Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Overall, this CNOR recognizes two new candidates, changes the LPN for nine candidates, and removes three species from candidate status. Combined with other decisions for individual species that were published separately from this CNOR in the past year, the current number of species that are candidates for listing is 192.
This document also includes our findings on resubmitted petitions and describes our progress in revising the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists) during the period October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012.
We request additional status information that may be available for the 192 candidate species identified in this CNOR.
We request additional status information that may be available for any of the candidate species identified in this CNOR. We will consider this information to monitor changes in the status or LPN of candidate species and to manage candidates as we prepare listing documents and future revisions to the notice of review. We also request information on additional species to consider including as candidates as we prepare future updates of this notice.
You may submit your information concerning this notice in general or for any of the species included in this notice by one of the methods listed in the
Species-specific information and materials we receive will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at the appropriate Regional Office listed below under Request for Information in
The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531
We maintain this list of candidates for a variety of reasons: To notify the public that these species are facing threats to their survival; to provide advance knowledge of potential listings that could affect decisions of environmental planners and developers; to provide information that may stimulate and guide conservation efforts that will remove or reduce threats to these species and possibly make listing unnecessary; to request input from interested parties to help us identify
We have been publishing candidate notices of review (CNOR) since 1975. The most recent CNOR (prior to this CNOR) was published on October 26, 2011 (76 FR 66370). CNORs published since 1994 are available on our Web site,
On September 21, 1983, we published guidance for assigning an LPN for each candidate species (48 FR 43098). Using this guidance, we assign each candidate an LPN of 1 to 12, depending on the magnitude of threats, immediacy of threats, and taxonomic status; the lower the LPN, the higher the listing priority (that is, a species with an LPN of 1 would have the highest listing priority). Section 4(h)(3) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(h)(3)) requires the Secretary to establish guidelines for such a priority-ranking guidance system. As explained below, in using this system we first categorize based on the magnitude of the threat(s), then by the immediacy of the threat(s), and finally by taxonomic status.
Under this priority-ranking system, magnitude of threat can be either “high” or “moderate to low.” This criterion helps ensure that the species facing the greatest threats to their continued existence receive the highest listing priority. It is important to recognize that all candidate species face threats to their continued existence, so the magnitude of threats is in relative terms. For all candidate species, the threats are of sufficiently high magnitude to put them in danger of extinction, or make them likely to become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. But for species with higher magnitude threats, the threats have a greater likelihood of bringing about extinction or are expected to bring about extinction on a shorter timescale (once the threats are imminent) than for species with lower magnitude threats. Because we do not routinely quantify how likely or how soon extinction would be expected to occur absent listing, we must evaluate factors that contribute to the likelihood and time scale for extinction. We therefore consider information such as: The number of populations or extent of range of the species affected by the threat(s) or both; the biological significance of the affected population(s), taking into consideration the life-history characteristics of the species and its current abundance and distribution; whether the threats affect the species in only a portion of its range, and if so, the likelihood of persistence of the species in the unaffected portions; the severity of the effects and the rapidity with which they have caused or are likely to cause mortality to individuals and accompanying declines in population levels; whether the effects are likely to be permanent; and the extent to which any ongoing conservation efforts reduce the severity of the threat.
As used in our priority-ranking system, immediacy of threat is categorized as either “imminent” or “nonimminent” and is based on when the threats will begin. If a threat is currently occurring or likely to occur in the very near future, we classify the threat as imminent. Determining the immediacy of threats helps ensure that species facing actual, identifiable threats are given priority for listing proposals over those for which threats are only potential or species that are intrinsically vulnerable to certain types of threats but are not known to be presently facing such threats.
Our priority ranking system has three categories for taxonomic status: Species that are the sole members of a genus; full species (in genera that have more than one species); and subspecies and distinct population segments of vertebrate species (DPS).
