[Federal Register: September 22, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 183)]
[Page 55061-55062]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Approved Recovery Plan for the Mead's Milkweed (Asclepias 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of the approved recovery plan for the Mead's milkweed 
(Asclepias meadii), a species that is federally listed as threatened 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.). This species occurs primarily in tallgrass prairie, but 
also occurs in hay meadows and in thin soil glades or barrens. Actions 
needed for recovery of the Mead's milkweed include protecting and 
managing extant populations and potential recovery habitat.

ADDRESSES: This recovery plan is available from the following 
    1. Fish and Wildlife Reference Service, 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 
110, Bethesda, Maryland 20814 (the fee for the plan varies depending on 
the number of pages).
    2. Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chicago 
Ecological Services Field Office, 1250 S. Grove Avenue, Suite 103, 
Barrington, Illinois 60010.
    3. The World Wide Web at http://endangered.fws.gov/RECOVERY/index.html#plans

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Kristopher Lah, Chicago Ecological 
Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES section No. 2 above), telephone 
(847) 381-2253 ext. 215. The Fish and Wildlife Reference Service may be 
reached at (301) 492-6403 or (800) 582-3421. TTY users may contact Mr. 
Lah and the Fish and Wildlife Reference Service through the Federal 
Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

[[Page 55062]]



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals or plants is a primary 
goal of the Service's endangered species program. A species is 
considered recovered when the species' ecosystem is restored and/or 
threats to the species are removed so that self-sustaining and self-
regulating populations of the species can be supported as persistent 
members of native biotic communities. Recovery plans describe actions 
considered necessary for the conservation of the species, establish 
criteria for delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for 
implementing the measures needed for recovery.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, requires that 
recovery plans be developed for listed species unless such a plan would 
not promote the conservation of a particular species. Section 4(f) of 
the Act, as amended in 1988, requires that during recovery plan 
development, we provide public notice and an opportunity for public 
review and comment. Information presented during the comment period has 
been considered in the preparation of the approved recovery plan, and 
is summarized in an appendix to the recovery plan. We will forward 
substantive comments regarding recovery plan implementation to 
appropriate Federal agencies and other entities so that they can take 
these comments into account during the course of implementing recovery 
    The Mead's milkweed was listed as a threatened species under the 
Act on September 1, 1988 (53 FR 33982). The Mead's milkweed is 
currently known to persist in eastern Kansas, Missouri, south-central 
Iowa, and southern Illinois. Populations no longer occur in Wisconsin 
and Indiana. Seventy-five percent of the Mead's milkweed populations 
are in the Osage Plains Physiographic Region in Kansas and Missouri. 
The remainder of the populations occur in the Shawnee Hills of 
Illinois; the Southern Iowa Drift Plain in Iowa; the Glaciated Plains, 
Ozark Border, Ozark Springfield Plateau, the Ozark-St. Francois 
Mountains, Missouri; and the Glaciated Physiographic Region of Kansas. 
Mead's milkweed populations have been eliminated by wide-scale 
agriculture in the eastern part of the species' range. Many large 
populations occur in private hay meadows where a century of annual 
mowing has severely reduced genetic diversity by preventing sexual 
reproduction. Among the surviving populations in eastern Missouri, 
Illinois, and Iowa, most consist of a few genetically invariant clones 
that are incapable of reproduction. Population restoration efforts are 
being made in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin by introducing Mead's 
milkweed into suitable habitat.
    The objective of this plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of the Mead's milkweed so that protection by the Act is no 
longer necessary. As recovery criteria are met, the status of the 
species will be reviewed and it will be considered for removal from the 
list of Endangered and Threatened Plants (50 CFR part 17). The Mead's 
milkweed will be considered for delisting when 21 populations are 
distributed across plant communities and physiographic regions within 
the historic range of the species, each of these 21 populations is 
highly viable, and monitoring indicates that these populations have had 
a stable or increasing trend for 15 years. A highly viable population 
has the following characteristics: more than 50 mature plants; seed 
production; increase in size and maturity; genetically diverse with 
more than 50 genotypes; 125 acres (50 hectares) or more of late-
successional habitat; habitat protection through long-term conservation 
easements, legal dedication as a nature preserve, or other means; and 
habitat management by fire in order to maintain a late-successional 
graminoid vegetation structure that is free of woody vegetation.

    Authority: The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533 (f).

    Dated: August 21, 2003.
Charles M. Wooley,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 03-24075 Filed 9-18-03; 12:01 pm]