pools and seasonal ponds, dispersing immature frogs 
take up residence in pools during winter and spring (Morey and Guinn 
1992), and may prey on native amphibians, including larval salamanders. 
One of the pools at the Hall Road breeding site, and two of the pools 
contained at the FEMA/Broadmore North preserves, are located within 46 
m (150 ft) of ditches or creek channels known to contain bullfrogs or 
crayfish. Bullfrogs likely occur in Roseland Creek , which is near the 
FEMA/Broadmore North preserve (D. Cook, pers. comm., 2002). Bullfrogs 
are likely present in ditches that cross the Hall Road Preserve (D. 
Cook, pers. comm., 2002).
    Mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), rather than pesticides, are often 
placed into ponds by vector control agencies to eliminate mosquitoes. 
Salamanders may be especially vulnerable to mosquito fish predation due 
to their fluttering external gills, which may attract these visual 
predators (Graf 1993). Loredo-Prendeville et al. (1994) found no 
California tiger salamanders inhabiting ponds containing mosquito fish. 
Mosquito fish prey on other amphibian species, such as the California 
newt (Taricha torosa) (Gamradt and Kats 1996) and Pacific treefrog 
(Goodsell and Kats 1999) tadpoles in both field and laboratory 
experiments, even given the optional prey of mosquito larvae (Goodsell 
and Kats 1999; Lee Kats, Pepperdine University, pers. comm., 1999). 
Robert Stebbins observed mosquito fish ingesting and then spitting out 
California newt larvae, causing severe damage to the newts in the 
process (Graf 1993). Given the effects of mosquito fish on other 
amphibian species, they are likely to have similar effects on 
California tiger salamanders. If they have the same effects, the use of 
mosquito fish in California tiger salamander habitat threatens the 
persistence of the species, especially in the isolated and decline 
Sonoma County California tiger salamander population.
    Other fish, such as sticklebacks, may prey on the Sonoma County 
California tiger salamander. One pool at the Hall Road Preserve appears 
to have all of the biological components for successful California 
tiger salamander breeding, but has a small connector to a drainage 
ditch containing stickleback. Sonoma County California tiger 
salamanders have never been found at this site, and it is suspected 
that predation of their eggs and larvae by this fish is the limiting 
factor (D. Cook, pers. comm., 2002).
    Crayfish also apparently prey on California tiger salamanders 
(Shaffer et al. 1993) and may have eliminated some populations 
(Jennings and Hayes 1994). The crayfish prey on California newt eggs 
and larvae, in spite of toxins produced by these amphibians, and they 
may be a significant factor in the loss of newts from several streams 
in southern California (Gamradt and Kats 1996). These crayfish have 
been found at both the FEMA/Broadmore North and Hall Road Preserves. At 
the FEMA property, crayfish were found in the pool (D. Cook, pers. 
comm., 2002). The crayfish likely came from the adjacent Roseland Creek 
Channel. Louisiana crayfish have been found in the ditches that cross 
the Hall Road Preserve, but not at any of the pools known to support 
Sonoma County California tiger salamander populations (D. Cook, pers. 
comm., 2002). The presence of both stickleback and crayfish, along with 
the suspected presence of bullfrogs, could affect the Hall Road 
Preserve. The Hall Road Preserve is one of only two breeding sites that 
still contain pools with migration corridors that accommodate the 
transfer of genetic material between pools, while also allowing for the 
repopulation of individual pools in the event of a randomly occurring 
catastrophic event.
    California tiger salamander larvae also are preyed upon by many 
native species. In healthy salamander populations, such predation is 
probably not a significant threat. But when combined with other 
impacts, such as predation by non-native species, contaminants, 
migration barriers, or habitat alteration, it may cause a significant 
decrease in population viability. Native predators include great blue 
herons (Ardea herodias) and egrets, western pond turtles (Clemmys 
marmorata), various garter snakes (Thamnophis spp.), larger California 
tiger salamander larvae, larger spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus hammondii) 
larvae, and California red-legged frogs (Mike Peters, Service, in 
litt., 1993; Hansen and Tremper 1993).

