[Federal Register: March 7, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 44)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 11367-11371]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List Agave eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum as 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-
month finding on a petition to list the plants Agave eggersiana (no 
common name) and Solanum conocarpum (marr[oacute]n bacora) as 
endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial 
information, we find that listing A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum is 
not warranted at this time. However, we will continue to seek new 
information on the biology of these species as well as potential 
threats. We also ask the public to submit to us any new information 
that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, A. 
eggersiana and S. conocarpum. This information will help us monitor the 
status of these species. If additional data become available, we may 
reassess the need for listing.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on February 22, 

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this finding is available for 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
Boquer[oacute]n Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Road 301, Km. 5.1 in Boquer[oacute]n, Puerto Rico. 
Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions 
concerning these species or this finding to the above address or P.O. 
Box 491, Boquer[oacute]n, Puerto Rico 00622.

[[Page 11368]]

Biologist, Boquer[oacute]n Field Office, at the address above (787-851-
7297, ext. 224).



    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific and commercial 
information that listing may be warranted, we make a finding within 12 
months of the date of receipt of the petition. The finding must be that 
the petitioned action is (a) Not warranted; (b) warranted; or (c) 
warranted, but that the immediate proposal of a regulation implementing 
the petitioned action is precluded by other pending proposals to 
determine whether any species is threatened or endangered, and 
expeditious progress is being made to add or remove qualified species 
from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Section 
4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that a petition for which the requested 
action is found to be warranted but precluded be treated as though 
resubmitted on the date of such finding (that is, requiring a 
subsequent finding to be made within 12 months). Each subsequent 12-
month finding will be published in the Federal Register.
    On November 21, 1996, we received a petition from the U.S. Virgin 
Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) requesting 
that we list two species of plants in the U.S. Virgin Islands as 
endangered: Agave eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum. We published our 
finding that the petition to list A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum 
presented substantial information indicating that the requested action 
may be warranted in the Federal Register on November 16, 1998 (63 FR 
63659) and initiated a status review on these two plants. On September 
1, 2004, a lawsuit was filed against the Department of the Interior and 
the Service by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging our 
alleged failure to publish a 12-month finding (Center for Biological 
Diversity v. Gale Norton et al., Civil Action No. 1:04-CV-2553 CAP) 
(N.D. Ga.). In a Stipulated Settlement Agreement, signed April 27, 
2005, we agreed to submit our 12-month finding to the Federal Register 
by February 28, 2006.

