[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 188 (Thursday, September 29, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56969-57119]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-19096]



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Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service



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50 CFR Part 17



Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical 
Habitat for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy Plover; 
Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 188 / Thursday, September 29, 2005 / 
Rules and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AT89


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy 
Plover

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are 
designating critical habitat for the Pacific coast population of the 
western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, 
approximately 12,145 acres (ac) (4,921 hectares (ha)) fall within the 
boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The critical habitat is 
located within 3 states, and a total of 20 counties. The county 
breakdown by State is as follows: California--San Diego, Orange, Los 
Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, 
San Mateo, Marin, Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte; Oregon--Curry, Coos, 
Douglas, Lane, Tillamook; and Washington--Pacific, Grays Harbor.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on October 31, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this final rule, are available 
for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at 
the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 
95521 (telephone 707/822-7201). The final rule, economic analysis, and 
supporting Geographic Information System (GIS) reports will also be 
available via the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/sacramento/default.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Long, Field Supervisor, Arcata 
Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521 
(telephone 707/822-7201; facsimile 707/822-8411).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Designation of Critical Habitat Provides Little Additional Protection 
to Species

    In 30 years of implementing the Act, the Service has found that the 
designation of statutory critical habitat provides little additional 
protection to most listed species, while consuming significant amounts 
of available conservation resources. The Service's present system for 
designating critical habitat has evolved since its original statutory 
prescription into a process that provides little real conservation 
benefit, is driven by litigation and the courts rather than biology, 
limits our ability to fully evaluate the science involved, consumes 
enormous agency resources, and imposes huge social and economic costs. 
The Service believes that additional agency discretion would allow our 
focus to return to those actions that provide the greatest benefit to 
the species most in need of protection.

Role of Critical Habitat in Actual Practice of Administering and 
Implementing the Act

    While attention to and protection of habitat is paramount to 
successful conservation actions, we have consistently found that, in 
most circumstances, the designation of critical habitat is of little 
additional value for most listed species, yet it consumes large amounts 
of conservation resources. Sidle (1987) stated, ``Because the Act can 
protect species with and without critical habitat designation, critical 
habitat designation may be redundant to the other consultation 
requirements of section 7.'' Currently, only 473 species or 38 percent 
of the 1,253 listed species in the U.S. under the jurisdiction of the 
Service have designated critical habitat.
    We address the habitat needs of all 1,253 listed species through 
conservation mechanisms such as listing, section 7 consultations, the 
Section 4 recovery planning process, the Section 9 protective 
prohibitions of unauthorized take, Section 6 funding to the States, and 
the Section 10 incidental take permit process. The Service believes 
that it is these measures that may make the difference between 
extinction and survival for many species.
    We note, however that two courts found our definition of adverse 
modification to be invalid (March 15, 2001, decision of the United 
States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service et al., F.3d 434 and the August 6, 2004, Ninth 
Circuit judicial opinion, Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. United States 
Fish and Wildlife Service). In response to these decisions, we are 
reviewing the regulatory definition of adverse modification in relation 
to the conservation of the species.

Procedural and Resource Difficulties in Designating Critical Habitat

    We have been inundated with lawsuits for our failure to designate 
critical habitat, and we face a growing number of lawsuits challenging 
critical habitat determinations once they are made. These lawsuits have 
subjected the Service to an ever-increasing series of court orders and 
court-approved settlement agreements, compliance with which now 
consumes nearly the entire listing program budget. This leaves the 
Service with little ability to prioritize its activities to direct 
scarce listing resources to the listing program actions with the most 
biologically urgent species conservation needs.
    The consequence of the critical habitat litigation activity is that 
limited listing funds are used to defend active lawsuits, to respond to 
Notices of Intent (NOIs) to sue relative to critical habitat, and to 
comply with the growing number of adverse court orders. As a result of 
this consequence, listing petition responses, the Service's own 
proposals to list critically imperiled species, and final listing 
determinations on existing proposals are all significantly delayed.
    The accelerated schedules of court-ordered designations have left 
the Service with almost no ability to provide for adequate public 
participation or to ensure a defect-free rulemaking process before 
making decisions on listing and critical habitat proposals due to the 
risks associated with noncompliance with judicially imposed deadlines. 
This situation in turn fosters a second round of litigation in which 
those who fear adverse impacts from critical habitat designations 
challenge those designations. The cycle of litigation appears endless, 
is very expensive, and in the final analysis provides relatively little 
additional protection to listed species.
    The costs resulting from the designation include legal costs, the 
costs of preparation and publication of the designation, the analysis 
of the economic effects and the costs of requesting and responding to 
public comments, and, in some cases, the costs of compliance with 
National Environmental Policy Act. None of these costs result in any 
benefit to the species that is not already afforded by the protections 
of the Act enumerated earlier, and these associated costs directly 
reduce the scarce funds available for direct and tangible conservation 
actions.

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Background

    Background information on the Pacific coast population of the 
western snowy plover (Pacific Coast WSP) can be found in our final rule 
listing of the Pacific Coast WSP, published in the Federal Register 
(FR) on March 5, 1993 (58 FR 12864), and our recent proposal of 
critical habitat for this population, published on December 17, 2004 
(69 FR 75608). Additional background information is also available in 
our previous final designation of critical habitat for the Pacific 
Coast WSP, published on December 7, 1999 (64 FR 68508).

Previous Federal Actions

    For a discussion of previous Federal actions regarding the Pacific 
Coast WSP, please see our final rule listing the population, published 
on March 5, 1993 (58 FR 12864), our recent proposal of critical habitat 
for this population, published on December 17, 2004 (69 FR 75608), and 
the December 7, 1999, final rule to designate critical habitat for the 
Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover (64 FR 68508). The 
December 7, 1999, was remanded and partially vacated by the United 
States District Court for the District of Oregon on July 2, 2003, for 
the Service to reconsider the designation and conduct a new analysis of 
economic impacts (Coos County Board of County Commissioners et. al. v. 
Department of the Interior et al., CV 02-6128, M. Hogan). The court set 
a deadline of December 1, 2004, for submittal of a new proposed 
critical habitat designation to the Office of the Federal Register; the 
proposed rule was published on December 17, 2004 (69 FR 75608). On 
August 16, 2005, we published in the FR (70 FR 48094) a notice of 
availability for the draft economic analysis associated with the 
proposed rule and we reopened the comment period on the proposed rule 
for 30 days. The court-established deadline for submittal of the final 
designation is September 20, 2005. This final rule complies with the 
September 20, 2005, deadline.
    In August 2002, we received a petition to delist the Pacific Coast 
WSP from the Surf Ocean Beach Commission of Lompoc, California. The 
City of Morro Bay submitted largely the same petition dated May 30, 
2003. On March 22, 2004, we published a notice that the petition 
presented substantial information to indicate that delisting may be 
warranted (69 FR 13326). We are currently conducting both a 12-month 
and a 5-year status review of the population under sections 4(b)(3)(A), 
4(b)(3)(B) and 4(c)(2) of the Act, in order to issue the finding 
required by section 4(b)(3)(B) in response to the petitions.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public on the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP in the 
proposed rule published on December 17, 2004 (69 FR 75608). We also 
contacted the appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies; Tribes; 
scientific organizations; and other interested parties and invited them 
to comment on the proposed rule. We received two requests for a public 
hearing or ``workshop'' prior to the published deadline. Public 
meetings were held in Tomales, California, and Crescent City, 
California, on February 14, 2005, and March 8, 2005, respectively. The 
initial comment period closed on February 15, 2005. A second comment 
period for the draft Economic Analysis (DEA) was open from August 16, 
2005 to September 15, 2005. All comments and new information received 
during the two comment periods have been incorporated into this final 
rule as appropriate.
    A total of 1,055 commenters responded during the two comment 
periods, including 8 Federal agencies, 4 State agencies, 17 local 
agencies, 21 organizations, and 1005 individuals. Form letters 
attributed the most comments on the proposed Lake Earl unit (CA 1), and 
comment cards and a petition accounted for most of the comments 
regarding the proposal of Dillon Beach (CA 7). Thirty-four commenters 
submitted two separate sets of comments. During the comment period from 
December 17, 2004, to February 15, 2005, we received 36 comments 
directly addressing the proposed critical habitat designation and DEA: 
1 from a State agency, 6 from local agencies, and 29 from organizations 
and individuals.
    Most comments did not support designation of critical habitat. The 
vast majority of comments objected to the designation of Dillon Beach 
(CA 7) and Lake Earl (CA 1). Five hundred ninety petition signatures 
and form letters objected to designation of Dillon Beach (CA 7) as 
critical habitat, and 117 form letters opposed designation of the Lake 
Earl unit (CA 1). The petition and form letters associated with these 2 
units skewed the overall support for designation; representing 
approximately 67 percent of the comments received. We reviewed all 
comments for substantive information and new data regarding the listed 
population and its critical habitat. Comments containing substantive 
information have been grouped together by issue and are addressed in 
the following summary. All comments and information have been 
incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited independent opinions from at least three 
knowledgeable individuals who have expertise with the species, the 
geographic region where the species occurs, and/or familiarity with the 
principles of conservation biology. Of the five individuals contacted, 
three responded. The peer reviewers generally supported the proposal 
and provided us with comments which are included in the summary below 
and incorporated into the final rule, as appropriate. Unless otherwise 
noted, the peer review commented on our proposed rule published 
December 17, 2004. Subsequent changes to our proposal reflected in the 
final rule resulting from comments received during the second comment 
period did not receive peer review comment.
    We reviewed all comments received from the peer reviewers and the 
public for substantive issues and new information regarding critical 
habitat for the western snowy plover, and addressed them in the 
following summary.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    1. Comment: A peer reviewer who conducts shorebird research in 
northern California through an academic institution agreed with the 
general biology presented in the proposed rule; however, the reviewer 
felt that describing the Pacific Coast WSP's social system as 
territorial was misleading. Although true for breeding areas where the 
densities of nesting plovers is high, the reviewer stated that plovers 
in many parts of the Pacific Coast WSP's range do not defend a well-
defined space (i.e. territory). This point may be important when 
estimating the number of individual breeders that can be supported by 
an area of particular size.
    Our Response: We agree with the peer reviewer regarding the 
territorial nature of the Pacific Coast WSP, and his point relative to 
estimating the number of breeders capable of using a specified area. 
Our estimates provided in the unit descriptions were based on the best 
historical information we had from surveys conducted in the late 1970s. 
It is unknown if those estimates were

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based on an already declining population, or a population that was at 
carrying capacity. In addition, changing conditions in the dynamic 
habitats preferred by the Pacific Coast WSP likely affects an area's 
capacity to support breeding plovers.
    2. Comment: One peer reviewer is investigating the importance of 
social attraction in relation to the settlement of inexperienced 
Pacific Coast WSPs (i.e. first-time breeders). Preliminary data from 
Coal Oil Point suggest that social factors play a role in attracting 
plovers to nest in an area. If true, the management of wintering flocks 
may be important relative to determining where plovers nest (e.g. Coal 
Oil Point Preserve at U.C. Santa Barbara, California).
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter's preliminary assessment 
of the Coal Oil Point Preserve study. Our designation of critical 
habitat recognizes the importance of both wintering and breeding areas.
    3. Comment: Two of the peer reviewers commented on our proposal to 
designate critical habitat only in areas currently occupied, or 
occupied at the time of listing. Specifically, the 1993 listing was 
based, in part, on the absence of breeding plovers at formerly occupied 
sites, and the former critical habitat designation in 1999 made use of 
former and current site (1998) occupancy. Birds absent from formerly 
occupied sites may be an outcome of low population size, not 
necessarily because habitat has become unsuitable at a site. The 
proposed units place a higher emphasis on occupied sites than 
unoccupied. As the Pacific Coast WSP recovers, it will presumably need 
areas in which to expand; some of which are currently suitable, but 
unoccupied.
    Our Response: Although we acknowledge that unoccupied areas may be 
important for the conservation of many species, the Service determined 
that no unoccupied units were essential for conservation of this DPS.
    4. Comment: A peer reviewer suggested that the Eel River gravel 
bars below (i.e. downstream) of Fernbridge be included as designated 
critical habitat due to their importance as breeding habitat both 
locally, and in northern California and southern Oregon region.
    Our Response: We acknowledge the importance of the lower gravel 
bars on the Eel River to plover conservation in northern California; 
however, our data show that the pre-listing discovery of plovers on the 
Eel River system were above Fernbridge, and subsequent data from the 
mid to late 1990s indicates that most plover use was also between 
Fernbridge and the Van Duzen River. We also acknowledge that plover 
surveys outside of the area proposed for critical habitat (CA 4D) were 
inadequate during that time period. Without supporting data, we did not 
propose the lower portions of the Eel River as critical habitat.

Comments From States

    Section 4(i) of the Act states, if a State agency files comments 
disagreeing with a proposed regulation, and the Service issues a final 
regulation in conflict with the State's comments, or fails to adopt a 
regulation petitioned by a State agency, the Secretary shall submit to 
the State agency a written justification for her failure to adopt 
regulation consistent with the agency's comments or petition. Comments 
received from States regarding the proposal to designate critical 
habitat for the western snowy plover are addressed below.
    5. State Comment: The California Department of Boating and 
Waterways commented that designation of critical habitat at Dillon 
Beach would restrict and prohibit boat launching along the beach and at 
the Lawson's Landing facility, resulting in a significant fiscal 
impact.
    Our Response: Critical habitat has been designated at the proposed 
location since 1999 (64 FR 68508). The draft economic analysis for the 
proposed critical habitat rule (70 FR 48094) differs from the State's 
assessment, and concludes there is no significant economic impact at 
the proposed Dillon Beach unit. However, this unit was excluded from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see 
section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    6. State Comment: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) 
supports the proposed designations in occupied units with the exception 
of unit boundaries for OR 8A and OR 10A. The State would like those 
unit boundaries to more closely coincide with the State's draft HCP. 
Additionally, ODFW proposes designation of Bayocean and Clatsop River 
Spit as critical habitat.
    Our Response: Where possible, unit boundaries have been adjusted to 
conform more closely to the management boundaries presented in the 
State's draft HCP. Bayocean Spit (OR 3) is designated as critical 
habitat. We believe that ODFW was referring to the Columbia River Spit 
regarding their comment on the Clatsop River Spit because of the 
underlying federal ownership at that location. We are not designating 
the Columbia River Spit (subunit OR 1A in the proposed rule) because it 
was determined not to be essential to the conservation of the species.
    7. State Comment: The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department also 
generally supported designation of the proposed units; however, 
believes that only the occupied units should be designated to conform 
to the State's HCP effort.
    Our Response: We have made adjustments to our occupied proposed 
units to have them more closely aligned with the State's HCP effort.

Comments Related to Previous Federal Actions, the Act, and Implementing 
Regulations

    8. Comment: Several commenters noted that the Service has pending 
action on the 12-month finding for a petition to delist the Pacific 
Coast WSP as a threatened species.
    Our Response: We are currently in the process of completing our 
status review for this species. The court's deadline for completing 
this designation does not permit us to take into account whatever 
actions, if any, might ultimately result from our status review. If we 
conclude that the species remains in need of the protections of the 
Act, the critical habitat designated here will remain in place. If we 
determine that the species is not in need of the protection of the Act, 
and ultimately remove it from the list, then this critical habitat 
designation would be vacated.
    9. Comment: Several commenters indicated that the Service was 
violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by not preparing 
an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement on the 
proposed designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP.
    Our Response: It is our position that we do not need to comply with 
NEPA in connection with designating critical habitat under the Act 
outside the jurisdictional areas of the Tenth Circuit Court. We 
published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). This assertion was 
upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 
1495 (9th Cir. Ore. 1995), cert. denied 116 S. Ct. 698 (1996)).
    10. Comment: A commenter stated that the Service's contention that 
several areas could be excluded because ``existing management is 
sufficient to conserve the species'' is incorrect. They state that 
areas where management activities are being implemented to conserve the 
plover by definition ``require special management

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considerations or protection.'' Otherwise, management activities would 
not have been implemented (e.g., Center for Biological Diversity v. 
Norton, 240 F. Supp 2d 1090 (D. Az. 2003)). They also state that 
excluding areas under section 4(b)(2) based on the Service's conclusion 
that the benefits of designating any area as critical habitat is 
insignificant, is also incorrect. They maintain that critical habitat 
designation can provide significant protection to a species' habitat, 
particularly as that habitat pertains to recovery (as opposed to mere 
survival) (see Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of 
Interior, 113 F. 3d 1121, 1125-1127 (9th Cir. 1997); Conservation 
Council for Hawaii v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1285-1286 (D. Ha. 
1998)).
    Our Response: Rationale for any exemptions and exclusions of 
particular areas have been included in this document. We believe that 
the commenter has oversimplified the process by which lands are 
determined to be included, exempted, or excluded from a critical 
habitat determination. It is incorrect to state that the Service views 
the all benefits of designating critical habitat in any particular area 
as insignificant. Our analyses under section 4(b)(2) of the Act weigh 
the benefits of exclusion against the benefits of inclusion and 
determine within any particular area whether it is appropriate to 
exclude.
    11. Comment: A commenter disagreed with the statement in the 
proposed rule, that ``In 30 years of implementing the Act the Service 
has found that the designation of statutory critical habitat provides 
little additional protection to most listed species * * *'' The 
commenter stated that the proposal includes absolutely no evidence to 
bolster these assertions, which are inconsistent with recent, 
controlling judicial decisions, congressional intent, and sound 
science. They asserted that the fact that the Service's critical 
habitat decisions are driven by lawsuits and court-ordered deadlines is 
irrelevant to the Service's mandatory obligation to designate critical 
habitat for the plover and other listed species. They also assert that 
the Service's budget requests typically fall short of the amount of 
money necessary to address the backlog of listing and critical habitat, 
and that limited resources should not be used as an excuse for not 
designating critical habitat.
    Our Response: Comment noted. As discussed in the sections 
``Designation of Critical Habitat Provides Little Additional Protection 
to Species,'' ``Role of Critical Habitat in Actual Practice of 
Administering and Implementing the Act,'' and ``Procedural and Resource 
Difficulties in Designating Critical Habitat'' and other sections of 
this and other critical habitat designations, we believe that, in most 
cases, conservation mechanisms provided through section 7 
consultations, the section 4 recovery planning process, the section 9 
protective prohibitions of unauthorized take, section 6 funding to the 
States, the section 10 incidental take permit process, and cooperative 
programs with private and public landholders and tribal nations provide 
greater incentives and conservation benefits than does the designation 
of critical habitat.
    12. Comment: A commenter stated that the Service improperly 
excluded habitat areas that are essential to the conservation of the 
species and that were included in the 1999 designation because they did 
not qualify based on either the criteria for breeding sites or the 
criteria for wintering sites. The Service failed to provide an adequate 
explanation of these criteria or any justification for the application 
of the criteria. Any areas included in the 1999 designation that are 
not included in the proposed designation must be identified and the 
reasons for the reversal must be explained. They state that an agency 
changing a prior decision must apply a reasoned analysis.
    Our Response: The Service in issuing this new designation of 
critical habitat for the West Coast WSP conducted a new evaluation in 
order to determine what habitat features are essential. Further, new 
information has become available since the previous designation of 
critical habitat. We do not believe it is necessary to identify all 
changes from the previous CH designation; this new designation 
supercedes the previous designation. We also believe that a reasoned 
analysis is provided to justify the final designation of critical 
habitat for this population.