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The primary cause of the decline of the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamander is the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat 
from human activities. Federal, State, and local laws have been 
insufficient to prevent past and ongoing losses of the limited habitat 
of the Sonoma County California tiger salamander.
    Under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. 1344 et 
seq.), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) regulates the discharge 
of fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. 
Section 404 regulations require applicants to obtain a permit for 
projects that involve the discharge of fill material into waters of the 
United States, including wetlands. However, normal farming activities 
are exempt under the CWA and do not require a permit (53 FR 20764; 
Robert Wayland III, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in litt., 
1996). Projects

[[Page 47734]]

that are subject to regulation may qualify for authorization to place 
fill material into headwaters and isolated waters, including wetlands, 
under several nationwide permits. The use of nationwide permits by an 
applicant or project proponent is normally authorized with minimal 
environmental review by the Corps. No activity that is likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of a threatened or endangered 
species, or that is likely to destroy or adversely modify designated 
critical habitat of such species, is authorized under any nationwide 
permit. An individual permit may be required by the Corps if a project 
otherwise qualifying under a nationwide permit would have greater than 
minimal adverse environmental impacts.
    Three federally endangered plants, Sonoma sunshine (Blennosperma 
bakeri), Sebastopol meadowfoam (Limnanthes vinculans), and Burke's 
goldfields (Lasthenia burkei) occur on the Santa Rosa Plain of Sonoma 
County in the vicinity of Sonoma County California tiger salamander. 
However, little overlap occurs between the viable breeding sites of 
this species and these federally listed vernal pool species. Any Corps 
consultation requirement for fill of pools on the Santa Rosa Plain 
would be triggered by the listed plants. Since the salamander and the 
federally listed plants do not substantially overlap, salamander 
breeding pools are unlikely to be protected by presence of the plants 
or their habitat. Furthermore, even if breeding pools of this animal 
are avoided due to the presence of a federally listed plant species, 
this protection may only extend to the pool itself with a small upland 
buffer. Since Sonoma County California tiger salamanders spend up to 80 
percent of their life in small mammal burrows in upland habitats 
surrounding breeding pools, the protection of the pool itself, with 
concurrent loss of uplands surrounding the pool, would still result in 
the loss of local Sonoma County California tiger salamander breeding 
    Recent court cases may further limit the Corps' ability to utilize 
the CWA to regulate the fill or discharge of fill or dredged material 
into the aquatic environment within the current range of the Sonoma 
County California tiger salamander (Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook 
County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) (SWANCC)). 
The effect of SWANCC on Federal regulation of activities in wetlands in 
the area of the Sonoma County California tiger salamander has recently 
become clear by the Corps' failure to assert its jurisdiction over fill 
of several wetlands within the range of the Sonoma county California 
tiger salamander. In a letter from the Corps dated March 8, 2002, 
concerning the fill of 0.18 ha (0.45 ac) of seasonal wetlands southwest 
of the intersection of Piner and Marlow Roads (Corps File Number 
19736N), the Corps referenced the SWANCC decision and reiterated that 
the subject wetlands were not ``waters of the United States'' because 
they were: (1) Not navigable waters; (2) not interstate waters; (3) not 
part of a tributary system to 1 or 2; (4) not wetlands adjacent to any 
of the foregoing; and (5) not an impoundment of any of the above. The 
letter further stated that the interstate commerce nexus to these 
particular waters is insufficient to establish CWA jurisdiction, and 
therefore, not subject to regulation by the Corps under section 404 of 
the CWA. The Corps also cited the SWANCC decision as their reasoning 
for not taking jurisdiction over fill of Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander breeding pools at the recently constructed South Sonoma 
Business Park.
    The CDFG recognizes the California tiger salamander as a species of 
special concern. This designation does not provide the species with any 
protection from actions that injure or kill them, or damage or destroy 
their habitat. The California tiger salamander is not protected under 
the California Endangered Species Act.
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Public Resources 
Code Sec. 21000-21177) requires a full disclosure of the potential 
environmental impacts of proposed projects. The public agency with 
primary authority or jurisdiction over a project is designated as the 
lead agency and is responsible for conducting a review of the project 
and consulting with the other agencies concerned with the resources 
affected by the project. Section 15065 of the CEQA Guidelines, as 
amended, requires a finding of significance if a project has the 
potential to ``reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or 
endangered plant or animal.'' Once significant effects are identified, 
the lead agency has the option of requiring mitigation for effects 
through changes in the project or to decide that overriding 
considerations make mitigation infeasible (CEQA Sec. 21002). In the 
latter case, projects may be approved that cause significant 
environmental damage, such as destruction of listed endangered species 
and/or their habitat. Protection of listed species through CEQA is, 
therefore, dependent upon the discretion of the lead agency involved.
    We are not aware of any specific county or city ordinances that 
provide protection for the Sonoma County California tiger salamander.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting its Continued Existence