The result of the ranking system is that we assign each candidate a listing priority number of 1 to 12. For example, if the threats are of high magnitude, with immediacy classified as imminent, the listable entity is assigned an LPN of 1, 2, or 3 based on its taxonomic status (i.e., a species that is the only member of its genus would be assigned to the LPN 1 category, a full species to LPN 2, and a subspecies or DPS would be assigned to LPN 3). In summary, the LPN ranking system provides a basis for making decisions about the relative priority for preparing a proposed rule to list a given species. No matter which LPN we assign to a species, each species included in this notice as a candidate is one for which we have sufficient information to prepare a proposed rule to list because it is in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
For more information on the process and standards used in assigning LPNs, a copy of the 1983 guidance is available on our Web site at:
This revised notice supersedes all previous animal, plant, and combined candidate notices of review.
Since publication of the previous CNOR on October 26, 2011 (76 FR 66370), we reviewed the available information on candidate species to ensure that a proposed listing is justified for each species, and reevaluated the relative LPN assigned to each species. We also evaluated the need to emergency-list any of these species, particularly species with high priorities (i.e., species with LPNs of 1, 2, or 3). This review and reevaluation ensures that we focus conservation efforts on those species at greatest risk first.
In addition to reviewing candidate species since publication of the last CNOR, we have worked on numerous findings in response to petitions to list species, and on proposed and final determinations for rules to list species under the ESA. Some of these findings and determinations have been completed and published in the
Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information, with this CNOR we identify 2 new candidate species (see New Candidates, below), change the LPN for 9 candidates (see Listing Priority Changes in Candidates, below) and determine that a listing proposal is not warranted for 3 species and thus remove them from candidate status (see Candidate Removals, below). Combined with the other decisions published separately from this CNOR, a total of 192 species (including 69 plant and 123 animal species) are now candidates awaiting preparation of rules proposing
Table 2 lists the changes from the previous CNOR, and includes 47 species identified in the previous CNOR as either proposed for listing or classified as candidates that are no longer in those categories. This includes 41 species for which we published a final listing rule, 1 species for which we published a withdrawal of a proposed rule, 2 candidate species for which we published separate not-warranted findings and removed from candidate status, plus the 3 species in this notice that we have determined do not meet the definition of an endangered or threatened species and therefore do not warrant listing. We have removed these species from candidate status in this CNOR.
Below we present a brief summary of one new mammal (Peñasco least chipmunk), and one new fish (Cumberland arrow darter), that are additions to this year's CNOR. Complete information, including references, can be found in the species assessment forms. You may obtain a copy of these forms from the Regional Office having the lead for the species, or from our Web site
Peñasco least chipmunk (
The Peñasco least chipmunk faces threats from present or threatened destruction, modification, and curtailment of its habitat from the alteration or loss of mature ponderosa pine forests in one of the two historically-occupied areas. The documented decline in occupied localities, in conjunction with the small numbers of individuals captured, are linked to widespread habitat alteration. Moreover, the highly-fragmented nature of its current distribution is a significant contributor to the vulnerability of this subspecies and increases the likelihood of very small, isolated populations being extirpated. As a result of this fragmentation, even if suitable habitat exists (or is restored) in the Sacramento Mountains, the likelihood of recolonization of historical habitat or population expansion from the White Mountains is extremely remote. Considering the magnitude and imminence of these threats to the subspecies and its habitat, and the vulnerability of the White Mountains population, we conclude that the least chipmunk is in danger of extinction throughout all of its known range now or in the foreseeable future.
The remaining population of Peñasco least chipmunk in the White Mountains is particularly susceptible to extinction as a result of small, reduced population sizes and its isolation. Because of the reduced population size and lack of contiguous habitat adjacent to the extant White Mountains population, even a small impact on the White Mountains could have a very large impact on the status of the species as a whole. As a result of its restricted range, apparent small population size, and fragmented historical habitat, the one known remaining extant population in the White Mountains is inherently vulnerable to extinction due to effects of small, population sizes. These impacts are likely to be seen in the population at some point in the foreseeable future, but do not appear to be affecting this population currently. Therefore, we conclude the threats to this population are of high magnitude, but not imminent. Therefore, we assign an LPN of 6 to the subspecies.