Comments Related to Site-Specific Areas and Unoccupied Areas Identified 
for Possible Inclusion

    13. Comment: One commenter stated that the Service's assertion that 
human activity is the primary threat to plovers is erroneous as animal 
predators are more responsible for plover kills. The commenter opines 
that the Service should focus its efforts on predator controls over 
global land use and development restrictions. Another commenter states 
that human activity reduces the adverse effects of predators and 
increases the plover's success.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter that predators may 
directly kill and injure more plovers than humans do. However, we don't 
agree that human activity in an area reduces the adverse effects of 
predators on plovers. Red foxes, crows, and ravens all may be equally 
or more effective at preying upon plovers in areas which are subject to 
human activity; plovers in contact with humans are probably more likely 
to be flushed from their nests and subject to subsequent predation. We 
do agree that a reduction of predation is beneficial to plovers; nest 
exclosures, predator-proof trash receptacles, and both lethal and non-
lethal control of predators have been successful in reducing the 
impacts of predators on plover reproduction and survival. We believe 
that effective conservation measures for enhancing reproduction and 
survival can include a combination of actions to reduce both predator 
and human effects, depending upon the specific threats which need to be 
addressed.
    14. Comment: Two commenters recommended that Clatsop Spit (OR-1) be 
considered occupied because the Necanicum River Spit (OR-1B) had 
confirmed breeding plovers in 2000 and 2002.
    Our Response: Our definition of occupancy required that the unit be 
occupied by snowy plovers at the time of listing. The definition of 
critical habitat in the ESA refers to habitat occupied at the time of 
listing, and Congress has established different criteria for 
designating habitat not occupied at the time of listing. Monitoring 
data from 1991 to 1995 indicate that the area in question was likely 
unoccupied in 1993 at the time of the plover's listing. Consequently, 
critical habitat units that were unoccupied during that period, but 
later occupied, were considered unoccupied for the purposes of this 
designation. The units described above were not designated as critical 
habitat because they were not found to be essential to the conservation 
of the species.
    15. Comment: One commenter believed that Sand Lake North (OR-5A) 
should not be included in the critical habitat designation because it 
was viewed as having little recovery benefit in the draft Oregon coast-
wide Habitat Conservation Plan (DHCP) process.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter. Sand Lake North (OR-5A) 
has not been designated as critical habitat.
    16. Comment: Three commenters recommended adjusting the northern 
boundary of the Siltcoos River Spit unit (OR-8A) to correspond with the 
edge of the dry sand nesting season restriction that is approximately 
0.6 mile (0.96 kilometer) north of the Siltcoos River

[[Page 56974]]

mouth. A separate commenter noted that the ``breach'' just north of the 
Siltcoos River is a winter site that warrants special management 
consideration.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenters, and have adjusted the 
northern boundary of the critical habitat unit to correspond with the 
2005 snowy plover management area.
    17. Comment: One commenter suggested adjusting the southern 
boundary of the Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch Creek Spit (OR-8B) critical 
habitat unit to match the off-highway vehicle closure boundary.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter and have made this 
adjustment.
    18. Comment: One commenter recommended that Tenmile Creek Spit (OR-
8D) be reduced in size to no more than 100 feet north and 100 feet 
south of Tenmile Creek to maintain the current population and no more 
than 100 yards north and south to accommodate recovery.
    Our Response: We did not modify the critical habitat designation. 
Reducing the size of this critical habitat unit would reduce 
protections afforded by the designation to highly mobile chicks during 
the rearing period, and to nesting and wintering adults.
    19. Comment: Two commenters suggested the southern boundary of Coos 
Bay North Spit (OR-9) be moved from \1/3\ to \1/2\ mile north of the 
jetty because western snowy plovers do not nest on the beach in that 
area. Another commenter recommended that we move the northern boundary 
of OR-9 about \1/4\ mile south of the New Carrissa because western 
snowy plovers do not nest on the beach in that area.
    Our Response: We did not make the requested adjustment. Reducing 
the size of this critical habitat unit would reduce protections 
afforded by the designation to highly mobile chicks during the rearing 
period, and to nesting and wintering adults.
    20. Comment: Two commenters wanted to exclude the sand road behind 
the foredune in OR-9 as this is used for recreation and access by Corps 
of Engineers.
    Our Response: The foredune road at Coos Bay North Spit (OR-9) 
currently bisects a large habitat restoration (HRA) area that is 
managed and maintained as a breeding area. The management of the site 
includes closing the foredune road from 15 March to 15 September each 
year to reduce human disturbance and to facilitate brood movement from 
the HRA to the beach. Two alternate routes are available to access the 
north jetty, both of which avoid the HRA. These alternate routes are 
suitable to accommodate routine use. Consequently, we did not modify 
the designation in response to the commenters' suggestion.
    21. Comment: Three commenters suggested moving the southern 
boundary of Bandon to Floras Lake unit (OR-10A) about 0.6 miles north 
since the area immediately west of Floras Lake is managed cooperatively 
with Curry County. Another commenter wanted to reduce the size of OR-
10A to just those sites actually used by breeding snowy plovers with no 
more than a 100-yard buffer to the north and south of those sites.
    Our Response: We did not make the requested adjustments. Reducing 
the size of the critical habitat unit reduces protections afforded by 
the designation to highly mobile chicks during the rearing period, and 
to nesting and wintering adults as the Pacific Coast WSP expands with 
recovery.
    22. Comment: Many commenters (including a number of form letters) 
suggested removing the proposed Lake Earl unit (CA 1) from the final 
designation, while other commenters suggested eliminating the northern 
part, or the entire unit due to economic reasons, its narrowness, steep 
slope, and unsuitability resulting from dense European beachgrass. 
Commenters also questioned the value of designating critical habitat at 
the Lake Earl lagoon, stating that the Service has failed to show that 
nesting ever occurred at the unit's location.
    Our Response: We agree with those commenters that provided 
information regarding the unsuitability of the narrow, northern portion 
of the proposed Lake Earl unit. The boundaries of the Lake Earl unit 
have been adjusted to remove the narrow, unsuitable portion to the 
north. The unit has been expanded to the State Park boundary to the 
south, resulting in an overall reduction in the unit's size. However, 
we believe that the remainder of the unit is important geographically 
to other essential habitat areas for the conservation of the Pacific 
Coast WSP. Lake Earl was designated as critical habitat because of its 
importance as a wintering area and its potential to support significant 
breeding populations. Plovers have been observed in the Lake Earl 
lagoon system during the breeding season in 1991 (PRBO, unpublished 
data) and nesting at Lake Talawa in 1997 (Page et al. 1981). We believe 
the economic impact presented by commenters is overstated because the 
current importance of the unit to plovers is based primarily on its 
utility as wintering habitat. Impacts to OHV and other recreational 
uses are minimal because much of the revised unit is difficult to 
access in winter due to the open breach of the Lake Earl lagoon.
    23. Comment: One commenter states that the Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office has failed to meet with the representatives and citizens of Del 
Norte County to discuss how critical habitat designation may restrict 
recreational use, reduce land values, and effect the breaching of 
lakes.
    Our Response: Staff from the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office 
provided a presentation on the proposed critical habitat and answered 
questions at a Del Norte County Board of Supervisors (Board) meeting on 
March 8, 2005. The Arcata office held an additional public meeting in 
the Board's chambers on June 9, 2005, to discuss issues with the public 
regarding critical habitat designation. At both meetings, staff stated 
that restrictions applied to recreation and other uses within suitable 
plover habitat are dependant on the managing entity's actions, and are 
usually implemented in an effort to avoid take of a listed species 
rather than as a result of critical habitat designation. Service staff 
also stated that they are not qualified to make economic determinations 
regarding land values, and advised the Board and meeting participants 
to review the economic analysis when it became available. Service staff 
also discussed their January 05, 2005 biological/conference opinion for 
the 10-year Permit to breach the Lake Earl sandbar. In that biological 
opinion, no restrictions were imposed as a result of the proposal to 
designate critical habitat at the breach site (Section 7 consultation 
8-14-05-2577).
    24. Comment: A few commenters believed that the Clam Beach/Little 
River subunit should not be designated as critical habitat because of 
impacts to recreational uses and the resultant impacts to the local 
economy. One commenter mentioned that he had in his possession an 
informal survey support the impacts attributed to plover management 
activities.
    Our Response: The draft Economic Analysis does not attribute a 
significant fiscal impact to designating critical habitat at the Clam 
Beach/Little River subunit (CA 3A). Additionally, the Humboldt County 
Public Works Department has stated that visitation is increasing at 
Clam Beach County Park (within subunit CA 3A), further indicating that 
visitor use is not significantly affected by plover management or 
potential critical habitat designation.

[[Page 56975]]

    25. Comment: Many people (including signers of several petitions 
and form letters) commented on the proposed Dillon Beach (CA 7) unit. 
Overall, six supported designation of the unit; 14 did not state their 
position but requested information or public hearings, or suggested 
foci for the economic assessment; and the rest were opposed to the 
designation. Of those opposed, all but three indicated concern over 
loss of access to the beach. Other concerns raised included potential 
negative impacts to small businesses and local property values due to 
loss of beach access (94 commenters); and a perception that the 
proposed unit is not important to WSP conservation since snowy plovers 
do not nest there (458 commenters). People also disputed the 
conservation importance of the site, claiming that some other site 
would be better (39 commenters), and that the plovers are doing well 
enough at Dillon Beach to make critical habitat designation unnecessary 
(39 commenters). Four commenters pointed out that the identification of 
humans and pets as potential threats in the unit description implies an 
intent to restrict access by humans and pets. One hundred eight 
commenters requested a public workshop or hearing. Additional points 
raised included a concern that designation would influence state or 
local agencies to restrict recreational activities or land-use permits 
in the area. One commenter also argued that since plovers from outside 
the listed coastal population over winter on California beaches, there 
is no way to know whether those at Dillon Beach are from the listed or 
unlisted population.
    Our Response: This unit was excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, primarily based upon the 
landowner's willingness to enter a partnership ensure conservation (see 
section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act). We identified the Dillon 
Beach site as essential to the conservation of the species because it 
has the essential habitat features, and because surveys have found 
higher populations of wintering plovers there than any other coastal 
site north of San Francisco (Page in litt. 2003). Adult over wintering 
survival is essential to the recovery of the population (Nur et al 
1999). The surveys have also consistently noted numerous plovers banded 
as chicks at other coastal beaches, indicating that all or a 
substantial portion of plovers at the site are from the listed 
population (Watkins, in litt. 2005). In response to the requests for a 
public workshop or hearing, we hosted a well-attended public workshop 
in the area on February 14th, 2005, where these points were explained.
    26. Comment: Several people commented on the units proposed for 
Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco Counties. One comment was on behalf of 
the Pt. Reyes National Seashore in support of the designation. Another 
was written at the public workshop held for Dillon Beach, and was 
generally supportive. A third letter provided information regarding 
pets at Limantour Spit (CA 9) but was otherwise neutral. The final two 
letters were neutral but encouraged us to include additional areas; 
specifically Ocean Beach, San Francisco County, and Salmon Creek and 
Doran Spit, Sonoma County.
    Our Response: We appreciate the information and support provided, 
and support the habitat restoration measures outlined by the Pt. Reyes 
National Seashore. We have decided not to include the suggested 
additional areas because they do not meet our three criteria from the 
Methods section: They do not support either sizeable nesting 
populations or wintering populations, nor do they provide unique 
habitat or facilitate genetic exchange between otherwise widely 
separated units. Although we do not consider these areas essential for 
recovery, we do consider them important, and will continue to review 
projects in these areas that might affect WSP as required by sections 7 
and 10 of the Act.
    27. Comment: One commenter requested the Service exclude, under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act, certain lands within the Oceano Dunes State 
Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA), from the designation of critical 
habitat for the western snowy plover for economic and other reasons. 
The commenter suggested that because no direct public access exists 
from the south, the structure of the park requires vehicles to drive 
along the shoreline, through areas proposed for critical habitat, to 
access areas of the dunes used by off-road vehicles.
    Our Response: In the final rule, we have removed the heavily 
disturbed open riding area of the ODSVRA from the entrance of the park 
and extending to the southern exclosure. The remainder of this unit was 
excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act based upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application 
of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act).
    28. Comment: The same commenter stated that economic costs of 
inclusion (at ODSVRA) are great.
    Our Response: This unit was excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high 
economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 
4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    29. Comment: The same commenter pointed out that conservation 
measures have been implemented at ODSVRA that have resulted in an 
increase in the number of nesting western snowy plovers, as well as an 
increase in their fledge rate, at this site.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter that conservation 
measures implemented at ODSVRA have been very effective, resulting in 
increased numbers of nesting western snowy plovers. Consequently, 
during the 2004 nesting season, ODSVRA supported approximately 4.6 
percent of the coastal population of western snowy plovers. Of the 147 
nests located at this site in 2004, 95 percent were found within the 
areas managed for western snowy plovers (State Parks 2004).
    30. Comment: The same commenter stated that State Parks is 
currently preparing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the San Luis 
Obispo Coast District including the ODSVRA.
    Our Response: We are aware that State Parks is preparing a draft 
HCP for this area. It is not our policy to exclude areas from critical 
habitat based upon management plans which have not yet been made 
available for our review. However, this unit was excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its 
high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    31. Comment: Two commenters requested exclusion of three parcels 
(identified as the McDonald site (16.2 acres), the Sterling site 
(approximately 7 acres), and the Lonestar site (39 acres)) along the 
coastline of Sand City from critical habitat for the western snowy 
plover, stating that a 1996 Memorandum of Understanding (1996 MOU) 
between the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Monterey 
Peninsula Regional Parks District, City of Sand City, and Sand City 
Redevelopment Agency established a plan that ``* * * would actively 
manage (western snowy plover)/human interaction, thus maximizing the 
likelihood of (western snowy plover) recovery * * *.''
    Our Response: We have reviewed the 1996 MOU. At no point does it 
mention

[[Page 56976]]

western snowy plovers or their management. It does state that the 
signatories ``desire'' to ``(s)upport efforts to restore sand dunes and 
associated dune vegetation and habitat'' and ``(c)reate and preserve a 
north/south habitat corridor for endangered and threatened species''. 
However, the 1996 MOU does not outline any specific actions to meet the 
habitat needs of western snowy. However, this unit was excluded from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based 
upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 
3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    32. Comment: Two commenters requested exclusion of three parcels 
(as described above) along the coastline of Sand City from critical 
habitat for the western snowy plover, stating that a habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) being developed for the area is likely to 
assist in the recovery of the species and that designation of critical 
habitat within the subject parcels could disrupt the HCP planning 
process.
    Our Response: We are available to assist non-federal landowners in 
development of HCPs that address listed species, including the western 
snowy plover. However, the ongoing development of a draft habitat 
conservation plan does not assure that the plan will be adequate or 
implemented. This unit was excluded from critical habitat designation 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high economic costs 
(see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    33. Comment: A commenter requested exclusion of three parcels (as 
described above) along the coastline of Sand City from critical habitat 
for the western snowy plover, stating that there would be little 
benefit to designating critical habitat within the subject parcels 
(largely because the commenter believes that there would be no 
consultation under section 7 of the Act for activities within those 
parcels).
    Our Response: This unit was excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high 
economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 
4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act). The primary 
benefit of any critical habitat with regard to activities that require 
consultation pursuant to section 7 of the Act is to ensure that the 
activities will not destroy or adversely modify designated critical 
habitat. We believe that the commenter's conclusion that activities 
within the subject parcels would not require section 7 consultation(s) 
is premature. At a minimum, the Service would be required to conduct an 
internal section 7 consultation before any incidental take permit could 
be issued through the HCP process. Any other action authorized, funded, 
or carried out by a Federal agency that may affect a listed species 
would also require section 7 consultation.
    34. Comment: A commenter requested exclusion of three parcels along 
the coastline of Sand City (as described above) from critical habitat 
for the western snowy plover, stating that designation of critical 
habitat within the subject parcels would have adverse economic effects 
on the City of Sand City by preventing future development activities 
within the subject parcels.
    Our Response: This unit was excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high 
economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 
4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    35. Comment: A commenter requested exclusion of three parcels (as 
described above) along the coastline of Sand City from critical habitat 
for the western snowy plover, stating that because the subject parcels 
account for only approximately 20 percent of the Sand City coastline 
and represent marginal habitat, that their development would not impede 
recovery of the species.
    Our Response: The majority of documented western snowy plover nests 
along the Sand City coastline have occurred within the three subject 
parcels (Noda in litt. 2003). In addition to breeding habitat, Sand 
City beaches have provided habitat for wintering western snowy plovers 
(Noda in litt. 2003). However, this unit was excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its 
high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    36. Comment: One commenter requested the Service minimize the areas 
of the Nipomo Dunes and Morro Bay designated as critical habitat for 
the ``coastal plover''.
    Our Response: This unit was excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high 
economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 
4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    37. Comment: One commenter suggested that two beaches in Santa 
Barbara County (East Beach and the breakwater Sand Spit in Santa 
Barbara Harbor) should be included in the final rule. The commenter 
also stated that these two sites were included in the 1999 final rule, 
but were excluded in our proposed rule without explanation. The 
exclusion of these two beaches without proper documentation and 
analysis is unsupported.
    Our Response: Our current designation of critical habitat is 
different from the 1999 rule in two primary ways. In this designation, 
we utilized a different methodology for determining essential areas, 
and we relied upon additional scientific information which was not 
available in 1999. Thus, this rule, while similar in many respects to 
that in 1999, is a new designation, and does not designate the same 
areas.
    38. Comment: Several commenters noted a discrepancy between the 
description of subunit CA 19A and the map for this subunit. The subunit 
is described as extending 6.1 mi (9.8 km) along the coast from the 
north jetty of the Channel Islands harbor. However the map of this 
subunit (Map 54) depicts it as starting about 1 mile north of the 
jetty. The commenters noted that the area immediately north of the 
jetty is known as Hollywood Beach and is an ``active critical habitat 
area of the western snowy plover.''
    Our Response: Although the description of subunit CA 19A in the 
proposed rule included the Hollywood Beach area, an error was made 
during the preparation of the maps and Hollywood Beach was 
inadvertently not shown. We have now corrected that error, and 
Hollywood Beach is included in this final designation for the plover.
    39. Comment: A commenter pointed out that, although the 2004 
proposed rule states that all 61 ac proposed for designation at unit CA 
13 (Pt. Sur Beach) are privately owned, a portion of the 61 ac is 
actually state lands. If the intent of the critical habitat designation 
is only to include private lands, then the commenter objects because 
the habitat features essential for the conservation of the plover are 
equally present in both the public and private portions of the unit and 
both public and private lands should be included.
    Our Response: A table in the proposed rule (69 FR 75608) 
erroneously listed unit CA 13 as being private land. In actuality, unit 
CA 13 is entirely made up of State-owned land as stated in the text 
description for the unit.

[[Page 56977]]

    40. Comment: A commenter stated that one of the functions of the 
jetty at the south end of subunit CA 19A is to act as a sand trap. 
Every 2 years they are required to dredge sand from this location and 
transport it farther south along to coast where there is erosion 
occurring. The commenter further noted that the biannual dredging has 
been ongoing for 40 years, and that the discontinuation of dredging 
could result in the creation of extremely hazardous conditions to 
vessels in the area. The commenter urged the Service to remove this 
sand trap area from the designation.
    Our Response: Hollywood Beach, the area north of the jetty to which 
the commenter is referring is both a nesting and a wintering area for 
snowy plovers and has been determined to contain features essential to 
the conservation of the species. Therefore, we have included it in this 
final designation. We also point out that the designation of critical 
habitat does not prevent the sand dredging from occurring. If the 
action is permitted or authorized by a Federal agency, the Service 
would likely be involved with or without the critical habitat 
designation through a section 7 consultation with the Federal agency. 
We will continue to work with dredging operators to ensure endangered 
species conservation is made compatible with the safety of all vessels.
    41. Comment: A commenter requested that two areas within or near 
the city of Morro Bay not be included in the designation. The commenter 
characterized the area south of Highway 41/Atascadero Road to Morro Bay 
Rock in subunit CA 15B as being heavily used for recreation and 
including parking lots, restrooms, lifeguard towers. The commenter also 
stated that we were in error when we said that subunit 15B is near the 
city of Morro Bay and is managed entirely by the California Department 
of Parks and Recreation. The area south of Atascadero Road is within 
the city limits and is owned and managed by the city. Similarly, the 
commenter stated we were in error when we said that the area south of 
Atascadero Road is an important breeding area supporting up to 40 nests 
each year when in fact there has never been any documentation of 
nesting or breeding in this area.
    The second area the commenter requested not be included in subunit 
CA 15B extends north from Azure Street to the north end of the subunit. 
The commenter characterizes this area as being heavily populated with 
hundreds of homes and a State campground with thousands of visitors per 
year. The commenter further noted that few nests have been observed in 
this area and only in some years does nesting occur at all in the area.
    Our Response: When we stated in the proposed rule (69 FR 75608) 
that subunit 15B was an important breeding area supporting up to 40 
nests each year, we were discussing the entire subunit, not just the 
area south of Atascadero Road. However, as no nests have been 
documented for the area south of Atascadero Road and this area is 
highly disturbed, we have removed it from the designation as not being 
essential to the conservation of the plover. The remainder of this 
subunit was excluded from critical habitat designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high economic costs (see section 
titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    42. Comment: A commenter requested that Hueneme Beach Park in 
subunit CA 19B not be included in the designation. The commenter 
characterized the park as a highly disturbed and heavily used 
recreational resource that is not appropriate for critical habitat. The 
park includes a fishing pier, picnic tables, barbeques, restaurant, 
parking lots, dog walk, and volleyball courts, and is also the location 
of biennial sand replenishment activities.
    Our Response: Based on the information provided by the commenter 
and because there are no nesting plovers in the area, we have removed 
Hueneme Beach Park from subunit CA 19B because it is highly disturbed 
and not essential to the conservation of the western snowy plover. 
However, the remainder of subunit CA 19B has been designated as 
critical habitat.
    43. Comment: A commenter requested that the Santa Barbara Harbor 
from Pt. Castillo to Salinas Creek and including the sand spit at the 
end of the breakwater be included in the critical habitat designation 
as it was in 1999.
    Our Response: Although the area to which the commenter is referring 
was included in the 1999 designation (64 FR 68508) as CA-14 unit 2--
Point Castillo/Santa Barbara Harbor Beach, we used a different 
methodology and set of criteria to determine critical habitat in the 
2004 proposal (69 FR 75608). The Point Castillo/Santa Barbara Harbor 
Beach area was not included in the 2004 proposal because it did not 
meet the criteria for critical habitat established for the designation.
    44. Comment: A commenter believes that the expansion of critical 
habitat in CA-18, Devereux Beach would be an ineffective form of 
conservation for the plover. As stated in the proposed designation (69 
FR 75608), ``In 30 years of implementing the Act, the Service has found 
that the designation of statutory critical habitat provides little 
additional protection to most listed species, while consuming 
significant amounts of available conservation resources.'' Furthermore, 
research conducted by Lafferty (2001) at Coal Oil Point indicates that 
expansion of the fenced area on the beach did not provide comparable 
gains in plover protection.
    Our Response: This unit does not represent an expansion. This area 
was included in the original 1999 critical habitat designation for the 
plover (64 FR 68508) as CA-14, unit 1--Devereux Beach. In the original 
designation, the unit contained approximately 57 ac, while in the 2004 
proposed rule, the unit is only 36 ac. The referenced fenced area is 
for the protection of nesting plovers. However, nesting plovers may 
forage over the entire beach and plovers also winter over the entire 
beach. Therefore, we have designated Devereux Beach as critical habitat 
for the plover, not just the area that is fenced to protect nesting 
plovers.
    45. Comment: Another commenter noted that the California Coastal 
Commission has banned dogs from Devereux Beach (unit CA 18) where 
critical habitat has been designated and that the area designated at 
Devereux Beach should be reduced.
    Our Response: Devereux Beach is both a plover breeding area and a 
wintering area, with as many as 360 wintering birds. Unit CA 18 also 
contains the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species. Therefore, we have designated 36 ac in 
this area as critical habitat for the plover, which is reduced from the 
approximately 57 ac designated in this area in 1999 (64 FR 68508).
    46. Comment: Los Padres National Forest concurred with the decision 
of the Service not to include in the critical habitat designation 
location CA-69 (San Carpoforo Beach) from the draft recovery plan for 
the western snowy plover. San Carpoforo Beach is a very small beach 
that is occupied mainly by a few (about 35) wintering plovers.
    Our Response: We concur. San Carpoforo Beach was not included in 
the critical habitat designation because it did not meet the criteria 
we set forth in this final designation.
    47. Comment: One commenter applauded the Service for designating 
critical habitat for the plover in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and 
Ventura Counties, but also stated that all areas occupied by plovers 
should be designated.