    Several other factors, including contaminants, ground squirrel and 
gopher control, hybridization with non-native salamanders, predation, 
and competition with introduced species may have negative effects on 
California tiger salamanders and their aquatic and upland habitats. 
These factors are discussed below.
    Sonoma County California tiger salamanders probably are exposed to 
a variety of pesticides and other chemicals throughout their range. 
Sonoma County California tiger salamanders also could die from 
starvation by the loss of their prey base. Hydrocarbon and other 
contamination from oil production and road runoff; the application of 
numerous chemicals for roadside maintenance; urban/suburban landscape 
maintenance; and rodent and vector control programs may all have 
negative effects on tiger salamander populations, as detailed below.
    Road mortality is not the only risk factor associated with roads, 
as oil and other contaminants in runoff have been detected in adjacent 
ponds and linked to die-offs and deformities in California tiger 
salamanders and spadefoot toads, and die-offs of invertebrates that 
form most of both species' prey base (S. Sweet, in litt., 1993). 
Lefcort et al. (1997) found that oil had limited direct effects on 5-
week-old marbled (Ambystoma opacum) and tiger salamanders (A. t. 
tigrinum). However, it was found that salamanders from oil-contaminated 
natural ponds metamorphosed earlier at smaller sizes, and those from 
oil-contaminated artificial ponds had slower growth rates, than larvae 
raised in non-contaminated ponds. Their studies did not address effects 
on eggs and early larval stages, where the effects may be more 
    Hatch and Burton (1998) and Monson et al. (1999) investigated the 
effects of one component of petroleum products and urban runoff 
(fluoranthene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) on spotted 
salamanders (A. maculatum), northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens), and 
African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). In laboratory and outdoor 
experiments, using levels of the

[[Page 47735]]

