Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
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The coordinates or plot points or both from which the maps were generated are included in the administrative record for the proposed critical habitat designation and are available at
One or more of the species proposed for listing in this rule face the following threats related to these criteria:
• Habitat loss and degradation due to agriculture and urban development; nonnative feral ungulates (
• Predation or herbivory by nonnative feral ungulates, rats, snails, and slugs.
• Inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms to prevent the introduction and spread of nonnative plants and animals.
• Small number of individuals and populations, and lack of reproduction in the wild.
• Approximately 18,766 acres (7,597 hectares) is being proposed as critical habitat in seven multi-species critical habitat units on lands owned by the U.S. National Park Service, State of Hawaii, County of Hawaii, and private interests.
• Approximately 55 percent, or 10,304 acres (4,170 hectares), of the area being proposed as critical habitat overlaps with areas already designated as critical habitat for previously listed plant and animal species.
• Approximately 45 percent, or 8,464 acres (3,426 hectares), of the area does not overlap with areas already designated as critical habitat for previously listed plant and animal species.
• The proposed critical habitat units encompass areas containing physical and biological features essential to the conservation of these species and that may require special management considerations, or are otherwise essential for the conservation of these species.
• The proposed designation includes both occupied and unoccupied critical habitat for the three species for which we are proposing to designate critical habitat.
• The Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of designation, unless the exclusion will result in the extinction of the species. We are considering excluding approximately 4,102 acres of privately owned and State lands from the critical habitat designation.
We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit comments or suggestions on this proposed rule from other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We are proposing to list 15 species (13 plants, 1 anchialine pool shrimp, and 1 picture-wing fly) as endangered species. We are also proposing to designate critical habitat for one of the proposed endangered plant species and two plant species that are already listed as endangered species, but that do not have designated critical habitat on Hawaii Island. We particularly seek comments concerning:
(1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning threats (or the lack thereof) to the 15 species proposed for listing, and the adequacy of the existing regulations that may be addressing those threats.
(2) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and population sizes of each of the 15 species proposed for listing, including the locations of any additional populations of these species.
(3) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of the 15 species proposed for listing.
(4) Current or planned activities within the area being proposed for critical habitat and possible impacts to these activities.
(5) The reasons why we should or should not designate areas for
(6) Specific information on:
• The amount and distribution of critical habitat for the species included in this proposed rule;
• Areas that are currently occupied and contain the necessary physical or biological features essential for the conservation of the species that we should include in the designation, and why;
• Whether special management considerations or protections may be required for the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species in this proposed rule; and
• What areas outside the geographical area occupied at the time of listing are essential to the conservation of the species, and why.
(7) Any reasonably foreseeable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts of the proposed critical habitat designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that may experience these impacts.
(8) Whether the benefits of excluding any particular area from critical habitat outweigh the benefits of including that area as critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, after considering the potential impacts and benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation. Under section 4(b)(2), the Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if he or she determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of including that particular area as critical habitat, unless failure to designate that specific area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species. We request specific information on:
• The benefits of and supporting rationale for including specific areas in the final designation;
• The benefits of and supporting rationale for excluding specific areas from the final designation; and
• Whether any specific exclusions may result in the extinction of the species, and why.
(9) Whether the private and State lands being considered for exclusion from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act should or should not be excluded, and why.
(10) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impact of climate change on the species included in this proposed rule, and any special management needs or protections that may be needed in the critical habitat areas we are proposing.
(11) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and comments.
(12) Specific information on ways to improve the clarity of this rule as it pertains to completion of consultations under section 7 of the Act.
(13) Comments on our proposal to revise the taxonomic classification for
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Table 1 below provides the scientific name, common name, listing status, and critical habitat status for the species that are the subjects of this proposed rule.