Cumberland arrow darter (
The subspecies' habitat and range have been degraded and limited by water pollution from surface coal mining and gas exploration activities; removal of riparian vegetation; stream channelization; increased siltation associated with poor mining, logging, and agricultural practices; and deforestation of watersheds. The magnitude of these threats is most severe in the eastern half of the range, where resource extraction activities are more common and public ownership is sparse. The threat magnitude is lower in the western half of the range where resource extraction activities are less severe and a larger proportion of the range is in public ownership. Since the species and its life cycle and habitat requirements are fairly evenly distributed across its range, overall, the magnitude of the threats is moderate. We also consider these threats to be imminent because the threats are ongoing and will continue for the foreseeable future. Consequently, we assigned an LPN of 9 to the Cumberland arrow darter.
Longfin smelt, San Francisco Bay-Delta DPS (
Arapahoe snowfly (
We reviewed the LPN for all candidate species and are changing the numbers for the following species discussed below. Some of the changes reflect actual changes in either the magnitude or immediacy of the threats. For some species, the LPN change reflects efforts to ensure national consistency as well as closer adherence to the 1983 guidelines in assigning these numbers, rather than an actual change in the nature of the threats.
Sonoran desert tortoise (
Threats known to affect Sonoran desert tortoises include nonnative plant species invasions and altered fire regimes; urban and agricultural development, and human population growth; barriers to dispersal and genetic exchange; off-highway vehicles; roads and highways; historical ironwood and mesquite tree harvest in Mexico; improper livestock grazing (predominantly in Mexico); undocumented human immigration and interdiction activities; illegal collection; predation from feral dogs; human depredation and vandalism; drought; and climate change. Threats to the Sonoran desert tortoise differ geographically in type and scope, and are highly synergistic in their effects. However, in their totality, these threats are high in magnitude because of the large amount of habitat that is likely to be affected and the irreversible nature of the effect of these threats in sensitive habitats that are slow to rebound. While some threats are ongoing, the more significant ones are not. Thus, overall, the threats are nonimminent. Recent phylogenetic research confirmed what has been suspected for decades within the scientific community that the Sonoran desert tortoise is a distinct species. Therefore, we changed the LPN from a 6 to a 5, reflecting that this entity is now a full species and no longer a DPS.
Sonoyta mud turtle (
Black Warrior waterdog (
Water-quality degradation is the biggest threat to the continued existence of the Black Warrior waterdog. Most streams that have been surveyed for the waterdog showed evidence of pollution and many appeared biologically depauperate. Sources of point and nonpoint pollution in the Black Warrior River Basin have been numerous and widespread. Pollution is generated from inadequately treated effluent from industrial plants, sanitary landfills, sewage treatment plants, poultry operations, and cattle feedlots. Surface mining represents another threat to the biological integrity of waterdog habitat. Runoff from old, abandoned coal mines generates pollution through acidification, increased mineralization, and sediment loading. The North River, Locust Fork, and Mulberry Fork, all streams that this species inhabits, are on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of impaired waters. An additional threat to the Black Warrior waterdog is the creation of large impoundments that have flooded thousands of square hectares of its habitat. These impoundments are likely marginal or unsuitable habitat for the salamander. Suitable habitat for the Black Warrior waterdog is limited, and available data indicate extant populations are small and their viability is questionable. This situation is pervasive and problematic; water quality issues are persistent and regulatory mechanisms are not ameliorating these ongoing threats. The most current survey information indicates all populations except one may have decreased below detectable limits indicating the threats have increased in their severity and effects on the species. Based on this updated information, the threats are now of high magnitude overall. Water quality degradation in the Black Warrior Basin is ongoing, therefore, the threats are imminent. We have changed the LPN from an 8 to a 2 for this species.