contaminant comparable to those found in service station and other 
urban runoff, the researchers found reduced survival and growth 
abnormalities in all species and that the effects were worse when the 
larvae were exposed to the contaminant under natural levels of 
sunlight, rather than in the laboratory under artificial light. In 
Sonoma County, there are a number of records of California tiger 
salamanders using roadside ditches. Many are in areas where there are 
no known breeding ponds, and these animals are utilizing the only 
marginal habitat remaining. Also, many pools in these areas have likely 
been destroyed, leaving these marginal sites as the only option for 
breeding. In light of the increased urbanization occurring in this 
area, with concurrent increases in traffic, the risk factor associated 
with contaminants in runoff likely will rise in both roadside ditches 
and across the general landscape.
Agricultural and Landscaping Contaminants
    In Sonoma County, over 1.4 million kilograms (3.1 million pounds) 
of agricultural chemicals were used in 2000 on grapes, apples, rights 
of way, structural pest control, and landscape maintenance (California 
Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), Internet Website). Chemical 
use occurring on or near tiger salamander breeding sites in Sonoma 
County is primarily associated with rights of way, structural pest 
control, and landscape maintenance. These chemicals included metam-
sodium, methyl bromide, mancozeb, petroleum oil, phosmet, chlorpyrifos, 
pendimethalin, parathion, paraquat dichloride, fosetyl-aluminum, 
acephate, cryolite, and malathion, some of which are extremely toxic to 
aquatic organisms, such as amphibians and the organisms on which they 
    Even if toxic or detectable amounts of pesticides are not found in 
the breeding ponds or groundwater, salamanders may still be affected, 
particularly when chemicals are applied during the migration and 
dispersal seasons. All of the remaining seven documented salamander 
breeding sites in Sonoma County may be directly or indirectly affected 
by toxic landscaping chemicals due to the presence of housing 
developments within their drainage basins.
Rodent Control
    California tiger salamanders spend much of their lives estivating 
in underground retreats, typically in the burrows of ground squirrels 
and gophers (Loredo et al. 1996; Trenham 1998a). Widespread ground 
squirrel control programs were begun in California as early as 1910, 
and are carried out on more than 4 million ha (9.9 million ac) in 
California (Marsh 1987). It is unclear how effective such control 
programs were in reducing ground squirrel populations. According to 
Marsh (1987), when a ground squirrel population is at or near carrying 
capacity, it must be reduced by at least 90 percent annually for 
several years to significantly reduce the population. However, it may 
not be practical to attain such high reduction rates over large areas 
of rangelands, but it may be possible to reduce populations to low 
numbers (Salmon and Schmidt 1984). In some primarily agricultural 
counties, the ground squirrel population has been reduced and 
maintained at perhaps 10 to 20 percent of the carrying capacity. Rodent 
control programs are conducted by individual land owners and managers 
on grazing, vineyard, and crop production lands (Rosemary Thompson, 
Science Applications International Corporation, in litt., 1998).
    Pocket gopher and ground squirrel burrows are most often used by 
California tiger salamanders in Sonoma County (D. Cook, pers. comm., 
2001). Both of these animals are classified as nongame mammals by CDFG. 
This means that if they are found to be injuring growing crops or other 
property, including garden and landscape plants, they may be controlled 
at any time and in any legal manner by the owner or the tenant of the 
premises (University of California Integrated Pest Management (UCIPM), 
internet website 2002).
    Legal methods of pocket gopher control include trapping, 
strychnine-treated grain bait, and anticoagulant baits. Poisoned grains 
(anticoagulant baits) are the most common method used to control ground 
squirrels around homes and other areas where children, pets, and 
poultry are present (UCIPM 2002; Jon Shelgrin, CDPR, pers. comm., 
2002). Zinc phosphide is highly toxic to freshwater fish and to non-
target mammals (EXOTONET 1996). Zinc phosphide, a rodenticide and 
restricted material, turns into phosgene gas, a toxic gas once ingested 
by the rodents. There is little risk of California tiger salamanders 
ingesting any of these baits; however the use of these grains may 
impact the California tiger salamanders indirectly if washed into 
burrows or ponds used by the species.
    Two of the most commonly used rodenticides, chlorophacinone and 
diphacinone, are anticoagulants that cause animals to bleed to death. 
They can be absorbed through the skin and are considered toxic to fish 
and wildlife (EPA 1985; Extension Toxicology Network (EXTOXNET) 1999). 
These two chemicals, along with strychnine, are used in Sonoma County 
to control rodents (R. Thompson, in litt., 1998). Although the effects 
of these poisons on California tiger salamanders have not been 
assessed, use along roadways or surrounding residential areas may 
result in contamination of salamander breeding ponds, with undetermined 
effects. Gases, including aluminum phosphide, carbon monoxide, and 
methyl bromide, can be introduced into burrows either by using 
cartridges or by pumping. When such fumigants are used, all animals 
inhabiting the burrow are killed (Salmon and Schmidt 1984).
    In addition to possible direct effects of rodent control chemicals, 
control programs probably have an adverse indirect effect on California 
tiger salamander populations. Control of ground squirrels could 
significantly reduce the number of burrows available for use by the 
Sonoma County California tiger salamander (Loredo-Prendeville et al. 
1994). All of the remaining Sonoma County California tiger salamander 
breeding locations exist in areas that are likely to experience a 
heightened degree of rodent control due to landscaping concerns 
surrounding residential developments. Because the burrow density 
required to support California tiger salamanders in an area is not 
known, the loss of burrows as a result of control programs cannot be 
quantified at this time. However, Shaffer et al. (1993) stated that 
rodent control programs may be responsible for the lack of California 
tiger salamanders in some areas. Active ground squirrel colonies 
probably are needed to sustain tiger salamanders because inactive 
burrow systems become progressively unsuitable over time. Loredo et al. 
(1996) found that burrow systems collapsed within 18 months following 
abandonment by or loss of the ground squirrels. Although the 
researchers found that California tiger salamanders used both occupied 
and unoccupied burrows, they did not indicate that the salamanders used 
collapsed burrows. Rodent control programs must be analyzed and 
implemented carefully in California tiger salamander habitat so the 
persistence of the animals is not threatened. One of the remaining 
Sonoma County California tiger salamander sites is currently occupied 
by cattle. Most owners of livestock seek to eliminate ground squirrel 
burrows because of the threat of cows (Bos bos) breaking their legs if 
they accidentally step into a burrow.

[[Page 47736]]

