FWS proposed revised critical habitat for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly
73 Fed. Reg. 77568 / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Quino
Checkerspot Butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino); Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, notice of availability of draft economic analysis, and amended required determinations.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on our January 17, 2008, proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the Quino checkerspot butterfly under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability of the draft economic analysis (DEA), a revision to proposed critical habitat Unit 2, and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed revision of critical habitat (including the changes to proposed critical habitat Unit 2), the associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. If you submitted comments previously, then you do not need to resubmit them because they are included in the public record for this rulemaking and we will fully consider them in preparation of our final determination. DATES: We will accept comments received on or before January 20, 2009.
The Quino checkerspot butterfly is found in association with topographically diverse open woody canopy landscapes that contain low to moderate levels of non-native vegetation compared to disturbed habitat. Vegetation types that support the Quino checkerspot are coastal sage scrub, open chaparral, juniper woodland, forblands, and native grassland. Soil and climatic conditions, as well as ecological and physical factors, affect the suitability of habitat within the species’ range. Urban and agricultural development, invasion of non-native species, habitat fragmentation and degradation, increased fire frequency, and other human-caused disturbances have resulted in substantial losses of habitat throughout the species’ historic range. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the plight of the Quino checkerspot butterfly has been described by a biologist as “four engines out and about ten seconds to impact.” Caption information from FWS Recovery Plan and CBD. Photo from California Department of Fish and Game.
EXCERPT: In this document we are proposing revisions to the area of proposed revised critical habitat in Unit 2 as described in the January 17, 2008, proposed rule (73 FR 3328). This revision involves removal of approximately 27 acres of proposed revised critical habitat from two areas along the shoreline of Lake Skinner in Riverside County. Based on new GIS database information, we determined these two areas do not contain the features essential to the conservation of the Quino checkerspot butterfly because they are primarily wetlands. Removal of these areas from proposed revised critical habitat does not alter the textual description of Unit 2 as described in the January 17, 2008, proposed rule (73 FR 3328). A revised legal description and revised map for proposed critical habitat Unit 2 are included with this notice… Based on comments submitted during the initial public comment period from January 17, 2008, to March 17, 2008, we are also considering exclusion of the San Diego Air Force Space Surveillance Station and the Navy-owned La Posta Mountain Warfare Training Facility from critical habitat… Under section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, the Secretary is prohibited from designating as critical habitat any lands or other geographical areas owned or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its use, that are subject to an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species for which critical habitat is proposed for designation… Because the INRMP is not yet final and approved by the Secretary, the statutory prohibition on designation of these lands as critical habitat is inapplicable. However, the lands may be excluded from designation as critical habitat if the Secretary determines that the benefits of exclusion, including the benefits with respect to national security, outweigh the benefits of such designation.