[Federal Register: August 18, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 159)]
[Page 48577-48579]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan for Eggert's Sunflower 
(Helianthus eggertii)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (we) announces the 
availability of the Draft Post-delisting Monitoring Plan for Eggert's 
Sunflower (Helianthus eggertii) (PDM). We propose to monitor the status 
of Eggert's sunflower over a 5-year period, from the date of final 
delisting under the Endangered Species Act (Act) in 2005 through 2010. 
Monitoring will be through (1) annual evaluation of information already 
routinely being collected by 7 agencies that have entered into long-
term management agreements with us covering 27 populations of H. 
eggertii, and (2) a total census of these populations during the 2nd 
and 5th year of the monitoring period. We solicit review and comment on 
this Monitoring Plan from local, State and Federal agencies, and the 

DATES: We will accept and consider all public comments received on or 
before September 19, 2005.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment on this proposed PDM, you may submit 
your comments by any one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal Street, 
Cookeville, TN 38501.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Tennessee Field 
Office at the above address or fax your comments to 931/528-7075.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of this draft PDM, are available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
Tennessee Field Office at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy Merritt at the above address 
(telephone 931/528-6481, extension 211).


Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that the final PDM for H. eggertii will be accurate and 
effective in helping us assess whether removal of the protections of 
the Act leads to a deterioration of the status, and potential need for 
emergency relisting, of H. eggertii. Therefore, we solicit comments or 
suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the 
scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties 
concerning this proposed PDM.
    Comments may be submitted as indicated under ADDRESSES. Our 
practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of 
respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. 
A respondent may request that we withhold their home address from the 
rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the 
rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you 
wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not 
consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses available for public inspection in their 
    In making a final decision on the PDM, we will take into 
consideration the comments and any additional information we receive. 
Comments and materials received, as well as supporting information used 
to write the PDM, will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the address indicated in 
the ADDRESSES section.


    The 1988 amendments to the Act require us to implement a system, in 
cooperation with the States, to monitor all species that have been 
delisted, or removed from the list of endangered and threatened species 
listed under the Act, due to recovery efforts for at least 5 years 
following delisting (section 4(g)(1)). The purpose of this PDM is to 
verify that a species that is delisted, due to recovery, remains secure 
from risk of extinction after it no longer has the protections of the 
Act. If the species does not remain secure, we can use the emergency 
listing authorities under section 4(b)(7) of the Act. Section 4(g) of 
the Act explicitly requires cooperation with the States in development 
and implementation of PDM programs. However, we are responsible for 
compliance with section 4(g) and must remain actively engaged in all 
phases of the PDM.
    By a separate rulemaking being published elsewhere in today's issue 
of the Federal Register, the Service is delisting Eggert's sunflower, a 
perennial herb found in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, due to 
recovery and new information. The Service has drafted a

[[Page 48578]]

