[Federal Register: September 20, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 183)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 59239-59241]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI27

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Five Carbonate Plants From the San Bernardino 
Mountains in Southern California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and notice of 
availability of draft economic analysis.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the comment period on the proposed designation of critical 
habitat for five carbonate plants from the San Bernardino Mountains in 
Southern California: Astragalus albens (Cushenbury milk-vetch), 
Erigeron parishii (Parish's daisy), Eriogonum

[[Page 59240]]

ovalifolium var. vineum (Cushenbury buckwheat), Lesquerella kingii ssp. 
bernardina (San Bernardino Mountains bladderpod), and Oxytheca parishii 
var. goodmaniana (Cushenbury oxytheca) (hereafter: ``carbonate 
plants''); and the availability of the draft economic analysis of the 
proposed designation of critical habitat. We are reopening the comment 
period on the critical habitat for these species to allow all 
interested parties to comment simultaneously on the proposed rule and 
the associated draft economic analysis. Comments previously submitted 
need not be resubmitted as they have been incorporated into the public 
record as part of this extended comment period and will be fully 
considered in the final rule.

DATES: We will accept public comments until 5 p.m. on October 21, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information should be submitted to 
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2730 Loker Avenue West, Carlsbad, CA 92008. For the 
electronic mail address, and further instructions on commenting, refer 
to Public Comments Solicited section of this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel R. Brown, Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the above address 
(telephone 760/431-9440; facsimile 760/431-9618).



    The carbonate plants addressed in this notice are restricted 
primarily to carbonate derived soils in the San Bernardino Mountains of 
San Bernardino County, California (59 FR 43652). The carbonate plants 
are found along a 56 kilometer (km) (35 mile (mi)) portion of the San 
Bernardino Mountains between 1,171 and 2,682 meters (m) (3,842 and 
8,800 feet (ft)) in elevation. All of the carbonate plants are endemic 
to California.
    On June 15, 2000, the California Native Plant Society filed a 
lawsuit in Federal District Court for the Southern District of 
California for our failure to designate critical habitat for the five 
carbonate plants (California Native Plant Society v. Berg, et al., 
00CV1207-L (LSP)). On April 27, 2001, the Court vacated our August 24, 
1994, ``not prudent'' determination for critical habitat and ordered us 
to reevaluate its prudency, and if prudent, to publish a final critical 
habitat designation on or before September 30, 2002. On February 12, 
2002, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (67 FR 6578) 
proposing to designate approximately 5,335 hectares (13,180 acres) of 
land in San Bernardino County, California, as critical habitat for the 
carbonate plants pursuant to the Act. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
requires that we designate or revise critical habitat based upon the 
best scientific and commercial data available, after taking into 
consideration the economic or any other relevant impact of specifying 
any particular area as critical habitat. Based upon the previously 
published proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the carbonate 
plants, we have prepared a draft economic analysis of the proposed 
critical habitat designation. The draft economic analysis is available 
on the Internet and from the mailing address and phone number given 

Public Comments Solicited

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period. If you wish to comment, you may submit your 
comments and materials concerning this proposal by any of several 
    (1) You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, at the address given above.
    (2) You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: 
carbplants@r1.fws.gov. If you submit comments by e-mail, please submit 
them as an ASCII file and avoid the use of special characters and any 
form of encryption. Please also include ``Attn: RIN 1018-AI27'' and 
your name and return address in your e-mail message. If you do not 
receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your e-
mail message, contact us directly by calling our Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office at telephone number 760/431-9440.
    (3) You may hand-deliver comments to our Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife 
Office at the address given above.
    We solicit comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned 
governmental agencies, tribes, the scientific community, industry, or 
any other interested parties concerning the proposal or the draft 
economic analysis. We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Assumptions reflected in the Carbonate Habitat Management 
Strategy and the draft economic analysis regarding land use practices 
and current, planned, or reasonably foreseeable activities in the 
subject areas, including comments or information relating to the 
potential effects that the designation could have on private landowners 
as a result of actual or foreseeable State and local government 
responses due to the California Environmental Quality Act;
    (2) Land use practices and current, planned, or foreseeable 
activities in the subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed 
critical habitats;
    (3) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of these critical habitats, including impacts that 
may not have been addressed in the draft economic analysis and, in 
particular, any impacts on small entities or families;
    (4) Economic and other values associated with designating critical 
habitat for Astragalus albens, Erigeron parishii, Eriogonum ovalifolium 
var. vineum, Lesquerella kingii ssp. bernardina, and Oxytheca parishii 
var. goodmaniana, such as those derived from non-consumptive uses 
(e.g., hiking, camping, plant-watching/botanizing, enhanced watershed 
protection, improved air quality, increased soil retention, ``existence 
values,'' and reductions in administrative costs); and
    (5) Whether our approach to critical habitat designation could be 
improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concern and comments.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
In some circumstances, we would withhold from the rulemaking record a 
respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold 
your name or address, you must state this request prominently at the 
beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous 
comments. To the extent consistent with applicable law, we will make 
all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. 
Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 
address. Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the 
Internet at http://carlsbad.fws.gov or by writing to the Field 
Supervisor at the address given above.

[[Page 59241]]


    The primary author of this notice is Daniel R. Brown (see ADDRESSES 

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

    Dated: September 16, 2002.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-23942 Filed 9-19-02; 8:45 am]