[[Page 56978]]

    Our Response: The Act states, at section 3(5)(C), that except in 
particular circumstances determined by the Secretary, critical habitat 
shall not include the entire geographical area which can be occupied by 
the threatened or endangered species. We have designated habitat that 
contain sufficient features essential for the conservation of the 
species.
    48. Comment: One commenter asked that Morro Bay's sandspit and 
beach [CA 15C] not be designated.
    Our Response: This subunit was excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high 
economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 
4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    49. Comment: One commenter believed that San Buenaventura Beach 
should be included as it was in the 1999 designation.
    Our Response: Although the area to which the commenter is referring 
was included in the 1999 designation, we used a different methodology 
and set of criteria to determine critical habitat in the 2004 proposal 
(69 FR 75608). The San Buenaventura Beach area was not included because 
it did not meet the criteria for critical habitat established for the 
designation.
    50. Comment: Two commenters stated that, since the criteria used to 
determine critical habitat for the western snowy plover are improper, 
those areas in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties 
that were included in the 1999 designation but excluded in the 2004 
proposal (Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Laguna, Torro Creek, Jalama, Point 
Castillo/Santa Barbara Harbor, Carpinteria Beach, and San Buenaventura) 
should be included as critical habitat. These beaches should be 
included in the final designation as they are utilized by the species 
for wintering, they contain the identified primary constituent elements 
that may require special management, and the sites are essential to the 
survival and recovery of the plover.
    Our Response: Although the areas to which the commenters are 
referring were included in the 1999 designation, we used a different 
methodology and set of criteria to determine critical habitat in the 
2004 proposal (69 FR 75608). These areas were not included in the 2004 
proposal because they did not meet the criteria for critical habitat 
established for the designation.
    51. Comment: A commenter stated that the Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes 
National Wildlife Refuge should be included in the final designation 
and that the Service's exclusion of this area because it is subject to 
a ``plover management plan'' that has undergone section 7 review was 
improper. No information was provided on the management plan to 
determine whether or not the plan provides a conservation benefit or 
otherwise meets the Service's criteria for adequate plans. In addition, 
the fact that the plan has undergone section 7 consultation does not 
demonstrate that the plan provides any benefits for the plover. The 
Service also failed to adequately balance the benefits of inclusion vs. 
the benefits of inclusion for the area when it was excluded.
    Our Response: We have now included more detailed information on the 
Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge plover management plan 
in this final rule. The refuges meet our criteria for management plans. 
See the Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section below for a detailed discussion of 
our exclusion of this refuge.
    52. Comment: One commenter noted two areas in Orange County that 
were not proposed for critical habitat but are used by wintering 
plovers and constitute high quality habitat. One area is Surfside Beach 
in northern Orange County and the other is Newport Beach between Balboa 
Pier and the entrance to Newport Bay.
    Our Response: Snowy Plovers were not discovered using these sites 
until the fall of 2004. We recognize that both locations support high 
quality habitat with large concentrations of snowy plovers, and have 
the potential to support breeding birds. However, the Service did not 
determine these areas to be essential to the conservation of the DPS 
and they were not designated as critical habitat. We are working with 
local jurisdictions and managers to reduce the threats to snowy plovers 
at these sites.
    53. Comment: Two commenters stated that the Subunit CA 21D, Hermosa 
State Beach, is located in a heavily populated urban environment and 
should not be considered critical habitat. They also expressed concern 
over future restrictions on beach use.
    Our Response: Hermosa Beach annually supports a relatively large 
wintering flock of snowy plovers (69 FR 75627). This flock persists 
despite the heavy recreational use of the beach area. Nearly all 
beaches in southern California are subject to heavy recreational use. 
To restrict snowy plovers to beaches without heavy recreational use 
would limit the plovers to few if any beaches in southern California.
    54. Comment: Some commenters questioned the value of designating 
critical habitat at the Lake Earl lagoon (CA 1), and state that the 
Service failed to show that nesting ever occurred at the unit's 
location.
    Our Response: Plovers were observed during the breeding season west 
of the Lake Earl lagoon during a breeding season window survey in 1991 
(PRBO unpublished data). No plovers were observed during the subsequent 
survey in 1995 (an incomplete survey year, PRBO unpublished data). 
Page, et al., 1981, states that nesting plovers were found on the beach 
at Lake Talawa (i.e. western most portion of the Lake Earl lagoon 
system) during May, 1997. Yocom and Harris suspected breeding at the 
same location in 1975, but were unable to confirm it. Plovers currently 
overwinter within the designated CA 1 unit.
    55. Comment: One commenter states that the Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office has failed to meet with the County of Del Norte and private 
citizens to comment on restricted recreational use, loss in land 
values, and effects on the ``Federal project'' of breaching lakes.
    Our Response: Staff from the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office 
provided a presentation on the proposed critical habitat and answered 
questions at a Del Norte County Board of Supervisors (Board) meeting on 
March 8, 2005, at the Board's request. The Arcata office held an 
additional public meeting in the Board's chambers on June 9, 2005, to 
discuss issues with the public regarding critical habitat designation. 
At both meetings, staff stated that restrictions applied to recreation 
and other uses within suitable plover habitat are dependant on the 
managing entity's actions, and are usually implemented in an effort to 
avoid take of a listed species rather than as a result of critical 
habitat designation. Staff also stated that they are not qualified to 
make economic determinations regarding land values, and further stated 
that is why the Service contracts out the economic analysis for 
designation. With regards to the ``Federal Project'' of breaching the 
Lake Earl lagoon system, Service staff referenced the recently 
completed biological/conference opinion (January 05, 2005) for the 10-
year Permit to breach the Lake Earl sandbar. No mitigation, protective 
measures, or restrictions on the proposed action, or any activity, were 
imposed as a result of the proposal to designate critical habitat at 
the breach site (Section 7 consultation 8-14-05-2577). If not for the 
Federal action (i.e. mechanical breaching), the lagoon would breach on 
its own at a higher water level.

[[Page 56979]]

    56. Comment: One commenter stated that the Service's assertion that 
human activity is the primary threat to plovers is erroneous as animal 
predators are more responsible for plover kills. The commenter opines 
that the Service should focus its efforts on predator controls over 
global land use and development restrictions. Another commenter states 
that human activity lowers the adverse effects of predators, and 
increases the plover's success.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter that predators are likely 
responsible for more direct kills and injuries; however, humans have 
contributed to the impacts of predators. Nest and chick predators have 
been introduced into areas where they are not native, and impact the 
reproductive success and survival of plovers (e.g. red fox). When 
humans and their pet flush nesting plovers on sandy beaches, the 
plovers leave tracks in the sand as they move off and on to the nest. 
Corvids use the plover tracks to locate nests, increasing the 
opportunities for successful nest predation. Human development and 
trash in and adjacent to suitable plover habitat has increased the 
incidence of some plover predators (ravens and crows). Additionally, 
human activities, such as development and beach raking, have rendered 
some beach sections totally unusable to breeding plovers, reducing the 
number of areas suitable for nesting. The areas with the highest 
predation rates usually do have some predator management associated 
with them. Nest exclosures, predator-proof trash receptacles, aversions 
conditioning, and both lethal and non-lethal control of predators has 
been successful in reducing the impacts of predators on plover 
reproduction and survival. We believe that these actions implemented to 
reduce the impact of predators on plover nesting, and other management 
measures designed to reduce the potential impacts of humans (e.g. use 
of symbolic fencing, public education, and enforcement of regulations), 
are responsible for the increases in plover breeding success documented 
at many locations.

Comments Related to Military Lands

    57. Comment: A commenter stated Vandenberg Air Force Base should 
not be excluded unless there is a final integrated natural resources 
management plan.
    Our Response: All lands essential to the conservation of the 
western snowy plover at Vandenberg have been excluded under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act from the final designation of critical habitat 
because of alternative protective measures provided by the Air Force 
and because of the national security issues the Air Force stated in 
their February 7, 2005, comment letter (see the Application of Section 
3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
section below for a detailed discussion).
    58. Comment: The Air Force submitted several comments relating to 
the exclusion of Vandenberg Air Force Base (Vandenberg) from critical 
habitat. They state that: (1) The Air Force has worked with the Service 
to revise the INRMP (which is expected to be completed in 2005), and 
that the INRMP contains special management activities that adequately 
address the conservation of suitable habitat important to long-term 
protection and recovery of the western snowy plover; (2) the western 
snowy plover and its habitat are already being protected at Vandenberg 
by the Air Force's Beach Management Plan; (3) all the proposed critical 
habitat areas on Vandenberg are occupied throughout the year and 
subject to consultation pursuant to section 7 of the Act; (4) the INRMP 
and Beach Management Plan together provide a greater level of 
protection for the western snowy plover and its habitat than a 
designation of critical habitat would provide; and (5) that the 
designation of critical habitat at Vandenberg would interfere with its 
mission execution and military training critical to national security.
    Our Response: All lands essential to the conservation of the 
western snowy plover at Vandenberg have been excluded under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act from the final designation of critical habitat 
because of alternative protective measures provided by the Air Force 
and because of the national security issues the Air Force discussed in 
their February 7, 2005, comment letter (see the Application of Section 
3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
section below for a detailed discussion).
    59. Comment: The Navy commented that Naval Base Ventura County has 
a finalized INRMP that contains management actions that benefit the 
western snowy plover and its habitat. Naval Base Ventura County also 
has a biological opinion from the Service (issued on June 6, 2001) for 
all routine operations, a major part of which covers the western snowy 
plover. The INRMP incorporates all management actions being carried out 
by Naval Base Ventura County in response to the biological opinion.
    Our Response: We have reviewed Naval Base Ventura County's INRMP 
and biological opinion. The Secretary determined, in writing, that 
Naval Base Ventura County's INRMP provides a benefit to the western 
snowy plover and therefore, consistent with Public Law 108-136 (Nov. 
2003): Nat. Defense Authorization Act for FY04 and Section 4(a)(3) of 
the Act, the Department of Defense's Naval Base Ventura County is 
exempt from critical habitat based on the adequacy of their legally 
operative INRMP (see the Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section below for a 
detailed discussion).
    60. Comment: The U.S. Navy requested that their facilities around 
San Diego Bay that were included in the proposed critical habitat, 
including NAS North Island, NAB Coronado, Naval Radio Receiving 
Facility, and NOLF Imperial Beach, be excluded from the final critical 
habitat as they are covered by an INRMP that provides a benefit to the 
species.
    Our Response: The Secretary has determined the San Diego Bay Navy 
INRMP provides a benefit for the western snowy plover; accordingly, the 
Navy's San Diego Bay facilities are exempt from critical habitat 
designation pursuant to section 4(a)(3) of the Act, based on the 
adequacy of their legally operative INRMP (see the Application of 
Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section below for a detailed discussion).
    61. Comment: Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton commented that snowy 
plover habitat on the base receives substantial benefit from management 
actions directed through their Integrated Natural Resource Management 
Plan (INRMP). Therefore, all lands on Camp Pendleton should be excluded 
from the Final Rule, per Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended by the 
2004 Defense Authorization Act.
    Our Response: Camp Pendleton actively manages snowy plover nesting 
and wintering habitat and this management has contributed to an 
increasing snowy plover population on the base over the past several 
years. The INRMP reinforces management actions stipulated under 
previous Section 7 consultations with the Service. The Secretary has 
determined the San Diego Bay Navy INRMP provides a benefit for the 
western snowy plover; accordingly, the Navy's San Diego Bay facilities 
are exempt from critical habitat designation pursuant to section 
4(a)(3) of the Act, based on the adequacy of their legally operative 
INRMP (see the Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section below for a 
detailed discussion). However, we note that not all lands within Camp 
Pendleton are

[[Page 56980]]

covered by the INRMP subject to Marine Corps management. Unit CA 24 is 
located at the far north end of the base on land leased to the 
California Department of Parks and Recreation, and is therefore 
actively managed by State Parks and not by the Base. The San Onofre 
State Beach within unit CA 24 is a recreational beach utilized by 
thousands of people throughout the year. Despite this heavy use, the 
beach is annually used by a substantial wintering flock of snowy 
plovers (69 FR 75628). As described in the proposed rule, this flock 
and the habitat that it utilizes are subject to disturbance due to the 
heavy recreational use of the area, which also likely precludes the use 
of the beach for breeding. With special management, the habitat in the 
proposed unit has a high potential to be managed and restored to a 
point where it is used by plovers for both breeding and wintering. 
Accordingly, we consider this beach to meet the definition of critical 
habitat and it is included in this designation.
    62. Comment: Camp Pendleton also commented that the proposed 
critical habitat potentially impacts their military mission due to 
constraints on lands that have value for military training and 
operations. They particularly objected to the designation of critical 
habitat on Green Beach, an amphibious landing and training beach.
    Our Response: We have refined our mapping for Unit CA 24 to more 
accurately define the essential snowy plover habitat between San Onofre 
Creek and San Mateo Creek. The majority of snowy plover use in this 
area currently is located in a less visited portion of the beach closer 
to the mid-point between the two creek mouths. The result of this 
refined mapping is a reduction in the length of the proposed unit at 
both ends, removing critical habitat from Green Beach as well as beach 
areas to the north of San Mateo Creek mouth.

Comments Related to HCPs, NCCP Program, and Section 7

    63. Comment: Several commenters stated that the Pacific Coast WSP 
already had adequate protections under Section 7 of the Act, and 
therefore did not need to provide additional protection afforded by 
designating critical habitat.
    Our Response: A critical habitat designation means that Federal 
agencies are required to consult with the Service on the impacts of 
actions they undertake, fund, or permit on designated critical habitat. 
While in many cases, these requirements may not provide substantial 
additional protection for most species, they do direct the Service to 
consider specifically whether a proposed action will affect the 
functionality of essential habitat to serve its intended conservation 
role for a species rather than to focus exclusively on whether the 
action is likely to jeopardize the species' continued existence. We 
agree, however, that even absent a critical habitat designation, 
Federal agencies are still required to consult on the impacts of their 
activities on listed species and their habitat.

Comments Related to Economic Impacts and Analysis; Other Relevant 
Impacts

    64. Comment: Several commenters stated that the DEA inappropriately 
ignores benefits although it is possible to quantify the economic 
benefits associated with species protection. One commenter offers, for 
example, that contingent valuation studies have demonstrated existence 
value of non-human species. Another commenter states that the DEA 
should consider ``non-use'' welfare benefits, such as existence, 
option, stewardship, and bequest values, associated with protecting 
plover habitat.
    Our Response: In the context of a critical habitat designation, the 
primary purpose of the rulemaking (i.e., the direct benefit) is to 
designate areas in need of special management that contain the features 
that are essential to the conservation of listed species.
    The designation of critical habitat may result in two distinct 
categories of benefits to society: (1) Use; and (2) non-use benefits. 
Use benefits are simply the social benefits that accrue from the 
physical use of a resource. Visiting critical habitat to see endangered 
species in their natural habitat would be a primary example. Non-use 
benefits, in contrast, represent welfare gains from ``just knowing'' 
that a particular listed species' natural habitat is being specially 
managed for the survival and recovery of that species. Both use and 
non-use benefits may occur unaccompanied by any market transactions.
    A primary reason for conducting this analysis is to provide 
information regarding the economic impacts associated with a proposed 
critical habitat designation. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires the 
Secretary to designate critical habitat based on the best scientific 
data available after taking into consideration the economic impact, and 
any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as 
critical habitat. Economic impacts can be both positive and negative 
and by definition, are observable through market transactions.
    Where data are available, this analysis attempts to recognize and 
measure the net economic impact of the proposed designation. For 
example, if the fencing of a species' habitat to restrict motor 
vehicles results in an increase in the number of individuals visiting 
the site for wildlife viewing, then the analysis would recognize the 
potential for a positive economic impact and attempt to quantify the 
effect (e.g., impacts that would be associated with an increase in 
tourism spending by wildlife viewers). In this particular instance, 
however, the economic analysis did not identify any credible estimates 
or measures of positive economic impacts that could offset some of the 
negative economic impacts analyzed earlier in this analysis.
    Under Executive Order 12866, OMB directs Federal agencies to 
provide an assessment of both the social costs and benefits of proposed 
regulatory actions. OMB's Circular A-4 distinguishes two types of 
economic benefits: Direct benefits and ancillary benefits. Ancillary 
benefits are defined as favorable impacts of a rulemaking that are 
typically unrelated, or secondary, to the statutory purpose of the 
rulemaking. In the context of critical habitat, the primary purpose of 
the rulemaking (i.e., the direct benefit) is the potential to enhance 
conservation of the species. The published economics literature has 
documented that social welfare benefits can result from the 
conservation and recovery of endangered and threatened species. In its 
guidance for implementing Executive Order 12866, OMB acknowledges that 
it may not be feasible to monetize, or even quantify, the benefits of 
environmental regulations due to either an absence of defensible, 
relevant studies or a lack of resources on the implementing agency's 
part to conduct new research. Rather than rely on economic measures, 
the Service believes that the direct benefits of the proposed rule are 
best expressed in biological terms that can be weighed against the 
expected cost impacts of the rulemaking.
    We have accordingly considered, in evaluating the benefits of 
excluding versus including specific area, the biological benefits that 
may occur to a species from designation (see below, Exclusions Under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act), but these biological benefits are not 
addressed in the economic analysis.
    64a. Comment: Many commenters state that the DEA fails to 
distinguish costs specific to critical habitat designation from the 
costs of ESA listing and other co-extensive costs. One

