[Federal Register: August 1, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 147)]
[Page 43514-43515]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery 
Plan for Astragalus holmgreniorum (Holmgren milk-vetch) and Astragalus 
ampullarioides (Shivwits milk-vetch)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces 
availability for public review a draft recovery plan for the Holmgren 
milk-vetch (Astragalus holmgreniorum) and Shivwits milk-vetch 
(Astragalus ampullarioides). These species are federally listed as 
endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft 

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or 
before August 31, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available by request 
from the Utah Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2369 West 
Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119 (telephone 801-
975-3330). Submit comments on the draft recovery plan to the Field 
Supervisor at this same address. An electronic copy of the draft 
recovery plan is available at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Field Supervisor, at the above 
address, or telephone 801-975-3330.



    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare recovery 
plans for the federally listed species native to the United States 
where a plan will promote the conservation of the species. Recovery 
plans describe site-specific actions necessary for the conservation of 
the species, establish objective, measurable criteria which, when met, 
would result in a determination that the species no longer needs the 
protection of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and provide estimates 
of the time and cost for implementing the needed recovery measures.
    The Act requires recovery plans 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 public 
notice and opportunity for public review and comment be provided during 
recovery plan development. The Service will consider all information 
received during a public comment period when preparing each new or 
revised recovery plan for approval. The Service and other Federal 
agencies also will take these comments into consideration in the course 
of implementing approved recovery plans. It is our policy to request 
peer review of recovery plans, and we will summarize and respond to the 
issues raised by the peer reviewers in a determination appendix to the 
approved recovery plan.
    Holmgren milk-vetch and Shivwits milk-vetch are endemic to the 
Mojave Desert around St. George, Utah. These perennials were listed as 
endangered in October 2001 (66 FR 49560, September 28, 2001) due to 
their rarity and declining population trends as well as the threats of 
urban development, off-road vehicle use, grazing, displacement by 
invasive plants, and mineral development. Critical habitat was proposed 

for these species on March 29, 2006 (71 FR 15966). For the purpose of 
recovery each species comprises six extant populations located in 
Washington County, Utah, with one Holmgren milk-vetch population 
extending into Mohave County, Arizona. This also represents the known 
historic distribution, although it is probable that both species 
occupied more habitat in the past.
    Holmgren milk-vetch occurs at elevations between 756 and 914 meters 
(2,480 and 2,999 feet) in areas that drain to the Santa Clara and 
Virgin Rivers. It is typically found on the skirt edges of hill and 
plateau formations slightly above or at the edge of drainage areas; it 
occurs on soils characterized by small stone and gravel deposits and 
where living cover is less than 20 percent of the landscape. Shivwits 
milk-vetch is found in isolated pockets of Chinle and Moenave soils 
around St. George. Occupied sites are small, and populations are found 
between 920 and 1,330 meters (3,018 and 4,363 feet) in elevation in 
sparsely vegetated habitat with an average 12 percent cover. Shivwits 
milk-vetch is thinly and discontinuously distributed within its 
habitat; Shivwits milk-vetch is found in dense patches. Depending on 
precipitation, Holmgren milk-vetch has variable seedling output 
followed by a low rate of survivorship, limiting the number of 
reproductive adults within a population; Shivwits milk-vetch is 
constrained by the isolation of appropriate soil substrate and limited 
mechanisms for seed dispersal.
    Recovery of Holmgren milk-vetch and Shivwits milk-vetch will hinge 
on conservation of extant populations and establishment of enough 
additional populations to ensure long-term demographic and genetic 
viability. This will require the active involvement of experts and the 
public as well as a continuing recognition of the role each milk-vetch 
plays in the ecology of southwestern Utah and, in the case of Holmgren 
milk-vetch, northwestern Arizona. Because of the biological and 
historical uncertainties regarding the status and recovery potential of 
these species, the recovery strategy is necessarily contingent on a 
growing understanding of the species and their ecological requirements. 
Consequently, a dynamic and adaptive approach will be key to making 
effective progress toward full recovery.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits public comments on the draft recovery plan 
described. All comments received by the date specified will be 
considered prior to approval of the plan. Written comments and 
materials regarding the plan should be addressed to the Field 
Supervisor (see ADDRESSES section). Comments and materials received 
will be available, by appointment, for public inspection during normal 
business hours at the above address.


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

[[Page 43515]]

    Dated: July 5, 2006.
James J. Slack,
Deputy Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. E6-12306 Filed 7-31-06; 8:45 am]