thefederalregister.com

Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R6-ES-2012-0053: 4500030113]

RIN 1018-AY11

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Threatened Status for Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle and Designation of Critical Habitat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) propose to list the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle,Cicindela albissima,as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act); and propose to designate critical habitat for the species. In total, approximately 921 hectares (2,276 acres) are being proposed for designation as critical habitat. The proposed critical habitat is located in Kane County, Utah.
DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 3, 2012. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (seeADDRESSESsection, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown inFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTby November 16, 2012.
ADDRESSES: (1)Electronically:Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov.Search for Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2012-0053.

(2)By hard copy:Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0053; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments onhttp://www.regulations.gov.This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information Requested section below for more information).

The coordinates or plot points or both from which the maps of the specific areas proposed as critical habitat are generated are included in the administrative record for this rulemaking and are available athttp://www.fws.gov/utahfieldoffice/,atwww.regulations.govin Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2012-0053, and at the Utah Field Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or supporting information that we may develop for this rulemaking will also be available at the Fish and Wildlife Service Web site and Field Office set out above, and may also be included in the preamble and/or atwww.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Crist, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office, Ecological Services Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119; telephone 801-975-3330; or facsimile 801-975-3331. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This document consists of: (1) A proposed rule to list the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (CPSD) tiger beetle as threatened; and (2) a proposed critical habitat designation for the CPSD tiger beetle.

Executive Summary

Why we need to publish a rule.Under the Act, if a species is determined to be an endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant portion of its range, we are required to promptly publish a proposed rule in theFederal Registerand make a determination on our proposal within one year. Critical habitat shall be designated, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, for any species determined to be an endangered or threatened species under the Act. Listing a species as an endangered or threatened species and designations and revisions of critical habitat can only be completed in a rule making process.

What This Rule Will Do

• We are proposing to list the CPSD tiger beetle as a threatened species.

• We also are proposing to designate 921 hectares (2,276 acres) of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (CPSD) Geologic Feature in Kane County as critical habitat.

The basis for our action.Under the Act, we can determine that a species is an endangered or threatened species based on any of 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.

We propose to list the CPSD tiger beetle as a threatened species because of the following threats:

• Habitat loss and degradation caused by off-road vehicle use.

• Small population effects, such as vulnerability to random chance events.

• Other natural or manmade factors, including climate change and drought.

• Cumulative interaction of individual factors such as off-road vehicle use, climate change, and drought.

We have also determined that existing regulatory mechanisms are not adequately addressing the threats to the species.

Under the Act, any species that is determined to be a threatened or endangered species shall, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, have habitat designated that is considered to be critical habitat. Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act states that the Secretary shall designate critical habitat on the basis of the best available scientific data after taking into consideration the economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat.

We propose to designate a 921-hectare (2,276-acre) area as critical habitat for the CPSD tiger beetle. The critical habitat area we propose in this rule constitutes our current best assessment of the specific areas that meet the definition of critical habitat for the CPSD tiger beetle.

We are preparing an economic analysis of the proposed designation of critical habitat.In order to consider economic impacts, we are preparing an analysis of the potential economic impacts of the proposed critical habitat designations. We will use the information from the draft economic analysis to inform the development of the final designation of critical habitat for this species.

We are preparing an environmental assessment of the proposed designation of critical habitat.Based on a relevant court decision in the Tenth Circuit, we shall evaluate the potential environmental impacts of a designation of critical habitat for any species whose range overlaps the geographic area governed by the Federal Tenth Circuit Court under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We will use the results of the draft environmental assessment to inform the development of our final designation of critical habitat.

We will seek peer review.We are seeking the expert opinions of appropriate and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule to ensure that our decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analysis. We have invited these peer reviewers to comment during the proposed rule's public comment period. We will consider all comments and information received during the comment period in our preparation of the final determinations. Accordingly, the final decisions may differ from this proposal.

Information Requested

We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Native American Tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:

(1) The species' biology, range, and population trends, including:

(a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;

(b) Genetics and taxonomy;

(c) Historical and current range including distribution patterns;

(d) Historical and current population levels, and current and projected trends; and

(e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its habitat or both.

(2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species under section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531et seq.), which are:

(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.

(3) Biological, commercial, or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and existing regulations that may be addressing those threats.

(4) Additional information concerning the historical and current status, range, distribution, and population size of this species, including the locations of any additional populations of this species.

(5) The reasons why we should or should not designate specific areas as “critical habitat” under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531et seq.) including whether the degree of threats would be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of designation such that the designation of critical habitat may not be prudent.

(6) Specific information on our proposed critical habitat designation:

(a) The amount and distribution of CPSD tiger beetle habitat;

(b) What may constitute “physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species,” within the geographical range currently occupied by the species;

(c) Where these features are currently found;

(d) Whether any of these features may require special management considerations or protection;

(e) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and why;

(f) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why.

(7) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the areas occupied by the species or proposed to be designated as critical habitat, and possible impacts of these activities on this species and proposed critical habitat.

(8) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on the CPSD tiger beetle and proposed critical habitat.

(9) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts that may result from designating any area that may be included in the final designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas from the proposed designation that are subject to these impacts.

(10) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating public concerns and comments.

(11) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation of critical habitat and how the consequences of such reactions, if likely to occur, would relate to the conservation and regulatory benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation.

Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include.

Please note that submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.”

You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in theADDRESSESsection.

If you submit information viahttp://www.regulations.gov,your entire submission—including any 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 onhttp://www.regulations.gov.Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include.

Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection onhttp://www.regulations.gov,or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

In 1984, we published our Invertebrate Notice of Review classifying the CPSD tiger beetle as a Category 2 species (49 FR 21664, May 22, 1984). Category 2 status included those taxa for which information in the Service's possession indicated that a proposed rule was possibly appropriate, but for which sufficient data on biological vulnerability and threats were not available to support a proposed listing rule. In 1994, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance petitioned us to list the CPSD tiger beetle as an endangered species and to designate critical habitat. In our 90-day petition finding (59 FR 47293, September 15, 1994), we indicated the petition presented substantial information in support of listing, and later that year we changed the CPSD tiger beetle's status from Category 2 to Category 1 (59 FR 58982, November 15, 1994). Category 1 statusincluded those taxa for which the Service had sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list them as endangered or threatened species. On December 5, 1996 (61 FR 64481), we published our decision to discontinue candidate categories and to restrict candidate status to those taxa for which we have sufficient information to support issuance of a proposed rule. As a result, the CPSD tiger beetle remained a candidate species (62 FR 49398, September 19, 1997).

In 1997, the Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Utah Department of Natural Resources (UDNR), and Kane County signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) and formed a conservation committee with the dual goals of protecting CPSD tiger beetle habitat and balancing the needs of this rare species with off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the area (Conservation Committee 1997, pp. 4-5). These agencies renewed the CCA in 2009 (Conservation Committee 2009, entire). Coordination under the CCA resulted in the establishment of two Conservation Areas that protect the CPSD tiger beetle from ORV use—Conservation Areas A and B (seeHabitatandFactor Afor more information on the Conservation Areas).

In our 2010 Candidate Notice of Review, we identified the CPSD tiger beetle as a species for which listing as an endangered or threatened species was warranted (with a listing priority number of 2) but precluded by our work on higher priority listing actions (75 FR 69222, November 10, 2010). In the 2011 Candidate Notice of Review, we announced that we were not updating our assessment for this species, because we received funding to develop this proposed listing rule (76 FR 66370, October 26, 2011).

Background Taxonomy and Species Description

The CPSD tiger beetle is a member of the family Cicindelidae and genusCicindela.There are 109 species of tiger beetles in the genusCicindelain the United States and Canada (Pearsonet al.2006, p. 4). The CPSD tiger beetle occurs only at the CPSD geologic feature in southern Utah and is separated from its closest related subspecies,C. theatina,by over 600 kilometers (km) (378 miles (mi)) (Rumpp 1961, p. 182). It shares the typical characteristics of other members of the maritima group (a group of closely related species of sand dune tiger beetles) and is most similar in morphology to other subspecies ofCicindela limbata(no common name). It was originally described asC. limbata albissima(Rumpp 1961, p. 181). However, more recent genetic analysis revealed that the CPSD tiger beetle is different from all other members in the maritima group; consequently, we now consider it a distinct species, CPSD tiger beetle (Morganet al.2000, p. 1111). This is the accepted taxonomic classification (Pearsonet al.2006, p. 77).

CPSD tiger beetle adults are 11 to 15 millimeters (0.4 to 0.6 inches (in)) in size and have striking coloration. The large wing cases (known as elytra) are predominantly white except for a thin reddish band that runs down the length of the center. Much of the body and legs are covered in white hairs. The upper thorax (middle region) has a metallic sheen, and the eyes are particularly large (Pearsonet al.2006, p. 77).

Habitat

Tiger beetle species occur in many different habitats, including riparian habitats, beaches, dunes, woodlands, grasslands, and other open areas (Pearsonet al.2006, p. 177). Most tiger beetle species are habitat-specific and consequently are useful as indicators of habitat quality (Knisley and Hill 1992, p. 140). The CPSD tiger beetle, like its close relatives from the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado (Cicindela theatina) and the St. Anthony Dunes of Idaho (C. arenicola), is restricted to sand dune habitat.

The species' current range extends along the CPSD geologic feature. The CPSD is a geologic feature named for the deep pink color of its sand dunes (Fordet al.2010, p. 380). The CPSD are located 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the Utah-Arizona state line and 43 km (27 mi) west of Kanab, Utah (see Figure 1 below inPopulation Distribution). The CPSD are about 13 km (8 mi) long, averaging 1.1 km (0.7 mi) in width, and 1,416 ha (3,500 ac) in surface area.

The CPSD consist of a series of high, mostly barren, dry dune ridges separated by lower, moister, and more vegetated interdunal swales (low places between sand dune crests) (Romey and Knisley 2002, p. 170). Wind action, primarily blowing from south to north, created and continues to shape the CPSD, utilizing sand from nearby eroding Navajo sandstone (Doellinget al.1989, p. 3). Wind velocity decreases as it moves across the sand dunes (from south to north), resulting in a dynamic and less vegetated south CPSD area that transitions to a less dynamic, more heavily vegetated, higher elevation northern CPSD area (Fordet al.2010, pp. 387-392).

The CPSD are in a semiarid climatic zone (Fordet al.2010, p. 381). The nearest weather station, in Kanab, has a mean annual temperature of 12.4 °Celsius (°C) (54.4 °Fahrenheit (°F)) and mean annual precipitation of 33.8 centimeters (cm) (13.3 in) (Fordet al.2010, p. 381). The northern 607 ha (1,500 ac) of CPSD is Federal land managed by the BLM. The southern 809 ha (2,000 ac) of the CPSD is within Utah's CPSD State Park.

Adult CPSD tiger beetles use most of the dune areas from the swales to the upper dune slopes. Larval CPSD tiger beetles are more restricted to vegetated swale areas (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 386), where the vegetation supports the larval prey base of flies, ants, and other prey (Conservation Team 2009, p. 14). Larval CPSD tiger beetle habitat is typically dominated by the leguminous plantsSophora stenophylla(silvery sophora) andPsoralidium lanceolatum(dune scurfpea), and several grasses, includingSporobolus cryptandrus(sand dropseed) andAchnatherum hymenoides(Indian ricegrass). Larvae also are closely associated with a federally threatened plant species,Asclepius welshii(Welsh's milkvetch) (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 385) for which the entire CPSD area is designated critical habitat (52 FR 41435, October 28, 1987).