[[Page 56981]]

comment states that critical habitat will not increase management as 
plover management is already in place.
    Our Response: In conducting economic analyses, we are guided by the 
10th Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling in the New Mexico Cattle Growers 
Association case (248 F.3d at 1285), which directed us to consider all 
impacts, ``regardless of whether those impacts are attributable co-
extensively to other causes.'' As explained in the analysis, due to 
possible overlapping regulatory schemes and other reasons, there are 
also some elements of the analysis that may overstate some costs.
    65. Comment: Another comment stated that the DEA should not include 
past costs as these costs are sunk costs that can not be recouped.
    Our Response: As part of our economic analysis, we have estimated 
the past costs associated with the listing of the species prior to 
designating critical habitat. However, we have only used the 
prospective estimated costs for excluding certain units from this final 
critical habitat designation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
(see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act below).
    66. Comment: Several commenters state that the DEA should address 
``other relevant impacts'' in addition to the economic impacts.
    Our Response: The Service believes the words ``other relevant 
impacts'' refer to policy issues, such as, for example fostering 
conservation partnerships and relations with tribal governments. These 
policy considerations are inappropriate for review in an economic 
analysis. If the Service considers excluding areas for these reasons, 
it conducts a separate analysis under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to 
balance the benefits of excluding these areas with the benefits of 
including them.
    67. Comment: One commenter states that the DEA should examine the 
costs of not designating critical habitat and the impacts of the plover 
being delisted. For example, it should consider impacts of legal 
challenges, relisting, and the need to fund management efforts for a 
species further from recovery than when originally listed.
    Our Response: As part of our economic analysis, we estimate the 
costs associated with those economic activities believed to most likely 
threaten the plover and its habitat within the boundaries of the 
proposed designation. Due to cost and time constraints, it is not 
possible for us to estimate costs associated with different listing 
procedures.
    68. Comment: One commenter states that, in the DEA, the area that 
will experience the greatest future economic impacts from plover 
conservation efforts is Unit CA-12C, including the area of Sand City. 
The cost in this area is disproportionate to the benefit of inclusion 
and the area should be excluded from the final designation. The comment 
further states that excluding Sand City from critical habitat will 
contribute to a more positive climate for voluntary habitat 
conservation efforts, which provide greater conservation benefits than 
critical habitat. This comment also asserts that it can not be argued 
that exclusion of the land area within Sand City would lead to the 
extinction of the plover or appreciably reduce its recovery.
    Our Response: As part of this final rule, we have excluded Unit CA-
12C from this final critical habitat designation pursuant to section 
4(b)(2) of the Act. For further information see section titled 
Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 
4(b)(2) of the Act below.
    69. Comment: One comment states that Morro Bay should be excluded 
from CHD as the DEA identifies it as one of the high cost areas while 
no plovers fledged there in 2004 and only one in 2003. The costs are 
therefore greater than the benefits for the community. The comment 
further states that the critical habitat designation is not working as 
there were more plovers on the beach in Morro Bay before the 
restrictions went into place.
    Our Response: We have excluded the Morro Bay unit from this final 
critical habitat designation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
(see section titled below Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) 
and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    70. Comment: One comment noted that the Service did not provide the 
minimum required 60-day comment period and that comments are due only 
days before the court-ordered final designation deadline of September 
20, 2005.
    Our Response: The Service provided a 60-day comment period on the 
proposed critical habitat designation. The need to meet the court 
ordered deadline of September 20, 2005 made it impossible for us to 
open the comment period on the economic analysis for 60 days as well.
    71. Comment: A comment on the proposed designation requests that 
the Service correct the mapping errors in its December 17, 2004, 
proposed rule to protect Sand City and landowners should the proposed 
critical habitat boundaries become relevant.
    Our Response: Our maps are used only as a general guide to assist 
landowners to determine the location of the boundaries of a proposed or 
final critical habitat designation. The legal coordinates presented at 
the end of this final rule represent the actual boundaries of this 
final critical habitat designation. As part of this rule making 
process, we have made every effort to ensure that our maps are as 
accurate as possible. The final rule, economic analysis, and supporting 
Geographic Information System (GIS) maps will also be available via the 
Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/sacramento/default.htm.
    72. Comment: One commenter requests that the Service clarify the 
exclusion of the Metropolitan's property at Ormond Beach by delineating 
it on the map in the final rule as this was not clear in the maps 
contained in the proposed rule.
    Our Response: Our maps only depict those areas we have proposed or 
designated as critical habitat. We include some features on those maps 
so that the public can determine where the general boundaries of the 
proposed and final designation occur. Unfortunately, we can not have 
all features identified on these maps. In the case of areas excluded 
from the proposed and final designation, these areas would not be 
identified as critical habitat. Please be aware that the use of these 
maps is only intended to serve as a general guide for the public to 
determine the boundaries of critical habitat, and to determine the 
actual boundaries of this designation, a person should use the legal 
coordinates located at the end of this final rule.
    73. Comment: One commenter suggests that it might be instructive to 
do a study on how many people choose not to go to a beach because it is 
being used by vehicles.
    Our Response: In essence of costs and time, we have conducted our 
economic analysis to identify those economic activities believed to 
most likely threaten the plover and its habitat and, where possible, 
quantify the economic impact to avoid, mitigate, or compensate for such 
threats within the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. We 
found no evidence that beach use would increase if vehicle use was not 
permitted.
    74. Comment: One comment states that the Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office has failed to meet with the County of Del Norte and private 
citizens to comment on restricted recreational use, loss in land 
values, and effects on the ``Federal project'' of breaching lakes.

[[Page 56982]]

    Our Response: Staff from the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office 
provided a presentation on the proposed critical habitat and answered 
questions at a Del Norte County Board of Supervisors (Board) meeting on 
March 8, 2005, at the Board's request. The Arcata office held an 
additional public meeting in the Board's chambers on June 9, 2005, to 
discuss issues with the public regarding critical habitat designation. 
At both meetings, staff stated that restrictions applied to recreation 
and other uses within suitable plover habitat are dependant on the 
managing entity's actions, and are usually implemented in an effort to 
avoid take of a listed species rather than as a result of critical 
habitat designation. Staff also stated that they are not qualified to 
make economic determinations regarding land values, and further stated 
that is why the Service contracts out the economic analysis for 
designation. With regards to the ``Federal Project'' of breaching the 
Lake Earl lagoon system, Service staff referenced the recently 
completed biological/conference opinion (January 5, 2005) for the 10-
year Permit to breach the Lake Earl sandbar. No mitigation, protective 
measures, or restrictions on the proposed action, or any activity, were 
imposed as a result of the proposal to designate critical habitat at 
the breach site (Section 7 consultation 8-14-05-2577). If not for the 
Federal action (i.e. mechanical breaching), the lagoon would breach on 
its own at a higher water level.
    75. Comment: One commenter states that the maps within the proposed 
rule are misleading as they do not make it clear that the majority of 
the designation is private property. The commenter states that 87 
percent of the proposed designation is private property. The commenter 
also highlights that the map delineating Unit CA-1 is incorrect.
    Our Response: As part of our proposed and final designation of 
critical habitat, we have done our best to present maps of those areas 
we have determined to be critical habitat. We have provided legal 
coordinates so that a landowner can determine where the proposed or 
final critical habitat designations exist, maps to serve as a general 
reference or guide of where those boundaries occur, and have provided a 
table indicating the quantity of the proposed and final designation 
that is in private ownership, or is owned by the State, Federal, or 
local governments. In total, approximately 3191 ac (1,296 ha) of this 
final designation is privately owned land. The final rule, economic 
analysis, and supporting Geographic Information System (GIS) maps will 
also be available via the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/sacramento/default.htm.
    76. Comment: One comment states that the DEA frequently uses the 
term ``opportunity costs,'' but fails to mention the potential for 
``substitution effects.''
    Our Response: Section 4.3 and 4.4 (specifically, paragraphs 147, 
152-153, 159, 171, 189, and 205, and Exhibit 4-32) of the DEA address 
substitution effects. In addition, the analysis acknowledges the 
availability of substitute sites could lower the per-trip loss. 
Accordingly, the DEA assumes beaches where less than ten percent of the 
linear extent of the beach is fenced have sufficient substitute 
possibilities for beach-goers such that quantification of small changes 
in consumer surplus is not feasible.
    77. Comment: According to one commenter, an economic impact 
analysis should include the following elements: (1) Direct, indirect, 
and induced economic activities (output, employment and employee 
compensation); (2) changes in property values; (3) property takings; 
(4) recreational impacts; (5) business activity and potential economic 
growth; (6) commercial values; (7) County and State tax bases; (8) 
public works project impacts; (9) disproportionate economic burdens on 
society sections; (10) impacts to custom and culture; (11) impacts to 
other endangered species; (12) environmental impacts to other types of 
wildlife; and (13) any other relevant impacts.
    Our Response: The DEA does not address property takings, impacts to 
custom and culture, impacts to other endangered species, and 
environmental impacts to other types of wildlife as these elements are 
outside of the scope of the analysis as described in Section 1. The 
remainder of these elements were explicitly considered and described in 
the DEA, and quantified where possible.
    78. Comment: Multiple comments state the resources employed to 
administer plover protection (i.e., labor, fencing, monitoring, etc.) 
injects spending into the local economy and this should be considered 
in the DEA. For example, one comment states that while the DEA only 
includes the economic costs associated with plover research and 
management activities, it should be noted that these activities also 
bring money into Humboldt County in the form of research grants and 
contracts that pay graduate students, consultants, and other 
researchers that live in the area. The comment highlights a recent 
Humboldt State University (HSU) Study that indicates that each HSU 
student not living at home contributes approximately $10,000 per year 
to the local economy, not including state fees. Three to four graduate 
students at HSU have studied the plover over the past five years. 
Another comment states the economic benefits and income from 
designation, habitat protection, monitoring, and management of snowy 
plover and other species utilizing the habitat, and recreational and 
educational opportunities should be included in the DEA.
    Our Response: The DEA acknowledges that certain communities may 
experience increased economic activity as a result of plover management 
efforts. The expenditure of management resources to protect the plover, 
however, represents an opportunity cost as these resources are no 
longer available for other uses. The fact that management expenditures 
generate local employment and associated spending for consultants, 
students and researchers represents a distributional effect rather than 
a compensating surplus gain.
    79. Comment: One commenter stated that while the forecast period of 
the DEA is only 20 years, the Service has a duty to imagine that our 
ancestors will be present for hundreds or thousands of years and the 
birds should be here along with them.
    Our Response: Section 1.3 of the DEA discusses the analytic time 
frame. To be credible, the economic analysis must estimate economic 
impacts based on activities that are reasonably foreseeable. A 20 year 
time horizon is used, because many land managers do not have specific 
plans for projects beyond 20 years, and forecasting beyond this time 
increases the subjectivity of estimating potential economic impacts 
(i.e., any results would run the risk of being speculative). In 
addition, forecasts used in the analysis of future economic activity 
are based on current socioeconomic trends and the current level of 
technology, both of which are likely to change over the long term.
    80. Comment: Multiple comments expressed concern that while the DEA 
acknowledges that no data exist on whether or to what extent plover 
habitats might affect the use of beaches, it still applies the 
assumption that fewer visitors will visit a beach during breeding 
season. For example, several commenters highlight that no evidence 
exists that recreation has declined at particular sites (e.g., Coal Oil 
Point Reserve) where critical habitat has been designated since 1999. 
Further, California Department of Parks and Recreation states that they 
have not found that plover fencing significantly reduces visitation or 
diminishes

[[Page 56983]]

recreational experiences, except for at the Oceano Dunes State 
Vehicular Recreation. The comment states that data indicate that from 
1995 to 2004, visitation at many state beaches showed an upward trend 
in visitor attendance. For example, Salinas River State Beach is one of 
the most productive and heavily fenced parks units in CA-12C, with 99 
nests reported in 2004 over the 3.5 miles of beach habitat. Attendance 
figures for this park unit have steadily increased since 1997 despite 
critical habitat designation in 1999 and an increase in number of 
fenced plover nesting areas.
    Our Response: Section 4.3 of the DEA details the methodology 
applied to determine what, if any, impacts may occur due to plover 
fencing on beaches. While attendance at State beaches may have 
increased, it is not necessarily the case the plover fencing did not 
impact visitation. Data are not available, for example, to estimate 
whether visitation would have increased at an even greater rate in the 
absence of plover protections. Ideally, visitation rates at individual 
beaches would be compared before and after plover conservation efforts 
were undertaken. Such data were not available for use in the DEA. 
Therefore, absent empirical evidence of the change in visitation 
levels, the assumption that fewer recreators visit plover beaches than 
would have absent fencing is an appropriate means to bound the 
potential impact of conservation efforts. This approach was peer 
reviewed and determined to be reasonable.
    81. Comment: Many comments disagree with that the assumption in the 
DEA that all the foregone acres of beach set aside for plover breeding 
could be used for recreation. In particular, commenters state that the 
assumption that recreation is completely eliminated from entire 
stretches of beach where symbolic fences or exclosures are erected 
overestimates impacts. They state that most access restrictions occur 
on the foredune, away from the wave slope (or wet sand) where most 
recreation (e.g., walking, riding, driving) occurs. In addition, for a 
number of the beaches, the fenced areas are not amenable to recreation 
for much of the plover breeding season. One commenter asserts that this 
is not considered in the DEA, which assumes year round usage of all 
acreage designated.
    Our Response: Paragraphs 148-149 of the DEA present the anecdotal 
evidence provided in the literature and by interest groups and beach 
managers that beach visitors may or may not be affected by plover 
conservation efforts depending on, for example, their primary purpose 
of visitation and location of fencing. In fact, some visitors may 
consider their beach visit enhanced due to the possibility of plover 
viewing, while others may consider it degraded due to restricted access 
at particular stretches of beach. Because of the uncertainty 
surrounding the potential reactions of beach visitors to plover-related 
access restrictions, the DEA employs two alternative methods to 
estimate the potential magnitude as discussed in Section 4.3. The first 
method, scenario 1, used in the DEA assumes that as a result of plover 
restrictions, recreators take fewer trips to the beach. The 
availability of substitutes is considered. For beaches at which less 
than 10 percent of the beach length restricts recreation, this analysis 
assumes that recreators may visit substitute sites of the beach 
resulting in negligible welfare losses. The second method used in the 
DEA, scenario 2, assumes that rather than losing beach trips, 
recreators visit their first choice sites but have a diminished 
experience as a result of plover restrictions. This second approach may 
overstate losses at beaches that are sparsely visited and therefore are 
not likely to experience significant congestion as a result of fencing. 
This scenario, however, does not account for the losses to recreators 
who choose to visit a less-preferred beach or who make fewer trips.
    82. Comment: Multiple commenters assert that the methodology used 
to estimate lost recreational opportunities in the DEA is flawed. One 
commenter noted that the assumption that all beach users get less 
enjoyment from short stretches of beach, specifically that pedestrians 
and equestrians lose $1.42 in daily net economic value for every one 
mile reduction in beach length, means that everyone gets less pleasure 
from visiting shorter beaches, such as College Cove, than longer 
beaches, such as Mad River.
    Our Response: The DEA assumes that visitors hold the same value for 
each one mile stretch of beach at all beaches across the designation. 
Accordingly, if a stretch of beach is restricted, the value to the 
visitor of that stretch is lost. The DEA does not make inter-beach 
comparisons of value. That is, the lost value of a restricted area on a 
particular beach reduces the value of that same beach absent plover 
fencing. The total values of various beaches (for example, shorter to 
longer beaches) can not be compared using only the value per mile per 
person per day. Other variables factor into estimating the value the 
public places on a beach, for example, the availability of parking.
    83. Comment: One commenter states that the claim in section 4.5.1 
of the DEA that 70 percent of total annual beach attendance occurs 
during plover nesting season is incorrect. The commenter offers that a 
more likely estimate is 20 to 25 percent as nesting season occurs five 
to six weeks before school is over for the summer and that peak beach 
attendance is in July and August. Another commenter stated that 
reliance on vehicle-counters and vehicle counts in parking lots can 
overstate visitors.
    Our Response: As described in the proposed rule, the DEA considers 
plover nesting season to be from early March to late September. 
Paragraph 158 describes that the estimate of 70 percent visitation 
during the nesting season is based on monthly visitation rates for 
beaches managed by California Department of Parks and Recreation with 
greater than ten plovers. In each instance, the DEA employs the most 
comprehensive data available in estimating number of visitors to the 
beach, in some cases visitor logs are kept by the beach managers, in 
other cases vehicle counts are considered the best indicator of 
visitation rates.
    84. Comment: A comment highlights that the DEA states ``Where data 
are not available for a beach area considered in the analysis, the 
closest similar site was identified and its attendance rate is used to 
calculate expected visitation.'' The comment notes that this assumption 
is very problematic in California, where beach visitation varies 
significantly from beach to beach and it is inappropriate to assume 
that beaches near one another would have similar visitation.
    Our Response: In the absence of specific visitation data for 
particular beaches, the analysis applies the visitation rates from the 
nearest beach with similar characteristics. The DEA acknowledges the 
limitations of this transfer and notes that better data are not 
currently available to improve upon these visitation estimates. The 
Service also notes that this type of data limitation only occurred in 
four subunits, only one of which experiences fencing.
    85. Comment: One commenter offers that estimates of plover 
exclosure diameters of five to eight meters as assumed in the DEA far 
exceeds the actual size of the exclosures.
    Our Response: As described in paragraph 165 of the DEA, the five to 
eight foot diameter design for exclosures assumed in the DEA is equal 
to that prescribed in the California Department of Parks and 
Recreation's Plover Systemwide Management Guidelines.
    86. Comment: Other commenters question the DEA's assumption that 
the

[[Page 56984]]

value of a diminished beach trip is directly proportional to length of 
beach closed. The commenters note that the Lew and Larson study (Lew, 
Daniel K. and Douglas M. Larson, 2005, Valuing Recreation and Amenities 
at San Diego County Beaches, Coastal Management, 33:71-86) from which 
this information was obtained also offers the following information 
cited in the DEA ``the coefficient on the length variables indicate 
utility increases with the length of the beach at a decreasing rate. In 
fact, the Lew and Larson paper provides the coefficients, which show 
that while beach length is positive, beach length squared is negative, 
making apparent that there is a non-linear and diminishing effect of 
additional beach length. Thus, the last few linear yards or miles of 
beach have less effect on visitation and value than the first linear 
years or miles of beach.'' The commenters therefore state that the DEA 
should incorporate this information or estimate elasticity of demand 
for recreation at the beaches to account for this affect.
    Our Response: Paragraph 196 of the DEA describes the method applied 
to estimate value per mile of beach. The DEA applies the mean beach 
length from the peer-reviewed California-based study (Lew and Larson, 
2005) of 2.06 miles, and divides it by the implicit price estimated 
from the study's utility function. This results in a value of $1.42 per 
beach mile per visitor on average. While Lew and Larson do use a 
functional form (quadratic) that allows them to estimate a non-constant 
marginal impact of beach length, strictly applying this functional form 
to individual beaches creates complications. For example, the Lew and 
Larson results imply that for all beaches longer than 8.4 miles, 
additional length will decrease the value of a visit. Equivalently, the 
results imply that partial closures may lead to benefits for visitors 
at such beaches. In order to apply the results of this study to our 
sample of beaches, the DEA derives and applies a single average value 
from the Lew and Larson study. Further, plover fencing may occur 
anywhere along the beach (e.g., at the beginning, end, at multiple 
locations, or at access points) and therefore result in fragmented 
beach access; that is, access restrictions for plover conservation are 
not necessarily continuous. The DEA does not assume that there is a 
negative value to incremental reductions in beach length for sites 
longer than 8.4 miles but instead assumes visitors value incremental 
length on longer beaches as much as on shorter (below 8.4 miles) 
beaches. This method of applying the Lew and Larson study to estimate 
decreased value of beaches due to plover restrictions was determined by 
peer reviewers to be reasonable with the data available.
    87. Comment: Several comments state that the assumption that 
visitors are distributed evenly along the entire length of the beach is 
false. Specifically, the California Department of Parks and Recreation 
comments that beach users at most non-motorized beaches areas tend to 
spend the majority of their time within a quarter of a mile from the 
access points or along the wet sand near the waters edge.
    Our Response: Exhibit 4-32 the DEA acknowledges that, to the extent 
visitors congregate around access points, this analysis overstates the 
lost recreation value associated with plover conservation efforts. 
However, quantified estimates of the distribution of visitors away from 
access points are not available for California. In addition, the 
estimation of the specific visitor densities in the vicinity of the 
plover fencing or exclosures is complicated by the fact that the 
location plover fencing may change over time depending on the location 
of nest sites.
    88. Comment: One comment on the DEA states that the $30 per person 
per day value of lost recreation applied in the DEA is drawn from a 
study of beach use in the San Diego area and may not apply to rural 
areas such as Humboldt County. Similarly, another comment states the 
use of Southern California value estimates for other regions that are 
vastly different in populace and land uses overstates recreation 
impacts in the other regions.
    Our Response: Ideally, specific per person per day values for lost 
recreation would be applied for each individual beach in the analysis. 
During the development of the DEA, however, these data were not 
determined to be available for each beach in California, Oregon, and 
Washington. Available studies that estimate value of beaches for 
recreation are based on beaches in Santa Monica and Orange Counties, 
California and the east coast (e.g. Florida and New Jersey). Values 
reported in these other studies of beach recreation, range from 
approximately $12 to $62. The DEA estimate of $30 per person per day 
for a beach trip falls well within this range. Based on location, date, 
and study characteristics, the Lew and Larson (2005) value of general 
beach recreation on San Diego beaches was determined to be the most 
appropriate for the DEA. Peer reviewers of the DEA agreed that this 
value was reasonable considering available information.
    89. Comment: Multiple comments on the DEA assert that the value of 
the birding, botonizing, and general nature-related enjoyment should be 
included. The comments provide numerous specific examples of essential 
habitat units where birders travel specifically to see plovers and 
where plover management results in a more aesthetically pleasing area. 
The Service's 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife 
Associated Recreation estimates 1.3 million individuals visited the 
California ocean side to engage in shorebird viewing accounting for 
over 22 million non-residential (i.e., away from home) bird observation 
days in California. This study highlights that in 2001, expenditures in 
California by all wildlife viewers amounted to an estimated $2.1 
billion, and that shorebird viewing constitutes an important component 
of all wildlife viewing in California. Finally, a comment states that 
the preservation of open space for the plover draws local, regional, 
and international visitors that contribute to the local economy.
    Our Response: The DEA acknowledges the potential for benefits to 
the birding community of plover conservation efforts and notes that, to 
the extent that birding, botanizing, and general nature-related 
enjoyment are increased by the plover conservation efforts, the DEA 
overstates the economic impact of these conservation efforts. Evidence 
exists that some percentage of visitors engage in birding activities. 
The Oregon Shores Recreational Use Study estimates that 0.2 percent of 
visitors to all beaches across the State identified birding as the 
primary reason for their trip. Data are not available, however, to 
estimate the number of visitors that may engage specifically in plover-
viewing. Further, the National Survey described above evidences the 
importance of wildlife-viewing in the entire State, not that 
specifically related to plover habitat. The Survey also does not offer 
sufficient information to determine how many viewers visit the plover 
beaches, and further, how their decision to visit is related to the 
plover conservation efforts quantifies in the DEA.
    90. Comment: One comment highlights the availability of literature 
valuing wildlife-viewing in California (Cooper and Loomis, 1991, ``The 
Economics and Management of Water and Drainage,'' Agriculture, Dinar 
and Zilberman, eds.). These data could be used to value the benefits 
that seeing additional plovers might provide to beach visitors.