Page springsnail (
The primary threat to the Page springsnail has been modification of habitat by domestic use, agriculture, ranching, fish hatchery operations, recreation, and groundwater withdrawal. Many of the springs where the species occurs have been subjected to some level of modification. However, the immediacy of the threat of groundwater withdrawal is uncertain, due to conflicting information regarding immediacy. Based on recent survey data, it appears that the Page springsnail is abundant within natural habitats and persists in modified habitats, albeit at reduced densities. Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) management plans for the Bubbling Ponds and Page Springs fish hatcheries include commitments to replace lost habitat and to monitor remaining populations of invertebrates such as the Page springsnail. The candidate conservation agreement with assurances (CCAA) for the Page springsnail has resulted in the implementation of conservation measures such as restoration and creation of spring ecosystems, including springs on AGFD properties. The implementation of the CCAA has resulted in measurable benefits to the species and its habitats. Additionally, the National Park Service has expressed an interest in restoring natural springhead integrity to Shea Springs, a site historically occupied by Page springsnail.
Accordingly, we find that ongoing implementation of the CCAA continues to substantially reduce the magnitude and immediacy of threats to, and to appreciably improve the conservation status of, the species. Therefore, we are changing the LPN for the Page springsnail from an 8 to an 11.
Nevares Spring naucorid bug (
Nonnative mosquitofish (
Stephan's riffle beetle (
The primary threat to Goose Creek milkvetch is habitat degradation and modification resulting from an altered wildfire regime, fire suppression activities, and rehabilitation efforts to recover lands that have burned. Other factors that also appear to threaten Goose Creek milkvetch include livestock use; invasive, nonnative species; and the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms to address these threats. Climate change effects to Goose
We originally assigned the species an LPN of 5 based on high magnitude threats that were capable of destroying entire populations, but that were nonimminent, or not currently ongoing. However, our recent review reveals that the threats have increased and are now imminent, or currently occurring, largely a result of land management actions taken since fires initially altered the habitat. We now consider the threats associated with livestock grazing and invasive species to be imminent throughout a large portion of the species' range. The increased magnitude and immediacy of threats leaves the species and its small populations more vulnerable to stochastic events. Additionally, surveys have not identified new populations that would significantly increase the range or extent of the species. Therefore, we are changing the LPN for Goose Creek milkvetch from a 5 to a 2.
Major threats include competition and shading by native and nonnative species fostered by suppression of wildfire; increased fuel loading and subsequent risk of wildfire; fragmentation by roads, fire breaks, tree plantations, and radio-tower facilities; maintenance and construction around radio towers and telephone relay stations located on Gunsight Peak and Mahogany Point; and soil disturbance, direct damage, and exotic weed and grass species introduction as a result of heavy recreational use and construction of fire breaks. Dyer's woad (
The combination of restricted range, extremely low numbers (five plants) in one of three disjunct populations, poor competitive ability, short seed dispersal distance, slow growth rates, low seed production, apparently poor survival rates in some years, herbivory, habitat disturbance, and competition from exotic plants threaten the continued existence of this species. However, because efforts are underway to reduce the threat of dyer's woad where it is found and because there is no evidence of a decline in the populations of any of the three
This species appears to have restricted ecological requirements and is dependent upon the maintenance of prairie-like openings for its survival. Active management of habitat is needed to keep competition and shading under control. Much of its habitat has been degraded or destroyed for agricultural, silvicultural, and residential purposes. Populations near roadsides or powerlines are threatened by herbicide usage in association with right-of-way maintenance. The majority of the Georgia population is protected due to its location within a conservation easement; however, only 15 to 20 plants are estimated to occur at this site. The remaining three populations are not formally protected, but efforts have been taken to abate threats associated with highway right-of-way maintenance at one Alabama subpopulation. However, timber growth, following a 2001 timber harvest that benefitted the plants, now threatens the other Alabama subpopulation. Last year, this species was assigned an LPN of 8 based on imminent threats of moderate magnitude. However this year, we have evidence that one Alabama subpopulation is facing new threats from shading by trees, and additional information on the variable reproductive fitness of the species. Because small population size poses a threat to all known populations of
As summarized below, we have evaluated the threats to the following species and considered factors that, individually and in combination, currently or potentially could pose a risk to these species and their habitats. After a review of the best available scientific and commercial data, we conclude that listing these species under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted because these species are not likely to become endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges. Therefore, we find that proposing a rule to list them is not warranted, and we no longer consider them to be candidate species for listing. We will continue to monitor the status of these species and to accept additional information and comments concerning this finding. We will reconsider our determination in the event that new information indicates that the threats to the species are of a considerably greater magnitude or imminence than identified through assessments of information contained in our files, as summarized here.