Rainfall and associated soil moisture is a critical factor for CPSD tiger beetles (Knisley and Juliano 1988, entire) and is likely the most important natural environmental factor affecting population dynamics of the species. Rainfall and the associated increase in soil moisture have a positive effect on CPSD tiger beetle oviposition (egg depositing) and survivorship (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 391). The areas in the dune field with the highest level of soil moisture and where soil moisture is closer to the surface contain the highest densities of CPSD tiger beetle larvae (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 22), indicating that both proximity to moisture and overall soil moisture are important to the CPSD tiger beetle's life cycle. Experimental supplemental watering has resulted in significantly more adults and larvae, more oviposition events, increased larval survival, and faster larval development compared to unwatered control plots (Knisley and Gowan 2011, pp. 18-22).

Population Distribution

The CPSD tiger beetle (Cincindela albissima) occurs sporadically throughout the CPSD geologic feature, but only consistently exists in two populations—central and northern—which are separated by 4.8 km (3 mi)(Figure 1; Knisley 2012, pers. comm.). The two populations occupy a total area approximately 202 ha (500 ac) in size (Morganet al.2000, p. 1109).

The central population is the largest and is self-sustaining, but at relatively low numbers (seePopulation Size and Dynamics,below). The northern population is not considered self-sustaining and comprises only a small number of adults and larvae (Knisley 2001, p. 9). The northern population likely persists because of adults dispersing from the central population (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 9).

Low densities of adult CPSD tiger beetles also occur in the dune area between the central and northern populations (Figure 1; Hill and Knisley 1993, p. 9; Knisley 2012, pers. comm.), and suitable swale habitat likely exists in this area. This area has not been extensively surveyed in the past 20 years, and observations of the species in this area are from opportunistic and inconsistent surveys. Because the northern population likely is dependent upon adults dispersing from the central population (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 9), the 4.8-km (3-mi) long area of dune between the two populations is likely an important dispersal corridor for the species (seeAdult Dispersalbelow).

BILLING CODE P EP02OC12.003 BILLING CODE C

As previously mentioned (see Previous Federal Actions), an interagency CCA established Conservation Areas A and B to protect the CPSD tiger beetles from ORV use (seeFactor A, The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of its Habitat or Rangefor more information). These Conservation Areas generally overlap the central and northern populations of CPSD tiger beetles (see Figure 1). However, the central population does not occupy the entirety of Conservation Area A, and also extends outside of it. We do not have occupied swale information for the northern population, so for purposes of this rule, we will assume that the northern population, during most years, occupies some swale habitat in an area that overlaps Conservation Area B entirely. Conservation Area A is 84 ha (207 ac) in size, and Conservation Area B is 150ha (370 ac) in size (Knisley and Gowan 2011, pp. 7, 9).

We do not have comprehensive analysis or occupancy modeling that predicts the habitat preferences of the CPSD tiger beetle. However, a preliminary habitat assessment indicated that the beetle exists where there is abundant prey and larvae, large swale areas capable of supporting the appropriate vegetation, swale sediment characteristics appropriate for vegetation and larval burrows, dune migration characteristics that permit vegetation to develop and persist within dune swales, proper sediment supply, and a proper wind regime (Fensteret al.2012, pp. 2-4). The presence of CPSD tiger beetles in the northern and eastern portions of Conservation Area A, to the east and outside of Conservation Area A (despite the lack of protection from ORV traffic), and in limited swales in Conservation Area B, indicate that many or all of these habitat conditions occur in these areas. See theFactor Asection, and other subsections inBackgroundfor more information on CPSD tiger beetle preferred habitat characteristics.

The same preliminary habitat assessment indicated that CPSD tiger beetles do not exist where there is a lack of prey, small swale areas incapable of supporting the appropriate vegetation, swale sediment characteristics not conducive for vegetation nor suitable for larval burrows, dune migration characteristics that do not permit vegetation to develop and persist within dune swales, low sediment supply, and wind velocities that are too high or too low to maintain proper dune form and vegetation densities (Fensteret al.2012, pp. 4-5). The general absence of CPSD tiger beetles in the south-central and southeastern portions of Conservation Area A and the general area south of Conservation Area A, indicate that many of these habitat conditions occur in these areas. See theFactor Asection, and other subsections inBackgroundfor more information on CPSD tiger beetle preferred habitat characteristics.

Life History

Similar to other tiger beetles, the CPSD tiger beetle goes through several developmental stages. These include an egg, three larval stages (known as “instars,” with each instar separated by molting), pupa, and adult (Knisley and Shultz 1997, p. 13). First instar larvae appear in late spring after hatching from eggs that were oviposited in sand the previous late summer or fall (Hill and Knisley 1997, p. 2). The first instar larvae dig small vertical burrows from the sand surface down 6 to 9 cm (2.4 to 3.5 in.) into the sand substrate (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 14). After several weeks of feeding at the surface, the first instar larva plugs its burrow opening, sheds its skin (molts), and becomes a larger second instar larva (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 2). The second instar stage lasts several months (again emerging from its burrow and feeding at the surface for a brief period) before developing into a third instar, with most reaching this stage by mid- to late summer (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 2). Larvae continue as second or third instars into fall, and then hibernate in burrows during the winter (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 3). The third instar stage can take 9 months to over a year to reach full development (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 3). After the third instar is fully developed, the CPSD tiger beetle plugs its burrow opening and transforms into a pupa (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 34). During the pupal period (stage between third instar and adult emergence), the beetle undergoes a metamorphosis where many of the adult physical structures develop (i.e.,wings and flight muscles) (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 34). Adults emerge soon after this metamorphosis. The CPSD tiger beetle completes its entire life cycle from egg to adult reproduction to death within 2 or 3 years (Hill and Knisley 1997, p. 3).