[[Page 56985]]

    Our Response: The study cited in the comment offers a metric to 
correlate bird populations with increased value for a birding trip. 
While the DEA acknowledges the potential for improved conditions for 
bird-watching, as mentioned above, data are lacking in the numbers of 
visitors to the plover beaches that participate in bird-viewing. In 
addition, data on the number of birds typically seen on a single trip 
at each site absent plover conservation activities, and the increase in 
plovers seen as a result of conservation activities, is unavailable. It 
is therefore not clear how these value estimates in the cited study may 
be applied to this analysis.
    91. Comment: Another comment states that the DEA uses the average 
value per trip of $30 from the Lew and Larson (2005) article. However, 
page 4-21, footnote 118 of the DEA notes that when substitute beach 
opportunities are taken into account, the losses from completely 
closing a single beach is between $0 and $1 per person trip; for 
example, for Silver Strand State Beach the loss per trip is $0.09. As 
stated in the footnote, the losses estimated recognizing the 
availability of substitutes can lower the recreational losses by an 
order of magnitude. The comment further expresses that the Lew and 
Larson research could be used somehow to estimate the lost value from 
closing several beaches as an upper bound on partial closures of 
beaches due to critical habitat.
    Our Response: As noted in the Lew and Larson study, the values 
referred to in the comment, $0 to $1, are per-trip economic values of 
closing individual beaches out of choice set of 31 beaches in San Diego 
County. The per-trip value is multiplied by all the individuals in the 
county who ever visit any beach, regardless of whether their first 
choice site is the beach that closes. This aggregate value represents 
the welfare loss of closing a single beach. Transferring this value to 
the DEA requires estimating the total number of people who visit any 
beaches (public and private) within California, Oregon, and Washington, 
and not simply the plover beaches addressed in the DEA. In other words, 
value losses would occur to all visitors for which a plover beach is 
within his or her choice set. Estimating the number of beach users 
cannot be accomplished simply by looking at beach visitation data, as 
single users may visit the beach multiple times. In addition, data are 
not available at the State level to group beaches into choice sets, and 
to understand the total number of visitors to each set. These issues 
present significant limitations to using these data to estimate impacts 
of plover restrictions. In addition, although the per trip value loss 
is less than the value used in the DEA, the number of beach users by 
which this value is multiplied is likely more than the number of 
visitors to plover beaches. Therefore, a method that applies the $0 to 
$1 values may not result in a significantly lower estimate of impact.
    92. Comment: One party comments that the DEA assumption that the 
entire length of the critical habitat unit is closed where information 
on the amount of fencing is not available is not appropriate. The 
comment offers that the DEA should use instead estimate an average 
fencing length to total length of the critical habitat unit to make an 
informed estimate.
    Our Response: In the absence of information regarding length of 
fencing, the DEA assumes the entire length of critical habitat publicly 
owned or managed is fenced in four units. Estimating an average ratio 
of fenced to total beach is complicated by the extreme variation in 
this value across beaches. The ratio varies from 0.01 percent to 100 
percent across the proposed designation. In the case that the fenced 
area is smaller than the proposed habitat in these four units, impacts 
to recreation are likely overestimated. It is not clear, however, that 
the methodology suggested by the commenter would yield more accurate 
results than that employed in the DEA.
    93. Comment: A commenter states that the seventy mile portion of 
the coast between Gaviota and Guadalupe has only four coastal access 
points; those at Surf Beach and Ocean Beach provide the nearest coastal 
access for the 65,000 residents of Lompoc Valley. The comment further 
states that both beaches have been affected by the beach closures due 
to the designation of critical habitat for the plover. For Lompoc 
Valley residents, coastal access alternatives are almost an hour drive.
    Our Response: This comment provides anecdotal evidence supporting 
the assumption applied in the DEA that beach users may be impacted by 
plover conservation efforts and that limited substitutes may exist in 
particular areas.
    94. Comment: A commenter states that the recreational impacts to 
CA-17A and CA-17B are underestimated in the DEA and that the total 
economic loss in beach use at these sites is $627,908 per season 
(2002$). The comment questions the DEA conclusion that five other 
stretches of the California coast experience greater economic losses 
despite the fact that they have other beach access alternatives. The 
commenter requests that the DEA consider both the number of users and 
the availability of alternative beach access locations.
    Our Response: The data used to calculate the number of visitors 
impacted at these sites were provided by Santa Barbara County and Surf 
Ocean Beach Commission. Because data are available for the period after 
plover restrictions were put in place, based on the length of beach 
previously available, the analysis assumes visitation may have been 
four times higher without plover fencing. As described in Section 4.3, 
the DEA employs two distinct scenarios to estimated the potential 
magnitude of loss associated with reduced recreational opportunities. 
Scenario 1 assumes that as a result of plover restrictions, recreators 
take fewer trips to the beach and assigns a value obtained from the 
published economics literature to those lost beach trips. Under this 
scenario the DEA estimates an annualized loss of $5.14 million for 
subunits CA-17A and CA-17B. Scenario 2 assumes that rather than losing 
beach trips, recreators still visit their first choice sites but have a 
diminished experience as a result of plover-related access 
restrictions. According to this scenario, an annualized loss of 
$120,000 is forecast in subunits CA-17A and CA-17B. The estimate 
provided by Santa Barbara County falls within the range of potential 
impacts as estimated in the DEA.
    95. Comment: One commenter stated that the DEA should not estimate 
losses to recreation on beaches at which access is restricted for 
national security reasons, such as Vandenburg Air Force Base, or on 
beaches for which the purpose of public acquisition is for habitat 
preservation, such as Coal Oil Point Reserve and Nipomo Dune National 
Wildlife Refuge.
    Our Response: The DEA estimates losses to recreation at Vandenburg 
Air Force Base as stretches of beach that were previously open to the 
public were closed due to the presence of the plover and not for 
national security reasons (see Section 4). Similarly, stretches of 
beach that were open to the public at Coil Oil Point Reserve have been 
fenced for the plover. The economic analysis assumes that these access 
restrictions for the purpose of plover conservation may impact the 
visitors to these beaches and quantifies the impact. The DEA does not, 
however, estimate any impact to recreation at Nipomo Dune National 
Wildlife Refuge as access to this site restricts access to the public 
for reasons unrelated to the plover.

[[Page 56986]]

    96. Comment: One comment expresses concern that the DEA applies an 
estimate of the value recreational vehicle use from a study based in 
Utah and North Carolina, while the plover habitat is within California, 
Oregon, and Washington.
    Our Response: Ideally, the DEA would employ a California-based 
study to determine the value of beach vehicle recreation. However, no 
such study was identified during the development of the DEA. The 
estimates used were contemplated by peer reviewers on the DEA and 
determined to be the most reasonable given currently available 
information.
    97. Comment: One comment states that the DEA does not take into 
account the fact that Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area 
(ODSVRA) is the only beach in California that legally permits the 
general public to drive on the beach and camp with recreational 
vehicles (RVs) directly on the beach. The comment further states that 
the DEA does not account for the value visitors place on restrictions 
to the unique beach camping opportunities at ODSVRA. Given the high 
visitation rate, as well as the location of camping restrictions, 
plover conservation has substantially reduced the value of the camping 
experience by creating a congested camping environment.
    Our Response: The DEA assumes that no substitute sites for this 
beach exist and accordingly estimates the value of restricted trips by 
assuming these visits are completely lost. Further, the DEA values 
pedestrian trips to this site at $30 per day and OHV trips to this site 
at $54 per day, consistent with the other sites in the analysis and 
relying on data provided by OSDVRA on the relative proportions of 
visitor types. The increment by which the opportunity for camping may 
increase the value that recreators hold for this site is unknown, and 
no additional information about this value was provided in public 
comment. If the value of a camping trip to this site is greater than 
$30 per day, the DEA may underestimate impacts to pedestrian users who 
camp at ODSVRA. Similarly, if the value of a camping trip at this 
unique site exceeds $54 per day, the DEA may understate impacts to OHV 
users who camp at ODSVRA.
    98. Comment: One commenter states that visitors to ODSVRA tend not 
to be local residents and that applying the studies of expenditures of 
beach users for southern California, where many of the visitors are 
local, underestimates the impact to the regional economy. The comment 
further states that the DEA appears to underestimate attendance at 
ODSVRA. Page 4-45 of the DEA indicates beach attendance to be constant 
at 1,486,158 visitors (2002 data) through 2025. The DEA does not take 
into account increasing visitation. Also, the comment states that the 
DEA does not provide information on how the annual visits per mile 
(200,812) during the breeding season was calculated.
    Our Response: Based on a study published by the State of 
California's Department of Parks and Recreation in 1993 and provided in 
public comment, ODSVRA users spend more per trip than assumed in the 
DEA. In response to this comment, the regional impact modeling tool, 
IMPLAN, employed in the DEA was re-run to determine impacts as a result 
of recreation restrictions at ODSVRA for San Luis Obispo County, 
California assuming each lost trip results in a decrease in local 
expenditures of $97, as opposed to the $51 originally assumed in the 
DEA. This value is applied to a reduction in 209,164 trips in an 
average year from 2005 to 2025 resulting in an estimated impact of 
$30.1 million. This loss represents 0.25 percent of the annual baseline 
economy of San Luis Obispo County. This loss in trips is also estimated 
to impact 597 jobs in the County, or 0.45 percent of the annual 
baseline jobs.
    To estimate visitation, the DEA used attendance data provided for 
ODSVRA by California State Parks for years 1997 to 2004. The values 
presented on page 4-45 represent average annual attendance during the 
nesting season. Attendance in 2004 was estimated to be 1,763,948. 
Further, as described in paragraph 159, the annual visitor estimates 
are assumed to increase two percent annually and are not assumed to be 
constant across future years.
    To estimate the average annual number of visitors per mile at 
ODSVRA, the DEA assumes that 6.4 miles of beach are available for 
recreation in Unit CA-16. The average annual visitation to the entire 
area is estimated to be 1.8 million and the DEA assumes that 70 percent 
of annual visitation occurs during the plover breeding season. The 
estimate of visitors per mile during the breeding season is calculated 
by dividing the annual number of visitors by the length of beach and 
multiplying it by the percent of annual visitation occurring during the 
breeding season.
    99. Comment: One commenter states that the DEA relies on the Second 
Administrative Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for the California 
Department of Parks and Recreation San Luis Obispo Coast District and 
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA) to describe 
plover conservation efforts on ODSVRA. This draft incorrectly states 
that exclosures occur only as far as pole seven on the beach when in 
fact they extend further to pole six.
    Our Response: The DEA relies on the Draft Habitat Conservation Plan 
to determine the extent of plover fencing at ODSVRA. To the extent that 
this plan underestimates the length of the restricted area, the DEA may 
underestimate impacts. The distance between poles six and seven is one 
half mile.
    100. Comment: One commenter offers that the DEA should have based 
its estimate of recreational impacts in OR-9 on the recreation losses 
estimated as a result of the New Carissa tanker spill in the pre-
assessment report. The use of the New Carissa value is valid, because 
the report estimates losses that recreationists were awarded in a court 
settlement.
    Our Response: The value per trip applied in the New Carissa impact 
study is $14.39 per person per trip compared to $30 assumed in the DEA. 
However, the DEA estimates a lesser number of visitors experiencing 
diminished recreation value. For example, the data applied in the DEA 
estimate 71 visitors to OR-9 in 1999 compared to 18,400 visitors 
considered in the New Carissa study. The visitor count data used in the 
New Carissa report are 1999 vehicle count data taken at the BLM boat 
ramp north of OR-9. Based on information provided by BLM personnel, 
this visitor data is not an accurate count of visitor use in the 
critical habitat area. The BLM anticipates that most of the visitors 
counted in the New Carissa study use the boat ramp and do not access 
the plover area. To get to the plover area, a visitor would need a four 
wheeled drive vehicle to access the beach via the South Dike Road. No 
vehicle count data is available for the South Dike Road. The DEA 
therefore considers the best available visitor use data for OR-9 to be 
the Oregon Shore Recreational Use Study that specifically surveyed the 
beach contained within OR-9.
    101. Comment: One commenter states that overestimation of impacts 
is inherent in the following quote from the text box on page 4-5 of the 
DEA: ``* * * assuming half of the beach is inaccessible as a result of 
plover conservation efforts approximately 9,200 trips would be lost 
annually * * *. However, it is unclear what proportion of the visitors 
using this parking lot are precluded from recreating in these areas 
proposed for designation as a result of plover conservation efforts.'' 
The commenter states that it seems there should be no

[[Page 56987]]

loss in visitation at this BLM site associated with the plover critical 
habitat unit.
    Our Response: The text box on page 4-5 presents information 
provided by the County Commissioner of Coos Bay, Oregon in contrast to 
that provided in the DEA. This information is included for comparison 
but not quantified in the total economic impacts described in the DEA.
    102. Comment: Two commenters disagree with the DEA's assumption 
that saltwater fishing trips involve beach vehicle use.
    Our Response: Information provided by managers and stakeholders 
during the development of the DEA indicated that vehicles are used to 
facilitate surf fishing and that surf fishing may therefore be reduced 
by restrictions on driving. Peer review of the DEA also determined this 
assumption was reasonable.
    103. Comment: One comment provided on the DEA states that the 
regional economic impact model overstates lost regional spending 
resulting from restricted beach visitation. The commenters opine that 
spending would simply be redistributed toward substitute goods.
    Our Response: Section 4.6 of the DEA discusses this limitation of 
the regional economic impact model, IMPLAN. This model does not assume 
that spending would occur on substitute goods within the region. To the 
extent that visitors purchase substitute goods and services in the 
region, the DEA may overestimate regional economic impacts. The 
regional economic impacts as estimated, however, are considered to 
represent a reasonable upper bound of impacts to the local economic as 
a result of restricting recreational visitation.
    104. Comment: One comment expressed concern about the sources of 
data used to estimate reductions in recreational use. The commenters 
were unable to verify data assumed to be provided by Humboldt County 
Public Works and BLM's Arcata Office.
    Our Response: Beach visitation data were not provided by Humboldt 
County Public Works or BLM's Arcata Office for the DEA. These data were 
provided by Humboldt County Parks Department. BLM's Arcata office 
provided information on OHV restrictions, but not visitor attendance.
    105. Comment: Two comments were provided stating that the number of 
visitors impacted at Silver Strand State Beach is overstated in the 
DEA. The number of vehicles and campers counted in 2004 was 97,949.
    Our Response: Monthly attendance data for Silver Strand State Beach 
provided by California Department of Parks of Recreation from 2001 to 
2005 are used in the DEA. According to these data 326,746 visitors were 
recorded in 2004. This source was determined to provide the best 
available data.
    106. Comment: Two commenters noted that reductions in some types of 
recreation, such as off-highway vehicle (OHV), or equestrian use, may 
result in increases in beach trip value for other user groups.
    Our Response: Exhibit 4-32 of the DEA describes that, to the extent 
that plover-related vehicle restrictions increases the value of a beach 
trip for other recreational user groups, the analysis overstates 
economic impacts to recreational users. Data were not identified, 
however, that describe the relationship of beach vehicle use and value 
to the pedestrian or equestrian recreators.
    107. Comment: One comment asserts that the regional economic impact 
analysis in the DEA does not take into account the impact to visitors 
with complex mechanical needs stemming from the use of Recreational 
Vehicles (RVs), OHVs, and dune buggies.
    Our Response: As discussed above, in response to comments on the 
DEA, the IMPLAN regional modeling tool was used to determine regional 
impacts of restrictions to vehicle use at ODSVRA for San Luis Obispo 
County, California. Following comment, this revised IMPLAN analysis 
assumes a greater decrease in local expenditures per trip than used in 
the DEA based on a study published by the State of California's 
Department of Parks and Recreation in 1993 on ODSVRA users. Impacts to 
vehicle recreation-related activities, such as gas and equipment were 
considered in this analysis, which estimated an of impact of $30.1 
million to the regional economy.
    108. Comment: One commenter expressed concern that while dog-
walking has occurred on Sands Beach for decades, recently, the 
California Coastal Commission has banned dogs from the beach as a 
result of a land swap deal to protect a nearby bluff.
    Our Response: Footnote 128 of the DEA discusses the value that 
beach visitors may have for dog-walking on plover beaches. This comment 
provides anecdotal evidence that some visitors may experience 
diminished trip value in the case that this activity is restricted for 
the purposes of plover conservation. The incremental value that the 
opportunity for dog-walking may have on the value of a beach trip, 
however, is unclear.
    109. Comment: One commenter states that the DEA does not report 
that approximately 15 acres of CA-18 are owned and managed by the City. 
Public uses on this 15 acres include fishing, trails, scuba diving, 
swimming, vista points, windsurfing, and wildlife viewing. Excluding 
the impact to these recreational uses underestimates the economic 
impact of plover conservation in this unit. The City of Goleta is in 
the process of implementing a long-term management plan, covering these 
15 acres, that includes plover protection provisions.
    Our Response: This comment provides new information of recreation 
taking place on a City beach within the potential plover habitat in 
Unit CA-18. The DEA does not currently estimate impacts in this area. 
Additional information would be required on the number and type of 
visitors and on the potential plover management activities on this 
beach in order to estimate impacts. That visitors engage in dog walking 
evidences the positive value of this type of beach recreation, however 
this value has not explicitly been studied.
    110. Comment: A commenter states the DEA does not recognize the 
impacts to recreational activities that occur within Unit CA-1, or the 
businesses that rely on those activities. The DEA does not recognize 
the historic use of the area by the general public for uses such as 
horseback riding, hiking, fishing, OHVs, birding, and camping. The use 
of the area is promoted as a public access point as part of the County 
Local Coastal Program, and the County maintains a parking facility at 
the west end of Kellog Road to serve the general public.
    Our Response: Based on this information, the DEA likely 
underestimates impacts to recreation in CA-1 of plover conservation. 
More information is needed on the extent of recreational activity and 
of plover conservation efforts in this area, however, before economic 
impacts may be estimated.
    111. Comment: One comment states that the DEA did not consider 
recreational impacts to Kellogg Beach in Unit CA-1.
    Our Response: This comment provided did not indicate that plover 
management would occur at Kellogg Beach that would impact recreation. 
Further, conversation with Del Norte County did not indicate that 
plover fencing occurs in this area. To the extent that plover 
management does occur at Kellogg Beach in the future, the DEA may 
underestimate impacts to CA-1.
    112. Comment: One comment states that the DEA underestimates the 
number of recreational trips lost at Clam Beach, at 55 trips per year, 
and therefore