Biology and Distribution

Agave eggersiana

    Agave eggersiana (no common name) is a flowering plant of the 
family Agavaceae (century plant family) known only from the island of 
St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Two other species occur naturally 
in the Virgin Islands, A. missionum (corita) and A. sisalana (sisal), 
neither of which are endemic to St. Croix. A. eggersiana was originally 
described in 1913 by Trelease from material collected on St. Croix, and 
it is distinguished from other members of the Agavaceae family by its 
acaulescent (without an evident leafy stem), non-suckering growth habit 
(does not reproduce vegetatively by forming offshoots around its base), 
and fleshy, nearly straight leaves with small marginal prickles (1.00 
millimeter (mm) (0.04 inches (in)) long) that are nearly straight 
(Britton and Wilson 1923; Proctor and Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 2005). 
Its flowers are deep yellow, 5 to 6 centimeters (cm) (1.95 to 2.34 in) 
long. Fruits are unknown; after flowering, the panicles (inflorescence) 
produce numerous small vegetative bulbs, from which the species can be 
propagated (Proctor and Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 2005). There is no 
information available on the biology, ecology, and phenology of A. 
    A. eggersiana was originally collected in 1913 by Trelease on St. 
Croix (type location) (Britton and Wilson 1923; Acevedo-
Rodr[iacute]guez 1996; Proctor and Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 2005). 
Britton and Wilson (1923) reported the species from hillsides and 
plains in the eastern dry districts of St. Croix but did not provide 
population estimates. Information provided in the petition letter (B. 
Kojis and R. Boulon, DPNR, pers. comm. 1996) specified that the species 
was last observed growing in the wild around 1984 to 1986 on St. Croix. 
In a subsequent letter, DPNR stated that the species ``may be extinct'' 
but that ``descendants from original plants may exist to the north of 
Great Pond near the original site of camp Arawak'' (D. Plaskett, DPNR, 
pers. comm. 2003). However, no information was provided to clarify 
whether or not field surveys had been conducted in the area to search 
for the original plants. Furthermore, neither letter provided any 
scientific literature citations or systematic survey information in 
support of the possibility of extinction or, rather, extirpation from 
the wild. Proctor and Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (2005) provided a 
general description of the species and state that the species ``now 
appears to be extinct in the wild.'' However, no citations or survey 
information were provided. The Service is uncertain about the original 
source that reported the extirpation of this species from the wild and 
has not confirmed that any systematic surveys for this species have 
been conducted. Therefore, we believe that at present, the status of 
this species in the wild is unknown.
    All currently known occurrences of A. eggersiana are plants that 
were cultivated. Britton and Wilson (1923) noted that A. eggersiana has 
been in cultivation on St. Croix and St. Thomas as an ornamental plant 
since the early 20th century. The 1996 petition letter reported the 
existence of several small populations of A. eggersiana established on 
St. Croix through propagation efforts conducted by local 
horticulturists and botanical gardens. They mentioned that propagated 
plants were distributed to private individuals for planting as an 
effort to prevent extinction of this species. However, no information 
was provided regarding the origin of propagated materials. D. Plaskett 
(pers. comm. 2003) stated that cultivated plants ``have been 
established'' and specified one privately owned residential location. 
We know of other cultivated specimens on the airport grounds in St. 
Croix, the University of Virgin Islands in St. Thomas (Acevedo-
Rodr[iacute]guez, Smithsonian Institution, pers. comm. 2005), and at 
botanical gardens in the United States, such as Fairchild Tropical 
Garden in Miami, Florida.
    In summary, both the historic and present status of A. eggersiana 
are unknown; all known plant individuals are cultivars; systematic 
surveys for the species are lacking; no information is available on the 
species biology, ecology, and phenology; and no genetic studies have 
been conducted to determine if there is genetic variability among known 

Solanum conocarpum

    Solanum conocarpum (marr[oacute]n bacora) is a dry forest shrub of 
the Solanaceae, or tomato, family that may attain 3 m (9.8 ft) in 
height. Its leaves are from 3.5 to 7 cm (0.62 to 1.5 in) wide, oblong-
elliptic or oblanceolate (broader at the distal third than the middle), 
coriaceous (leathery texture), glabrous (not hairy), and have a 
yellowish midvein. The flowers are usually paired in nearly sessile 
(not stalked) lateral or terminal cymes (flat-topped flower cluster). 
The corolla consists of five separate petals that are light violet, 
greenish at the base, and about 2 cm (0.78 in) wide. The fruit, a 
berry, is ovoid-conical (teardrop shaped), 2 to 3 cm (0.78 to 1.2 in) 
long, and turns from green with white striations to golden yellow when 
ripe (Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 1996). Little is known about the 
reproductive biology

[[Page 11369]]