Elongate mud meadows springsnail (
The primary threat to
Only one population was known at the time
Because conservation actions implemented in Soldier Meadow have greatly reduced threats to
The historical range of
There are no manmade or natural threats affecting
The ESA provides two mechanisms for considering species for listing. One method allows the Secretary, on his own initiative, to identify species for listing under the standards of section 4(a)(1). We implement this through the candidate program, discussed above. The second method for listing a species provides a mechanism for the public to petition us to add a species to the Lists. The CNOR serves several purposes as part of the petition process: (1) In some instances (in particular, for petitions to list species that the Service has already identified as candidates on its own initiative), it serves as the petition finding; (2) for candidate species for which the Service has made a warranted-but-precluded petition finding, it serves as a “resubmitted” petition finding that the ESA requires the Service to make each year; and (3) it documents the Service's compliance with the statutory requirement to monitor the status of species for which listing is warranted-but-precluded to ascertain if they need emergency listing.
First, the CNOR serves as a petition finding in some instances. Under section 4(b)(3)(A), when we receive a listing petition, we must determine within 90 days, to the maximum extent practicable, whether the petition presents substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted (a “90-day finding”). If we make a positive 90-day finding, we must promptly commence a status review of the species under section 4(b)(3)(A); we must then make and publish one of three possible findings within 12 months of the receipt of the petition (a “12-month finding”):
(1) The petitioned action is not warranted;
(2) The petitioned action is warranted (in which case we are required to promptly publish a proposed regulation to implement the petitioned action; once we publish a proposed rule for a species, sections 4(b)(5) and 4(b)(6) of the ESA govern further procedures regardless of whether we issued the proposal in response to a petition); or
(3) The petitioned action is warranted but (a) the immediate proposal of a regulation and final promulgation of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by pending proposals to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened, and (b) expeditious progress is being made to add qualified species to the Lists. We refer to this third option as a “warranted-but-precluded finding.”
We define “candidate species” to mean those species for which the Service has on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support issuance of a proposed rule to list, but for which issuance of the proposed rule is precluded (61 FR 64481; December 5, 1996). The standard for making a species a candidate through our own initiative is identical to the standard for making a warranted-but-precluded 12-month petition finding on a petition to list, and we add all petitioned species for which we have made a warranted-but-precluded 12-month finding to the candidate list.
Therefore, all candidate species identified through our own initiative already have received the equivalent of substantial 90-day and warranted-but-precluded 12-month findings. Nevertheless, we review the status of the newly petitioned candidate species and through this CNOR publish specific section 4(b)(3) findings (i.e., substantial 90-day and warranted-but-precluded 12-month findings) in response to the petitions to list these candidate species. We publish these findings as part of the first CNOR following receipt of the petition. On October 5, 2011, we received a petition to list the Peñasco least chipmunk (see summary above under New Candidates) after we had initiated our assessment of this species for candidate status. As part of this notice, we are making the substantial 90-day and warranted-but-precluded 12-month findings for this species. We have identified the candidate species for which we received petitions by the code “C*” in the category column on the left side of Table 1 below.
Second, the CNOR serves as a “resubmitted” petition finding. Section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the ESA requires that when we make a warranted-but-precluded finding on a petition, we are to treat such a petition as one that is resubmitted on the date of such a finding. Thus, we must make a 12-month petition finding in compliance with section 4(b)(3)(B) of the ESA at least once a year, until we publish a proposal to list the species or make a final not-warranted finding. We make these annual findings for petitioned candidate species through the CNOR.
