[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 35 (Tuesday, February 22, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9722-9733]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-3730]

[[Page 9722]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2010-0092; MO 92210-0-0008-B2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List Solanum conocarpum (marron bacora) as Endangered

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 plant Solanum conocarpum 
(marron bacora) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). After review of all available scientific and 
commercial information, we find that listing S. conocarpum is 
warranted. Currently, however, listing S. conocarpum is precluded by 
higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition 
finding, we will add S. conocarpum to our candidate species list. We 
will develop a proposed rule to list S. conocarpum as our priorities 
allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during 
development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim period, the 
status of the candidate taxon will be addressed through our annual 
Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR).

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

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number [FWS-R4-ES-2010-0092]. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, 
Road 301, Km. 5.1, Boquer[oacute]n, PR 00622. Please submit any new 
information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this species 
or this finding to the above internet address or the mailing address 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Marelisa Rivera, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, P.O. Box 491, 
Boquer[oacute]n, PR 00622; by telephone at (787) 851-7297; or by 
facsimile at (787) 851-7440. Persons who use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay 
Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.



    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Threatened and 
Endangered Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or 
commercial information that listing a species may be warranted, we make 
a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition. In 
this finding, we determine whether the petitioned action is: (a) Not 
warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) warranted, but immediate proposal of a 
regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other 
pending proposals to determine whether species are threatened or 
endangered, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove 
qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we 
treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be 
warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such 
finding, that is, requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 
months. We must publish these 12-month findings in the Federal 

Previous Federal Actions

    On November 21, 1996, we received a petition from the U.S. Virgin 
Islands (VI) Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) 
requesting that we list Agave eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum as 
endangered. On November 16, 1998, we published in the Federal Register 
(63 FR 63659) our finding that the petition to list A. eggersiana and 
S. conocarpum presented substantial information indicating that the 
requested action may be warranted and initiated a status review on 
these two plants.
    On September 1, 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a 
lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and the Service alleging 
that the Service failed to publish a 12-month finding for Agave 
eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum (Center for Biological Diversity v. 
Norton, Civil Action No. 1:04-CV-2553 CAP). In a stipulated settlement 
agreement resolving that case, signed April 27, 2005, we agreed to 
submit our 12-month finding for A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum to the 
Federal Register by February 28, 2006. On March 7, 2006, we published 
our 12-month finding (71 FR 11367) that listing of A. eggersiana and S. 
conocarpum was not warranted, because we did not have sufficient 
information to determine the true status of either A. eggersiana or S. 
conocarpum in the wild. Further, we could not determine if either 
species met the definition of threatened or endangered according to one 
or more of the five listing factors because we did not have sufficient 
evidence of which threats, if any, were affecting these species.
    On September 9, 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity filed 
another complaint challenging our 12-month finding (Center for 
Biological Diversity v. Hamilton, Case No. 1:08-CV-02830-CAP). In a 
settlement agreement approved by the Court on August 21, 2009, the 
Service agreed to submit to the Federal Register a new 12-month finding 
for Solanum conocarpum by February 15, 2011. This notice constitutes 
the 12-month finding on the 1996 petition to list S. conocarpum as 

Species Information

Taxonomy and Species Description

    Solanum conocarpum is a dry-forest shrub of the Solanaceae, or 
tomato, family that may attain 3 meters (m) (9.8 feet (ft)) in height. 
Its leaves are oblong-elliptic or oblanceolate (broader at the distal 
third than the middle), range in size from 3.5 to 7 centimeters (cm) 
(0.62 to 1.5 inches (in) wide, are coriaceous (leathery texture) and 
glabrous (no hairs), and have a conspicuous 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, p. 415). Little is known about the natural 
history, reproductive biology, and effects of herbivory on the species 
(Ray and Stanford 2003, p. 3).
    The petition suggests that Solanum conocarpum might be functionally 
dioecious (requiring male and female flowers from different plants to 
outcross). However, P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002) 
documented flowers and fruits in a solitary wild plant he discovered in 
the White Cliff area (Reef Bay general area). He further suggested that 
S. conocarpum may have less reproductive fitness due to selfing (self-
pollination). Later, Ray and Stanford (2005, p. 5)

[[Page 9723]]

conducted some pollination studies in a controlled environment that 
indicate that the species might be an obligate outcrosser (plant has 
both male and female parts, but it needs to outcross with other 
individuals to produce fruits due to self-incompatibility) with 
complete self-incompatibility. This study was conducted because, prior 
to 2003, a lack of natural recruitment was observed in the wild (Ray 
and Stanford 2003, p. 3; J. Saliva, Service, pers. obs. 2004; O. 
Monsegur, Service, pers. obs. 2010; Vilella and Palumbo 2010, pp. 4-7).
    DNA sampling of the majority of the populations suggests that most 
populations have been long isolated (Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 18). 
Additionally, genetic work performed by Dr. A. Stanford at the 
University of the Virgin Islands has shown low heterozygosity (A 
measure of the allele frequency or genetic diversity) (Ray pers. comm. 
2010). Further, when compared with its close relative Solanum 
polyganum, Solanum conocarpum appears to show a significant reduction 
in genetic diversity (Ray pers. comm. 2010).

Habitat and Distribution

    Solanum conocarpum was originally known from a type specimen 
collected by L.C. Richard at Coral Bay, St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands, 
or VI), in 1787 (Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 1996, p. 415). No population 
estimates are available from Richard's discovery, nor are there any 
known population estimates prior to 1992. The species was rediscovered 
in 1992 by P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez on the island of St. John (Ray 
and Stanford 2003, p. 4). The species was presumed to be near 
extinction, as two mature plants were believed to be the only specimens 
left in the wild: One on Virgin Islands National Park (VINP) land and 
one on private land (B. Kojis and R. Boulon pers. comm. 1996; Vilella 
and Palumbo 2010, p. 1). The habitat descriptions of these two 
localities are consistent with the localities reported by Acevedo-
Rodr[iacute]guez (1996, p. 415; pers. comm. 2002), who described the 
habitat as a dry, deciduous forest.
    After 1992, six additional populations of Solanum conocarpum were 
identified. Among these newly discovered populations, the species has 
been reported to occur on dry, poor soils (Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 
6). It can be locally abundant in exposed topography on sites disturbed 
by erosion (depositional zones at the toe of the slopes), areas that 
have received moderate grazing, and around ridgelines as an understory 
component in diverse woodland communities (Carper and Ray 2008, p. 1). 
A habitat suitability model suggests that the vast majority of S. 
conocarpum habitat is found in the lower elevation coastal scrub forest 
(Vilella and Palumbo 2010, p. 10).
    Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (1996, p. 415) 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)). 
Pedro Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez (pers. comm. 2002) believes that the 
specimen from Virgin Gorda belongs to a different species, Cestrum 
laurifolium. Omar Monsegur, Service biologist, recently conducted a 
site visit to the John Folly population and identified several Cestrum 
laurifolium adjacent to individuals of Solanum conocarpum. Both plants 
(Cestrum laurifolium and S. conocarpum) look very similar, and it is 
common to confuse the two species (O. Monsegur, pers. comm. 2010). 
Appropriate surveys should be conducted in St. Thomas and the British 
Virgin Islands to determine the presence or absence of the species on 
the islands (O. Monsegur, pers. comm. 2010).
    Several efforts have been conducted to propagate Solanum 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. Ray and Stanford (2005, p. 6) reported that Gibney 
successfully reproduced S. conocarpum and distributed specimens to 
various places in the Virgin Islands. P. Acevedo-Rodr[iacute]guez 
(pers. comm. 2002) reported planted individuals (cultivars) on the 
Campus of the University of Virgin Islands in St. Thomas that are 
sexually reproducing. He also reported a few individuals in the St. 
George Botanical Garden in St. Croix, on the island of Tortola, at 
Cannel Bay Hotel on St. John, and in the New York Botanical Garden, the 
National Botanical Garden in Dominican Republic, and the Puerto Rico 
Botanical Garden.