of this species (Ray and Stanford 2003). Ongoing propagation efforts 
(such as Ray 2005) will likely provide additional information.
    Although in the petition letter B. Kojis and R. Boulon (pers. comm. 
1996) suggested that S. conocarpum might be functionally dioecious 
(having male and female flowers on different plants), P. Acevedo-
Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002) contradicted this possibility. He 
believes that the species is not dioecious and documented flowers and 
fruits in one wild individual he discovered in the White Cliff area 
(although it was the only individual on that side of the island). Ray 
and Stanford (2003) documented that the seeds have thin coats and are 
therefore unlikely to be represented in the soil seed bank. Ray (2005) 
reported ample fruit and seed production in the wild. Although no 
seedling recruitment was observed in the wild by Ray and Stanford 
(2003) and J. Saliva (USFWS, pers. observation (obs.) 2004), Ray (2005) 
reported that a few seedlings were observed in the wild population 
located in Estate Concordia.
    S. conocarpum was originally known from a type specimen collected 
by L.C. Richard at Coral Bay, St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands), in 1787 
(Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 1996). Although no population estimates are 
available for the type locality, P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. 
comm. 2002) reported that the species seemed to be locally common at 
the beginning of the 19th century. The species was rediscovered in 1992 
by P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez on the island of St. John (Ray and 
Stanford 2003). B. Kojis and R. Boulon (pers. comm. 1996) mentioned 
that only two individuals were known growing in the wild on St. John: 
One individual on Virgin Islands National Park (VINP) land, and the 
other growing on private land. These two localities are consistent with 
the localities reported by Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (1996; pers. comm. 
2002), who described the habitat as dry, deciduous forest.
    Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (1996) referenced the possibility of the 
species being present on St. Thomas and mentioned a collection of a 
sterile specimen from Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands (BVI)). 
Information provided by the B. Kojis and R. Boulon (pers. comm. 1996), 
however, reported the collection of a sterile specimen from Tortola, 
BVI. P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002) clarified that his 
collection of the sterile specimen was from Virgin Gorda, but he 
believes that the specimen belongs to a different species, Cestrum 
laurifolium, and not S. conocarpum. However, no surveys have been 
conducted in St. Thomas or the BVI to determine if this species is 
    On St. John, Ray and Stanford (2003) reported five mature 
individuals from a total of six individuals in two locations within 
VINP (Europa Bay and Reef Bay Valley) and two locations on private land 
(Base Hill and Sabbat Point). Ray (2005) reported two additional 
locations (Estate Concordia and Johnson, Friis, and John's Folly Bays) 
and estimates close to 200 individuals in the wild. The largest 
population of S. conocarpum is near Nanny Point in Estate Concordia (J. 
Saliva, pers. obs. 2004). This population consists of approximately 184 
plants that had been distributed across three contiguous parcels of 
privately owned land. Recently, one of the private property owners 
donated a portion of his property with a significant number of plants 
to the VINP (R. Boulon, NPS, pers. comm. 2006). The next largest wild 
population consists of 33 plants located on private land above Johnson, 
Friis, and John's Folly Bays' catchments.
    Several efforts have been conducted to propagate S. conocarpum in 
the last decade. B. Kojis and R. Boulon (pers. comm. 1996) reported 
that a local horticulturist, E. Gibney, was able to propagate the 
species by cuttings (asexually) collected from the two individuals 
known from the wild and to get them to reproduce sexually by dusting 
the flowers. They further report that the ``many'' seedlings produced 
``appear to grow vigorously.'' This information was corroborated by P. 
Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002). He reported that Gibney 
has successfully reproduced this species and distributed specimens to 
various places in the Virgin Islands. He reported planted individuals 
(cultivars) in the Campus of the University of Virgin Islands in St. 
Thomas, which are sexually reproducing; a few more in the St. George 
Botanical Garden in St. Croix; and a few plants in Tortola, Cannel Bay 
Hotel on St. John, New York Botanical Garden, National Botanical Garden 
in Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico Botanical Garden. He has 
performed germination tests and found 100 percent viability.
    Ray and Stanford (2003) developed an implementation plan to conduct 
shadehouse propagation and reintroduce seedlings within the VINP on St. 
John. This project is in progress. R. Boulon (pers. comm. 2004) 
reported that Dr. Ray planted approximately 128 individuals in the 
park. Ray (2005) started a propagation project from cuttings (cloning) 
to augment populations of S. conocarpum in a private property on St. 
John. More than 300 cuttings were produced. Rooted cuttings will be 
planted during the 2006 rainy season (April to May).
    P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002), believes that both 
A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum have either small populations or may be 
nearly extinct. However, he believes this is not due to the current 
threat of development, but rather past land use history on the islands 
of St. Croix and St. John. From the 1700s through the late 1800s, 95 
percent or more of these islands suffered intensive and extensive 
deforestation. St. Croix was colonized in the mid-to late-1600s and 
sugar cane was the principal product through the late 19th century. St. 
John was colonized in the early 1700s and divided into estates that 
principally cultivated sugar cane and cotton on most of the island 
(Woodbury and Weaver 1987). Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (1996) believed 
that the first 130 years of colonization had been ``particularly 
harsh'' on the natural resources of St. John. However, Woodbury and 
Weaver (1987) report that many of the estates were abandoned by the 
late 19th century and that common trees and shrubs regenerated, 
resulting in most of the island being covered by secondary forest at 
the time of their report. Approximately three-quarters of St. John is 
under the administration of the VINP, which was established in 1956 
(Woodbury and Weaver 1987).