Seven of the 15 species proposed for listing are candidate species (76 FR 66370; October 26, 2011). Candidate species are those taxa for which the Service has sufficient information on their biological status and threats to propose them for listing as endangered or threatened species under the Act, but for which the development of a listing regulation has been precluded to date by other higher priority listing activities. The current candidate species addressed in this proposed listing rule include the five plants
On May 4, 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Secretary of the Interior to list 225 species of plants and animals, including the 7 candidate species listed above, as endangered or threatened under the provisions of the Act. Since then, we have published our annual findings on the May 4, 2004, petition (including our findings on the 7 candidate species listed above) in the CNORs dated May 11, 2005 (70 FR 24870), September 12, 2006 (71 FR 53756), December 6, 2007 (72 FR 69034), and December 10, 2008 (73 FR 75176), November 9, 2009 (74 FR 57804), November 10, 2010 (75 FR 69222), and October 26, 2011 (76 FR 66370). This proposed rule constitutes a further response to the 2004 petition.
In addition to the seven candidate species, we are proposing to list four plant species,
We are also proposing to list four other plant species (
We are proposing critical habitat for two endangered plant species,
Critical habitat was designated for
On the island of Hawaii, as on most of the Hawaiian Islands, native species that occur in the same habitat types (ecosystems) depend on many of the same biological features and the successful functioning of that ecosystem to survive. We have therefore organized the species addressed in this proposed rule by common ecosystem. Although the listing determination for each species is analyzed separately, we have organized the individual analysis for each species within the context of the broader ecosystem in which it occurs to avoid redundancy. In addition, native species that share ecosystems often face a suite of common factors that may be a threat to them, and ameliorating or eliminating these threats for each individual species often requires the exact same management actions in the exact same areas. Effective management of these threats often requires implementation of conservation actions at the ecosystem scale to enhance or restore critical ecological processes and provide for long-term viability of those species in their native environment. Thus, by taking this approach, we hope not only to organize this proposed rule efficiently, but also to more effectively focus conservation management efforts on the common threats that occur across these ecosystems. Those efforts would facilitate restoration of ecosystem functionality for the recovery of each species, and provide conservation benefits for associated native species, thereby potentially precluding the need to list other species under the Act that occur in these shared ecosystems. In addition, this approach is in accord with the primary stated purpose of the Act (see section 2(b)): “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved.”
We propose to list the plants
For each species, we identified and evaluated those factors that threaten the species and that may be common to all of the species at the ecosystem level. For example, the degradation of habitat by nonnative ungulates is considered a threat to 14 of the 15 species proposed for listing, and is likely a threat to many, if not most or all, of the native species within a given ecosystem. We consider such a threat factor to be an “ecosystem-level threat,” as each individual species within that ecosystem faces a threat that is essentially identical in terms of the nature of the impact, its severity, its timing, and its scope. Beyond ecosystem-level threats, we further identified and evaluated threat factors that may be unique to certain species, but do not apply to all species under consideration within the same ecosystem. For example, the threat of predation by nonnative wasps is unique to the picture-wing fly in this proposed rule, and is not applicable to any of the other species proposed for listing. We have identified such threat factors, which apply only to certain species within the ecosystems addressed here, as “species-specific threats.”
Under section 4(a)(3)(A) of the Act, we are required to designate critical habitat to the maximum extent prudent and determinable concurrently with the publication of a final determination that a species is an endangered or threatened species. We are proposing to designate critical habitat concurrently with listing for the plant
In this proposed rule, we propose to designate critical habitat for three species in seven multiple-species critical habitat units. Although critical habitat is identified for each species individually, we have found that the conservation of each depends, at least in part, on the successful functioning of the physical or biological features of the commonly shared ecosystem. Each critical habitat unit identified in this proposed rule contains the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of those individual species that occupy that particular unit at the time of listing, or contains areas essential for the conservation of those species identified that do not presently occupy that particular unit. Where the unit is not occupied by a particular species, we believe it is still essential for the conservation of that species because the designation allows for the expansion of its range and reintroduction of individuals into areas where it occurred historically, and provides area for recovery in the case of stochastic events that otherwise hold the potential to eliminate the species from the one or more locations where it is presently found. Under current conditions, many of these species are so rare in the wild that they are at high risk of extirpation or even extinction from various stochastic events, such as hurricanes or landslides. Therefore, building up resilience and redundancy in these species through the establishment of multiple robust populations is a key component of recovery.