Current Status

    Currently, Solanum conocarpum is known from eight localities on St. 
John Island, VI (see Table 1): Two found on the north side of the 
island (Base Hill and Brown Bay Trail) and six toward the southeast 
side (Nanny Point, Friis Bay, Reef Bay, John Folly, Sabbat Point, and 
Europa Ridge). All of the eight known localities of S. conocarpum are 
wild populations each ranging from 1 to 144 individuals. The majority 
of the individuals are found within the VINP boundaries, leaving only 
two populations on private lands (Friis Bay and Sabbat Point).
    The largest population of Solanum conocarpum is located at Nanny 
Point. As a result of potential urban and tourism development at Nanny 
Point, most of the natural population has been transferred to the VINP. 
About 22 percent of the S. conocarpum population at Nanny Point was 
located within a 30-ft access corridor to a private property (Carper, 
pers. comm. 2005); however, these adult plants were transplanted to an 
adjacent location on the VINP to avoid potential impacts from 
development (Carper, pers. comm. 2010). A site visit to the population 
in May 2010 showed that approximately 90 percent of the transplanted 
(adult plants) were dead or stressed due to lack of water (Monsegur, 
Service, unpublished data 2010). Additionally, observation of other S. 
conocarpum deaths appears to result from competition with edge 
vegetation (vines). The original population size at Nanny Point was 
estimated at approximately 184 natural plants. As a result of the 
combined deaths (transplants and competition), it is now estimated that 
this population has decreased by 25 percent.
    The owners of the private properties that harbor the Nanny Point 
natural population agreed to protect an additional area corresponding 
to Parcel 30-3 by donating it to the National Park Service (NPS) 
(Carper and Selengut 2003, p. 1; Ray and Carper 2009, p. 2). Therefore, 
the entire Nanny Point population, which is the largest known 
population, now lies within a protected area managed by the VINP. 
Additionally, one of the Nanny Point landowners has implemented an 
active propagation program through germination and cloning of adult 
individuals to enhance the Nanny Point population and other natural 
populations (Brown Bay Trail and John Folly) (Ray and Carper 2009, p. 
3). The aim of this program is to safeguard the genetic diversity of 
the species and to enhance the existing populations (Ray and Carper 
2009, p. 2; Carper 2010, p. 2). The transplanting efforts of seedlings 
and cuttings (clones) seem to be successful (Monsegur, Service, 
unpublished data 2010). Ray and Stanford (2005, p. 3) reported a 95-
percent seedling survival rate after a reintroduction at Reef Bay. 
Further planting efforts conducted at Brown Bay Trail, John Folly, and 
Nanny Point showed a 97-percent survival rate after 2 months (Ray and 
Carper 2009, p. 5).
    Populations located on Base Hill (one individual), Brown Bay Trail 

[[Page 9724]]

individual), Europa Ridge (one individual) and Reef Bay (six 
individuals) lie within NPS lands. Recent evidence suggests that the 
Reef Bay population was apparently extirpated, but there are no further 
details about the causes for the extirpation (G. Ray, pers. comm. 
2010). The Brown Bay individual is located on the edge of the Brown Bay 
Trail, and shows evidence of damage due to trail maintenance. A new 
population was recently recorded just along the boundaries of the NPS 
(John Folly Bay) (M. Carper, pers. comm. 2010). This population is 
composed of approximately 11 adult individuals and shows signs of human 
disturbance within the area (Monsegur, Service, unpublished data 2010). 
It is highly probable that they were pruned in the past, as there is a 
small trail that goes across the population. Also the area was used as 
a junkyard in the past, and there is debris on the area indicating 
former use as a housing area (Monsegur, Service, unpublished data 
2010). The John Folly Bay population is adjacent to Road 107, making 
the population vulnerable to habitat degradation (deforestation and 
soil erosion) due to road maintenance and potential future road 
expansion. The second largest population, Friis Bay (33 individuals), 
is found on privately owned property (Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16). 
Another private property site composed of a single individual is 
located on Sabbat Point, an area adjacent to Friis Bay.
    Ray and Stanford (2003, p. 4) developed an implementation plan to 
conduct shade-house propagation, which used both seedlings and 
cuttings, to reintroduce Solanum conocarpum seedlings within the VINP 
on St. John. The plants responded well in shade-house conditions, where 
seed germination and survivorship have been very successful, almost 100 
percent and 95 percent, respectively. On the other hand, the survival 
rate for the cutting technique (cutting a piece of a plant and inducing 
root growth) is less than 10 percent under nursery conditions (Ray and 
Carper 2009, p. 6). As observed during a site visit by a Service 
biologist, the transplanting of seedlings and cuttings to the wild 
seems to be successful (Monsegur, Service, unpublished data 2010). 
Approximately 240 seedlings and propagules have been planted around 
several of the wild individuals to enhance and augment the natural 
populations of S. conocarpum (providing new genetic inflow to several 
of the wild populations, especially to the populations consisting of 
only one individual).

                                 Table 1--Currently Known Populations of Solanum Conocarpum (Marron Bacora) on St. John
                                          Estimated        Estimated
                                          number of        number of
               Locality                 individuals in     introduced            Ownership                         Source of information
                                           natural        individuals
                                          population        reported
Nanny Point..........................           144**               50   Public-NPS..............  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16; Ray and Carper 2009,
                                                                                                    pp. 3 and 5; Vilella and Palumbo 2010, p. 1;
                                                                                                    Monsegur, Service, pers. obs. 2010.
Friis Bay............................              33   ...............  Private.................  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16.
John Folly...........................              11               37   Public-NPS (Boundary)...  Ray and Carper 2009, pp. 3 and 5; Monsegur, Service,
                                                                                                    pers. obs. 2010; Vilella and Palumbo 2010, p. 6.
Reef Bay.............................              6*               60   Public-NPS..............  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16; Monsegur, Service,
                                                                                                    pers. obs. 2010.
Brown Bay Trail......................               1               36   Public-NPS..............  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16; Ray & Carper 2009, pp.
                                                                                                    3 and 5; Monsegur, Service, pers. obs. 2010.
Europa Ridge.........................               1               60   Public-NPS..............  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16; Monsegur, Service,
                                                                                                    pers. obs. 2010.
Sabbat Point.........................               1   ...............  Private.................  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16.
Base Hill............................               1   ...............  Public-NPS..............  Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 16.
                                      ----------------------------------                          ------------------------------------------------------
                                                  198              243
* Indicates that, based on Ray (pers. comm. 2010), this population is probably extirpated.
** This number does not include the 40 adult plants that died as a result of translocation.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and implementing regulations 
(50 CFR 424), set forth procedures for adding species to the Federal 
Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 
4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or 
threatened based on any of the following five factors: (A) The present 
or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat 
or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, 
or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy 
of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. In making this finding, 
information pertaining to Solanum conocarpum, in relation to the five 
factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act, is discussed below.
    In considering what factors might constitute threats to a species; 
we must look beyond the exposure of the species to a factor to evaluate 
whether the species may respond to the factor in a way that causes 
actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor and the 
species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat, and we would 
therefore attempt to determine how

[[Page 9725]]

significant a threat it is. The threat is significant if it drives, or 
contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species such that the 
species warrants listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are 
defined in the Act.