Third, through undertaking the analysis required to complete the CNOR, the Service determines if any candidate species needs emergency listing. Section 4(b)(3)(C)(iii) of the ESA requires us to “implement a system to monitor effectively the status of all species” for which we have made a warranted-but-precluded 12-month finding, and to “make prompt use of the [emergency listing] authority [under section 4(b)(7)] to prevent a significant
A number of court decisions have elaborated on the nature and specificity of information that must be considered in making and describing the petition findings in the CNOR. The CNOR published on November 9, 2009 (74 FR 57804), describes these court decisions in further detail. As with previous CNORs, we continue to incorporate information of the nature and specificity required by the courts. For example, we include a description of the reasons why the listing of every petitioned candidate species is both warranted and precluded at this time. We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis to ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed first and also because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide basis (see below). Regional priorities can also be discerned from Table 1, below, which includes the lead region and the LPN for each species. Our preclusion determinations are further based upon our budget for listing activities for unlisted species only, and we explain the priority system and why the work we have accomplished does preclude action on listing candidate species.
In preparing this CNOR, we reviewed the current status of, and threats to, the 172 candidates for which we have received a petition to list and the 5 listed species and for which we have received a petition to reclassify from threatened to endangered, where we found the petitioned action to be warranted but precluded. Included in this work is our review of the current status of, and threats to, the Canada lynx in New Mexico for which we received a petition to add that State to the listed range. We find that the immediate issuance of a proposed rule and timely promulgation of a final rule for each of these species has been, for the preceding months, and continues to be, precluded by higher priority listing actions. Additional information that is the basis for this finding is found in the species assessments and our administrative record for each species.
Our review included updating the status of, and threats to, petitioned candidate or listed species for which we published findings, under section 4(b)(3)(B) of the ESA, in the previous CNOR. We have incorporated new information we gathered since the prior finding and, as a result of this review, we are making continued warranted-but-precluded 12-month findings on the petitions for these species.
The immediate publication of proposed rules to list these species was precluded by our work on higher priority listing actions, listed below, during the period from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012. Below we describe the actions that continue to preclude the immediate proposal and final promulgation of a regulation implementing each of the petitioned actions for which we have made a warranted-but-precluded finding, and we describe the expeditious progress we are making to add qualified species to, and remove species from, the Lists. We will continue to monitor the status of all candidate species, including petitioned species, as new information becomes available to determine if a change in status is warranted, including the need to emergency-list a species under section 4(b)(7) of the ESA.
In addition to identifying petitioned candidate species in Table 1 below, we also present brief summaries of why each of these candidates warrants listing. More complete information, including references, is found in the species assessment forms. You may obtain a copy of these forms from the Regional Office having the lead for the species, or from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Internet Web site:
To make a finding that a particular action is warranted-but-precluded, the Service must make two findings: (1) That the immediate proposal and timely promulgation of a final regulation is precluded by pending listing proposals, and (2) that expeditious progress is being made to add qualified species to either of the lists and to remove species from the lists. 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(B)(iii).
A listing proposal is precluded if the Service does not have sufficient resources available to complete the proposal, because there are competing demands for those resources, and the relative priority of those competing demands is higher. Thus, in any given fiscal year (FY), multiple factors dictate whether it will be possible to undertake work on a listing proposal regulation or whether promulgation of such a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions—(1) the amount of resources available for completing the listing function, (2) the estimated cost of completing the proposed listing, and (3) the Service's workload and prioritization of the proposed listing in relation to other actions.
The resources available for listing actions are determined through the annual Congressional appropriations process. In FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds that may be expended for the Listing Program. This spending cap was designed to prevent the listing function from depleting funds needed for other functions under the ESA (for example, recovery functions, such as removing species from the Lists), or for other Service programs (see House Report 105-163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 1997). The funds within the spending cap are available to support work involving the following listing actions: Proposed and final listing rules; 90-day and 12-month findings on petitions to add species to the Lists or to change the status of a species from threatened to endangered; annual “resubmitted” petition findings on prior warranted-but-precluded petition findings as required under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the ESA; critical habitat petition findings; proposed and final rules designating critical habitat; and litigation-related, administrative, and program-mana