Each of the areas proposed for designation represents critical habitat for multiple species, based upon their shared habitat requirements (
The proposed species
The island of Hawaii, located southeast of the islands of Maui and Kahoolawe, is the largest, highest, and youngest island of the Hawaiian archipelago (Figure 1). At 4,038 square
The island of Hawaii lies within the trade wind belt. Moisture derived from the Pacific Ocean is carried to the island by north-easterly trade winds. Heavy rains fall when the moisture in clouds makes contact with windward (the direction upwind from the point of reference, usually the more wet side of an island) mountain slopes (Wagner
A rain shadow effect, created by Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, on the leeward side of the island prevents the Kona (west side of the island) coast from receiving precipitation from the predominantly northeasterly trade winds (Wagner
Due to its relatively young age (less than 1 million years old), the island of Hawaii is represented by fewer soil types than the older main Hawaiian Islands. Sizable areas of lava, cinder, and rubble occur in the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, and on recent lava flows originating from Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea (Juvik and Juvik 1998, pp. 44-46; Mitchell
The vegetation on the island of Hawaii continues to experience extreme alterations due to ongoing volcanic activity, past and present land use, and other activities. Land with rich soils was altered by the early Hawaiians and, more recently, converted to agricultural use in the production of sugar, diversified agriculture, and pasture for cattle (
There are 12 different ecosystems (anchialine pool, coastal, lowland dry, lowland mesic, lowland wet, montane dry, montane mesic, montane wet, subalpine, alpine, dry cliff, and wet cliff) recognized on the island of Hawaii. The 15 species proposed for listing occur in 10 of these 12 ecosystems (none of the 15 species are reported in subalpine and alpine ecosystems). The lowland dry ecosystem supports the three species for which critical habitat is proposed. The 10 Hawaii Island ecosystems that support the 15 proposed species are described in the following section; see Table 2 (above) for a list of the species that occur in each ecosystem type.
The anchialine pool ecosystem has been reported from Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, and Hawaii Island. Anchialine pools are land-locked bodies of water that have indirect underground connections to the sea, contain varying levels of salinity, and show tidal fluctuations in water level. Because all anchialine pools occur within coastal areas, they are technically a part of the coastal ecosystem (see below) with many of the same applicable and overlapping habitat threats. However, in this proposal, we are addressing this unique ecosystem distinctly. Over 80 percent of the State's anchialine pools are found on the island of Hawaii, with a total of approximately 600 to 650 pools distributed over 130 sites along all but the island's northernmost and steeper northeastern shorelines. Characteristic animal species include crustaceans (
The coastal ecosystem is found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands, with the highest native species diversity occurring in the least populated coastal areas of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, Hawaii Island, and their associated islets. On Hawaii Island, the coastal ecosystem includes mixed herblands, shrublands, and grasslands, from sea level to 1,000 ft (300 m) in elevation, generally within a narrow zone above the influence of waves to within 330 ft (100 m) inland, sometimes extending farther inland if strong prevailing onshore winds drive sea spray and sand dunes into the lowland zone (TNC 2006a, pp. 1-3). The coastal ecosystem is typically dry, with annual rainfall of less than 20 in (50 cm); however, windward rainfall may be high enough (up to 40 in (100 centimeters (cm)) to support mesic-associated and sometimes wet-associated vegetation (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, pp. 54-66). Biological diversity is low to moderate in this ecosystem, but may include some specialized plants and animals such as nesting seabirds and the endangered plant
The lowland dry ecosystem includes shrublands and forests generally below 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation that receive less than 50 in (130 cm) annual rainfall, or are in otherwise prevailingly dry substrate conditions that range from weathered reddish silty loams to stony clay soils, rocky ledges with very shallow soil, or relatively recent little-weathered lava (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 67). Areas consisting of predominantly native species in the lowland dry ecosystem are now rare; however, this ecosystem is found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kahoolawe and Hawaii, and is