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

    Of the currently known Solanum conocarpum populations, only two 
populations (Friis Bay and Sabbat Point) remain on private lands; 
however, currently unsurveyed habitat suitable for S. conocarpum, 
exists on additional private lands. All other known populations are 
located on VINP lands. The populations that occur on private lands as 
well as the ones bordering the VINP are subject to intense pressure 
from urban development (Vilella and Palumbo 2010, p. 1). At present 
time, the upper slopes and the drainage areas that surround the largest 
population (Nanny Point) are privately owned. These private lands are 
planned for housing development and have been divided for smaller 
housing lots that are currently advertised for sale (Carper and 
Selengut 2003, p. 1; Ray and Carper 2009, p. 2). The same pattern 
(private lands divided for housing lots) is observed at the Johns Folly 
drainage (Monsegur, pers. obs. 2010), where small housing developments 
may jeopardize undetected populations. In addition, habitat suitability 
models conducted by Vilella and Palumbo (2010, p. 7) indicate that a 
good portion of the high-quality (39 percent) and moderate quality (38 
percent) habitat for S. conocarpum is located within private lands 
subject to urban development. The relative abundance of the species at 
some sites (Nanny Point and Friis Bay) may indicate that the species 
was once more common and that it was an important component of the 
vegetation of the dry forest of St. John. Even though the majority of 
the known populations lie within federally protected areas, the likely 
destruction or modification of the high-quality habitat within St. John 
may imply the extirpation of undetected populations and the 
irreversible damage to areas with suitable habitat for the 
reintroduction of the species.
    Based on the above information, we consider the present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species' 
habitat or range as a low-to-moderate, not imminent threat to 
populations of Solanum conocarpum. Despite the majority of known S. 
conocarpum individuals occurring within protected areas, a large part 
of the suitable habitat for the species is under pressure from future 
development, which could result in the extirpation of unknown 

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

    The current available information on the species does not suggest 
that over-utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes has contributed to a decline of Solanum 
conocarpum. In recent years, S. conocarpum has been propagated from 
seeds and cuttings obtained from wild populations; however, collection 
for these purposes is not thought to affect survivability of 
individuals or negatively affect the status of the species. In fact, 
this practice has significantly enhanced the existing populations, and 
continues to safeguard the genetic diversity of the species (Ray and 
Stanford 2005, p. 3; Ray and Carper 2009, p. 2). This is the only known 
use of the species, and it is strictly for scientific purposes. 
Therefore, we do not have any evidence that suggests overutilization as 
a threat to S. conocarpum.

Factor C: Disease or Predation

    It has been hypothesized that hermit crabs act as predators of the 
fruits and seeds of Solanum conocarpum (Ray 2005, p. 2). Hermit crabs 
have been observed feeding on the fruit where shrub densities are high 
(Ray and Carper, 2008, p. 1; Ray, 2005, p. 2). Fruit and seed 
production in the Nanny Point and John Folly populations has been 
reported as ample and copious (Ray 2005, p. 6; Carper, pers. comm. 
2010). While hermit crabs may consume fallen fruit in large quantities 
(Ray 2005, p. 2), it is not known at this time if fruit consumption 
prevents seed germination (e.g., potentially crushing seed embryos as 
the crabs feed), or if this consumption is in any way responsible for 
the lack of seedling recruitment in the wild. Another observation of S. 
conocarpum predation was reported by Vilella and Palumbo (2010, p. 14) 
and was presumed to be by insects feeding on the leaves. This 
observation concurs with the reports by Ray and Stanford (2005, p. 15) 
indicating bite marks of an herbivore insect on S. conocarpum leaves. 
Nevertheless, there is no clear evidence indicating that seed or plant 
predation is adversely affecting the status of the species. Based on 
the above, we do not consider disease or predation as a current threat 
to the species.

Factor D: The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands currently considers 
Solanum 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 provide for 
protection of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants by 
prohibiting the take, injury, or possession of indigenous plants. 
However, Rothenberger et al. (2008, p. 68) mentioned that the lack of 
management and enforcement capacity continues to be a significant 
challenge for the U.S. Virgin Islands, since enforcement agencies are 
chronically understaffed and territorial resource management offices 
experience significant staff turnover. Despite this, however, we do not 
consider the inadequacy of Territorial regulatory mechanisms to be a 
threat, because at this time we have not identified any adverse effect 
to the populations or the species related to collection or take of S. 
    The National Park Service, under its Organic Act, is responsible 
for managing the national parks to conserve the scenery and the natural 
and historic objects and the wildlife. 16 U.S.C. 1. The National Parks 
Omnibus Management Act of 1998 requires the NPS to inventory and 
monitor its natural resources. 16 U.S.C. 5934. NPS has implemented its 
resource management responsibilities through its Management Policies, 
Section 4.4, which states that ``it will maintain as parts of the 
natural ecosystems of parks all plants and animals native to park 
    Section 207 of the Omnibus Management Act of 1998 allows NPS to 
withhold from the public information related to the nature and specific 
location of endangered, threatened, or rare species unless disclosure 
would not create an unreasonable risk of harm to the species. 16 U.S.C. 
    Pursuant to many of these authorities, VINP does not allow cutting 
of vegetation and all natural resource activities must be permitted by 
the park (Boulon, pers. comm. 2010).
    In short, we do not consider the inadequacy of Federal regulatory 
mechanisms to be a threat to the populations of S. conocarpum located 
in VINP. The regulatory mechanisms discussed above allow NPS to prevent 
collection or take of S. conocarpum on NPS property. Furthermore, we do 
not consider development outside VINP to

[[Page 9726]]

be a threat to S. conocarpum populations inside VINP.