Mosquito Control
    A commonly used method to control mosquitoes, used in Sonoma County 
(Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District, internet website 
2002), is the application of methoprene, which increases the level of 
juvenile hormone in insect larvae and disrupts the molting process. 
Lawrenz (1984) found that methoprene (Altosid SR-10) retarded the 
development of selected crustacea that had the same molting hormones 
(i.e., juvenile hormone) as insects, and anticipated that the same 
hormone may control metamorphosis in other arthropods. Because the 
success of many aquatic vertebrates relies on an abundance of 
invertebrates in temporary wetlands, any delay in insect growth could 
reduce the numbers and density of prey available (Lawrenz 1984). The 
use of methoprene could have an indirect adverse effect on the 
California tiger salamander by reducing the availability of prey. In 
more recent studies, methoprene did not cause increased mortality of 
gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles (Sparling and Lowe 1998). 
However, it caused reduced survival rates and increased malformations 
in northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) (Ankley et al. 1998), and 
increased malformations in southern leopard frogs (R. utricularia) 
(Sparling 1998). Blumberg et al. (1998) correlated exposure to 
methoprene with delayed metamorphosis and high mortality rates in 
northern leopard and mink (R. septentrionalis) frogs. Methoprene 
appears to have both direct and indirect effects on the growth and 
survival of larval amphibians.
Introduced Species
    Introduced species can have negative effects on California tiger 
salamander populations through competition and hybridization (Shaffer 
et al. 1993; H. Bradley Shaffer, UCD, in litt., 1999). Competition from 
fish that prey on mosquito larvae and other invertebrates can reduce 
the survival of salamanders. Both California tiger salamanders 
(Stebbins 1962; J. D. Anderson 1968; Holomuzki 1986) and mosquito fish 
feed on micro- and macro-invertebrates; large numbers of mosquito fish 
may out-compete the salamander larvae for food (Graf 1993). As urban 
areas continue to expand, the introduction of mosquito fish into 
previously untreated ponds may result in the elimination of California 
tiger salamanders from additional breeding sites. The introduction of 
other fish either inadvertently or for recreational fishing or other 
purposes may also affect the prey base, reducing growth and survival 
rates of salamanders. They may also prey on tiger salamander larvae, 
reducing or eliminating populations (Shaffer et al. 1993).
    The practice of importing the non-native tiger salamander for fish 
bait is no longer legal in California (CCR Title 14, Division 1, 
Subdivision 1, Chapter 2, Article 3, Section 4 2000). Non-native tiger 
salamanders have been documented in Sonoma County, although not in 
habitat utilized by California tiger salamanders (Shaffer et al. 1993). 
Non-native tiger salamanders were being sold as pets in a store 
directly across the street from one of the breeding sites (David 
Wooten, Service, pers. obs., 2002). If salamander population ranges 
overlap or come in contact through expansion, then hybridization may 
occur in closely related species and certain subspecies (Rudd 1955). 
Over time, a population of a subspecies could become genetically 
indistinguishable from a larger population of an introgressing 
subspecies such that the true genotype of the lesser subspecies no 
longer exists (Levin 2002). The Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander breeding sites in west Santa Rosa may be threatened by 
hybridization with non-native tiger salamanders because of the ability 
of the animals to disperse over upland areas, or through intentional 
introduction to the pools (Cook and Northern 2001).
    Introduced salamanders may out-compete the California tiger 
salamander, or interbreed with the natives (Bury and Lukenbach 1976; 
Shaffer et al. 1993). Evidence suggests that the hybrids are viable, 
and that they breed with California tiger salamanders (H. Shaffer in 
litt., 1999). With so few remaining breeding sites of California tiger 
salamanders in Sonoma County, the loss of any to hybridization, with or 
competition from, introduced species is of serious concern.
    Grazing in many cases has positive, or at least neutral, effects on 
the California tiger salamander (H. B. Shaffer and Peter Trenham, UCD, 
pers. comm., 1998; S. Sweet, pers. comm., 1998, 1999). By keeping 
vegetation shorter, grazing can make areas more suitable for ground 
squirrels, whose burrows are used by California tiger salamanders. Only 
one of the seven viable Sonoma County California tiger salamander 
breeding locations is currently being grazed. However, cattle drink 
large quantities of water, sometimes causing temporary pools to dry 
faster than they otherwise would (Sheri Melanson, Service, in litt., 
1993), and possibly causing breeding pools to dry too quickly for 
salamanders to be able to metamorphose (Feaver 1971). Melanson (1993) 
noted that although vernal pool species continued to reproduce under a 
November-to-April grazing regime, California tiger salamanders were 
either absent or found in low numbers in portions of pools that were 
heavily trampled by cattle. Continued trampling of a pond's edge by 
cattle can increase the surface area of a pond, and may increase water 
temperature and speed up the rate of evaporation and thus reduce the 
amount of time the pond contains enough water (S. Sweet, pers. comm., 
    Reduction in water quality caused by cattle excrement may 
negatively affect the California tiger salamanders by increasing 
nitrogen levels. High nitrogen levels have been associated with blooms 
of bacteria (Worthylake and Hovingh 1989), and silt has been associated 
with fatal fungal infections (Lefcort et al. 1997) (see Factor C of 
this section). However, grazing generally is compatible with the 
continued use of rangelands by the California tiger salamander as long 
as intensive burrowing rodent control programs are not implemented on 
such areas, and grazing is not excessive (Thomas Jones, University of 
Michigan, in litt., 1993; Shaffer et al. 1993; S. Sweet, pers. comm., 
1998, 1999).
Population Size
    The low numbers of Sonoma County California tiger salamander make 
it vulnerable to risks associated with small, restricted populations. 
The elements of risk that are amplified in very small populations 
include: (1) The impact of high death rates or low birth rates; (2) the 
effects of genetic drift (random fluctuations in gene frequencies) and 
inbreeding (mating among close relatives); and (3) deterioration in 
environmental quality (Gilpin and Soule 1986). Genetic drift and 
inbreeding may lead to reductions in the ability of individuals to 
survive and reproduce (i.e., reductions in fitness) in small 
populations. In addition, reduced genetic variation in small 
populations may make any species less able to successfully adapt to 
future environmental changes (Shaffer 1981, 1987; Noss and Cooperrider 
1994; Primack 1998).

