[Federal Register: March 17, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 50)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 11342-11344]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R1-ES-2008-0096; MO 922105083-B2]
RIN 1018-AW34

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Plant 
Lepidium papilliferum (Slickspot Peppergrass) as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and notice of 
document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of new information relevant to our consideration of the 
status of

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Lepidium papilliferum (slickspot peppergrass), proposed for listing as 
endangered, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
We, therefore, announce the reopening of the comment period on the 
proposed listing and invite interested members of the public to submit 
comments on this new information as it applies to the status and 
proposed listing of L. papilliferum. Information previously submitted 
for this proposed listing need not be resubmitted, as all information 
already received regarding this proposed listing will be incorporated 
into the public record and fully considered in our evaluation.

DATES: To allow adequate time for consideration of your comments, all 
information should be submitted to us by April 16, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: Docket FWS-R1-ES-2008-0096; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffery L. Foss, State Supervisor, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, by mail 
at 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Room 368, Boise, ID 83709; by telephone at 208-
378-5243; by facsimile at 208/378-5262; or by electronic mail at: 
fw1srbocomment@fws.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 



    For a detailed description of Federal actions concerning Lepidium 
papilliferum, please refer to the September 19, 2008, Notice Reopening 
the Comment Period on the Proposed Rule to List Lepidium papilliferum 
as Endangered (73 FR 54345) and the January 12, 2007, Withdrawal Notice 
published in the Federal Register (72 FR 1621). A summary of the most 
recent Federal actions concerning the species is provided here.
    The notice that published on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1621), served 
to withdraw our July 15, 2002, proposed rule (67 FR 46441) to list 
Lepidium papilliferum as endangered under the Act. The withdrawal of 
the proposed rule was based on our conclusion that, while the best 
available information indicated that certain threat factors were 
degrading the species' sagebrush-steppe matrix habitat, there was 
little evidence that these threats were negatively affecting the 
abundance of L. papilliferum, which inhabits slickspot microsites 
within the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. In addition, we concluded that 
annual abundance of the plant was strongly correlated with spring 
precipitation, and therefore the high degree of variability observed in 
plant abundance over time was to be expected. Information on the 
plant's overall population trend was inconsistent, as it appeared to be 
decreasing in recent years in a subset of the species' range, but 
appeared to be increasing over those same years on a rangewide scale as 
expected in response to increased rainfall. Finding no consistent 
evidence of a rangewide negative population trend for the species, we 
concluded that L. papilliferum did not meet the definition of a 
threatened or endangered species under the Act.
    On June 4, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho 
vacated the Service's January 2007 withdrawal notice and remanded the 
decision to the Service for further consideration consistent with the 
Court's opinion (Western Watersheds Project v. Jeffery Foss et al., 
Case No. 07-161-E-MHW). In response to the Court's decision, the 
Service notified the public on September 19, 2008, of the reinstatement 
of the July 15, 2002, proposed rule to list Lepidium papilliferum as 
endangered and opened a public comment period for 30 days through 
October 20, 2008. We received a total of seven comments during that 
comment period.
    Since the closure of the last comment period, new information has 
become available that is relevant to our evaluation of the proposed 
listing of Lepidium papilliferum. To ensure that our review of the 
species' status is complete and based on the best available scientific 
and commercial information, we are soliciting comments on this new 
information as it relates to the status and proposed listing of L. 
papilliferum. We have also specifically requested peer review of this 
new information and its relevance to the status of L. papilliferum from 
experts familiar with the species or its habitat; these reviews will 
also be accepted during this comment period.

New Information Available for Review

    Information received, developed, or analyzed since the last comment 
period ended on October 20, 2008, is available for review by accessing 
the Web site http://www.regulations.gov (Docket ID FWS-R1-ES-2008-0096) 
or by contacting the State Supervisor (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT above). This information includes, but is not limited to, the 
following documents:
    (1) Analysis of Slickspot Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) 
Population Trends on Orchard Training Area and Rangewide Implications 
(Sullivan and Nations 2009);
    (2) Lepidium papilliferum (Slickspot peppergrass) Evaluation of 
Trends 2004-2007 (Unnasch 2008);
    (3) Analysis of Lepidium papilliferum monitoring data collected on 
the Inside Desert (Owyhee Plateau) (2000-2002) (Wells and Popovich 
    (4) GIS Analysis for the 2009 Status Review of Slickspot 
Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) (Stoner 2009).
    The public comments received during the most recent public comment 
period, which closed on October 20, 2008, are also accessible for 
viewing at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket ID FWS-R1-ES-2008-0096), 
or by contacting the State Supervisor (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT above).

Public Comments

    We will base any final action resulting from the proposed rule on 
the best scientific and commercial data available and intend to be as 
accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments 
or suggestions on the proposed rule from the public, other concerned 
governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, and any 
other interested parties.
    We ask for comments concerning the new information contained in the 
analyses of Lepidium papilliferum population trends on the Orchard 
Training Area in southwest Idaho (Sullivan and Nations 2009), on the 
rangewide Habitat Integrity and Population (HIP) monitoring (Unnasch 
2008), a recent analysis of L. papilliferum data collected on the 
Inside Desert (Owyhee Plateau) from 2000 to 2002 (Wells and Popovich 
2009), and GIS analysis of Lepidium papilliferum (Stoner 2009). In 
particular, comments are sought regarding the relevance of the new 
information to the proposed listing status of L. papilliferum, as it 
pertains to the following:

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    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
threats (or lack thereof) to Lepidium papilliferum;
    (2) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and 
population size of Lepidium papilliferum, including the locations of 
any additional populations of the species;
    (3) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of 
Lepidium papilliferum;
    (4) Current or planned activities in the areas occupied by Lepidium 
papilliferum and their possible impacts on the species.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
concerning this new information by one of the methods listed in the 
ADDRESSES section.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including your personal identifying information--
will be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a 
hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may 
request at the top of your document that we withhold this information 
from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able 
to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://
    All comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation used, will be available for public inspection on http://
www.regulations.gov, or by appointment during normal business hours at 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
    At this time, we are soliciting new information on the status of 
Lepidium papilliferum. We will base our determination as to whether 
listing is warranted on a review of the best scientific and commercial 
information available, including all such information received as a 
result of this notice.


    The primary authors of this notice are staff of the Idaho Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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

    Dated: March 4, 2009.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Acting Deputy Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E9-5697 Filed 3-16-09; 8:45 am]