[Federal Register: September 27, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 187)]
[Page 56547-56548]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Final Sentry Milk-Vetch Recovery 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the final recovery plan for the sentry milk-vetch 
(Astragalus cremnophylax var. cremnophylax). Three populations of this 
endangered plant are known to occur on land managed by the National 
Park Service in the Grand Canyon National Park (Park) in Coconino 
County, Arizona.

ADDRESSES: Persons may obtain a copy of the recovery plan by accessing 
the Service's Arizona Ecological Services Field Office Internet Web 
page at http://arizonaes.fws.gov or by contacting the Field Supervisor, 

Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, Arizona, 85021-
4951 (602/242-0210) to obtain a copy via the mail or in person at the 
addresses above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mima Falk, Arizona Ecological Services 
Tucson Suboffice, 201 N Bonita Ave., Tucson, Arizona 85745 (520/670-
6150 ext. 225).



    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant species 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 most of the listed species native to the 
United States. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for 
conservation of species, establish criteria for the recovery levels for 
downlisting or delisting them, and estimate time and cost for 
implementing the recovery measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), requires the development of 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 an opportunity for public review and 
comment be provided during recovery plan development. We will consider 
all information presented during the public comment period prior to 
approval of each new or revised recovery plan. We, along with other 
Federal agencies, will also take these comments into account in the 
course of implementing approved recovery plans.
    The recovery plan describes the status, current management, 
recovery criteria, and specific actions needed to reclassify the sentry 
milk-vetch from endangered to threatened and for eventual consideration 
for delisting. An original draft of the recovery plan was developed by 
Dr. Joyce Maschinski, a botanist and species specialist from the 
Arboretum at Flagstaff. The document was reviewed and updated by a team 
of botanists, soil scientists, naturalists and National Park Service 
land managers that have a history of researching or managing the plant 
and its habitat. In 1993, the draft recovery plan for the sentry milk-
vetch underwent technical and public review, but was not finalized at 
that time due to other high priority work. The reviews received on the 
1993 draft are maintained in the Service's administrative record. The 
draft plan was subsequently updated again and made available for public 
and peer review in 2004 (69 FR 55447), with a re-opening of the public 
comment period for an additional 30 days in 2005 (70 FR 1736).
    Sentry milk-vetch is known from three locations on the South Rim of 
the Grand Canyon, where Kaibab limestone forms large flat platforms 
with shallow soils near pinyon-juniper woodlands. There are currently 
fewer than 600 individual sentry milk-vetch plants between the three 
locations. The primary cause of decline of the largest population at 
Maricopa Point prior to protection was trampling by Park visitors, 
although drought conditions may have worsened the situation. We 
carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information 
available regarding the past, present, and future threats faced by 
sentry milk-vetch as part of our 1990 final determination to list this 
species as endangered (55 FR 50184). The four major threats identified 
in the rule listing the species were: (1) Destruction of habitat and 
damage to individuals through human disturbance (trampling); (2) over-
utilization due to collection; (3) inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms to provide protection of habitat; and (4) naturally low 
reproduction of the species. The recovery plan reassesses current 
threats to the species and provides recovery actions to lessen and 
alleviate significant threats.
    The recovery plan recommends downlisting to threatened when four 
viable populations of 1,000 plants each have been established and 
maintained for 10-30 years, and delisting when eight populations have 
been established and maintained for 10-30 years. These criteria are 
based on considerations of population viability and resiliency, 
redundancy, climatic factors, and habitat protection. The time to reach 
downlisted or recovered status is not known, but will depend on the 
time necessary to survey existing habitat, accomplish priority research 
needs, establish a botanical garden population, establish new wild 
populations, and implement management to protect the species. Estimated 
costs for the first 5 years of recovery implementation total $963,000.


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

[[Page 56548]]

    Dated: September 6, 2006.
Christopher T. Jones,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E6-15873 Filed 9-26-06; 8:45 am]