Adult Behavior and Ecology

Adults are active on sunny days along the dunes and swale edges. The majority of recently metamorphosed adult CPSD tiger beetles emerge from their burrows in late March to early April, reach peak abundance by May, begin declining in June, and die by August (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 387). A small proportion of a second adult cohort emerges in early September and remains active into October before digging overwintering burrows (Knisley and Hill 2001, pp. 387-388).

Adult tiger beetles are active predators, attacking and eating prey with their large and powerful mandibles (mouthparts). They can run or fly rapidly over the sand surface to capture or scavenge for prey arthropods. Adults feed primarily on ants, flies, and other small arthropods (Knisley and Hill 1993, p. 13).

CPSD tiger beetle behavior and distribution, like other tiger beetles, is largely determined by their thermoregulation needs. Adult tiger beetles dedicate up to 56 percent of their daily activity towards behavior that controls their internal body temperature (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 135). These behaviors include basking (positioning the body to maximize exposure to solar radiation); seeking out wet, cool substrate or shade; and burrowing (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 136). Tiger beetles with low body temperatures are sluggish; tiger beetles require a high body temperature for maximal predatory activity (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 131). Thus, the numbers of adult CPSD tiger beetles observed on rainy or cool, cloudy days are very low (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 388). Tiger beetles maintain body temperatures near their lethal limits of 47 to 49 °C (116 to 120 °F) (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 131), so heat refuge is important (Shutlz and Hadley 1987, p. 363). During peak spring and fall activity, when it is sunny, adult CPSD tiger beetles are usually active early (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and again in late afternoon (4 p.m.-7 p.m.) (Knisley and Hill 1993, pp. 13-14). They dig and reside in burrows to avoid unfavorable weather conditions such as hot mid-afternoons or cool or rainy daytime conditions (Knisley and Hill 1993, p. 14). Shade provided by vegetative cover is important for CPSD tiger beetle thermoregulation during warm periods (Knisley 2012, pers. comm.).

Adult Dispersal

Dispersal is the movement of individuals from one habitat area to another. The ability to disperse is often important to tiger beetle species because many species inhabit areas such as sand dunes or riverbanks that are prone to disturbance and physical change (Pearson and Vogler 2001, pp. 130-142) (seeFactor E (Sand Dune Movement) below). We do not have information on the dispersal habits of the CPSD tiger beetle, so we evaluated information for surrogate species that occupy unstable habitats similar to those of the CPSD geologic formation. The Maricopa tiger beetle,Cicindela oregona maricopa,is an example of a species that persists in an unstable environment because of dispersal. The Maricopa tiger beetle inhabits moist sandy habitat on the banks of small streams and creeks (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 141). Flash flooding periodically scours away this sandy habitat and most of the existing population (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 141). These floods redistribute the scoured sand elsewhere, and surviving adult tiger beetles quickly disperse and colonize the newly available habitat (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 141). Similarly for the CPSD tiger beetle, the CPSD geologic formation is continually changing as winds redistribute the sands, both creating and destroying swale habitat and dispersal habitat within and between Conservation Areas A and B (seeFactor E Sand Dune Movementbelow).

Often, tiger beetle populations depend upon dispersal among separated populations for the survival of individual populations and the species (Knisleyet al.2005, p. 557). The extirpation of at least one population of the Northeastern Beach tiger beetle,Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis,(federally listed as a threatened species) is partially attributed to the lack of nearby populations and associated dispersal habitats (Knisleyet al.2005, p. 557). Similarly, in CPSD the northern population of the CPSD tiger beetle likely persists because of dispersal from the central population, across the CPSD (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 9). In like fashion, the resilience of the central population would be greatly increased if the northern population became self-sustaining and could contribute to the central population by dispersing across the CPSD.

Larval Behavior and Ecology

Larval CPSD tiger beetles are ambush predators that wait at their burrow mouth to capture small arthropod prey when it passes nearby. The daily period of activity is highly variable and influenced by temperature, moisture levels, and season (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 388; Knisley and Gowan 2008, p. 20). Larvae can be active much of the day during cool or cloudy spring and fall days, except during high wind periods (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 14). Maximal activity occurs in early mornings before the soil becomes dry and warm from the sun and again in late afternoon and evening after the soil has cooled (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 14).

Adult females determine the larval microhabitat by their selection of an oviposition site (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 6). Recently hatched larvae construct burrows in the sand at the site of oviposition and subsequently pass through three larval stages before pupating and then emerging to the adult form (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 14). Most larvae occur within the swale bottoms and up the lower slopes of the dunes, particularly where the soil or subsoil is moist most of the time (Hill and Knisley 1996, p. 11; Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 22). The swale vegetation supports the larval prey base of ants, flies, and other prey (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 14). Larvae most often remain in the same burrow throughout their development and only rarely move outside of their burrow to dig a new burrow in a more favorable location (Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 11).

Population Size and Dynamics

Substantial year-to-year population variation is typical of many desert arthropods that are greatly affected by climatic factors such as rainfall (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 391). Adult abundance in any year is a result of many interacting factors that affect recruitment of the cohort oviposited 2 or 3 years previous (because of a 2- or 3-year life cycle), and also the survivorship of the developmental stages of that year's cohort (Knisley 2001, p. 10).