Reason for Emergency Determination

    Under section 4(b)(7) of the Act, and regulations at 50 CFR 424.20, 
we must consider development of an emergency rule to list a species if 
the threats to the species constitute an emergency posing a significant 
risk to its continuing survival. Such an emergency listing

[[Page 47737]]

becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register and expires 
240 days following publication in the Federal Register unless, during 
this 240-day period, we list the species following the normal listing 
procedures. We discuss the reasons why emergency listing the Sonoma 
County California tiger salamander as endangered is necessary below. In 
accordance with the Act, we will withdraw this emergency rule if, at 
any time after its publication, we determine that substantial evidence 
does not exist to warrant such a rule.
    In making this determination, we have carefully assessed the best 
scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, 
present, and future threats faced by the Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander. As discussed in the Summary of Factors Affecting the 
Species, the species faces a number of threats. These include habitat 
destruction, degradation, and fragmentation, collection, invasive 
exotic species, pesticides, and inadequate regulatory mechanisms. The 
Sonoma County California tiger salamander also is vulnerable to chance 
environmental or demographic events, to which small populations are 
particularly vulnerable. The combination of only seven known breeding 
sites, small range on the Santa Rosa Plain, and restricted habitat 
makes the animal highly susceptible to random events, such as drought, 
disease, and other occurrences.
    Drought conditions in the last two years have resulting in many of 
these ponds drying up earlier in the season than expected. Only three 
pools were wet long enough to allow for recruitment in 2001. Any 
extended drought could result in such low numbers of individuals that 
recovery would be precluded.
    Because the Sonoma County California tiger salamander has been 
reduced to only seven known breeding sites, and all of them are subject 
to various immediate, ongoing, and future threats as outlined above, we 
find that the Sonoma County California tiger salamander is in imminent 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range and warrants immediate protection under the Act. Emergency 
listing the Sonoma County California tiger salamander as endangered 
will increase the regulatory protections and resources available to the 

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as the--(i) 
Specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 
those physical or biological features (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 the species at the time it is listed in 
accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the Act, upon a 
determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the 
conservation of the species. ``Conservation'' means the use of all 
methods and procedures needed to bring the species to the point at 
which listing under the Act is no longer necessary.
    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 of the Interior (Secretary) designate critical habitat at 
the time the species is determined to be endangered or threatened. Our 
implementing regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)) state that critical habitat 
is not determinable if information sufficient to perform the required 
analysis of impacts of the designation is lacking, or if the biological 
needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to allow 
identification of an area as critical habitat. Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act requires us to consider economic and other relevant impacts of 
designating a particular area as critical habitat on the basis of the 
best scientific data available. The Secretary may exclude any area from 
critical habitat if she determines that the benefits of such exclusion 
outweigh the conservation benefits, unless to do so would result in the 
extinction of the species. In the absence of a finding that critical 
habitat would increase threats to a species, if any benefits would 
derive from critical habitat designation, then a prudent finding is 
warranted. In the case of this species, designation of critical habitat 
may provide some benefits.
    The primary regulatory effect of critical habitat is the section 7 
requirement that agencies refrain from taking any action that destroys 
or adversely modifies critical habitat. While a critical habitat 
designation for habitat currently occupied by this species would not be 
likely to change the section 7 consultation outcome because an action 
that destroys or adversely modifies such critical habitat would also be 
likely to result in jeopardy to the species, there may be instances 
where section 7 consultation would be triggered only if critical 
habitat is designated. Examples could include unoccupied habitat or 
occupied habitat that may become unoccupied in the future. Designating 
critical habitat may also produce some educational or informational 
benefits. Therefore, designation of critical habitat for the Sonoma 
County California tiger salamander is prudent.
    However, our budget for listing activities is currently 
insufficient to allow us to immediately complete all the listing 
actions required by the Act. Not designating critical habitat at this 
time allows us to provide the necessary protections needed for the 
conservation of the species without further delay. This is consistent 
with section 4(b)(6)(C)(i) of the Act, which states that final listing 
decisions may be issued without critical habitat designations when it 
is essential that such determinations be promptly published. The 
legislative history of the 1982 Act amendments also emphasized this 
point: ``The Committee feels strongly, however, that, where biology 
relating to the status of the species is clear, it should not be denied 
the protection of the Act because of the inability of the Secretary to 
complete the work necessary to designate critical habitat. * * * The 
committee expects the agencies to make the strongest attempt possible 
to determine critical habitat within the time period designated for 
listing, but stresses that the listing of species is not to be delayed 
in any instance past the time period allocated for such listing if the 
biological data is clear but the habitat designation process is not 
complete'' (H.R. Rep. No. 97-567 at 20 (1982)). We will prepare a 
critical habitat designation in the future when our available resources 
    We will protect the Sonoma County California tiger salamander and 
its habitat through section 7 consultations to determine whether 
Federal actions are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the 
subspecies, through the recovery process, through enforcement of take 
prohibitions under section 9 of the Act, and through the section 10 
process for activities on non-Federal lands with no Federal nexus.