[[Page 56988]]

underestimates the regional impact of these lost trips.
    Our Response: As described in Exhibit 4-30 of the DEA, an average 
annual loss of 1,109 trips is estimated for Unit CA-3A at Clam Beach. 
The commenter appears to have assumed that the 1,109 trips lost were 
estimated over 25 years, when in fact the estimate is annual.
    113. Comment: According to one commenter, the DEA should include 
any economic impact on commercial beach fishing.
    Our Response: In developing the DEA, no information was identified 
concerning any commercial beach fishing operations within the proposed 
critical habitat designation. To the extent that commercial beach 
fishing operations does occur, impacts to these beach users are not 
incorporated. The extent to which commercial fishers were included in 
the visitor counts, impacts to these parties were included in the DEA. 
However, they were assigned a recreational fishing value, which may 
differ from values of trips to commercial fishers.
    114. Comment: One comment asserts that the DEA underestimates the 
regional economic impact of plover conservation efforts. The commenter 
states that his/her Clam Beach horseback riding business was impacted, 
harassed, and eventually closed due to plover listing, plover 
advocates, and agency threats and that $20,000 per year is lost to the 
community by this business being closed.
    Our Response: The DEA considers the impact of plover conservation 
efforts on small recreation-related businesses in this region in 
Section 4.6.
    115. Comment: Multiple commenters state that the DEA did not 
consider potential reductions in property value due to plover-related 
land use restrictions. For example, according to one comment, property 
owners within critical habitat will bear ``stigma impacts,'' including 
``changes to private property values associated with public attitudes 
about the limits and costs of implementing a project in critical 
habitat.'' In contrast, other commenters assert that the DEA suggestion 
that restricting beach access can only have a negative effect on 
property values is incorrect and suggest that restricting beach access 
could have a positive offsetting impact on certain types of property 
value, particularly beach residents, if beach congestion is reduced. 
The DEA does not include potential benefits from restricted beach 
access, or cite relevant hedonic price literature quantifying the 
relationship between congestion externalities and housing prices.
    Our Response: Section 1.2.3 of the DEA describes the potential for 
stigma impacts. More specifically, Section 5.1 of the DEA discusses the 
potential for plover conservation efforts to affect property values. 
While property value research demonstrates that proximity and access to 
beaches may increase the value of a property, research was not 
identified that correlates the level of beach access to property value. 
Plover conservation efforts are not anticipated to completely preclude 
access to beaches, and no data are available to estimate potential 
percentage decrease in property value if beach access is restricted but 
not precluded. Section 4.3.2 of the DEA discusses the effect of beach 
congestion on value of a beach trip, but no literature was identified 
in the development of the DEA correlating beach congestions and housing 
price.
    116. Comment: A comment provided states that while the DEA 
acknowledges the three development nodes on the Sand City Cost, the 
Monterey Bay Shores', MacDonald, and Sterling sites, it only considers 
impacts to the Monterey Bay Shores' site.
    Our Response: Section 5.3.3 of the DEA describes the impacts of 
implementing plover conservation efforts in the implementation of the 
Sand City development project. The DEA acknowledges the three sites 
that comprise this development project: The McDonald Site, Sterling 
Site, and Lone Star Site (also referred to as Monterey Bay Shores). The 
DEA, however, incorrectly refers to the three sites collectively as the 
``Monterey Shores development project.'' The description of plover 
conservation efforts to minimize impacts is from the draft Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) for the Monterey Bay Shores Project site 
specifically. The DEA assumes that similar conservation efforts may be 
required at all three sites. Importantly, however, the economic impacts 
as quantified in the DEA were obtained from personal communication with 
the attorney from Sand City and include impacts to the entire Sand City 
development project.
    117. Comment: Two commenters assert that the DEA should not include 
economic impacts to Sand City associated with HCP development. 
Commenters offers that the California Coastal Commission's (CCC) denial 
of a development permit for this project was based on a number of 
reasons involving the project's failure to meet legal standards under 
California's Coastal Act and was not predicated solely on the presence 
of plovers on the property. Comment from the CCC asserts that they did 
not permit the project primarily due to a water availability issue, and 
not because of the plover.
    Our Response: Section 5.3.3 of the DEA acknowledges that initial 
project plans were not permitted for multiple reasons and that it is 
unclear to what extent the re-planning efforts were driven by the 
plover. The DEA further acknowledges that consideration of multiple 
factors influenced the currently proposed mitigation measures 
associated with the revised plan for development of Sand City, for 
example the purchase of private lots for open space and development. 
Particular conservation efforts described such as hiring of full-time 
plover monitors, however, are clearly related to the plover. The DEA 
isolates conservation efforts associated with the development that 
specifically benefit the plover and its habitat for inclusion in the 
estimate of impacts to Sand City. Of note, Unit 12C of the proposed 
critical habitat, which contains this proposed development site, is 
excluded from final critical habitat.
    118. Comment: One commenter states that the DEA's assumption that 
there will be no development impacts on the Oxfoot Property (Unit CA-7) 
is unreasonable. The commenter asserts that the Dillon Beach site will 
likely be developed in some fashion during the next 20 years and that 
the lack of a current formal development application is not a basis for 
concluding that none will occur. This comment further states that when 
development is proposed, the permitting authority will impose land use 
and beach access restrictions related to plover critical habitat. 
Because beach access has a positive effect on property value, the 
commenter states that restricting beach access to future development 
will have a negative effect on property value.
    Our Response: Section 5.3.4 of the DEA acknowledges the development 
potential of Dillon Beach within Unit CA-7. Communication with the 
Marin County Planning commission indicated that development projects in 
the area in the past have not been influenced by the plover or habitat. 
During the development of the DEA, the commenter provided plans for the 
proposed Lawson Family Dillon Beach Resort, which were developed in 
1995-1996 and included a memorandum on environmental constraints 
associated with the project which was reviewed by the County in 
preparing the Dillon Beach Community Plan. This memorandum highlighted 
impacts to special status species within the vicinity of the proposed 
project site. The plover

[[Page 56989]]

is not included in this list and the memorandum concludes that other 
wildlife species are not found at the site. It is therefore considered 
unlikely that plover conservation efforts would be a condition of 
permitting for this or similar development projects within the Dillon 
Beach area.
    119. Comment: One commenter states that, ``there will be future 
costs for administration of habitat conservation plans for the private 
lands within Area CA-1,'' that are not captured in the DEA. For 
example, administrative costs of section 7 consultation associated with 
breaching of Lake Earl are not included.
    Our Response: As described in Section 5.3.4, Unit CA-1 is within 
Del Norte County, California and is 87 percent private lands. While 
attempts to develop the area have occurred, it has not been permitted 
for various reasons unrelated to the plover. Primarily the water table 
is very high in this area. Breaching of the adjacent lake would need to 
occur more often in order to make development possible, but the lake 
breaching presents an issue for the endangered tidewater goby. (Note 
that breaching of the lake could be beneficial to the plover.) No 
information was uncovered in the development of the DEA indicating 
future habitat conservation plans for the plover in this unit. Past 
consultation in 2003 on the lake breaching did not result in any 
conservation efforts for the plover. The consultation did, however, 
consider impacts of the project to the plover and administrative costs 
are therefore captured. In the case that consultation were to occur for 
the similar breaching efforts in the future, the DEA underestimates the 
administrative costs of considering the plover, although no plover-
related conservation efforts are expected to result consistent with 
previous consultations on the same project.
    120. Comment: According to one comment, the DEA does not include 
the economic loss of potential reduced campground development in Unit 
CA-3A, Clam Beach/Little River.
    Our Response: As detailed in Section 5.3.3 of the DEA, Humboldt 
County Public Works estimates that in the case that plover conservation 
efforts limit the planned expansion of the existing public campgrounds 
in Humboldt County, the County could lose up to $30,000 per year in 
unrealized revenue. This impact is included in the DEA.
    121. Comment: According to a comment, the DEA underestimates 
management costs for ODSVRA. The DEA estimates that from 1993 to 2000, 
California Department of Parks and Recreation spent approximately 
$200,000 annually on plover management, almost all of which was spent 
at Oceano Dunes. Those costs increased to $750,000 per year from 2001 
to 2004. Future management costs at ODSVRA are expected to exceed 
$750,000 per year going forward. No mention is made, however, of the 
recent settlement of litigation between California Department of Parks 
and Recreation and Sierra Club, in which State Parks committed to 
spending in excess of $500,000 in plover conservation and monitoring 
efforts.
    Our Response: Paragraph 100 of the DEA describes the expected 
expenditures for plover management by California Department of Parks 
and Recreation as a result of the litigation referenced in this 
comment. The future management costs of $750,000 per year referenced 
above, and incorporated in the DEA's impact estimate, includes the 
$500,000 for plover management resulting from the consent decree 
between California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Sierra 
Club.
    122. Comment: One comment suggests the DEA underestimates 
management costs at California Department of Parks and Recreation sites 
by not using the average cost to protect a plover nest at ODSVRA of 
$5,700 per nest. The DEA instead uses an estimate of $750 per nest for 
other sites.
    Our Response: Paragraphs 99 and 100 of the DEA discuss California 
Department of Parks and Recreation per nest management costs. As 
highlighted elsewhere in this comment, ODSVRA is unique when compared 
to all other California Department of Parks and Recreation sites, in 
that it provides large-scale vehicular recreation and camping on the 
dunes. California Department of Parks and Recreation provided an 
estimate of future management costs of $300,000 annually for all sites 
other than ODSVRA and $750,000 annually for ODSVRA. These estimates 
were divided by the number of nests present to determine a per nest 
cost. The per nest cost is used in the DEA to estimate management 
expenditures at each unit as expenditures are not tracked by California 
Department of Parks and Recreation according to individual unit. It is 
therefore not appropriate to apply per nest management costs estimated 
for ODSVRA to other California Department of Parks and Recreation 
sites.
    123. Comment: One commenter asserts that the DEA should consider 
cost savings resulting from converting from daily, weekly, or other 
raking, to less frequent raking schemes.
    Our Response: The mechanical beach cleaning restrictions estimated 
in Section 4.5.2 of the DEA occur entirely within Los Angeles County. 
The County indicated that the Los Angeles County Fire Department--
Lifeguard Division requires that the tide line be raked daily to create 
an even surface for safe emergency vehicular response and for general 
safety patrol. In addition, if mechanized beach cleaning were reduced 
the county would have to hire additional staff to manually clean the 
required beaches. Therefore, no cost savings are anticipated associated 
with decreasing the frequency of beach raking in Los Angeles County.
    124. Comment: One commenter states that cost estimates for 
management and monitoring appear to have been exaggerated in the DEA by 
including staff and contractor activities not specifically related to 
the presence or potential presence of plovers. For example, Silver 
Strand State Beach has limited beach raking, and Border Field State 
Park has no beach raking related to plover.
    Our Response: The DEA agrees with this comment and does not 
estimate any impacts of reduced beach raking for either of these sites.
    125. Comment: One comment asserts that cost estimates for 
management and monitoring are overstated at Border Field State Park. 
Monitoring, management, and fencing at this park are focused on the 
California least tern and no areas are specifically closed due to the 
presence of plover.
    Our Response: Management costs estimated in Section 3 for this 
assume that California State Parks will spend $750 per nest for plover 
management, which includes construction of exclosures and symbolic 
fencing, dog prohibitions, and predator controls. These efforts have 
been undertaken at other California State Parks and are therefore 
assumed to be potentially relevant at other State Parks that support 
the plover in the future. As described in Section 4 of the DEA does not 
estimate any recreational losses in this unit.
    126. Comment: According to one commenter, impacts calculated for 
Unit CA-12A, Jetty Road to Aptos are based on the future use of 
exclosures. While it is true exclosures have been used in the past, 
they may not necessarily be in the future. For example, in the 2005 
breeding season no exclosures were used on this beach section.
    Our Response: The DEA assumes past management efforts may continue 
into the future in the case that the area is designated as critical 
habitat. To the extent that plover fencing or exclosures

[[Page 56990]]

are not constructed, the DEA likely overestimates the impacts of plover 
conservation efforts at this site. Unit 12A has been excluded from 
final critical habitat designation.
    127. Comment: One commenter states that the DEA does not include 
any economic impacts of predator control.
    Our Response: Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the DEA discuss and quantify 
management costs, including predator control.
    128. Comment: A comment provided on the DEA requests that the range 
in gravel mining costs related to plover monitoring be explained.
    Our Response: Paragraph 335 of the DEA summarizes impacts to gravel 
mining. Gravel mining costs are expected to range from $5,000 to 
$50,000 for plover monitoring. The range is great as costs depend on 
whether and where the plovers are located in the area. Costs may 
increase, for example, if plovers are in the proposed extraction area.
    129. Comment: One comment states that the DEA does not properly 
distinguish property ownership and cost associated with North Island 
North (CA-27A) and North Island South (CA-27B). North Island North is 
Naval Base Coronado. The Department of Defense (DOD) owns land in both 
units but are listed in Exhibit 3-4 as private. Further, North Island 
South costs are included as DOD costs but the property is primarily 
owned and managed by City of Coronado.
    Our Response: The Proposed Rule states that both subunits are 
located entirely on land owned by the Department of Defense. Exhibit 3-
4 of the DEA however, incorrectly identifies the land manager as 
private. The DEA does not estimate costs other than military for these 
two subunits as described in Section 6.2.2. Therefore, this correction 
is purely descriptive and does not affect impact estimates.
    130. Comment: One commenter states that the DEA should include 
costs attributable to section 7 consultations, law enforcement, or 
additional expenses to public works related to plover conservation 
efforts.
    Our Response: Section 3.3 of the DEA quantifies the administrative 
costs of section 7 consultation; Sections 3.1 and 3.2 quantify and 
discuss management costs, including law enforcement costs where 
appropriate. Further, impacts to public works project, such as the 
Humboldt County camp grounds, are considered in the DEA.
    131. Comment: One commenter highlights that paragraph 18 of the DEA 
does not acknowledge that the HCP developed by the California State 
Parks for Oceano Dunes is only a draft and includes several state park 
units in the San Luis Obispo County in addition to Oceano Dunes State 
Vehicular Recreation Area.
    Our Response: Paragraph 100 acknowledges the draft HCP includes 
Estero Bluffs, Morro Strand State Beach, Montana Del Oro State Park, 
Pismo Dunes Natural Preserve, and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular 
Recreation Area.

Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule

    In developing the final critical habitat designation for the 
Pacific Coast WSP, we reviewed public comments received on the proposed 
designation of critical habitat published December 17, 2004 (69 FR 
75608), and the draft economic analysis published on August 16, 2005 
(70 FR 48094); conducted further evaluation of lands proposed as 
critical habitat; refined our mapping methodologies; and excluded 
additional habitat from the final designation. Table 1, included in the 
``Critical Habitat Designation'' section, outlines changes in acreages 
for each subunit where changes occurred between the proposed rule 
published on December 17, 2004 (69 FR 75608) and this final rule. In 
addition to clarifications in the text pertainting to units or 
subunits, we made changes to our proposed designation as follows:
    (1) We mapped critical habitat more precisely by eliminating 
habitat areas of marginal quality that we do not expect to be used by 
Pacific Coast WSP. In certain locations, we determined that habitat had 
been degraded by extensive stands of non-native vegetation where beach 
managers are unable to plan dune system restoration due to shortages in 
funding or staff. In some instances, habitat may have also been 
degraded by overuse by humans, such as at OHV parks. As a result, the 
following critical habitat units had adjustments to their boundaries. 
The rationale for each adjustment is provided under the unit 
description. The affected critical habitat units are: CA 1, CA 15B, CA 
16, and CA 19B.
    (2) Several military areas were exempted from critical habitat 
designation due to their legally operative INRMPs. In addition, three 
National Wildlife Refuges were found to not to meet the definition of 
critical habitat under section 3(5)(a) of the Act, and were removed 
from the designation. Finally, several areas were excluded from 
critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. These areas were 
excluded either for national security reasons, operative habitat 
conservation plans, or because of the high economic costs of critical 
habitat designation. For a complete description of these areas, please 
see the section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    (3) Although we attempted to remove as many areas of unsuitable 
habitat to Pacific Coast WSP as possible before publishing the proposed 
rule, we were not able to eliminate all of them. As a result, the final 
rule represents a more precise delineation of essential habitat 
containing one or more of the primary constituent elements. This 
correction resulted in a reduction in the total acreage published in 
the proposed rule. The affected critical habitat units are: CA 4D, and 
CA 19A, which contained areas in the proposed rule that were removed in 
the final designation. Some other designated units may also contain 
small portions which do not contain the primary constituent elements. 
Since it is not possible to remove each and every area that may be 
unsuitable Pacific Coast WSP habitat, even at the refined mapping scale 
used, the maps of the designation still may include areas that do not 
contain primary constituent elements. These areas lacking the primary 
constituent elements at time of the final rule's publication are not 
designated as critical habitat.
    (4) Some mapping errors occurred in the proposed critical habitat 
rule for the Pacific Coast WSP, resulting in misnaming a proposed unit, 
an error in the depiction of unit boundaries, or in supplying the wrong 
UTMs (Universal Transverse Mercator) in a unit's legal description. The 
affected units corrected in this final rule are CA 4D, CA 12C, and CA 
22. Refer to the specific unit description for corrections.
    (5) The Unoccupied Areas Identified for Possible Inclusion 
presented in the proposed rule were determined not to be essential to 
the conservation of the species. Consequently, we are not designating 
those areas in Washington and Oregon that were not occupied at the time 
of listing in 1993. Those units are WA 1, OR 1A, OR 1B, OR 2, OR 4, OR 
5A, OR 5B, OR 6, OR 8, OR 10B, OR 10C, OR 11, and OR 12.
    (6) An error was made during development of the proposed rule 
concerning the occupancy of CA 11A at the time of listing. We 
mistakenly stated that CA 11A (Waddell Creek, Santa Cruz County, 
California) was unoccupied during 1993, resulting in us not formally 
proposing this subunit as critical habitat. We were referred to data in 
our possession at the time of listing indicating that breeding plovers 
were present at Waddell Creek in 1991, and again in 1995. No surveys 
were

[[Page 56991]]

conducted during the interim period. Consequently, we assume CA 11A was 
occupied at the time of listing, thereby fully meeting our designation 
criteria as critical habitat.
    We present brief descriptions below of the changes that have been 
made to units from those proposed or considered under the proposed rule 
(69 FR 75608), and provide the rationale for their change. A more 
complete discussion of changes is provided in the unit descriptions for 
those units that are designated as critical habitat. The critical 
habitat features essential for the conservation of the Pacific Coast 
WSP are defined in the ``Primary Constituent Elements'' section below. 
All designated units are located within the range of the population, in 
the States of Washington, Oregon, and California. They are all 
considered currently occupied (with documented use by plovers since 
2000), unless otherwise noted.

Washington

    WA 4, Leadbetter Point/Gunpowder Sands, 832 ac (337 ha): The 
portion of the spit within the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge does 
not meet the definition of critical habitat in section 3(5)(a) of the 
Act, as it does not require special management. As a result, the unit 
size has decreased to its designated 832 acres (337 ha) from its 
proposed 1,069 acres (433 ha) with the exclusion of the Refuge.

Oregon

    OR 8, (Subunits OR 8A and OR 8B): A number of changes to the 
Siltcoos River Spit (OR 8A) and Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch Creek Spit 
(OR 8B) subunits were made in response to public comment. The changes 
reduced the total size of the unit from 563 to 535 acres and included: 
(1) Creating a new smaller unit (Siltcoos Breach) from the northern 
portion of OR 8A; (2) locating the northern boundary of OR 8A 0.6-miles 
north of the Siltcoos River; and (3) combining proposed subunits OR 8B 
with OR 8A. These modifications better reflect the current biological 
and management conditions at the site since they designate an important 
wintering area (the Siltcoos Breach), support the existing snowy plover 
management areas, and provide consistency with the Draft Habitat 
Conservation Plan for the Western Snowy Plover (Oregon Parks and 
Recreation Department 2004).