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

Human-Induced Fires
    In the Caribbean, native plant species, particularly endemics 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 (Monsegur 2009, p. 26). Solanum conocarpum is associated with 
lower elevation dry forests. This habitat may be susceptible to forest 
fires, particularly on private lands, where fire could be accidentally 
ignited. Furthermore, regenerating forests, such as the ones prevalent 
in St. John, are prone to wildfires that promote a decrease in the 
stature of the vegetation and allow for the development of persistent 
shrubland dominated by introduced tree species and grasses (Wiley and 
Vilella 1998, p. 340). Studies conducted within the Gu[aacute]nica 
Forest in southern Puerto Rico indicate that some exotic tree species 
can remain as a dominant canopy species for at least 80 years (Wolfe 
2009, p. 2). Given the growth habit of S. conocarpum, it is unlikely 
that mature individuals would survive a fire even of moderate intensity 
(Vilella and Palumbo 2010, p. 15), and, therefore, the species might be 
outcompeted by exotics. However, a site visit to St. John to evaluate 
the threats to the species, found no substantial evidence that fires 
posed as an imminent threat to the species (Monsegur, pers. obs. 2010). 
The only site that is vulnerable to fires is the John Folly site, due 
to its proximity to a road and the accumulation of debris associated 
with a former house (Monsegur, pers. obs. 2010). In addition, the VINP 
has a fire prevention plan that includes the protection of native 
species, including S. conocarpum. Therefore, we conclude that this 
species is not currently threatened by human-induced fires.
Hurricanes and Climate Change
    Hurricanes frequently affect the islands of the Caribbean. 
Successional responses to hurricanes can influence the structure and 
composition of plant communities in the Caribbean islands (Van Bloem et 
al. 2005, p. 576). Within natural conditions, it is likely that Solanum 
conocarpum is well adapted to these tropical storms. However, the 
cumulative effect of severe tropical storms and increased sediment 
runoff may jeopardize the establishment of seedlings along drainage 
areas usually associated with suitable habitat for S. conocarpum (Ray 
2005, p. 2; Monsegur, pers. obs. 2010). Due to the low number of adult 
individuals and the problems regarding the natural recruitment of the 
species, severe tropical storms may have an adverse impact on the 
species. However, based on the available information, we consider 
hurricanes as a low and not imminent threat to the species.
    Solanum conocarpum may be further threatened by climate change, 
which is predicted to increase the frequency and strength of tropical 
storms and can cause severe droughts (Hopkinson et al. 2008, p. 260). 
The cumulative effect of coastal erosion due to severe hurricanes plus 
the habitat modification for urban and tourist development can further 
diminish the availability of suitable habitat and, therefore, limit 
population expansion and colonization of new areas. In addition, the 
possibility of severe droughts may contribute to an increase in the 
quantity and frequency of fires on the island. These cumulative factors 
may reduce the number of individuals and further reduce populations. As 
a result, we consider the threat of climate change to be moderate and 
imminent. We do not anticipate any changes that would appreciably 
reduce this threat in the foreseeable future.
Lack of Natural Recruitment
    Lack of natural recruitment represents one of the major threats to 
the Solanum conocarpum. Based on the structure of the populations of 
Nanny Point and John Folly, these populations are predominantly 
composed of old individuals. This is also true for the Brown Bay Trail 
individual. Seedling and sapling stages are missing in these 
populations, and old individuals are dying due to competition with 
other species such as vines. Without natural recruitment or successful 
augmentation from captive propagated individuals, these populations are 
likely to become extirpated as older S. conocarpum individuals die. 
Despite the efforts to enhance the natural populations by planting 
seedlings and saplings, it is unknown if the planted individuals will 
develop as mature plants capable of reproduction. Flowering or fruit 
production of individuals planted in the wild has not been reported to 
date. Additionally, the structure of the existing wild population 
indicates that they are mostly composed of old individuals (Monsegur, 
pers. obs. 2010). Hermit crab consumption of fruit is currently the 
only factor suspected in the lack of natural recruitment; however, as 
both species coevolved in the same habitat, this consumption is 
unlikely to explain the complete lack of recruitment. Plant sterility 
is also not a viable theory for the lack of recruitment, as germination 
under greenhouse conditions is highly successful, with almost 100-
percent germination (Ray and Stanford, 2005, p. 6). Although the cause 
of Solanum conocarpum's unsuccessful recruitment is unknown, it is not 
the only species within the Solanaceae family facing this threat. 
Matabuey (Goetzea elegans) is an example of another species endemic to 
the Caribbean that shows a conspicuous flowering with showy fruits, but 
faces problems with its dispersion and recruitment. Similar to Solanum 
conocarpum, matabuey shows an outstanding germination under greenhouse 
conditions. Based on the above, we consider lack of natural recruitment 
as a high and imminent threat to the species.
Reproductive Biology
    The nature of the relationships between Solanum conocarpum and the 
different pollinators and seed dispersers that have interacted with 
this species over its evolutionary history is important to consider. 
Controlled pollination studies concluded that this species is an 
obligate outcrosser (reproduction requires pollen from another plant) 
with complete self-incompatibility (Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 5). As 
plant populations become reduced and spatially segregated, important 
life-history needs provided by pollinators and seed dispersers may be 
compromised (Kearns and Inouye 1997, p. 299). It is possible that the 
natural fruit dispersers of S. conocarpum focused on other food sources 
as the populations of this shrub became increasingly patchy, due to 
changes in the structure and composition of the vegetation because of 
deforestation and introduction of exotic plant species. The absence of 
a fruit disperser may indicate that the disperser of a species is 
extinct or that the populations are too small to attract the disperser 
(Roman, 2006, p. 50). The loss of potential breeding partners, 
reduction or loss of pollinators, and the loss of seed dispersers are 
examples of negative impacts due to habitat fragmentation (Kearns and 
Inouye 1997, p. 299; Murren 2002, p. 101). As an obligate outcrosser, 
S. conocarpum encounters another challenge, in that isolated and relic 
individuals may no longer reproduce unless enhancement and

[[Page 9727]]

artificial propagation projects are conducted. We consider the absence 
of natural dispersion to be a high and imminent threat.
Genetic Variation
    Along with a decreasing population size, negative impacts of 
habitat fragmentation may result in erosion of genetic variation 
through the loss of alleles by random genetic drift (Honnay and 
Jacquemyn, 2007, p. 824). Habitat fragmentation may also limit the 
ability of a species to respond to a changing environment (Booy et al. 
2000, p. 385). Research conducted on Solanum conocarpum shows a 
reduction in its genetic diversity (Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 18). The 
population with the greatest genetic diversity is the one located at 
Nanny Point, which also has the largest number of individuals. In 
addition to attempts to safeguard the genetic diversity of the species, 
the survival of reintroduced individuals needs to be monitored, as well 
as their development into mature individuals capable of contributing to 
the natural recruitment of the species. Consequently, the protection 
and monitoring of known adult individuals should be considered as a 
high priority for the conservation of the species. Based on the above, 
we consider the lack of genetic variation as a moderate but imminent 
threat to the species.
Nonnative Species
    Exotic mammal browsers are found throughout the range of Solanum 
conocarpum on St. John Island. These include feral goats (Capra 
aegagrus hircus), pigs (Sus scrofa), Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus 
clavium), and donkeys (Equus asinus) (Vilella and Palumbo 2010, p. 5; 
Monsegur, pers. obs. 2010). Feral donkeys, pigs, deer, and goats could 
directly and indirectly affect S. conocarpum populations 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, p. 37) and ``imprecise'' (NPS 2004, p. 43). 
There is no available information on the role these exotic species may 
play as a limiting factor to S. conocarpum population dynamics in 
general, and to recruitment in particular (Schemske et al. 1994, p. 
592). VINP is implementing plans to control the populations of 
nonnative feral hogs, goats, and sheep within VINP (NPS 2003, 2004). 
Feral hog populations in VINP are low, and reduction efforts have been 
targeted to problem areas such as Reef Bay Valley (NPS 2008, p. 2).
    However, hogs continue to be a problem at the Reef Bay area as they 
uproot the vegetation searching for food and water (Monsegur, Service, 
unpublished data 2010). The Service conducted a field assessment that 
confirmed the presence of exotic mammal species within Solanum 
conocarpum habitat, and which highlighted the abundance of the Key deer 
and herds of feral goats (Monsegur, Service, unpublished data 2010). 
The observations by Monsegur (2010) coincide with reports of a high 
abundance of key deer within the range of S. conocarpum by Ray and 
Stanford (2005, p. 19), and also with reports from the NPS that 
describe deer populations as increasing (NPS 2008, p. 4). Despite the 
reports of the intrusion of free-roaming ungulates within S. conocarpum 
natural populations (Ray and Stanford, 2005, p. 5), there is a lack of 
information regarding the specific adverse effects of these exotic 
animals on the species. It is expected that, due to their abundance, 
exotic mammal species are modifying the structure of the vegetation 
and, therefore, the environmental conditions on these areas. This may 
imply changes to microhabitat conditions that are necessary for seed 
germination and seedling recruitment of S. conocarpum. Apparently, the 
distribution of the species seems to be more correlated with abiotic or 
environmental factors, than with composition or structure of the 
vegetation, as S. conocarpum shows little fidelity to any particular 
suite of community associates (Ray and Stanford 2005, p. 5).
    At this time, there is no clear evidence that donkeys, deer, pigs, 
or goats constitute a specific threat to Solanum conocarpum by feeding 
on young or adult, wild or reintroduced individuals, and fruits of the 
species. However, the impacts of introduced herbivores on the species 
include modifying the structure of the vegetation and the environmental 
conditions in which S. conocarpum evolved and that are required for 
their natural recruitment. Based on the above, we consider the effects 
of ungulates as a moderate but imminent threat to the species.
    In summary, we consider that Solanum conocarpum is threatened by 
the lack of natural recruitment, absence of dispersers, fragmented 
distribution, lack of genetic variation, climate change, and habitat 
destruction or modification by exotic mammal species. These threats are 
evidenced by the reduced number of individuals, low number of 
populations, and lack of connectivity between populations, any or all 
of which may result in an increased risk of genetic drift. Thus, we 
consider threats under this factor to be high in magnitude and 


