[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 110 (Friday, June 7, 2019)]
[Pages 26696-26697]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-11943]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2019-N009; FXES11130000-190-FF08E00000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery 
Plan for Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii (Peirson's Milk-Vetch)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for Astragalus magdalenae var. 
peirsonii (Peirson's milk-vetch) for public review and comment. The 
draft recovery plan includes objective, measurable criteria, and site-
specific management actions as may be necessary to ameliorate threats 
such that the species can be removed from the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Plants.

DATES: We must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or 
before July 8, 2019.

    Document availability: You may obtain a copy of the recovery plan 
from our website at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html. Alternatively, you may contact the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2177 Salk Avenue, 
Suite 250, Carlsbad, CA 92008 (telephone 760-431-9440).
    Comment submission: If you wish to comment on the draft recovery 
plan, you may submit your comments in writing by any one of the 
following methods:
     U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address;
     Hand-delivery: Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, at the 
above address; or
     Email: fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov. For additional information 
about submitting comments, see the Request for Public Comments section 

Supervisor, at the above street address or telephone number (see 



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). Recovery means improvement of the status of listed species to 
the point at which listing is no longer necessary under the criteria 
specified in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. The Act requires the 
development of recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan 
would not promote the conservation of a particular species.
    Pursuant to section 4(f) of the Act, a recovery plan must, to the 
maximum extent practicable, include (1) a description of site-specific 
management actions as may be necessary to achieve the plan's goals for 
the conservation and survival of the species; (2) objective, measurable 
criteria which, when met, would support a determination under section 
4(a)(1) that the species should be removed from the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Species; and (3) estimates of the time and costs 
required to carry out those measures needed to achieve the plan's goal 
and to achieve intermediate steps toward that goal.
    The Service has revised its approach to recovery planning; the 
revised process is called Recovery Planning and Implementation (RPI). 
The RPI process is intended to reduce the time needed to develop and 
implement recovery plans, increase recovery plan relevancy over a 
longer timeframe, and add flexibility to recovery plans so they can be 
adjusted to new information or circumstances. Under RPI, a recovery 
plan will include statutorily required elements (objective, measurable 
criteria; site-specific management actions; and estimates of time and 
costs), along with a concise introduction and our strategy for how we 
plan to achieve species recovery. The RPI recovery plan is supported by 
a separate Species Status Assessment, or in cases such as this one, a 
species biological report that provides the background information and 
threat assessment, which are key to recovery plan development. The 
essential component to flexible implementation under RPI is producing a 
separate working document called the Recovery Implementation Strategy 
(implementation strategy). The implementation strategy steps down from 
the more general description of actions described in the recovery plan 
to detail the specific, near-term activities needed to implement the 
recovery plan. The implementation strategy will be adaptable by being 
able to incorporate new information without having to concurrently 
revise the recovery plan, unless changes to statutory elements are 
    The Service listed Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii (Peirson's 
milk-vetch) as threatened in 1998 (63 FR 53596, October 6, 1998), and 
critical habitat was revised for the species in 2008 (73 FR 8747, 
February 14, 2008). Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii is a perennial 
member of the legume family. It has a long tap root that can penetrate 
deep into the sand to reach moisture and functions as an anchor for the 
plant in shifting sands. The plant has delicate pale purple flowers and 
produces large fruits containing seeds. Plants may flower in their 
first year and produce between one and five fruits, while older plants 
produce significantly more fruits.
    Historically, Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii was found in 
Sonoran Desert dune environments in southeastern California, and in 
Sonora, Mexico. In the United States, it is currently restricted to the 
western portion of the Algodones Dunes of eastern Imperial County, 
California. This taxon occurs within about 53,000 acres (ac) (21,500 
hectares (ha)) in a narrow band running 40 miles (mi) (64 kilometers 
(km)) northwest to southeast along the western portion of the dunes. 
Nearly all of the lands in the Algodones Dunes are managed by the 
Bureau of Land Management as the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area 
(ISDRA). Within active dunes, the primary habitat for A. m. var. 
peirsonii is found on west and/or northwest-facing sides of bowls, 
swales, and slopes consisting of Rositas fine sands.
    Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii is impacted by destruction of 
individuals and dune habitat from off-highway vehicle use and 
associated recreational development within the ISDRA.

Recovery Strategy

    The purpose of a recovery plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of a species so that protection under the Act is no longer 
necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about the 
species and provides criteria that enable us to gauge whether 
downlisting or delisting the species is warranted. Furthermore, 
recovery plans help guide our recovery efforts by describing actions we 
consider necessary for each species' conservation and by estimating 
time and costs for implementing needed recovery measures.

[[Page 26697]]

    The goal of this recovery plan is to control or ameliorate impacts 
from current threats to Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii such that 
the taxon no longer requires protections afforded by the Act and, 
therefore, warrants delisting. Continued outreach with our partners is 
needed to ensure long-term protections are afforded to A. m. var. 
peirsonii and its habitat. The site-specific management actions 
identified in the draft recovery plan are as follows:
    (1) Continue monitoring of Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii, 
and ensure that the monitoring protocol informs management of the taxon 
and allows us to accurately assess population trends;
    (2) Conduct additional research to inform management actions 
throughout the range of Astragalus magdalenae var. peirsonii;
    (3) Ameliorate Factor A threats associated with threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range; and
    (4) Ameliorate Factor E threats associated with other natural or 
manmade factors affecting the continued existence of Astragalus 
magdalenae var. peirsonii.

Request for Public Comments

    We request written comments on the draft recovery plan described in 
this notice. All comments received by the date specified in DATES will 
be considered in development of a final recovery plan for Astragalus 
magdalenae var. peirsonii. You may submit written comments and 
information by mail, email, or in person to the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office at the above address (see ADDRESSES).

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority:  We developed this recovery plan and publish this 
notice under the authority of section 4(f) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 

Jody Holzworth,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2019-11943 Filed 6-6-19; 8:45 am]