The central and northern populations were monitored for the last 20 and 14 years (respectively) to yield a yearly adult CPSD tiger beetle population size estimate (monitoring did not take place outside of these populations) (Figure 2). The adult population size estimate is based solely on data collected from the central population from 1992 to 1997, and after 1997 the adult population size estimate is based on both populations. Population numbers fluctuated greatly over this time, ranging from a low of 558 in 2005 to a high of 2,944 in 2002 (Figure 2). The total adult population size estimate in 2011 was 1,116 (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 7). Population monitoring results indicate a low, yet stable to increasing population size since 2003 that contrasts with highly variable population estimates in previous periods (Knisley and Gowan 2011, pp. 7-8; Figure 2); however, the overall trend since 1992 suggests that the population is in decline.

EP02OC12.004 Population Viability Analysis

Population viability analysis (PVA) is a way to predict the population dynamics of a species under various management alternatives (Brooket al.2000, p. 385). PVAs generate future predictions for a given species based upon past and present population, environmental data, and selected management alternatives. Two PVAs are available for the CPSD tiger beetle using the same methods, one from 1998 using adult population counts from 1992 through 1998, and the other from 2008 using adult counts from 1999 through 2008 (Knisley and Gowan 2009, pp. 17-18).

Both PVAs only consider adult beetles from the Conservation Area A population because Conservation Area B population numbers are extremely low and the population is not considered self-sustaining (Knisley 2001, p. 9). The PVA authors caution that the CPSD tiger beetle PVA should only be used in a comparative way, to evaluate the effectiveness of different management options (Knisley 2012, pers. comm.). They add that the PVA predictions may not be quantitatively reliable for predicting the absolute extinction probability of the species (Knisley 2012, pers. comm.). For these reasons, we do not base our status determination for this rulemaking on the PVA and instead use the PVA to evaluate existing threats and potential conservation measures.

The PVA models do not directly account for current or future threats and are entirely based on four demographic variables:

1. Starting population size;

2. Population growth rate (increase in population size year-to-year);

3. Stochasticity (variation in yearly population growth rate); and

4. Carrying capacity (number of beetles that the habitat can sustain).

The results of the two PVAs were generally similar in that growth rate and stochasticity tend to control extinction probability. The most recent PVA indicated a 32 percent chance of extinction and an 87 percent chance that the species would decline to 50 individuals within the next 100 years (Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 17). The first PVA was based on only 7 years of data and predicted extremely variable extinction probabilities (2 percent to 96 percent in 100 years); however, the data were based on very rough estimates of population growth rates (Knisley and Gowan 1999, pp. 5-6). Increases or decreases in carrying capacity would have only a modest effect on the risk of extinction, whereas decreasing stochasticity or increasing population growth rate would greatly reduce the chance of extinction (Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 18). The authors of the PVA study recommended two management actions to reduce the extinction probability. Their first recommendation was to expand both Conservation Areas to include several important swales that are believed to have suitable habitat, but are being impacted by heavy ORV use, thus preventing successful colonization and recruitment of CPSD tiger beetles (Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 23). Expanding the size of both Conservation Areas would likely increase the population growth rate because the protections would improve overall habitat quality and lead to greater reproductive success (e.g.,Klok and de Roos 1998, pp. 205-206). Their second suggestion was to translocate beetles and establish a self-sustaining population in Conservation Area B (Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 23), although this would likely require improvements (e.g.,vegetation removal or watering during key development stages) to the existing habitat (Knisley 2012, pers. comm.). The establishment of a self-sustaining population in Conservation Area B, or elsewhere in the CPSD, would change the dynamics of the PVA model by introducing the possibility that a second self-sustaining population could “rescue” or recolonize the central population (and vice versa) in the event that one of them were extirpated.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species 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; and (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

Loss of habitat is the leading cause of species extinction (Pimm and Raven 2000, p. 843). Insects are highly vulnerable to extinction through habitat loss (McKinney 1997, pp. 501-507). ORV use significantly impacts the CPSD tiger beetle's habitat, range, and the beetle itself by directly killing beetles, damaging vegetation that supports prey items, directly killing prey items, and reducing soil moisture.

Nationwide, ORV use has drastically reduced or extirpated several tiger beetle populations. For example, ORV use and pedestrian traffic extirpated the Northeastern Beach tiger beetle,Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis,in several localities (Knisley 2011, p. 45). Similarly, within several years of the Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland, USA) opening for ORV use, the White Beach tiger beetle,C. d. media,was extirpated from all but those areas where ORVs were restricted (Knisley and Hill 1992, pp. 138-139). Additionally, ORV use is responsible for eliminating tiger beetle populations in coastal southern California (Hairy-necked tiger beetle,C. hirticollis gravida), Oregon and Washington (Siuslaw hairy-necked tiger beetle,C. h. siuslawensis), and Idaho (St. Anthony Dune tiger beetle,C. arenicola) (Knisley 2011, p. 45).

As previously described (see Previous Federal Actions,Population Distribution,and Figure 1), in 1997, the Service, BLM, Utah State Parks and Recreation, and Kane County developed and signed a CCA and formed a conservation committee to protect the CPSD tiger beetle within an ORV-use area (Conservation Committee 1997). The CCA established Conservation Areas A and B (see Figure 1 inPopulation Distributionabove) to protect CPSD tiger beetle habitat from ORV use: Conservation Area A—84 ha (207 ac) are closed to ORV use within the CPSD State Park; and Conservation Area B—150 ha (370 ac) are closed to ORV use on BLM land.

Because we do not have survey information to determine the extent of occupied swale habitat in the northern population (seePopulation Distribution) and because the entirety of the northern population occurs within Conservation Area B (protected from ORV use), the below analysis is specific to the central population and Conservation Area A. Conservation Area A protects 48 percent of the swale habitat occupied by the CPSD tiger beetle in the central population, as well as 73 to 88 percent of CPSD tiger beetle adults and the vast majority of larvae from ORV activities. ORV use still occurs in 52 percent of occupied CPSD tiger beetle swale habitat in the central population (Figure3, adapted from Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 8).