PDM for Eggert's sunflower and, by this Notice of Availability, we are 
making it available for review. Following the end of the comment 
period, any comments will be incorporated as appropriate into the final 
    There are currently 7 populations of Eggert's sunflower in Alabama, 
18 populations in Kentucky, and 48 populations in Tennessee, for a 
total of 73, that have more than 100 flower stems. This encompasses a 
total of 287 currently known sites, far exceeding the 34 known at the 
time of the species' listing, and we continue to find more sites. As 
defined by the recovery plan for this plant, only 20 populations are 
required for this plant to be considered for delisting.
    The Federal, State, and private conservation group landowners 
involved in recovery activities for this species (see the final 
delisting rule for H. eggertii elsewhere in this issue of the Federal 
Register) are already monitoring the status of this species, either 
through existing agreements or voluntarily. Kentucky Transportation 
Cabinet (KTC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Mammoth Cave National 
Park (MCNP) have signed management agreements with us, covering 5 
populations in Kentucky, to protect this species and monitor its status 
for a period of 7 years for KTC and 10 years for TNC and MCNP. We also 
have Cooperative Management Agreements with the Tennessee Wildlife 
Resources Agency (TWRA), A.G. Beaman Park (AGBP), and Arnold Air Force 
Base (AAFB) covering 21 populations in Tennessee, bringing the total 
number of populations managed under long-term conservation agreements 
to 27, considerably more than the 20 populations required for recovery 
in the H. eggertii recovery plan. These landowners will protect these 
populations and monitor their status for a period of 10 years. We will 
seek active participation of all the entities that signed Cooperative 
Management Agreements to assist us with the post-delisting 
responsibilities for H. eggertii.
    Given the protection afforded by landowners, the current range of 
this sunflower, and the number of newly discovered populations, we 
believe what is needed for recovery of this plant has been achieved and 
that the landowners involved will continue to assist us and likely 
extend their management agreements to protect this plant past 7 to 10 
    Our Tennessee Field Office will coordinate with AAFB, TWRA, AGBP, 
MCNP, KTC, TNC, and State resource agencies to implement an effective 
5-year monitoring program to track the population status of H. 
eggertii. We will annually evaluate the effectiveness of the 
Cooperative Management Agreements in protecting H. eggertii 
populations. To detect any changes in the status of H. eggertii, we 
will use, to the fullest extent possible, information routinely 
collected by these agencies on a yearly basis. In addition, we will 
ensure that a total population census that includes both flowering 
stems and total stems will be conducted during the second and fifth 
years of the monitoring period for the 27 populations that are 
protected on public lands. Based on the recovery criteria of needing 20 
geographically distinct, self-sustaining populations that are secure 
and have stable or increasing populations for 5 years, we believe that 
monitoring the 27 populations that occur on public lands is sufficient 
to determine if threats have been reduced or removed to a point at 
which listing under the Act is no longer required.
    Monitoring for H. eggertii should ideally be performed between 
August 15 and September 15, although the season may begin as early as 
August 1 and end as late as October 15 depending on environmental 
conditions (e.g., amount of rain during the growing season, etc.). The 
following protocol will be used to monitor the 27 populations that are 
protected on public lands.
    (1) Find the monitoring location using a combination of directions 
and a GPS unit.
    (2) Evaluate the location for the presence/absence of Eggert's 
    (3) Count to determine if there are 100 flowering 
    (4) Count the total stems.
    (5) Search for evidence of any recruitment or juvenile plants and 
note the relative abundance.
    (6) Take a GPS reading at the center of each colony and estimate 
its width and length.
    (7) Draw the general shape of the colony and other land features.
    (8) Take digital pictures of the colony from a single point such as 
one corner looking across the colony.
    (9) Perform a visual threats assessment of each occurrence using 
the five following criteria: Invasive pest plants, habitat 
modification, succession of woody species, disease, and herbivory/
insect damage. Assign ranks for each threat on the following scale: 1 = 
no current threat, 2 = low current threat, 3 = moderate threat, 4 = 
high threat, 5 = extreme immediate threat. A rank of ``1'' indicates 
that the particular threat poses no impact at the time of observation 
(e.g., there are no invasive pest plants present in the area). A low 
threat rank (2) would indicate that the site may be impacted in the 
future, but is not presently (e.g., occasional stems of an invasive 
pest plant are present). A moderate threat rank (3) would indicate that 
the threat is established at the occurrence, but does not appear to be 
negatively impacting the occurrence at the time of observation. A high 
threat rank (4) should be given when the threat is established at the 
site and appears to be negatively impacting the occurrence. The extreme 
rank (5) would be given when the threat is immediate and likely to 
severely negatively impact the occurrence within the present or next 
year's growing season.
    (10) Make qualitative notes on the general habitat conditions and 
any land management. Describe the status of the occurrence in general.
    If we determine at the end of the 5-year post-delisting monitoring 
period that ``recovered'' status is still appropriate and factors that 
led to the listing of H. eggertii, or any new factors, remain 
sufficiently reduced or eliminated, monitoring may be reduced or 
terminated. If data show that the species is declining or if one or 
more factors that have the potential to cause a decline are identified, 
we will continue monitoring beyond the 5-year period and may modify the 
PDM based on an evaluation of the results of the initial PDM, or 
reinitiate listing if necessary.

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

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR 1320 
implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.). The OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320.3 (c) define a ``collection of 
information'' as the obtaining of information by or for an agency by 
means of identical questions posed to, or identical reporting, 
recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements imposed on, 10 or more 
persons. Furthermore, 5 CFR 1320.3 (c)(4) specifies that ``10 or more 
persons'' refers to the persons to whom a collection of information is 
addressed by the agency within any 12-month period. For purposes of 
this definition, employees of the Federal Government are not included. 
A Federal 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 OMB control number. The proposed PDM for Eggert's 
sunflower requests that cooperating land owners/managers annually 
provide the Service with population information they routinely collect. 
These information requirements do not, however, require OMB approval 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act, because

[[Page 48579]]

there are fewer than 10 non-Federal respondents.


    The primary author of this proposed rule is Timothy Merritt (see 
ADDRESSES section).


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

    Dated: July 5, 2005.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 05-16275 Filed 8-17-05; 8:45 am]