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 conservation actions 
by Federal, State, and local agencies. The Act provides for possible 
land acquisition and cooperation with the State and requires that 
recovery actions be carried out for listed species. We discuss the 
protection of Federal agencies, considerations for

[[Page 47738]]

protection and conservation actions, and the prohibitions against 
taking and harm for the Sonoma County California tiger salamander, in 
part, below.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 
evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed to 
be listed or is 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. Federal agencies are required to confer 
with us informally on any action that is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a proposed species, or result in destruction or 
adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. 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 such a species or to 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal agency 
action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with us. 
Federal agency actions that may affect the Sonoma County California 
tiger salamanders and may require consultation with us include, but are 
not limited to, those within the jurisdiction of the Corps, Natural 
Resources Conservation Service, Federal Farm Bureau, and Federal 
Highway Administration (FHA).
    We believe that protection and recovery of the Sonoma County 
California tiger salamander will require reduction of the threats from 
destruction and degradation of wetland and associated upland habitats 
due to urban development, exotic predators, unnecessary ground squirrel 
and gopher control, and road construction. Threats from collection and 
pesticide drift also must be reduced. These threats should be 
considered when management actions are taken in habitats currently and 
potentially occupied by the Sonoma County California tiger salamander, 
and areas deemed important for dispersal and connectivity or corridors 
between known locations of this species. Monitoring also should be 
undertaken for any management actions or scientific investigations 
designed to address these threats or their impacts.
    Listing the Sonoma County California tiger salamander provides for 
the development and implementation of a recovery plan for the species. 
This plan will bring together Federal, State, and regional agency 
efforts for the conservation of the species. A recovery plan will 
establish a framework for agencies to coordinate their recovery 
efforts. The plan will set recovery priorities and estimate the costs 
of the tasks necessary to accomplish the priorities. It also will 
describe the site-specific actions necessary to achieve conservation 
and survival of the species.
    Listing also will require us to review any actions that may affect 
the Sonoma County California tiger salamander for lands and activities 
under Federal jurisdiction, State plans developed pursuant to section 6 
of the Act, scientific investigations of efforts to enhance the 
propagation or survival of the animal, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) 
of the Act, and habitat conservation plans prepared for non-Federal 
lands and activities pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    Federal agencies with management responsibility for the Sonoma 
County California tiger salamander include the Service, in relation to 
the issuance of section 10(a)(1)(A and B) permits for habitat 
conservation plans and other programs. Occurrences of this species 
could potentially be affected by projects requiring a permit from the 
Corps under section 404 of the CWA. The Corps is required to consult 
with us on applications they receive for projects that may affect 
listed species. Highway construction and maintenance projects that 
receive funding from the FHA would be subject to review under section 7 
of the Act. In addition, activities that are authorized, funded, or 
administered by Federal agencies on non-Federal lands will be subject 
to section 7 review.
    The Act and implementing regulations found at 50 CFR 17.21 set 
forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all 
endangered wildlife. These 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 attempt any such conduct), 
import, export, transport in interstate or foreign 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 State 
conservation agencies.
    Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered wildlife under certain circumstances. Regulations 
governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.23. Such permits 
are available for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities.
    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on 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 
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. We believe 
that, based on the best available information, the following actions 
are not likely to result in a violation of section 9, provided these 
actions are carried out in accordance with any existing regulations and 
permit requirements:
    (1) Possession, delivery, including interstate transport and import 
or export from the United States, involving no commercial activity, of 
Sonoma County California tiger salamanders that were collected prior to 
the date of publication of this emergency listing rule in the Federal 
    (2) Any actions that may affect the Sonoma County California tiger 
salamander that are authorized, funded, or carried out by a Federal 
agency, when the action is conducted in accordance with the 
consultation requirements for listed species pursuant to section 7 of 
the Act;
    (3) Any action taken for scientific research carried out under a 
recovery permit issued by the Service pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) 
of the Act; and
    (4) Land actions or management carried out under a habitat 
conservation plan approved by the Service pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, or an approved conservation agreement.
    Activities that we believe could potentially result in a violation 
of section 9 of the Act include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Unauthorized possession, collecting, trapping, capturing, 
killing, harassing, sale, delivery, or movement, including intrastate, 
interstate, and foreign commerce, or harming, or attempting any of 
these actions, of Sonoma County California tiger salamanders. Research 
activities where salamanders are trapped or captured will require a 
permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act;
    (2) Activities authorized, funded, or carried out by Federal 
agencies that may affect the Sonoma County California tiger salamander, 
or its habitat, when such activities are not conducted in accordance 
with the consultation for listed species under section 7 of the Act;