Available information shows the effects of ORV use on current population numbers. For example, swales adjacent to but outside of Conservation Area A are similar in all apparent environmental conditions to swales within Conservation Area A with the exception of ORV impacts. However, CPSD tiger beetle abundance in ORV-impacted occupied swales is consistently lower than adjacent protected occupied swales, potentially because of ORV impacts (Figure 3).

BILLING CODE P EP02OC12.005 BILLING CODE C

For example, one swale with ORV use had population counts of 60 or more CPSD tiger beetles in most years (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 11). Utah State Park staff, at the recommendation of the conservation committee, protected this swale from ORV use in 2010 (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 11). The year following removal of ORV use, the tiger beetle density on this swale more than doubled to 150 beetles, which also is the highest number recorded for the swale (Knisley and Gowan 2011, p. 11). This action provides an example of how the conservation committee has used adaptive management to benefit the CPSD tiger beetle and demonstrates a rapid population response to removed ORV disturbance.

ORVs run over and thereby kill and injure CPSD tiger beetles (Knisley and Hill 1993, p. 14; Knisley and Gowan 2008, p. 23). The likelihood of being injured or killed increases if adult CPSD tiger beetle are run over on wet or compact substrates (e.g.,moist swales) as compared to soft sands (e.g.,dune faces) (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 390). The likelihood of being hit by ORVs also increases based on the level of ORV use. For example, the numbers of adult CPSD tiger beetles found injured or killed by ORVs increases substantially during periods of heavy use, such as during the Memorial Day holiday (Table 1; Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 390). We have no information quantifying the direct injury or mortality that ORVs cause to eggs or larval CPSD tiger beetle because these stages are underground and not easily monitored.

TABLE 1—A comparison of the number of adult Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetles found injured or killed (by off-road vehicles) before and after a high ORV use holiday weekend (Memorial Day) from 1993 to 1998 (no survey conducted in 1995) (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 390). Year Before Memorial Day weekend Total number
  • observed
  • Number
  • observed
  • killed or
  • injured
  • After Memorial Day weekend Total number observed Number
  • observed
  • killed or
  • injured
  • 1993 (1) (1) 179 14 1994 363 0 125 6 1996 231 2 287 41 1997 256 2 64 6 1998 168 1 278 8 (1) No data.

    We do not have specific data regarding the level of impact ORVs have on CPSD tiger beetles in the unprotected area between Conservation Areas A and B. It is likely that many of the beetles run over by ORVs in the dispersal corridor will be injured or killed. Thus, the ability of adults to disperse between the central population and the northern population is likely negatively impacted by ORVs. The result of these ORV impacts is that the habitat between the central and northern populations does not provide a sufficient dispersal corridor for beetles to the northern population. Current levels of dispersal are likely not adequate for the northern population to be self-sustaining (seePopulation Viability Analysis). Thus, BLM protection of only Conservation Area B, and the absence of protection in the dispersal corridor, results in the continued threat of ORV use to the CPSD tiger beetle.

    Food limitation has a significant impact on tiger beetle growth, survival, and fecundity, especially for desert species. Adult CPSD tiger beetles are, in some years, extremely food limited and exhibit reduced fecundity (Knisley and Gowan 2008, p. 19). Food limitation is at least partly caused by ORV use. ORVs reduce CPSD tiger beetle prey density and prey species diversity in CPSD (Knisley and Gowan 2006, p. 19). Ants, a primary prey item, occur in much lower densities in areas frequented by ORVs than in areas with no ORV traffic (Knisley and Gowan 2008, p. 23). In addition, low ORV use areas in CPSD have a higher diversity of prey species and higher numbers of prey items than high ORV use areas (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 389).

    Prey availability significantly affects the number of larvae produced by adult tiger beetles (Pearson and Knisley 1995, p. 165) and the survival of larval tiger beetles (Knisley and Juliano 1988, p. 1990). Low prey densities can result in prolonged development and decreased survivorship in larval tiger beetles and reduced size in adults, which lowers fecundity in females (Pearson and Knisley 1985, p. 165; Knisley and Juliano 1988, p. 1990). Also, low prey densities require larval and adult tiger beetles to spend more time searching for food. For larval tiger beetles, this means more time near burrow entrances searching for prey, resulting in increased susceptibility to parasitism and predators (Pearson and Knisley 1985, p. 166). Similarly, adults that spend more time out of their burrows searching for food have an increased susceptibility to predation.

    ORV use degrades larval habitat by reducing soil moisture. ORV use can reduce soil moisture by churning up soils and exposing the moisture that is locked between soil particles (beneath the surface) to greater evaporative pressure (Shultz 1988, p. 28; Knisley and Gowan 2008, p. 10). It also reduces soil moisture by increasing soil compaction (Adamset al.1982, p. 167). Compaction reduces water infiltration and reduces moisture retention in soils (Belnap 1995, p. 39).

    As we discussed earlier (seeHabitat), soil moisture is essential to the CPSD tiger beetle's life history. Extreme drying or desiccation kills tiger beetles (Knisley and Juliano 1998, p. 1990). In a dry environment, such as the CPSD geologic feature, organisms are constantly struggling to acquire and maintain enough water to survive. Water is limiting to tiger beetles in CPSD, and this is evidenced by the fact that experimental water supplementation increased larval CPSD tiger beetle survival by 10 percent (Knisley and Gowan 2008 p. 20). CPSD areas protected from ORV use have significantly higher soil moistures and higher numbers of CPSD tiger beetles than adjacent ORV use areas (Knisley and Gowan 2008, pp. 10-11).