Previous Federal Actions

    We identified A. eggersiana as a category 2 candidate species in 
the Notice of Review published in the Federal Register on September 30, 
1993 (58 FR 51144). Before 1996, a category 2 species was one for which 
the Service had information that proposing as endangered or threatened 
may be appropriate but for which sufficient information was not 
currently available to support a proposed rule. Designation of category 
2 species was discontinued in the February 28, 1996, Notice of Review 
(61 FR 7596). This notice redefined candidates to include only species 
for which we have information needed to propose them for listing.
    We previously considered S. conocarpum as a category 1 candidate 
species in the Notices of Review published on September 27, 1985 (50 FR 
39526) and February 21, 1990 (55 FR 6184). Category 1 candidate species 
were species for which the Service had information to support a 
proposed rule to list them as endangered or threatened. We reclassified 
S. conocarpum to a category 2 candidate species in the Notice of Review 
published on September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144), due to a lack of 

[[Page 11370]]

information on the species' distribution and abundance.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act, and implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 
424, set forth procedures for adding species to the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. In making this finding, 
information regarding the status and threats to these species in 
relation to the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act is 
summarized below. Listing determinations are made solely on the best 
scientific and commercial data available, taking into account any 
efforts being made by any State, private citizen, corporation, or 
foreign nation to protect the species. We have examined each of the 
five listing factors under the Act for their application to A. 
eggersiana and S. conocarpum as follows:

Factor A: The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of the Species' Habitat or Range

    Agave eggersiana: A. eggersiana is endemic to the island of St. 
Croix. Its status in the wild is uncertain, and all known individuals 
are cultivars planted as ornaments in several areas and facilities in 
St. Croix and St. Thomas (Proctor and Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 2005; P. 
Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez, pers. comm. 2005; D. Plaskett, pers. comm. 
2003; B. Kojis and R. Boulon, pers. comm. 1996; Britton and Wilson 
1923). Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002) believes that past 
land use history, as opposed to the current threat of development, is 
the likely cause of A. eggersiana's apparent small population numbers.
    We believe that there is not sufficient information to evaluate the 
extent and imminence of threats and cannot conclude that A. eggersiana 
is threatened or endangered due to the destruction and curtailment of 
its habitat or range. To our knowledge, no systematic surveys for the 
species have ever been conducted to determine its true status.
    Solanum conocarpum: The presence of S. conocarpum in the wild has 
been confirmed only on the island of St. John. When the species was 
petitioned for listing in 1996, only two individuals were known to 
exist in the wild (B. Kojis and R. Boulon, pers. comm. 1996). Acevedo-
Rodr[iacute]guez (1996) suggests that as a result of destruction of 
more than 90 percent of the natural vegetation in St. John, primarily 
due to cultivation in the first 130 years of colonization, some of the 
native and endemic plant species have become extinct or nearly extinct. 
For S. conocarpum specifically, P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez, (pers. 
comm. 2002) believes that past land use history, as opposed to the 
current threat of development, was the likely cause of the species' 
apparent small population numbers. Furthermore, much of the island 
regenerated to varying degrees, including secondary successional forest 
(Woodbury and Weaver 1987; Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 1996).
    At present, the species is known from almost 200 wild individuals 
in six locations. Of the six locations, three are on privately owned 
land, two are within VINP, and one occurs on both private and VINP 
land. At the site of the largest number of plants (Estate Concordia/
VINP-area), the Service has been working with a private landowner and 
VINP to implement conservation measures for the species, to protect in 
perpetuity around 80 percent of the known population, and to expand the 
current propagation efforts to double existing population in the wild 
(400 to 500 individuals). Additionally, a portion of the private 
property where a large number of the plants in this area are found was 
recently donated to the VINP (R. Boulon, pers. comm. 2006). We do not 
have evidence suggesting that remaining localities under private 
ownership where S. conocarpum is found are under threat of development.
    VINP manages for sensitive species, including S. conocarpum, within 
the park. VINP is currently working with the Service and an adjacent 
landowner in the development of conservation measures and recently 
accepted the donation of a portion of the private land into VINP 
ownership (R. Boulon, pers. comm. 2006). Additionally, VINP has a 
General Management Plan (GMP) that is in place and being implemented. 
One purpose of the GMP is to establish strategies and approaches to 
achieve and maintain desired conditions for the park's cultural and 
natural resources, including protecting native plants like S. 
conocarpum and their habitats.
    While residential and tourism development may impact this species, 
we do not have information suggesting that these threats are occurring 
or are imminent. Furthermore, we do not know if the species now occurs 
on St. Thomas or the BVI. Therefore, we do not have sufficient 
information to conclude that S. conocarpum is either threatened or 
endangered due to the destruction and curtailment of its habitat or 