    As required by the Act, we conducted a review of the status of the 
species and considered the five factors in assessing whether Solanum 
conocarpum is threatened or endangered throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by the species. We reviewed the petition, information available 
in our files, and other available published and unpublished 
information; consulted with species and habitat experts and other 
Federal and State agencies; and conducted field surveys on the island 
of St. John.
    This status review identified threats to the species attributable 
to Factors A and E. Of the currently known eight populations, two are 
located on private lands, and six are located in the Virgin Islands 
National Park System. Habitat modification may result in irreversible 
damage to the species' natural habitat, decreasing the number of 
individuals in already small populations. In addition, the current sale 
of private housing lots adjacent to currently known populations may 
suggest future urban developments that could lead to the extirpation of 
unknown populations (see Factor A).
    Solanum conocarpum is also threatened by the lack of natural 
recruitment, absence of dispersers, fragmented distribution, lack of 
genetic variation, and habitat destruction or modification by exotic 
mammal species. These threats are evidenced by the predominance of old 
individuals in the populations, reduced number of individuals, low 
number of populations, and lack of connectivity between populations, 
any or all of which may result in an increased risk of genetic drift. 
Furthermore, four of the currently known localities consist of a single 
individual, which may not be sustainable, as the species has been 
identified as an obligate outcrosser. One natural population has been 
reported as extirpated, the largest population has suffered a reduction 
of approximately 25 percent of the natural individuals, and low genetic 
variability has been reported for the species. In addition, the 
abundance of feral animals may modify the structure of vegetation and 
may change the conditions necessary for

[[Page 9728]]

seed germination or seedling recruitment (see Factor E).
    The Service does not have any substantial evidence to suggest that 
overutilization (Factor B), predation or disease (Factor C) or 
inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) is a threat for Solanum 
conocarpum at this time.
    On the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available, we find that listing Solanum conocarpum is warranted. We 
will make a determination on the status of the species as threatened or 
endangered when we develop a proposed listing determination. However, 
as explained in more detail below, an immediate proposal of a 
regulation implementing this action is precluded by higher priority 
listing actions, and the need to make progress on adding or removing 
already qualified species from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants.
    We reviewed the available information to determine if the existing 
and foreseeable threats render the species at risk of extinction now 
such that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the 
species under section 4(b)(7) of the Act is warranted. We determined 
that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing this species 
is not warranted at this time, since approximately 198 individuals in 
natural populations are known to occur in 8 localities where the 
majority of the individuals (86 percent) are located within protected 
areas (Table 1). However, if at any time we determine that issuing an 
emergency regulation temporarily listing the species is warranted, we 
will initiate this action at that time.

Listing Priority Number

    The Service adopted guidelines on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 43098), 
to establish a rational system for utilizing available resources for 
the highest priority species when adding species to the Lists of 
Endangered or Threatened Wildlife and Plants or reclassifying species 
listed as threatened to endangered status. The system places greatest 
importance on the immediacy and magnitude of threats, but also factors 
in the level of taxonomic distinctiveness by assigning priority in 
descending order to monotypic genera, full species, and subspecies (or 
equivalently, distinct population segments of vertebrates).
    Using this guidance, we assign each candidate an LPN of 1 to 12, 
depending on the magnitude of threats (high vs. moderate to low), 
immediacy of threats (imminent or nonimminent), and taxonomic status of 
the species (in order of priority: Monotypic genus (a species that is 
the sole member of a genus), species, or part of a species (subspecies, 
distinct population segment, or significant portion of the range)). The 
lower the listing priority number, the higher the listing priority 
(that is, a species with an LPN of 1 would have the highest listing 
    Under the Service's guidelines, the magnitude of threat is the 
first criterion we look at when establishing a listing priority. The 
guidance indicates that species with the highest magnitude of threat 
are those species facing the greatest threats to their existence. These 
species receive the highest listing priority. We consider the threats 
to Solanum conocarpum to be high in magnitude because many of the 
threats that we analyzed are present throughout the range and are 
likely to result in adverse impact to the status of the species.
    Under our LPN guidelines, the second criterion we consider in 
assigning a listing priority is the immediacy of threats. This 
criterion is intended to ensure that species facing actual, 
identifiable threats are given priority over those for which threats 
are will likely occur in the future, or species that are intrinsically 
vulnerable but are not known to be presently facing threats. Not all 
threats to Solanum conocarpum are imminent, but we do have evidence of 
some currently ongoing threats. Studies show that S. conocarpum is 
limited by its lack of recruitment and low reproductive capacity, both 
of which are likely due to habitat fragmentation.
    Threats under Factor A are low-to-moderate, but not imminent 
because of protections provided through conservation agreements within 
private lands and management of the populations on VINP lands. The 
majority of the threats to Factor E are high in magnitude and imminent 
because they are currently occurring throughout the range of the 
species and result in the lack of successful recruitment. Threats under 
Factor E have occurred in the past and are clearly a threat today and 
in the near future. These impacts directly affect the species ability 
to produce new plants and the older plants are dying due to competition 
with other vegetation. Additionally, the pollinators and seed 
dispersers are unknown and may be focused on other food sources as the 
species population became fragmented. The U.S. Virgin Island and the 
IUCN have already classified this species as endangered according to 
their criteria.
    The third criterion in our LPN guidelines is intended to devote 
resources to those species representing highly distinctive or isolated 
gene pools as reflected by taxonomy. We determined that Solanum 
conocarpum is a full species, and as noted above, it faces threats of a 
high magnitude and nonimmediacy.
    As a result of our analysis of the best available scientific and 
commercial information, we assigned Solanum conocarpum a Listing 
Priority Number 2, based on the high magnitude and imminent threats 
described under Factor E. At least two of the threats discussed above 
are occurring now, and we anticipate they will still occur in the near 
future in St. John. These threats are ongoing and in some cases are 
considered irreversible. While we conclude that listing the species is 
warranted, an immediate proposal to list this species is precluded by 
work on higher priority listing actions with absolute statutory, court-
ordered, or court-approved deadlines and final listing determinations 
for those species that were proposed for listing with funds from Fiscal 
Year 2011. This work includes all the actions listed in the tables 
below under expeditious progress.
    We will continue to monitor the threats to Solanum conocarpum, and 
the species' status on an annual basis, and should the magnitude or the 
imminence of the threats change, we will revisit our assessment of the 

Preclusion and Expeditious Progress

    Preclusion is a function of the listing priority of a species in 
relation to the resources that are available and the cost and relative 
priority of competing demands for those resources. Thus, in any given 
fiscal year (FY), multiple factors dictate whether it will be possible 
to undertake work on a listing proposal regulation or whether 
promulgation of such a proposal is precluded by higher-priority listing 
    The resources available for listing actions are determined through 
the annual Congressional appropriations process. The appropriation for 
the Listing Program is available to support work involving the 
following listing actions: Proposed and final listing rules; 90-day and 
12-month findings on petitions to add species to the Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists) or to change the 
status of a species from threatened to endangered; annual 
``resubmitted'' petition findings on prior warranted-but-precluded 
petition findings as required under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of