The lowland mesic ecosystem includes a variety of grasslands, shrublands, and forests, generally below 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation, that receive between 50 and 75 in (130 and 190 cm) annual rainfall (TNC 2006c, pp. 1-2). In the Hawaiian Islands, this ecosystem is found on Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii, on both windward and leeward sides of the islands. On Hawaii Island, this ecosystem is often reduced to remnant occurrences, but can be found in north Kohala, on the southwest and southeast flanks of Mauna Loa and Kilauea (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 75; TNC 2006c, pp. 1-2). Native biological diversity is high in this system (TNC 2006c, pp. 1-2). The plants,
The lowland wet ecosystem is generally found below 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation on the windward sides of the main Hawaiian Islands, except Niihau and Kahoolawe (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 85; TNC 2006d, pp. 1-2). These areas include a variety of wet grasslands, shrublands, and forests that receive greater than 75 in (190 cm) annual precipitation, or are in otherwise wet substrate conditions (TNC 2006d, pp. 1-2). On the island of Hawaii, this system is best developed in north Kohala, on the lower windward flanks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, as well as leeward areas benefiting from convection-driven upslope showers on leeward Mauna Loa and Hualalai (TNC 2006d, pp. 1-2). Native biological diversity is high in this system (TNC 2006d, pp. 1-2). The plants
The montane dry ecosystem includes grasslands, shrublands, and forests at elevations between 3,300 and 6,600 ft (1,000 and 2,000 m), that receive less than 50 in (130 cm) of annual precipitation, or are in otherwise dry substrate conditions (TNC 2006e, pp. 1-2). In the Hawaiian Islands, this ecosystem is found on the islands of Maui and Hawaii (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, pp. 93-97). On Hawaii Island, this ecosystem is best represented on the upper slopes of Hualalai and the Mauna Kea-Mauna Loa saddle area, and includes specialized animals and plants such as the elepaio (
The montane mesic ecosystem is composed of natural communities (forests and shrublands) found at elevations between 3,300 and 6,600 ft (1,000 and 2,000 m), in areas where annual precipitation is between 50 and 75 in (130 and 190 cm), or areas in otherwise mesic substrate conditions (TNC 2006f, pp. 1-2). This system is found on Kauai, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii Island (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, pp. 97-99; TNC 2007-
The montane wet ecosystem is composed of natural communities (grasslands, shrublands, forests, and bogs) found at elevations between 3,300 and 6,600 ft (1,000 and 2,000 m), in areas where annual precipitation is greater than 75 in (191 cm) (TNC 2006g, pp. 1-2). This system is found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Niihau and Kahoolawe, and only the islands of Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii have areas above 4,020 ft (1,225 m) (TNC 2006g, pp. 1-2). On Hawaii Island, the montane wet ecosystem occurs in the Kohala Mountains, in the east flank of Mauna Kea, in the Kau Forest Reserve (FR) on windward Mauna Loa, and on the upper slopes of leeward Mauna Loa (TNC 2007-
The dry cliff ecosystem is composed of vegetation communities occupying steep slopes (greater than 65 degrees) in areas that receive less than 75 in (190 cm) of rainfall annually, or that are in otherwise dry substrate conditions (TNC 2006h, pp. 1-2). This ecosystem is found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Niihau, and is best represented along portions of the eroded cliffs of east Kohala on Hawaii Island (TNC 2006h, pp. 1-2). A variety of
The wet cliff ecosystem is generally composed of shrublands on near-vertical slopes (greater than 65 degrees) in areas that receive more than 75 in (190 cm) of annual precipitation, or that are in otherwise wet substrate conditions (TNC 2006i, pp. 1-2). This system is found on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii. On the island of Hawaii, this system is found in windward Kohala valleys and on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa (TNC 2006i, pp. 1-2). Native biological diversity is low to moderate (TNC 2006i, pp. 1-2). The plants
Below is a brief description of each of the 15 species proposed for listing, presented in alphabetical order by genus. Plants are presented first, followed by animals.
In order to avoid confusion regarding the number of locations of each species (a location does not necessarily represent a viable population), we use the word “occurrence” instead of “population.” Each occurrence is composed only of wild (