Factor B: Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    The information available on the species does not suggest that 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes has contributed to the current status of either A. 
eggersiana or S. conocarpum or that any such activities are threats to 
these species.

Factor C: Disease or Predation

    There have been no systematic studies to identify parasites or 
disease in these species. Therefore, the role of parasites or disease 
of A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum is unknown.
    Feral pigs uproot juvenile plants and destroy the root system of 
other species of Agave on Mona Island, apparently to feed on or obtain 
moisture from the roots (J. Saliva, pers. obs. 1983, 1996). 
Theoretically, should A. eggersiana be reintroduced in the wild, it is 
possible that feral pigs could cause similar impacts, particularly to 
young plants.
    Feral donkeys, pigs, and goats could directly and indirectly affect 
populations of S. conocarpum by uprooting and eating seedlings, 
destabilizing slopes, and dispersing exotic plant species, thus 
preventing or reducing sustainability of populations of S. conocarpum; 
however, the extent of such threats to the species is ``speculative'' 
(NPS 2003) and ``imprecise'' (NPS 2004). VINP is implementing reduction 
plans to control the populations of nonnative feral pigs, goats, and 
sheep within VINP (NPS 2003, 2004). Feral pig populations in VINP are 
low, and reduction efforts have been targeted to problem areas (NPS 
unpublished report. 2006). VINP believes some goats were removed from 
the park even before the reduction plan commenced, and that removal 
efforts by VINP were successful at two locations where there have been 
no reports of goats returning and vegetative growth has increased (NPS 
unpublished report 2006). Although vegetation trampling by donkeys has 
been observed at the Estate Concordia population of S. conocarpum (M. 
Carper, property owner, and J. Saliva, pers. obs., 2004), we do not 
have evidence to conclude that trampling has or would result in 
mortality of S. conocarpum.
    No seedlings have been reported under mature S. conocarpum shrubs. 
Other than gravity, its fruit dispersal agent is unknown. Where shrub 
densities are high, hermit crabs have been observed feeding on the 
fruit (Ray 2005). Fruit and seed production in the largest known wild 
population of S.

[[Page 11371]]

conocarpum is reported as ``ample'' (Ray 2005). While hermit crabs 
consume fallen fruit in large quantities (Ray 2005), we do not know if 
the crabs act as seed predators (for example, by crushing seed embryos 
as they feed) and are partly responsible for the low seedling 
recruitment at this location.
    At this time, there is no evidence that donkeys, pigs, or goats 
constitute a specific threat to A. eggersiana or S. conocarpum by 
feeding on young or adult, wild or reintroduced, individuals of these 
species. The effects of consumption of S. conocarpum fruits by hermit 
crabs are uncertain. Therefore, we believe that there is no substantial 
evidence indicating that either A. eggersiana or S. conocarpum is 
threatened or endangered due to disease or predation.