California

    CA 1, Lake Earl, 57 ac (24 ha): The portion of the proposed unit 
extending north to Kellogg Road, has been dropped from the final 
critical habitat designation, reducing the size of the unit from 91 
acres (37 ha) to the designated 57 acres (24 ha). The narrow portion of 
the proposed unit that extended along the Pacific Shores housing 
development was eliminated from the final rule because of information 
received regarding the dense stands of non-native European beachgrass 
along an already narrow beach, the slope of the beachfront, and 
intensive use by OHVs. These combined factors make the northern portion 
of the proposed unit non-essential habitat. As a consequence, the 
unit's northern boundary has been moved to exclude the private 
property. The southern boundary has been changed to extend slightly to 
the south onto State Park property.
    CA 4D, Eel River Gravel Bars, 1,190 ac (481 ha): The overall 
acreage of this unit has changed from the proposed 1,193 ac (483 ha) 
due to information received regarding the inclusion of developed 
properties managed by the California Department of Transportation. The 
three acres containing road developments have been dropped from the 
final designation, and are considered a mapping error.
    CA 7, Dillon Beach, 30 ac (12 ha): This unit was excluded from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, 
primarily based upon the landowner's willingness to enter a partnership 
ensure conservation (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    CA 12A, Jetty Road to Aptos, 272 ac (110 ha): This subunit was 
excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act based upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application 
of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act).
    CA 12C, Monterey to Moss Landing, 788 ac (319 ha): We have 
corrected a mapping error which was made during preparation of the 
proposed rule; to correct that error, we have removed 15 ac from the 
final designation. The remainder of this subunit was excluded from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based 
upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 
3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    CA 15B, Atascadero Beach, 101 ac (40 ha): A 43-ac (17 ha) portion 
of this subunit managed by the City of Morro Bay was removed from the 
proposed subunit because we determined that this area is not essential 
to the conservation of the plover. The remainder of this subunit was 
excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act based upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application 
of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act).
    CA 16, Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes, 969 ac (392 ha): A 300-ac (121.4-
ha) heavily used open riding area within Oceano Dunes State Vehicular 
Recreation Area was removed from the proposed unit because we 
determined that this area is not essential to the conservation of the 
plover. The remainder of this subunit was excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its 
high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    CA 17, Vandenberg Air Force Base, 930 ac (376 ha): This unit, 
comprised of subunits CA 17A and CA 17B, is located on Vandenberg Air 
Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California. We have excluded all 
essential lands in this unit from the final critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Application of 
Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section for a detailed discussion).
    CA 19A, Mandalay Beach to Santa Clara River, 410 ac (166 ha): As 
stated in the unit description in the proposed rule (69 FR 75608), this 
subunit extends 6.1 mi (9.8 km) north along the coast from the north 
jetty of the Channel Islands harbor to the Santa Clara River. However, 
the map of this subunit (Map 54), as published in the proposed rule, 
depicted this unit as starting about 1 mile north of the jetty 
(Hollywood Beach). We have corrected the map of subunit 19A to display 
the complete subunit, which includes Hollywood Beach.
    CA 19B, Ormond Beach, 175 ac (71 ha): We removed a 28-ac (11 ha) 
area of subunit CA 19B, from the J Street drainage to the south jetty 
of Port Hueneme, because it is a highly disturbed and a heavily used 
recreational area. We determined that the area removed is not essential 
to the conservation of the plover.
    CA 19C, Mugu Lagoon North, 321 ac (130 ha): This subunit is owned 
entirely by the Department of Defense (Naval Base Ventura). Naval Base 
Ventura County has a final approved INRMP that provides a conservation 
benefit to the western snowy plover. We have now determined that the 
Naval Base Ventura County is exempted under 4(a)(3) of the Act and thus 
these lands are removed from final designation.
    CA 19D, Mugu Lagoon South, 87 ac (35 ha): This subunit is mostly 
owned

[[Page 56992]]

by Department of Defense (Naval Base Ventura). Based on a final INRMP 
which the Secretary has determined provides a benefit to the plover, 
the military portion is therefore exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the 
Act. However, there is a 18.3-ac (7.4 ha) section at its southern end 
of the subunit which extends into Pt Mugu State Park, owned and managed 
by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The portion 
within the State Park is designated as critical habitat.
    CA 22B, Bolsa Chica State Beach, 4 ac (2 ha): This subunit was 
mislabeled during the proposed rule process. The correct name, shown 
here for subunit CA 22B, is Bolsa Chica State Beach. The UTMs for the 
unit's legal description were also presented in error during the 
proposed rule, and are correctly provided with the subunits map. The 
overall acreage and ownership remain the same, as does the subunit's 
narrative description provided in the proposed rule (69 FR 75608).
    CA 24, San Onofre Beach, 40 ac (16 ha): We have refined our mapping 
for Unit CA 24 to more accurately define the essential snowy plover 
habitat between San Onofre Creek and San Mateo Creek. The majority of 
snowy plover use in this area currently is located in a less visited 
portion of the beach closer to the mid-point between the two creek 
mouths. The result of this refined mapping is a reduction in the length 
of the proposed unit at both ends, removing critical habitat from Green 
Beach as well as beach areas to the north of San Mateo Creek mouth.
    CA 27A, North Island/Coronado, 117 ac (47 ha): This subunit is 
exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the Act because of their approved 
INRMP that provides a benefit to the species (see Application of 
Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section for a detailed discussion).
    Subunit CA 27C, Silver Strand, 99 ac (40 ha): All Navy lands within 
subunit CA 27C are exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the Act because of 
their approved INRMP that provides a benefit to the species (see 
Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 
4(b)(2) of the Act section for a detailed discussion). The remainder of 
this subunit (Silver Strand State Beach) was excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its 
high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act).
    Subunit CA 27D, Delta Beach, 85 ac (35 ha): All lands within 
subunit CA 27D have been exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the Act 
because of the Navy's approved INRMP that provides a benefit to the 
species (see Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions 
Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section for a detailed discussion).

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as--(i) the 
specific areas within the geographic area occupied by a species, at the 
time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those 
physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of 
the species and (II) that may require special management considerations 
or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the geographic area 
occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon a determination 
that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. 
``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and procedures that are 
necessary to bring an endangered or a threatened species to the point 
at which listing under the Act is no longer necessary.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the prohibition against destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat with regard to actions carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency. Section 7 requires consultation on 
Federal actions that are likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat 
does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, 
reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. Such designation does 
not allow government or public access to private lands.
    To be included in a critical habitat designation, the habitat 
within the area occupied by the species must first have features that 
are ``essential to the conservation of the species.'' Critical habitat 
designations identify, to the extent known using the best scientific 
and commercial data available, habitat areas that provide essential 
life cycle needs of the species (i.e., areas on which are found the 
primary constituent elements, as defined at 50 CFR 424.12(b)).
    Habitat occupied at the time of listing may be included in critical 
habitat only if the essential features thereon may require special 
management or protection. Thus, we do not include areas where existing 
management is sufficient to conserve the species. (As discussed below, 
such areas may also be excluded from critical habitat pursuant to 
section 4(b)(2).) Accordingly, when the best available scientific and 
commercial data do not demonstrate that the conservation needs of the 
species so require, we will not designate critical habitat in areas 
outside the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing.
    The Service's Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act, published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34271), and section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658) 
and the associated Information Quality Guidelines issued by the 
Service, provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide guidance 
to ensure that decisions made by the Service represent the best 
scientific and commercial data available. They require Service 
biologists to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific and commercial data available, to use primary and 
original sources of information as the basis for recommendations to 
designate critical habitat. When determining which areas are critical 
habitat, a primary source of information is generally the listing 
package for the species. Additional information sources include the 
recovery plan for the species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, 
conservation plans developed by States and counties, scientific status 
surveys and studies, biological assessments, or other unpublished 
materials and expert opinion or personal knowledge. All information is 
used in accordance with the provisions of section 515 of the Treasury 
and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 
106-554; H.R. 5658) and the associated Information Quality Guidelines 
issues by the Service.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of what we know at the time of designation. Habitat is often 
dynamic, and species may move from one area to another over time. 
Furthermore, we recognize that designation of critical habitat may not 
include all of the habitat areas that may eventually be determined to 
be necessary for the recovery of the species. For these reasons, 
critical habitat designations do not signal that habitat outside the 
designation is unimportant or may not be required for recovery.
    Areas that support populations, but are outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act and to the 
regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy 
standard, as determined on the basis of the best available information 
at the time of the

[[Page 56993]]

action. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed species 
outside their designated critical habitat areas may still result in 
jeopardy findings in some cases. Similarly, critical habitat 
designations made on the basis of the best available information at the 
time of designation will not control the direction and substance of 
future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans, or other species 
conservation planning efforts if new information available to these 
planning efforts calls for a different outcome.

Methods

    As required by section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act, we used the best 
scientific and commercial data available in determining areas that 
contain habitat features essential to the conservation of the Pacific 
Coast WSP. Data sources include research published in peer-reviewed 
articles; previous Service documents on the species, including the 
original critical habitat designation (Service 1999) and final listing 
determination (Service 1993); numerous surveys; and, aerial photographs 
and GIS mapping information from State sources and our files. We 
designated no areas outside the geographical area presently occupied by 
the species.
    We have also reviewed available information that pertains to the 
habitat requirements of this species. Sources of information include 
data in reports submitted during section 7 consultations and by 
biologists holding section 10(a)(1)(A) recovery permits; research 
published in peer-reviewed articles and presented in academic theses 
and agency reports; regional Geographic Information System (GIS) 
coverages; and data colleted in support of Habitat Conservation Plans 
and other local, State, and Federal planning documents.
    Four steps were conducted to identify critical habitat units. 
First, we identified those areas occupied by the Pacific Coast WSP at 
the time of listing. Secondly, we identified, in accordance with 
section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, the 
physical and biological habitat features (also called primary 
constituent elements, or PCEs) at those sites that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. We mapped critical habitat unit boundaries 
at each site based on the extent of habitat containing sufficient PCEs 
to support biological function. The mapping itself was the third step, 
while the fourth and final step was to find that certain units, which 
do not require special management, do not meet the definition of 
critical habitat under section 3(5)(A) of the Act, and to exempt other 
units that are subject to an approved INRMP that provides a benefit to 
the species under section 4(a)(3), and to exclude certain units based 
on section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see the Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusion under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act, below, for 
a detailed description). We discuss each of these steps more fully 
below in the section titled ``Criteria Used to Identify Critical 
Habitat'.
    Our mapping process was based on the need to exclude areas that 
lack PCEs, while simultaneously accounting for the dynamic nature of 
beach habitat. Our mapping process also allowed us to provide a 
reasonable level of certainty to landowners regarding the location of 
unit boundaries relative to private lands.
    We used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to establish 
landward bounds for those breeding and wintering sites that meet the 
criteria identified under the section titled ``Criteria Used to 
Identify Critical Habitat''. We drew the landward bounds so as to 
exclude habitat lacking PCEs, as determined using the most recent 
digital orthorectified aerial photographs available. We also 
incorporated appropriate input regarding PCEs received during the 
public comment periods. We set the landward bounds to remain fixed in 
place, defined by the UTM North American Datum 27 coordinates of their 
vertices and endpoints, because most private land is located near the 
landward bounds, and because the landward side of the unit is likely to 
change less over time than other boundaries.
    We depict the mapped shoreline, or waterline, bounds of each unit 
according to mean low water (MLW), including waters of the Pacific 
Ocean proper, bays, estuaries, and rivers where water level is 
significantly influenced by tides. However, the actual critical habitat 
designation includes the intertidal zone extending to the water's edge. 
Use of the shoreline, or water's edge, as a boundary provides an easy-
to-find landmark when visiting one of the designated critical habitat 
units. The water's edge incorporates essential habitat features that 
are constantly changing due to tides and wave action, beach erosion and 
aggradation, deposition of driftwood and stabilization due to 
vegetation growth, shifting windblown sand dunes, and other processes. 
For purposes of estimating unit sizes, we approximated MLW in 
California using the most recent GIS projection of MHW. We chose MHW 
because it is the only approximation of the coastline currently 
available in GIS format. We were unable to obtain recent GIS maps of 
MHW or MLW for Oregon and Washington. Therefore, we approximated MLW 
for units in those States based on aerial photographs.

Primary Constituent Elements

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act and regulations at 
50 CFR 424.12, we are required to base critical habitat determinations 
on the best scientific and commercial data available and to consider 
those physical and biological features (primary constituent elements 
(PCEs)) that are essential to the conservation of the species, and that 
may require special management considerations and protection. These 
include, but are not limited to: Space for individual and population 
growth and for normal behavior; food, water, air, light, minerals, or 
other nutritional or physiological requirements; cover or shelter; 
sites for breeding, reproduction, and rearing (or development) of 
offspring; and habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historic geographical and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    The specific primary constituent elements for the Pacific Coast WSP 
are derived from the biological needs of the Pacific Coast WSP as 
described in the previously published in our recent re-proposal of 
critical habitat, published on December 17, 2004 (69 FR 75608).

Space for Individual and Population Growth, and Normal Behavior

    Pacific Coast WSPs establish nesting territories, but these can 
vary widely in size and do not provide adequate habitat for foraging. 
Pacific Coast WSP broods rarely remain in the nesting area until 
fledging (Warriner et al. 1986, Stern et al. 1990), and may travel 
along the beach as far as 4 miles (6.4 kilometers from their natal area 
)(Casler et al. 1993). Critical habitat must therefore extend beyond 
nesting territories to include space for foraging and water 
requirements during the nesting season, and space for over wintering.

Food and Water

    Pacific Coast WSPs typically forage in open areas by locating prey 
visually and then running to seize it with their beaks (Page et al. 
1995a). They may also probe in the sand for burrowing invertebrates, or 
charge flying insects that are resting on the ground, snapping at them 
as they flush. Accordingly, they need open areas to forage and 
facilitate both prey location and capture. Areas with deposits of tide-
cast wrack (e.g., kelp or driftwood) provide important foraging sites 
because they attract certain

[[Page 56994]]

invertebrates that plovers consume (Page et al. 1995a). Plovers forage 
both above and below high tide, but not while those areas are 
underwater. Therefore, foraging areas will typically be limited by 
water on their shoreward side and by dense vegetation or development on 
their landward sides.
    Coastal plovers use sites of fresh water for drinking where 
available. However, some historic nesting sites have no obvious nearby 
freshwater sources, particularly in southern California. Researchers 
assume that adults and chicks in these areas obtain their necessary 
water from the food they eat. Accordingly, we have not included 
freshwater sites among the primary constituent elements of the Pacific 
Coast WSP population.

Reproduction and Rearing of Offspring

    Pacific Coast WSPs nest in depressions that are open, relatively 
flat, and near tidal waters but far enough away to avoid being 
inundated by daily tides. Typical substrate is beach sand, although 
plovers are known to lay eggs in existing depressions with harder 
ground such as salt pan, cobblestones, or dredge tailings. Where 
available, dune systems with numerous flat areas and easy access to the 
shore are particularly favored for nesting. Additionally, plover 
nesting areas require shelter from predators and human disturbance, as 
discussed below. If nesting is successful, unfledged chicks will forage 
with one or both parents, using the same foraging areas and behaviors 
as adults.

Cover or Shelter

    Plovers and their eggs are well camouflaged against light colored, 
sandy or pebbly backgrounds (Page et al. 1995a). Therefore, open areas 
with such substrates actually constitute shelter for purposes of 
nesting and foraging. Such areas provide little cover to predators, and 
allow plovers to fully utilize their camouflage and running speed. 
Chicks may also crouch near driftwood, dune plants and piles of kelp to 
hide from predators (Page and Stenzel 1981). Consequently, open areas 
do not provide shelter from wind and storms. These weather events are 
known to cause many nest losses, along with extreme high tides. Plovers 
readily scrape blown sand out of their nests, although there is little 
they can do to protect the nests against serious storms or flooding 
other than attempting to lay a new clutch if one is destroyed (Page et 
al. 1995a).
    No studies have quantified the amount of vegetation cover that 
would make an area unsuitable for nesting or foraging. However, coastal 
nesting and foraging locations typically have relatively well-defined 
boundaries between the favorable open sandy substrates and the 
unfavorable dense vegetation that occurs inland. Such boundaries are 
clearly visible in aerial and satellite photographs and therefore were 
used by us to map essential habitat features for this species.

Undisturbed Areas

    Disturbance of nesting or brooding plovers by humans and domestic 
animals is a major factor affecting nest success of the Pacific Coast 
WSP. Plovers leave their nests when humans or pets approach too 
closely. Dogs may also deliberately chase plovers and trample nests, 
while vehicles may directly crush adults, chicks or nests, separate 
chicks from brooding adults, and interfere with foraging (Warriner et 
al. 1986, Service 1993 Ruhlen et al. 2003). Additionally, repeated 
flushing of incubating plovers exposes the eggs to the weather and 
deplete energy reserves needed by the adult. As a result, this could 
lead to reductions in nesting success. Surveys from 1994 to 1997 at 
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, found the rate of nest loss on 
southern beaches with higher recreational use to be consistently higher 
than on north beaches where recreational use was much lower (Persons 
and Applegate 1997). Ruhlen et al. (2003) found that increased human 
activities on Point Reyes beaches resulted in a lower chick survival 
rate. Additionally, recent efforts (i.e., use of docents, symbolic 
fencing, and public outreach) in various locations throughout the 
Pacific Coast WSP's range to direct recreational beach use away from 
nesting plovers, has resulted in higher reproductive success positively 
correlated with protection efforts in these areas (Page, et al. 2003 
(summer 93 survey), Palermo 2004).

Primary Constituent Elements for Pacific Coast WSP

    Based on our current knowledge of the life history, biology, and 
ecology of the species and the requirements of the habitat to sustain 
the essential life history functions of the species, we have determined 
that the Pacific Coast WSP's primary constituent elements are:
    (1) Sparsely vegetated areas above daily high tides (e.g., sandy 
beaches, dune systems immediately inland of an active beach face, salt 
flats, seasonally exposed gravel bars, dredge spoil sites, artificial 
salt ponds and adjoining levees) that are relatively undisturbed by the 
presence of humans, pets, vehicles or human-attracted predators;
    (2) Sparsely vegetated sandy beach, mud flats, gravel bars or 
artificial salt ponds subject to daily tidal inundation but not 
currently under water, that support small invertebrates such as crabs, 
worms, flies, beetles, sand hoppers, clams, and ostracods; and,
    (3) Surf or tide-cast organic debris such as seaweed or driftwood 
located on open substrates such as those mentioned above (essential to 
support small invertebrates for food, and to provide shelter from 
predators and weather for reproduction).
    All areas designated as critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP 
were occupied by the species at the time of listing and contain 
sufficient primary constituent elements to support essential biological 
function. These primary constituent elements were identified on the 
bases that they are essential for Pacific Coast WSP reproduction, food 
supplies, and shelter from predators and weather elements. 
Additionally, these areas are essential because they provide protection 
from disturbance and space for growth and normal behavior.

Unoccupied Areas Identified for Inclusion

    The Act has different standards for designation of critical habitat 
in occupied and unoccupied habitat. For areas occupied by the species, 
these are--(i) the specific areas on which are found those physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species and 
that may require special management considerations or protection. For 
areas not occupied, a determination is required that the entire area is 
essential for the conservation of the species before it can be included 
in critical habitat.
    Our proposed rule included a section containing Unoccupied Areas 
Identified for Inclusion, for which we requested comment regarding 
whether they should be included (in whole or in part) in the 
designation. Those areas identified for specific review were: WA 1, OR 
1A, OR 1B, OR 2, OR 4, OR 5A, OR 5B, OR 6, OR 8C, OR 10B, OR 10C, OR 
11, and OR 12. We also asked for comment on the appropriateness of 
designating areas that were occupied at the time of listing but are 
currently unoccupied.
    Although public comment was generally favorable towards including 
the unoccupied areas in final critical habitat designation, we are 
designating only areas actually occupied at the time of listing in 1993 
because we do not believe that the unoccupied areas are essential to 
the conservation of the species. Most of the unoccupied habitat 
considered for designation was in Oregon, where a State-wide effort is

[[Page 56995]]

underway to improve the survival and recovery of the Pacific Coast WSP 
through the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan. Additionally, 
the western snowy plover is State listed throughout Oregon, thereby 
already receiving regulatory protection beyond that associated with the 
Act. No areas outside of the range of the Pacific Coast WSP have been 
designated as critical habitat in this final rule.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    To identify sites containing habitat features essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP (as defined above in our Methods 
section), we applied the following three criteria:
    (1) Our first criterion for critical habitat unit selection was to 
choose sites in a geographic region capable of supporting breeding 
plovers. Where appropriate, we adjusted our estimates of the number of 
breeding birds a site could support according to additional information 
supplied by surveys and by local species and habitat experts.
    (2) We added any major, currently occupied wintering sites not 
already selected under criterion one. This was necessary to provide 
sufficient habitat for the survival of breeding birds during the non-
breeding season. A ``major'' wintering site must support more wintering 
birds than average for the geographical region.
    (3) Finally, we added additional sites that provide unique habitat, 
or that are situated to facilitate interchange between otherwise widely 
separated units. This criterion is based on standard conservation 
biology principles for the conservation of rare and endangered animals 
and their habitats (Shaffer 1981, 1987, 1995; Fahrig and Merriam 1985; 
Gilpin and Soule 1986; Goodman 1987a, 1987b; Stacey and Taper 1992; 
Mangel and Tier 1994; Lesica and Allendorf 1995; Fahrig 1997; Noss and 
Csuti 1997; Huxel and Hastings 1998; Redford and Richter 1999; Debinski 
and Holt 2000; Sherwin and Moritz 2000; Grosberg 2002; and, Noss et al. 
2002). By protecting a variety of habitats and facilitating interchange 
between them, we increase the ability of the species to adjust to 
various limiting factors that affect the population, such as predators, 
disease, major storms, and inbreeding.
    We are designating critical habitat on lands that we have 
determined are occupied at the time of listing and contain the PCEs.
    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act authorizes us to issue permits for 
the take of listed species incidental to otherwise lawful activities. 
An incidental take permit application must be supported by a habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) that identifies conservation measures that the 
permittee agrees to implement for the species to minimize and mitigate 
the impacts of the requested incidental take. We often exclude non-
Federal public lands and private lands that are covered by an existing 
operative HCP and executed implementation agreement (IA) under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act from designated critical habitat because the 
benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion as discussed 
in section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Those HCPs that meet our issuance 
criteria and have been released for public notice and comment have been 
excluded from final critical habitat (see Table 2).
    When determining critical habitat boundaries, we made every effort 
to avoid proposing the designation of developed areas such as 
buildings, paved areas, boat ramps and other structures that lack PCEs 
for the Pacific Coast WSP. Any such structures inadvertently left 
inside proposed critical habitat boundaries are not considered part of 
the proposed unit. This also applies to the land on which such 
structures sit directly. Therefore, Federal actions limited to these 
areas would not trigger section 7 consultations, unless they affect the 
species and/or primary constituent elements in adjacent critical 
habitat.
    A brief discussion of each area designated as critical habitat is 
provided in the unit descriptions below. Additional detailed 
documentation concerning the essential nature of these areas is 
contained in our supporting record for this rulemaking.
    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the areas 
determined to be occupied at the time of listing and contain the PCEs 
may require special management considerations or protections.