    Overall, ORV use reduces available habitat and the CPSD tiger beetle population size. This results in a population that is at risk of endangerment in the face of minorstochastic events and minor environmental perturbations (seeFactor E. Small Population Effects).

    Summary of Factor A

    ORV use is a threat to the CPSD tiger beetle through direct mortality and injury, and by reducing prey base and soil moisture. ORV use substantially reduces habitat qualities essential to the CPSD tiger beetle's life cycle (e.g.,soil moisture and prey availability) (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 389; Knisley and Gowan 2008, pp. 10-11). Reduction in habitat quality reduces reproductive success and the tiger beetle population growth rate (e.g.,Klok and de Roos 1998, pp. 205-206). We acknowledge the very important protections of Conservation Areas A and B from ORV use. However, despite these conservation efforts, 52 percent of occupied swale habitat, which occurs outside of the Conservation Areas, is currently unprotected (Figure 3, Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 8) and the degradation of habitat (both occupied and potential) by ORV use reduces the ability of the population to expand or disperse in areas outside of the Conservation Areas and thereby reduces the population's carrying capacity. As the PVA demonstrates (seePopulation Viability Analysisabove), reductions in growth rate and carrying capacity (albeit a moderate effect on PVA compared to growth rate) increase the probability of extinction for this species. Based on current ORV use and CPSD tiger beetle population levels, there is a 32 percent probability that the species will go extinct in the next 100 years, and the PVA does not consider future threats (seePopulation Viability Analysisabove). As we will discuss in Factor E, environmental effects from climate change and drought conditions will likely exacerbate reductions in soil moisture associated with ORV use, thus increasing the extinction risk even further. The best scientific and commercial information available indicates that the destruction, modification, or curtailment of the CPSD tiger beetle's habitat or range due to ORV use is a threat to the species now and in the future.

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

    Tiger beetles are one of the most sought-after groups of insects by amateur collectors because of the unique metallic colors and patterns present in the various species and subspecies, as well as their fascinating habits (Pearsonet al.2006, pp. 3-5). Interest in the genusCicindelais reflected in the scientific journal entitled “Cicindela,” which is published quarterly (since 1969) and is exclusively devoted to the genus. In certain circumstances, collection of these insects can add valuable information regarding biogeography, taxonomy, and life history of the species. However, some collection is purely recreational and adds little to no value to the scientific understanding or conservation of tiger beetles.

    Collection of adult CPSD tiger beetles, before they mate and lay their eggs, may result in reduced population size of subsequent generations. The magnitude of recreational collection cannot be accurately determined for the CPSD tiger beetle, but it is likely that some number of adults were taken in the past. However, CPSD State Park and BLM personnel now enforce restrictions on recreational collecting of CPSD tiger beetles, and consequently, collection levels are low (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 17). Although scientific collection is not restricted by any formal permitting process, only one researcher has collected CPSD tiger beetles in approximately the last 14 years. Over this time period, approximately 70 adults were collected (Knisley 2012, pers. comm.). The adults were collected in late May after they had mated and oviposited eggs (Knisley 2012, pers. comm.).

    Summary of Factor B

    CPSD tiger beetles are not overutilized for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes. A limited number of CPSD tiger beetles are likely collected from wild populations for recreational purposes; however, CPSD State Park and BLM personnel enforce restrictions on recreational collecting. Collection of CPSD tiger beetles for scientific investigation purposes occurs on occasion, but the level of collection is very small. The best scientific and commercial information available indicates that overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes is not a threat to the CPSD tiger beetle now nor will be in the future.

    Factor C. Disease or Predation

    We know of no diseases that are a threat to the CPSD tiger beetle. Natural mortality through predation and parasitism accounts for some individual loss of adult and larval CPSD tiger beetles (Knisley and Hill 1994, p. 16). Known predators of adult tiger beetles include birds, shrews (Soricidae), raccoons (Procyon lotor), lizards (Lacertilia), toads (Bufonidae), ants (Formicidae), robber flies (Asilidae), and dragonflies (Anisoptera) (Knisley and Shultz 1997, pp. 57-59). Despite a documented level of natural predation of CPSD tiger beetles, effects to the species are low and not likely to limit the CPSD tiger beetle population (Conservation Committee 2009, p. 17).

    Known tiger beetle parasites include ant-like wasps of the family Typhiidae, especially the genera Mathoca, Karlissa, and Pterombrus, and flies of the genus Anthrax (Knisley and Shultz 1997, pp. 53-57). Parasites predominantly target larval tiger beetles (Pearson and Vogler 2001, pp. 170-171). There are two known natural parasites of larval CPSD tiger beetles. Bee flies (Bombyliidae) are known to flick their eggs into beetle burrows (Knisley and Hill 1995, p. 14). When these eggs hatch, the larval parasite feeds on beetle bodily fluids, often resulting in death of the tiger beetle larvae. Wasps of the genus Methoca also can parasitize CPSD tiger beetle larvae (Knisley and Hill 1995, p. 14). These wasps deposit their larvae in the burrows of larval tiger beetles. The wasp larvae then consume the tiger beetle larvae. Despite documented parasitism to larval CPSD tiger beetle, effects to the species are low and not likely to limit the CPSD tiger beetle population (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 7).

    Summary of Factor C

    We have found no information that indicates that disease is a threat to the CPSD tiger beetle. There is some information documenting mortality of CPSD tiger beetles by natural predators and parasites; however, not to a level that significantly affects the species. Thus, we have no information that disease, parasites, or predation is a threat to the species now or is likely to become so in the future.

    Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Act requires us to examine the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms with respect to extant threats that place CPSD tiger beetle in danger of becoming either an endangered or threatened species. Regulatory mechanisms affecting the species fall into three general categories: (1) Land management; (2) State mechanisms; and (3) Federal mechanisms.