Factor D: The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands currently considers A. 
eggersiana and S. conocarpum to be endangered under the Virgin Islands 
Indigenous and Endangered Species Act (V.I. Code, Title 12, Chapter 2), 
and has amended an existing regulation (Bill No. 18-0403) to protect 
endangered and threatened wildlife and plants by prohibiting the take, 
injury, or possession of indigenous plants.
    The available information on the species does not suggest that 
inadequacy of current regulatory mechanisms has contributed to the 
current status of either A. eggersiana or S. conocarpum or that such 
mechanisms are current threats to these species.

Factor E: Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued 
Existence of the Species

    It appears that A. eggersiana may be extremely rare and its 
survival may be dependent on captive propagation and reintroduction. A. 
eggersiana is only found on the island of St. Croix, and it was last 
observed growing in the wild in the mid-1980s. Horticulturist M. Hays 
of the St. Georges Botanical Garden herbarium on St. Croix has 
propagated the species and distributed specimens to the public in the 
hope of ``saving the species from extinction'' (B. Kojis and R. Boulon, 
pers. comm.1996). The status of the species in the wild is uncertain, 
and its apparent limited abundance and distribution are likely the 
result of past land use history. However, as systematic surveys of 
suitable habitat for this species have never been conducted to our 
knowledge, we do not have enough information to determine the true 
status of this species in wild and therefore cannot conclude that the 
species is threatened or endangered due to other natural or manmade 
    S. conocarpum is currently known from six locations on St. John. It 
is possible that the species may occur in St. Thomas or the BVI, or at 
other locations in St. John. However, no surveys have ever been 
conducted to our knowledge to determine if the species is present 
elsewhere. Using the best available scientific and commercial 
information, we are unable to determine that the small population size 
constitutes a threat or that it would render the species likely to 
become endangered or extinct in the near future. In the Caribbean, 
native plant species, particularly endemic species with limited 
distribution, may be vulnerable to natural or manmade events, such as 
hurricanes and human-induced fires. Fire is not a natural component of 
subtropical dry forest in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Thus, 
most species found in this type of forest are not fire-adapted. 
However, there is no information in the literature indicating that 
hurricanes or fires have affected the known populations of S. 
conocarpum. Furthermore, the VINP has a fire prevention plan which 
includes the protection of native species, including S. conocarpum. We 
do not have sufficient information to conclude that this species is 
threatened or endangered due to other natural or manmade factors.


    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding threats faced by Agave eggersiana and 
Solanum conocarpum. We reviewed the petition, available published and 
unpublished scientific and commercial information, and consulted with 
recognized plant experts (including those most familiar with the 
species), and Territorial and other Federal resource agencies. We did 
not receive additional information from interested parties during the 
public comment period on our 90-day finding.
    For us to make a ``warranted'' finding, the species must, at a 
minimum, meet the definition of a threatened species. In accordance 
with section 3(19) of the Act, a threatened species is one which is 
likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range.
    Based on all the information we have gathered and reviewed, we 
found no evidence that either A. eggersiana or S. conocarpum are 
threatened or endangered by overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, or educational purposes, nor by inadequacies in the 
existing regulatory mechanisms. We also have no data to show that 
destruction or curtailment of the species' habitat or range, disease or 
predation, or other natural or manmade factors threaten A. eggersiana 
or S. conocarpum. After reviewing the best available scientific and 
commercial information, we believe that we do not have sufficient 
information to determine the true status of either Agave eggersiana or 
Solanum conocarpum in the wild and cannot determine if either species 
meets the definition of threatened or endangered due to one or more of 
the five listing factors because we do not have sufficient evidence of 
which threats, if any, are operating on these species.
    We will continue to monitor the status of these species and their 
habitats, and will accept additional information and comments at any 
time from all concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, industry, and any other interested parties concerning this 
finding. This information will help us monitor and encourage beneficial 
measures for A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon 
request from the Field Supervisor, Boquer[oacute]n Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this document is the Boquer[oacute]n Field 
Office (see ADDRESSES section).


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

    Dated: February 22, 2006.
Marshall P. Jones, Jr.,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-3095 Filed 3-6-06; 8:45 am]