[[Page 9729]]

the Act; critical habitat petition findings; proposed and final rules 
designating critical habitat; and litigation-related, administrative, 
and program-management functions (including preparing and allocating 
budgets, responding to Congressional and public inquiries, and 
conducting public outreach regarding listing and critical habitat). The 
work involved in preparing various listing documents can be extensive 
and may include, but is not limited to: Gathering and assessing the 
best scientific and commercial data available and conducting analyses 
used as the basis for our decisions; writing and publishing documents; 
and obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating public comments and peer 
review comments on proposed rules and incorporating relevant 
information into final rules. The number of listing actions that we can 
undertake in a given year also is influenced by the complexity of those 
listing actions; that is, more complex actions generally are more 
costly. The median cost for preparing and publishing a 90-day finding 
is $39,276; for a 12-month finding, $100,690; for a proposed rule with 
critical habitat, $345,000; and for a final listing rule with critical 
habitat, the median cost is $305,000.
    We cannot spend more than is appropriated for the Listing Program 
without violating the Anti-Deficiency Act (see 31 U.S.C. 
1341(a)(1)(A)). In addition, in FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since 
then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds which may be 
expended for the Listing Program, equal to the amount expressly 
appropriated for that purpose in that fiscal year. This cap was 
designed to prevent funds appropriated for other functions under the 
Act (for example, recovery funds for removing species from the Lists), 
or for other Service programs, from being used for Listing Program 
actions (see House Report 105-163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 
    Since FY 2002, the Service's budget has included a critical habitat 
subcap to ensure that some funds are available for other work in the 
Listing Program (``The critical habitat designation subcap will ensure 
that some funding is available to address other listing activities'' 
(House Report No. 107-103, 107th Congress, 1st Session, June 19, 
2001)). In FY 2002 and each year until FY 2006, the Service has had to 
use virtually the entire critical habitat subcap to address court-
mandated designations of critical habitat, and consequently none of the 
critical habitat subcap funds have been available for other listing 
activities. In some FYs since 2006, we have been able to use some of 
the critical habitat subcap funds to fund proposed listing 
determinations for high-priority candidate species. In other FYs, while 
we were unable to use any of the critical habitat subcap funds to fund 
proposed listing determinations, we did use some of this money to fund 
the critical habitat portion of some proposed listing determinations so 
that the proposed listing determination and proposed critical habitat 
designation could be combined into one rule, thereby being more 
efficient in our work. At this time, for FY 2011, we do not know if we 
will be able to use some of the critical habitat subcap funds to fund 
proposed listing determinations.
    We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis to 
ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed first 
and also because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide basis. 
Through the listing cap, the critical habitat subcap, and the amount of 
funds needed to address court-mandated critical habitat designations, 
Congress and the courts have in effect determined the amount of money 
available for other listing activities nationwide. Therefore, the funds 
in the listing cap, other than those needed to address court-mandated 
critical habitat for already listed species, set the limits on our 
determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress.
    Congress identified the availability of resources as the only basis 
for deferring the initiation of a rulemaking that is warranted. The 
Conference Report accompanying Public Law 97-304 (Endangered Species 
Act Amendments of 1982), which established the current statutory 
deadlines and the warranted-but-precluded finding, states that the 
amendments were ``not intended to allow the Secretary to delay 
commencing the rulemaking process for any reason other than that the 
existence of pending or imminent proposals to list species subject to a 
greater degree of threat would make allocation of resources to such a 
petition [that is, for a lower-ranking species] unwise.'' Although that 
statement appeared to refer specifically to the ``to the maximum extent 
practicable'' limitation on the 90-day deadline for making a 
``substantial information'' finding, that finding is made at the point 
when the Service is deciding whether or not to commence a status review 
that will determine the degree of threats facing the species, and 
therefore the analysis underlying the statement is more relevant to the 
use of the warranted-but-precluded finding, which is made when the 
Service has already determined the degree of threats facing the species 
and is deciding whether or not to commence a rulemaking.
    In FY 2011, on December 22, 2010, Congress passed a continuing 
resolution which provides funding at the FY 2010 enacted level through 
March 4, 2011. Until Congress appropriates funds for FY 2011 at a 
different level, we will fund listing work based on the FY 2010 amount. 
Thus, at this time in FY 2011, the Service anticipates an appropriation 
of $22,103,000 based on FY 2010 appropriations. Of that, the Service 
must dedicate $11,632,000 for determinations of critical habitat for 
already listed species. Also $500,000 is appropriated for foreign 
species listings under the Act. The Service thus has $9,971,000 
available to fund work in the following categories: Compliance with 
court orders and court-approved settlement agreements requiring that 
petition findings or listing determinations be completed by a specific 
date; section 4 (of the Act) listing actions with absolute statutory 
deadlines; essential litigation-related, administrative, and listing 
program-management functions; and high-priority listing actions for 
some of our candidate species. In FY 2010 the Service received many new 
petitions and a single petition to list 404 species. The receipt of 
petitions for a large number of species is consuming the Service's 
listing funding that is not dedicated to meeting court-ordered 
commitments. Absent some ability to balance effort among listing duties 
under existing funding levels, it is unlikely that the Service will be 
able to initiate any new listing determination for candidate species in 
FY 2011.
    In 2009, the responsibility for listing foreign species under the 
Act was transferred from the Division of Scientific Authority, 
International Affairs Program, to the Endangered Species Program. 
Therefore, starting in FY 2010, we used a portion of our funding to 
work on the actions described above for listing actions related to 
foreign species. In FY 2011, we anticipate using $1,500,000 for work on 
listing actions for foreign species which reduces funding available for 
domestic listing actions, however, currently only $500,000 has been 
allocated. Although there are currently no foreign species issues 
included in our high-priority listing actions at this time, many 
actions have statutory or court-approved settlement deadlines, thus 
increasing their priority. The budget allocations for each specific 
listing action are identified in the Service's FY 2011 Allocation Table 
(part of our record).

[[Page 9730]]

    For the above reasons, funding a proposed listing determination for 
Solanum conocarpum is precluded by court-ordered and court-approved 
settlement agreements, listing actions with absolute statutory 
deadlines, and work on proposed listing determinations for those 
candidate species with a higher listing priority (i.e., candidate 
species with LPNs of 1).
    As discussed under Listing Priority Number above, based on our 
September 21, 1983, guidance for assigning an LPN for each candidate 
species (48 FR 43098), we have a significant number of species with a 
LPN of 2. Because of the large number of high-priority species, we have 
further ranked the candidate species with an LPN of 2 by using the 
following extinction-risk type criteria: International Union for the 
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red list status/
rank, Heritage rank (provided by NatureServe), Heritage threat rank 
(provided by NatureServe), and species currently with fewer than 50 
individuals, or 4 or fewer populations. Those species with the highest 
IUCN rank (critically endangered), the highest Heritage rank (G1), the 
highest Heritage threat rank (substantial, imminent threats), and 
currently with fewer than 50 individuals, or fewer than 4 populations, 
originally comprised a group of approximately 40 candidate species 
(``Top 40''). These 40 candidate species have had the highest priority 
to receive funding to work on a proposed listing determination. As we 
work on proposed and final listing rules for those 40 candidates, we 
apply the ranking criteria to the next group of candidates with an LPN 
of 2 and 3 to determine the next set of highest priority candidate 
species. Finally, proposed rules for reclassification of threatened 
species to endangered are lower priority, since as listed species, they 
are already afforded the protection of the Act and implementing 
regulations. However, for efficiency reasons, we may choose to work on 
a proposed rule to reclassify a species to endangered if we can combine 
this with work that is subject to a court-determined deadline.
    With our workload so much bigger than the amount of funds we have 
to accomplish it, it is important that we be as efficient as possible 
in our listing process. Therefore, as we work on proposed rules for the 
highest priority species in the next several years, we are preparing 
multi-species proposals when appropriate, and these may include species 
with lower priority if they overlap geographically or have the same 
threats as a species with an LPN of 2. In addition, we take into 
consideration the availability of staff resources when we determine 
which high-priority species will receive funding to minimize the amount 
of time and resources required to complete each listing action.
    As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but 
precluded must also demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made 
to add and remove qualified species to and from the Lists of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. As with our ``precluded'' finding, 
the evaluation of whether progress in adding qualified species to the 
Lists has been expeditious is a function of the resources available for 
listing and the competing demands for those funds. (Although we do not 
discuss it in detail here, we are also making expeditious progress in 
removing species from the list under the Recovery program in light of 
the resource available for delisting, which is funded by a separate 
line item in the budget of the Endangered Species Program. So far 
during FY 2011, we have completed one delisting rule.) Given the 
limited resources available for listing, we find that we are making 
expeditious progress in FY 2011 in the Listing. This progress included 
preparing and publishing the following determinations:

                                        FY 2011 Completed Listing Actions
       Publication date                     Title                    Actions                 FR Pages
10/6/2010....................  Endangered Status for the        Proposed Listing  75 FR 61664-61690
                                Altamaha Spinymussel and         Endangered.
                                Designation of Critical
10/7/2010....................  12-month Finding on a Petition   Notice of 12-     75 FR 62070-62095
                                To List the Sacramento           month petition
                                Splittail as Endangered or       finding, Not
                                Threatened.                      warranted.
10/28/2010...................  Endangered Status and            Proposed Listing  75 FR 66481-66552
                                Designation of Critical          Endangered
                                Habitat for Spikedace and        (uplisting).
                                Loach Minnow.
11/2/2010....................  90[dash]Day Finding on a         Notice of 90-day  75 FR 67341-67343
                                Petition To List the Bay         Petition
                                Springs Salamander as            Finding, Not
                                Endangered.                      substantial.
11/2/2010....................  Determination of Endangered      Final Listing     75 FR 67511-67550
                                Status for the Georgia Pigtoe    Endangered.
                                Mussel, Interrupted Rocksnail,
                                and Rough Hornsnail and
                                Designation of Critical
11/2/2010....................  Listing the Rayed Bean and       Proposed Listing  75 FR 67551-67583
                                Snuffbox as Endangered.          Endangered.
11/4/2010....................  12-Month Finding on a Petition   Notice of 12-     75 FR 67925-67944
                                To List Cirsium wrightii         month petition
                                (Wright's Marsh Thistle) as      finding,
                                Endangered or Threatened.        Warranted but
12/14/2010...................  Endangered Status for Dunes      Proposed Listing  75 FR 77801-77817
                                Sagebrush Lizard.                Endangered.
12/14/2010...................  12-month Finding on a Petition   Notice of 12-     75 FR 78029-78061
                                To List the North American       month petition
                                Wolverine as Endangered or       finding,
                                Threatened.                      Warranted but
12/14/2010...................  12-Month Finding on a Petition   Notice of 12-     75 FR 78093-78146
                                To List the Sonoran Population   month petition
                                of the Desert Tortoise as        finding,
                                Endangered or Threatened.        Warranted but

[[Page 9731]]

12/15/2010...................  12-Month Finding on a Petition   Notice of 12-     75 FR 78513-78556
                                To List Astragalus microcymbus   month petition
                                and Astragalus schmolliae as     finding,
                                Endangered or Threatened.        Warranted but
12/28/2010...................  Listing Seven Brazilian Bird     Final Listing     75 FR 81793-81815
                                Species as Endangered            Endangered.
                                Throughout Their Range.
1/4/2011.....................  90[dash]Day Finding on a         Notice of 90-day  76 FR 304-311
                                Petition To List the Red Knot    Petition
                                subspecies Calidris canutus      Finding, Not
                                roselaari as Endangered.         substantial.
1/19/2011....................  Endangered Status for the        Proposed Listing  76 FR 3392-3420
                                Sheepnose and Spectaclecase      Endangered.
2/10/2011....................  12-Month Finding on a Petition   Notice of 12-     76 FR 7634-7679
                                To List the Pacific Walrus as    month petition
                                Endangered or Threatened.        finding,
                                                                 Warranted but

    Our expeditious progress also includes work on listing actions that 
we funded in FY 2010 and FY 2011 but have not yet been completed to 
date. These actions are listed below. Actions in the top section of the 
table are being conducted under a deadline set by a court. Actions in 
the middle section of the table are being conducted to meet statutory 
timelines, that is, timelines required under the Act. Actions in the 
bottom section of the table are high-priority listing actions. These 
actions include work primarily on species with an LPN of 2, and, as 
discussed above, selection of these species is partially based on 
available staff resources, and when appropriate, include species with a 
lower priority if they overlap geographically or have the same threats 
as the species with the high priority. Including these species together 
in the same proposed rule results in considerable savings in time and 
funding, as compared to preparing separate proposed rules for each of 
them in the future.

                           Actions Funded in FY 2010 and FY 2011 But Not Yet Completed
                   Species                                                   Action
                               Actions Subject to Court Order/Settlement Agreement
Flat-tailed horned lizard....................  Final listing determination.
Mountain plover \4\..........................  Final listing determination.
Thorne's Hairstreak butterfly \3\............  12-month petition finding.
Hermes copper butterfly \3\..................  12-month petition finding.
4 parrot species (military macaw, yellow-      12-month petition finding.
 billed parrot, red-crowned parrot, scarlet
 macaw) \5\.
4 parrot species (blue-headed macaw, great     12-month petition finding.
 green macaw, grey-cheeked parakeet, hyacinth
4 parrot species (crimson shining parrot,      12-month petition finding.
 white cockatoo, Philippine cockatoo, yellow-
 crested cockatoo)\5\.
Utah prairie dog (uplisting).................  90-day petition finding.
                                        Actions with Statutory Deadlines
Casey's june beetle..........................  Final listing determination.
Southern rockhopper penguin--Campbell Plateau  Final listing determination.
6 Birds from Eurasia.........................  Final listing determination.
5 Bird species from Colombia and Ecuador.....  Final listing determination.
Queen Charlotte goshawk......................  Final listing determination.
5 species southeast fish (Cumberland darter,   Final listing determination.
 rush darter, yellowcheek darter, chucky
 madtom, and laurel dace)\4\.
Ozark hellbender \4\.........................  Final listing determination.
Altamaha spinymussel \3\.....................  Final listing determination.
3 Colorado plants (Ipomopsis polyantha         Final listing determination.
 (Pagosa Skyrocket), Penstemon debilis
 (Parachute Beardtongue), and Phacelia
 submutica (DeBeque Phacelia))\4\.
Salmon crested cockatoo......................  Final listing determination.
6 Birds from Peru and Bolivia................  Final listing determination.
Loggerhead sea turtle (assist National Marine  Final listing determination.
 Fisheries Service) \5\.
2 mussels (rayed bean (LPN = 2), snuffbox No   Final listing determination.
 LPN) \5\.
CA golden trout \4\..........................  12-month petition finding.
Black-footed albatross.......................  12-month petition finding.
Mount Charleston blue butterfly..............  12-month petition finding.
Mojave fringe-toed lizard \1\................  12-month petition finding.
Kokanee--Lake Sammamish population \1\.......  12-month petition finding.
Cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl \1\.............  12-month petition finding.
Northern leopard frog........................  12-month petition finding.
Tehachapi slender salamander.................  12-month petition finding.
Coqui Llanero................................  12-month petition finding/Proposed listing.

[[Page 9732]]