    Land Management

    The CPSD geologic feature is approximately 1,416 ha (3,500 ac). The southern 809 ha (2,000 ac) of the CPSD is within the CPSD State Park and is categorized as public land with a recreational emphasis (ConservationCommittee 2009, p. 17). The State Park's mission, as described in the most recent general management plan (Franklinet al.2005, p. 3), is “to provide visitors [* * *] recreation experiences while preserving and interpreting the park's natural, scenic, and recreation resources.” The northern 607 ha (1,500 ac) is Federal land managed by the BLM's Kanab Field Office (BLM 2000, p. 14). The northern area is partly within the Moquith Mountain Wilderness Study Area (WSA). Public education for both areas includes signage, brochures, and interpretive programs.

    As stated previously (seeFactor A), the UDNR (which oversees the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation), the BLM, the Service, and Kane County developed and signed a CCA in 1997 (Conservation Committee 1997), and renewed the agreement in 2009 (Conservation Committee 2009, entire). The CCA recommends conservation objectives and actions designed to protect and conserve the CPSD tiger beetle. Although the CCA is not a regulatory mechanism in and of itself, the agencies have implemented specified conservation actions, including the protection of Conservation Areas A and B that are regulatory mechanisms. These mechanisms are Utah Administrative Code R651-633 and the BLM's Kanab RMP. The degree to which the CCA has ameliorated the threats is discussed below.

    Protection for the tiger beetle in Conservation Area A is enforced according to the CPSD State Park's special closure (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 13) and Utah's Administrative Code (R 651-633). Conservation Area A protects some of the central population of CPSD tiger beetle. Of the 809-ha (2,000-ac) State Park, 84 ha (207 ac) (10 percent) are closed to ORV use to provide protection for CPSD tiger beetle habitat. Conservation Area A prohibits the use of ORVs in 48 percent of the species' known occupied swale habitat in the central population, thereby protecting 73 to 88 percent of CPSD tiger beetle adults and the vast majority of larvae (Figure 3, adapted from Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 8).

    Conservation Area B provides protection to all of the northern population's habitat as we have defined its boundary (see Figure 1), realizing that we do not have good survey information in this area. In this area, 150 ha (370 ac) is closed to ORV use to protect a small population of CPSD tiger beetle. Approximately 445 ha (1,100 ac) is available for ORV use outside of the Conservation Area B on BLM lands, but with the stipulation that ORVs stay on open dunes and maintain a 3-m (10-ft) buffer around vegetation. Enforcement is minimal and primarily relies on voluntary compliance (Conservation Committee 1997, p. 13). We have no record of enforcement effort or success of the closures at either Conservation Area A or B.

    Despite the designation and management of the Conservation Areas, at least 52 percent of known occupied swale habitat in the central population adjacent to Conservation Area A is open to ORV use, and an unknown amount of habitat could be affected in the northern population (Knisley and Gowan 2009, p. 8). As previously described, unprotected but occupied swales have lower CPSD tiger beetle densities than nearby protected swales that are occupied (see Figure 3).

    In addition to the lack of any protection for about 52 percent of occupied swale habitat that is outside of Conservation Area A, there is no protection from ORV use for the CPSD tiger beetle in the dispersal corridor between Conservation Areas A and B. As explained above (seeAdult Dispersal), this area is important for dispersal of tiger beetles from Conservation Area A to Conservation Area B and likely is necessary to maintain the northern CPSD tiger beetle population in Conservation Area B.

    We acknowledge the very important protections of Conservation Areas A and B from ORV use. However, outside of the two Conservation Areas, at least 52 percent of occupied swale habitat is currently unprotected and the degradation of habitat (both occupied and potential) by ORV use reduces the ability of the CPSD tiger beetle population to expand in areas outside of protected Conservation Areas and reduces the population's carrying capacity. The dispersal habitat between Conservation Areas A and B is managed by the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation and the BLM, and used largely for OHV recreation; no regulatory mechanisms protect the CPSD tiger beetle in this area.

    At current levels of regulatory protection, CPSD tiger beetle habitat is small and isolated in the two Conservation Areas, and the population size is extremely small, making the species more susceptible to other threats such as climate change and drought, demographic and environmental stochasticity, and catastrophic events (seeFactor E. Climate Change and DroughtandSmall Population Effects). As explained previously (see theBackground: Population Distribution), the central population of CPSD tiger beetle only occupies a portion of Conservation Area A, and based on population and habitat sampling results to date, we believe it is not likely that the species will expand to other areas in Conservation Area A due to insufficient habitat conditions. Instead we believe that Conservation Area A should be expanded (using regulatory mechanisms) to protect occupied habitat that is already being used by the species but currently is at levels that are artificially low due to the effects of ORVs (seePopulation Viability AnalysisandFactor A).

    In addition, the population at Conservation Area B should be managed such that it becomes self-sustaining (seePopulation Viability AnalysisandFactor A). However, at this point in time it is unclear from a regulatory perspective what will be necessary to achieve this. It is possible that by expanding Conservation Area A, the central population will increase such that it will be sufficient to provide adequate numbers of dispersers to bolster the population at Conservation Area B, thus making it self-sustaining. There may need to be additional regulatory measures put in place to protect the dispersal corridor between Conservation Areas A and B to allow for a safe and sufficient level of CPSD tiger beetle dispersal between the two areas.

    State Mechanisms

    Utah's Administrative Code (R 651-633) prohibits motorized vehicle use in designated nonmotorized sand dune areas of CPSD State Park. Conservation Area A is a designated nonmotorized sand dune area, and thus the State Code protects tiger beetle habitat in this area. CPSD State Park's dual purpose mission statement of providing recreational ex