[[Page 47739]]

    (3) Discharges or dumping of toxic chemicals, silt, or other 
pollutants into, or other alteration of the quality of waters 
supporting Sonoma County California tiger salamanders that results in 
death or injury of the species or that results in degradation of their 
occupied habitat;
    (4) Release of exotic species (including, but not limited to, 
bullfrogs, tiger salamanders, mosquito fish, bass, sunfish, bullhead, 
catfish, crayfish) into Sonoma County California tiger salamander 
breeding habitat;
    (5) Destruction or alteration of uplands associated with seasonal 
pools used by Sonoma County California tiger salamanders during 
estivation and dispersal, or modification of migration routes such that 
migration and dispersal are reduced or precluded; and
    (6) Activities (e.g., habitat conversion, excessive livestock 
grazing, road and trail construction, recreation, development, and 
unauthorized application of herbicides and pesticides in violation of 
label restrictions) that directly or indirectly result in the death or 
injury of larvae, sub-adult, or adult Sonoma County California tiger 
salamanders, or modify Sonoma County California tiger salamander 
habitat and significantly affect their essential behavioral patterns 
including breeding, foraging, sheltering, or other life functions. 
Otherwise lawful activities that incidentally take Sonoma County 
California tiger salamanders, but have no Federal nexus, will require a 
permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities will constitute a 
violation of section 9 should be directed to the Field Supervisor of 
the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section). Requests for copies of the regulations regarding 
listed species and inquiries regarding prohibitions and permits may be 
addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species 
Permits, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232-4181 (503/231-2063; 
facsimile 503/231-6243).

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that an Environmental Assessment and 
Environmental Impact Statement, as defined under the authority of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in 
connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the 
Endangered Species Act as amended. We published a notice outlining our 
reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 
1983 (48 FR 49244).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information other 
than those already approved by the Office of Management and Budget 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and assigned 
control number 1018-0094, which is valid through July 31, 2004. This 
rule will not impose record keeping or reporting requirements on State 
or local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An 
agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to a collection of information, unless it displays a currently 
valid control number.

Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued an Executive Order (E.O. 
13211) on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, 
distribution, and use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to 
prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. 
This rule is not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, 
distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant 
energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available upon request from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this rule is David Wooten, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
record-keeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons given in the preamble, we amend part 17, subchapter 
B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set 
forth below:


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

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

    2. Amend Sec. 17.11(h) by adding the following, in alphabetical 
order under AMPHIBIANS, to the List of Endangered and Threatened 

Sec. 17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

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

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *
Salamander, California tiger.....  Ambystoma             U.S.A. (CA)........  U.S.A. (CA-Sonoma    E                       729           NA           NA
                                    californiense.                             County).

                   *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

[[Page 47740]]

    Dated: July 16, 2002.
Marshall P. Jones,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 02-18456 Filed 7-19-02; 8:45 am]