Dusky tree vole..............................  12-month petition finding.
3 MT invertebrates (mist forestfly (Lednia     12-month petition finding.
 tumana), Oreohelix sp. 3, Oreohelix sp. 31)
 from 206 species petition.
5 UT plants (Astragalus hamiltonii, Eriogonum  12-month petition finding.
 soredium, Lepidium ostleri, Penstemon
 flowersii, Trifolium friscanum) from 206
 species petition.
5 WY plants (Abronia ammophila, Agrostis       12-month petition finding.
 rossiae, Astragalus proimanthus, Boechere
 (Arabis) pusilla, Penstemon gibbensii) from
 206 species petition.
Leatherside chub (from 206 species petition).  12-month petition finding.
Frigid ambersnail (from 206 species petition)  12-month petition finding.
Platte River caddisfly (from 206 species       12-month petition finding.
 petition) \5\.
Gopher tortoise--eastern population..........  12-month petition finding.
Grand Canyon scorpion (from 475 species        12-month petition finding.
Anacroneuria wipukupa (a stonefly from 475     12-month petition finding.
 species petition) \4\.
Rattlesnake-master borer moth (from 475        12-month petition finding.
 species petition) \3\.
3 Texas moths (Ursia furtiva, Sphingicampa     12-month petition finding.
 blanchardi, Agapema galbina) (from 475
 species petition).
2 Texas shiners (Cyprinella sp., Cyprinella    12-month petition finding.
 lepida) (from 475 species petition).
3 South Arizona plants (Erigeron piscaticus,   12-month petition finding.
 Astragalus hypoxylus, Amoreuxia gonzalezii)
 (from 475 species petition).
5 Central Texas mussel species (3 from 475     12-month petition finding.
 species petition).
14 parrots (foreign species).................  12-month petition finding.
Berry Cave salamander \1\....................  12-month petition finding.
Striped Newt \1\.............................  12-month petition finding.
Fisher--Northern Rocky Mountain Range \1\....  12-month petition finding.
Mohave Ground Squirrel \1\...................  12-month petition finding.
Puerto Rico Harlequin Butterfly \3\..........  12-month petition finding.
Western gull-billed tern.....................  12-month petition finding.
Ozark chinquapin (Castanea pumila var.         12-month petition finding.
 ozarkensis) \4\.
HI yellow-faced bees.........................  12-month petition finding.
Giant Palouse earthworm......................  12-month petition finding.
Whitebark pine...............................  12-month petition finding.
OK grass pink (Calopogon oklahomensis) \1\...  12-month petition finding.
Ashy storm-petrel \5\........................  12-month petition finding.
Honduran emerald.............................  12-month petition finding.
Southeastern pop. snowy plover and wintering   90-day petition finding.
 pop. of piping plover \1\.
Eagle Lake trout \1\.........................  90-day petition finding.
Smooth-billed ani \1\........................  90-day petition finding.
32 Pacific Northwest mollusks species (snails  90-day petition finding.
 and slugs) \1\.
42 snail species (Nevada and Utah)...........  90-day petition finding.
Peary caribou................................  90-day petition finding.
Plains bison.................................  90-day petition finding.
Spring Mountains checkerspot butterfly.......  90-day petition finding.
Spring pygmy sunfish.........................  90-day petition finding.
Bay skipper..................................  90-day petition finding.
Unsilvered fritillary........................  90-day petition finding.
Texas kangaroo rat...........................  90-day petition finding.
Spot-tailed earless lizard...................  90-day petition finding.
Eastern small-footed bat.....................  90-day petition finding.
Northern long-eared bat......................  90-day petition finding.
Prairie chub.................................  90-day petition finding.
10 species of Great Basin butterfly..........  90-day petition finding.
6 sand dune (scarab) beetles.................  90-day petition finding.
Golden-winged warbler \4\....................  90-day petition finding.
Sand-verbena moth............................  90-day petition finding.
404 Southeast species........................  90-day petition finding.
Franklin's bumble bee \4\....................  90-day petition finding.
2 Idaho snowflies (straight snowfly and Idaho  90-day petition finding.
 snowfly) \4\.
American eel \4\.............................  90-day petition finding.
Gila monster (Utah population) \4\...........  90-day petition finding.
Arapahoe snowfly \4\.........................  90-day petition finding.
Leona's little blue \4\......................  90-day petition finding.
Aztec gilia \5\..............................  90-day petition finding.
White-tailed ptarmigan \5\...................  90-day petition finding.
San Bernardino flying squirrel \5\...........  90-day petition finding.
Bicknell's thrush \5\........................  90-day petition finding.
Chimpanzee...................................  90-day petition finding.
Sonoran talussnail \5\.......................  90-day petition finding.
2 AZ Sky Island plants (Graptopetalum          90-day petition finding.
 bartrami and Pectis imberbis) \5\.
I'iwi \5\....................................  90-day petition finding.

[[Page 9733]]

                                          High-Priority Listing Actions
19 Oahu candidate species \2\ (16 plants, 3    Proposed listing.
 damselflies) (15 with LPN = 2, 3 with LPN =
 3, 1 with LPN = 9).
19 Maui-Nui candidate species \2\ (16 plants,  Proposed listing.
 3 tree snails) (14 with LPN = 2, 2 with LPN
 = 3, 3 with LPN = 8).
2 Arizona springsnails \2\ (Pyrgulopsis        Proposed listing.
 bernadina (LPN = 2), Pyrgulopsis trivialis
 (LPN = 2)).
Chupadera springsnail \2\ (Pyrgulopsis         Proposed listing.
 chupaderae (LPN = 2).
8 Gulf Coast mussels (southern kidneyshell     Proposed listing.
 (LPN = 2), round ebonyshell (LPN = 2),
 Alabama pearlshell (LPN = 2), southern
 sandshell (LPN = 5), fuzzy pigtoe (LPN = 5),
 Choctaw bean (LPN = 5), narrow pigtoe (LPN =
 5), and tapered pigtoe (LPN = 11)) \4\.
Umtanum buckwheat (LPN = 2) and white bluffs   Proposed listing.
 bladderpod (LPN = 9) \4\.
Grotto sculpin (LPN = 2) \4\.................  Proposed listing.
2 Arkansas mussels (Neosho mucket (LPN = 2)    Proposed listing.
 and Rabbitsfoot (LPN = 9)) \4\.
Diamond darter (LPN = 2) \4\.................  Proposed listing.
Gunnison sage-grouse (LPN = 2) \4\...........  Proposed listing.
Miami blue (LPN = 3) \3\.....................  Proposed listing.
4 Texas salamanders (Austin blind salamander   Proposed listing.
 (LPN = 2), Salado salamander (LPN = 2),
 Georgetown salamander (LPN = 8), Jollyville
 Plateau (LPN = 8)) \3\.
5 SW aquatics (Gonzales Spring Snail (LPN =    Proposed listing.
 2), Diamond Y springsnail (LPN = 2), Phantom
 springsnail (LPN = 2), Phantom Cave snail
 (LPN = 2), Diminutive amphipod (LPN = 2))\3\.
2 Texas plants (Texas golden gladecress        Proposed listing.
 (Leavenworthia texana) (LPN = 2), Neches
 River rose-mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) (LPN
 = 2))\3\.
FL bonneted bat (LPN = 2) \3\................  Proposed listing.
21 Big Island (HI) species \5\ (includes 8     Proposed listing.
 candidate species--5 plants and 3 animals; 4
 with LPN = 2, 1 with LPN = 3, 1 with LPN =
 4, 2 with LPN = 8).
12 Puget Sound prairie species (9 subspecies   Proposed listing.
 of pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama ssp.) (LPN
 = 3), streaked horned lark (LPN = 3),
 Taylor's checkerspot (LPN = 3), Mardon
 skipper (LPN = 8))\3\.
2 TN River mussels (fluted kidneyshell (LPN =  Proposed listing.
 2), slabside pearlymussel (LPN = 2) \5\.
Jemez Mountain salamander (LPN = 2) \5\......  Proposed listing.
\1\ Funds for listing actions for these species were provided in previous FYs.
\2\ Although funds for these high-priority listing actions were provided in FY 2008 or 2009, due to the
  complexity of these actions and competing priorities, these actions are still being developed.
\3\ Partially funded with FY 2010 funds and FY 2011 funds.
\4\ Funded with FY 2010 funds.
\5\ Funded with FY 2011 funds.

    We have endeavored to make our listing actions as efficient and 
timely as possible, given the requirements of the relevant law and 
regulations, and constraints relating to workload and personnel. We are 
continually considering ways to streamline processes or achieve 
economies of scale, such as by batching related actions together. Given 
our limited budget for implementing section 4 of the Act, these actions 
described above collectively constitute expeditious progress.
    We intend that any proposed reclassification of Solanum conocarpum 
will be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we will continue to accept 
additional information and comments from all concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this finding.
    Solanum conocarpum will be added to the list of candidate species 
upon publication of this 12-month finding. We will continue to evaluate 
this species as new information becomes available. This review will 
determine if a change in status is warranted, including the need to 
make prompt use of emergency listing procedures.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Caribbean 
Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES section).


    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office.


    The authority for this section is section 4 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: February 10, 2011.
 Rowan W. Gould,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-3730 Filed 2-18-11; 8:45 am]