Special Management Considerations or Protections

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the areas 
determined to contain habitat features essential for conservation may 
require special management considerations or protections. The threats 
affecting the continued survival and recovery of the Pacific Coast WSP 
within each of the proposed critical habitat units and that may require 
special management are described in the critical habitat unit 
descriptions in our December 17, 2004, proposed rule (69 FR 75608). 
Primary threats requiring special management considerations include 
disturbance of nesting or foraging plovers by humans, vehicles, and 
domestic animals, high levels of predation on eggs and young, and loss 
of habitat due to development and encroachment of dune-stabilizing 
vegetation such as European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) (Service 
1993).
    The areas designated as critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP 
will require some level of management and/or protection to (1) address 
the current and future threats to the species; and, (2) maintain the 
primary constituent elements essential to its conservation in order to 
ensure the overall conservation of the species. The designation of 
critical habitat does not imply that lands outside of critical habitat 
do not play an important role in the conservation of the plover. 
Federal activities that may affect those unprotected areas outside of 
critical habitat are still subject to review under section 7 of the Act 
if they may affect the Pacific Coast WSP. The prohibitions of section 9 
(e.g., prohibitions against killing, harming, harassing, capturing 
plovers) also continue to apply both inside and outside of designated 
critical habitat.

Critical Habitat Designation

    We are designating 32 units in Washington, Oregon, and California 
as critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. All these units are 
within the range occupied by the species, and constitute our best 
assessment at this time of the areas containing habitat features 
essential for the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP. The areas 
designated as critical habitat are outlined in Table 2 below.
    Tables 1 and 2 show the approximate area not included in critical 
habitat pursuant to sections 3(5)(A), 4(a)(3) and 4(b)(2) of the Act 
(Table 1), and the approximate area designated as critical habitat for 
the Pacific Coast WSP by land ownership and State (Table 2).

[[Page 56996]]



    Table 1.--Approximate Area ac (ha) Not Included in Critical Habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP Pursuant to
                                Sections 3(5)(A), 4(a)(3) and 4(b)(2) of the Act
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Size
 
                                     ----------------------
                Unit                    Acres        ha                      Basis of exclusion
-------------------------------------
WA 4. Leadbetter Pt.................        270        109  Mgt. Plan..............  3(5)(A)
CA 7. Dillon Beach..................         30         12  Conserv. Agreement.....  4(b)(2)
San Francisco Bay...................      1,847        747  Mgt. Plan..............  4(b)(2)
CA 12A. Jetty Rd. to Aptos..........        272        110  Economics..............  4(b)(2)
CA 12C. Monterey to Moss Lnd........        803        325  Mgt. Plan economics....  3(5)(A)/4(b)(2)
CA 15B. Atascadero..................        144         58  Economics..............  4(b)(2)
CA 15C. Morro Bay...................        611        247  Economics..............  4(b)(2)
CA 16. Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes.....      1,269        513  Mgt. Plan/economics....  3(5)(A)/4(b)(2)
CA 17A. Vandenberg North............        626        253  National Security......  4(b)(2)
CA 17B. Vandenberg South............        304        123  National Security......  4(b)(2)
San Nicholas Island.................        534        212  INRMP..................  4(a)(3)
CA 19C. Magu Lagoon.................        321        130  INRMP..................  4(a)(3)
CA 19D. Magu Lagoon.................         69         28  INRMP..................  4(a)(3)
Camp Pendleton......................         49         20  INRMP..................  4(a)(3)
San Diego MSCP/HCP..................         23          9  Mgt. Plan..............  4(b)(2)
CA 27A. North Island................        117         47  INRMP..................  4(a)(3)
CA 27C. Silver Strand...............        174         70  INRMP/economics........  4(a)(3)/4(b)(2)
CA 27D. Delta Beach.................         85         35  INRMP..................  4(a)(3)
                                     ----------------------
    Total...........................      7,548       3048
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The rationale for the use of an exclusion or exemption is provided 
in the sections below discussing the application of section 3(5)(A) and 
4(a)(3) and exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act.

                      Table 2.--Critical Habitat Units Designated for the Pacific Coast WSP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Federal            State/local            Private               Total
            Unit             -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                acres       ha       acres       ha       acres      ha       acres        ha
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington:
    WA 2. Damon Pt., Oyhut..        0           0       908      368           0         0      908        368
    WA 3. Midway Beach......        0           0       266      108         520       210      786        318
    WA 4. Leadbetter Pt.....        0           0       832      337           0         0      832        337
                             ------------
        Subtotal............        0           0      2006      813         520       210     2526       1023
                             ============
Oregon:
    OR 3. Bayocean Spit.....       85          34       122       49.5         0         0      207         83.5
    OR 7. Baker/Sutton            260         105         0        0           0         0      260        105
     Beaches................
    OR 8. Siltcoos to
     Tenmile:
        OR 8A. Siltcoos             8           3         0        0           0         0        8          3
         BreachltcoosreachBr
         eeBreach...........
        OR 8B. Siltcoos           527         213         0        0           0         0      527        213
         River Spit to
         Tahkenitch Cr. Spit
        OR 8D. Tenmile Creek      234.5        95         0        0           0         0      234.5       95
         Spit...............
    OR 9. Coos Bay North          278         113         0        0           0         0      278        113
     Spit...................
    OR 10A. Bandon to Floras      298         121       171       69         163        66      632        256
     Creek..................
                             ------------
          Subtotal..........     1690.5       684       293      118.5       163        66     2146.5      868.5
                             ============
California:
    CA 1. Lake Earl.........        0           0        11        5          46        19       57         24
    CA 2. Big Lagoon........        0           0       280      113           0         0      280        113
    CA 3. McKinleyville
     Area:
        CA 3A. Clam Beach/          0           0       131       53          24        10      155         63
         Little River.......
        CA 3B. Mad River....        0           0       161       65         217        88      377        153
    CA 4. Eel River Area:
        CA 4A. Humboldt Bay,       20           8       354      143           0         0      375        152
         S. Spit............
        CA 4B. Eel River N          0           0       278      112           5         2      283        114
         Spit/Beach.........
        CA 4C. Eel River S          0           0         4        2         397       161      402        163
         Spit/Beach.........
        CA 4D. Eel River            0           0       255      103         938       379     1193        483
         Gravel Bars........
    CA 5. MacKerricher Beach        0           0      1017      412          31        13     1048        424
    CA 6. Manchester Beach..        0           0       336      136           5         2      341        138
    CA 8. Pt. Reyes Beach...      462         187         0        0           0         0      462        187
    CA 9. Limantour Spit....      124          50         0        0           0         0      124         50
    CA 10. Half Moon Bay....        0           0        37       15           0         0       37         15

[[Page 56997]]

 
    CA 11. Santa Cruz Coast:
        CA 11A. Waddell Cr.         0           0         8        3           1       0.5        9          4
         Beach..............
        CA 11B. Scott Cr.           0           0         0        0          19         8       19          8
         Beach..............
        CA 11C. Wilder Cr.          0           0        10        4           0         0       10          4
         Beach..............
    CA 12. Monterey Bay
     Beaches:
        CA 12B. Elkhorn Sl          0           0       281      114           0         0      281        114
         Mudflat............
    CA 13. Pt.Sur Beach.....        0           0        61       25           0         0       61         25
    CA 14. San Simeon Beach.        0           0        28       11           0         0       28         11
    CA 15. Estero Bay
     Beaches:
        CA 15A. Villa Cr.           0           0        17        7           0         0       17          7
         Beach..............
    CA 18. Devereux Beach...        0           0        36       15           0         0       36         15
    CA 19. Oxnard Lowlands:
        CA 19A. Mandalay to         0           0       245       99         105        42      350        142
         Santa Clara R Mouth
        CA 19B. Ormond Beach        0           0       175       71           0         0      175         71
        CA 19D. Magu Lagoon         0           0        87       35           0         0       87         35
         S..................
    CA 20. Zuma Beach.......        0           0        60       24           8         3       68         28
    CA 21. Santa Monica Bay:
        CA 21A. Santa Monica        0           0         6        2          19         8       25         10
         Beach..............
        CA 21B. Dockweiler N        0           0        43       17           0         0       43         17
        CA 21C. Dockweiler S        0           0        13        5          11         5       24         10
        CA 21D. Hermosa             0           0        10        4           0         0       10          4
         Beach..............
    CA 22. Bolsa Chica Area:
        CA 22A. Bolsa Chica         0           0         0        0         591       239      591        239
         Reserve............
        CA 22B. Bolsa Chica         0           0         4        2           0         0        4          2
         St. Beach..........
    CA 23. Santa Ana R Mouth        0           0        12        5           1         0       13          5
    CA 24. San Onofre Beach.        0           0        40       16           9         4       49         20
    CA 25. Batiquitos
     Lagoon:
        CA 25A. Batiquitos          0           0        15        6           6         3       21          9
         West...............
        CA 25B. Batiquitos          0           0        15        6           8         3       23          9
         Middle.............
        CA 25C. Batiquitos          0           0         0        0          21         8       21          8
         East...............
    CA 26. Los Penasquitos..        0           0        24       10           0         0       24         10
    CA 27. S. San Diego:
        CA 27B. North Island  .........  ........        44       18    ........  ........       44         18
        CA 27E. Sweetwater         77          31         0        0          51        21      128         52
         NWR................
        CA 27F. Tijuana R.        105          42        77       31           0         0      182         73
         Beach..............
                             ------------
          Subtotal..........      788         318      4175     1689        2508    1018.5     7477       3029
                             ============
            Total...........     2478.5      1002      6474     2620.5      3191    1294.5    12145       4921
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We present brief descriptions of all of the units, and reasons why 
they are essential for the conservation of Pacific Coast WSP. The 
critical habitat features essential for the conservation of the Pacific 
Coast WSP are defined in the ``Primary Constituent Elements'' section 
above. All units are located within the range of the population, in the 
States of Washington, Oregon, and California. They are all considered 
currently occupied (with documented use by plovers since 2000), unless 
otherwise noted. Those units not currently occupied are considered 
essential to the conservation of the population for the reasons 
provided in the description.

Washington

    WA 2, Damon Point/Oyhut Wildlife Area, 908 ac (368 ha): This unit 
is located at the southern end of the community of Ocean Shores and is 
a sandy spit that extends into Grays Harbor. Damon Point includes the 
following features essential to the conservation of the species: sandy 
beaches that are relatively undisturbed by human or tidal activity 
(nesting habitat), large expanses of sparsely vegetated barren terrain, 
and mudflats and sheltered bays that provide ample foraging areas. 
Research in the mid 1980's indicated that up to 20 snowy plovers used 
the area for nesting. Plover use has declined somewhat over the past 20 
years; currently between 6 and 9 adult birds use the site during the 
breeding season (average reproductive success at Damon is 1.5 chicks 
per male) (WDFW in litt. 2003). The conservation goal for WA 2 is 12 
adult plovers. Approximately 99 percent of the 908-acre unit is 
administered by the State (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife--
227 ac (92 ha); Washington State Parks--63.6 ac (25.7 ha); and 
Washington Department of Natural Resources--605.6 ac (245.1 ha)). The 
western edge of the unit lies adjacent to a municipal wastewater 
treatment facility that is managed by the City of Ocean Shores (9 ac 
(3.6 ha)). The access road has washed out and the area is currently 
inaccessible to motorized vehicles. Management may be needed to address 
threats to plovers from recreational use (pedestrians with dogs), 
habitat loss from European beachgrass, and potential re-opening of the 
vehicle access road.
    WA 3, Midway Beach, 786 ac (318 ha): This unit is located between 
the community of Grayland and Willapa Bay and covers an area called 
Twin Harbors Beaches. Midway is an expansive beach and is nearly 0.5 mi 
(0.8 km) wide at the widest point. Beach accretion since 1998 has 
greatly improved habitat conditions, resulting in the re-establishment 
of a plover population at this site (WDFW in litt.

[[Page 56998]]

2000). Nearly half of the birds that nest and/or over-winter at Midway 
were banded in Oregon or Humboldt County, California (WDFW in litt. 
2003). Threats at Midway include motorized vehicles combined with a 
lack of enforcement of the wet sand driving restrictions and human 
activity on holiday weekends (e.g., Fourth of July fireworks). Although 
public access is restricted on private property, beach driving is 
permitted below MHW. Approximately \2/3\ (about 520 ac (210.4 ha)) of 
this unit is on private property with the remainder (266 ac (107.6 ha)) 
on State park lands. Private property rights extend to the mean low 
water line (MLW) in Washington State. The conservation goal for Midway 
Beach is 30 adult breeding birds. Twenty-eight plovers nested at this 
site during the 2003 breeding season, and the site has shown a 
relatively high average annual production of 1.3 to 1.9 chicks per male 
(WDFW in litt. 2003).
    WA 4. Leadbetter Point/Gunpowder Sands, 832 ac (337 ha): The 
Leadbetter Point/Gunpowder Sands critical habitat unit is located at 
the northern end of the Long Beach Peninsula, a 26-mile (41.8-km) long 
spit that defines the west side of Willapa Bay and extends down to the 
mouth of the Columbia River. The unit is located just north of the 
community of Ocean Park. The portion of the spit within the Willapa 
National Wildlife Refuge has not been included in the final critical 
habitat designation under subsection 3(5)(a) of the Act, based on its 
existing management. As a result of Refuge exclusion, the unit size has 
decreased from 1,069 acres (433 ha) to its current 832 acres (337 ha). 
The southern portion of the unit, including Leadbetter Point State Park 
and the beach south of the state park boundary, is managed by the 
Washington State Parks and Recreation Department. State regulations, 
including motorized vehicle access during special shellfish seasons and 
recreational use, apply to the portion of the beach that is managed by 
the State. South of the Willapa NWR boundary, the state park 
jurisdiction follows an 1880 property line that extends well above the 
mean high tide line and includes all of the snowy plover nesting and 
foraging habitat in that part of the unit.
    Leadbetter is the largest of the critical habitat units in 
Washington and covers approximately 832 acres (337 ha) over 7 miles 
(11.3 km) of coastline. The entire unit is on lands that are managed by 
Washington State. Approximately 30 snowy plovers nest and over-winter 
on the spit, with about 20-25 birds nesting north of the refuge 
boundary and 5-10 birds using the state park beaches to the south 
(Service in litt. 2004). Plover use of the beaches south of the refuge 
boundary appears to be increasing. The unit includes PCEs such as: 
sandy beaches and sparsely vegetated dunes for nesting as well as miles 
of surf-cast organic debris and sheltered bays for foraging. The 
combined dynamics of weather and surf cause large quantities of wood 
and shell material to accumulate on the spit, providing prime nesting 
habitat, hiding areas from predators, foraging opportunities, and 
shelter from inclement weather for plover broods. The plover population 
at Leadbetter has been slowly increasing since intensive monitoring 
began in 1993 and we consider the area capable of supporting at least 
30 breeding plovers given appropriate management.
    The primary threat north of the refuge boundary is human 
disturbance during the spring razor clam season, which opens beaches to 
motorized vehicle and provides access into plover nesting areas that 
normally receive limited human use. Beaches south of the refuge are 
open to public use year round. The State Parks department has posted 
interpretive signs in areas being used by plovers and is increasing 
enforcement of the wet sand driving regulations.

Oregon

    OR 3, Bayocean Spit, 207 ac (84 ha): This unit is on the western 
coast of Tillamook County, Oregon, and about 8 mi (12.9 km) northwest 
of the City of Tillamook. It is bounded by Tillamook Bay on the east, 
the Tillamook Bay South Jetty to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to 
the west. The unit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach in close 
proximity to mud flats and an estuary. It includes the following 
features essential to the conservation of the species (PCEs): large 
areas of sandy dune relatively undisturbed by human or tidal activity 
(for nesting and foraging); areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for foraging); and close proximity to tidally influenced 
estuarine mud flats (for foraging). Two breeding plovers and one 
wintering plover were documented in this unit in 1993 and 2000, 
respectively (ODFW in litt. 1994; Service in litt. 2004). This unit 
provides habitat capable of supporting 16 breeding plovers under proper 
management. The unit consists of 85 ac (34.4 ha) of federally owned 
land and 122 ac (49.4 ha) of county-owned land. The primary threats 
that may require special management in this unit are introduced 
European beachgrass that encroaches on the available nesting and 
foraging habitat; disturbance from humans, dogs and horses in important 
foraging and nesting areas; and predators such as the common raven.
    OR 7, Sutton/Baker Beaches, 260 ac (105.2 ha): This unit is on the 
western coast of Lane County, Oregon, about 8 mi (12.9 km) north of the 
City of Florence. It is bounded by Sutton Creek to the south, Heceta 
Head to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The unit is 
characteristic of a dune-backed beach and wide sand spits with overwash 
areas. It includes the following features essential to the conservation 
of the species: large areas of sandy dunes or sand spit overwashes 
relatively undisturbed by human or tidal activity (for nesting and 
foraging) and areas of sandy beach above and below the high tide line 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (for 
foraging). Most recently documented plovers for this unit include an 
average of 2 breeding plovers in 2003 and 8 wintering plovers in 2004 
(Lauten et al. in litt. 2003; Service in litt. 2004). This unit is 
capable of supporting 12 breeding plovers under proper management. The 
unit consists of 260 federally owned ac (105.2 ha) managed by the U.S. 
Forest Service in Siuslaw National Forest. The primary threats that may 
require special management in this unit are introduced European 
beachgrass that encroaches on the available nesting and foraging 
habitat; disturbance from humans, dogs and horses in important foraging 
and nesting areas; and predators such as the American crow and common 
raven.
    Unit OR 8, Siltcoos to Tahkenitch Creek Spit: This unit includes 
two subunits within Lane and Douglas counties, Oregon.
    Subunit OR 8A, Siltcoos Breach, 8 ac (3 ha): This subunit is on the 
southwestern coast of Lane County, Oregon, about 7 mi (11.3 km) 
southwest of the City of Florence. It is a large opening in the 
foredune just north of the Siltcoos River and is an important winter 
roost. The subunit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach in close 
proximity to a tidally influenced river mouth. It includes the 
following features essential to the conservation of the species: 
Sparsely vegetated areas of sandy dune relatively undisturbed by human 
or tidal activity (for roosting); areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for foraging); and close proximity to tidally influenced 
freshwater areas (for foraging). Recently documented plovers for this 
subunit include 20 wintering plovers in 2004 (Service in litt. 2004). 
The subunit consists of 8 federally owned acres (3.4

[[Page 56999]]

ha) managed by the U.S. Forest Service as the Oregon Dunes National 
Recreation Area in the Siuslaw National Forest. The primary threats 
that may require special management in this subunit are introduced 
European beachgrass that encroaches on the available roosting habitat 
and disturbance from OHVs in the important roosting areas.
    Subunit OR 8B, Siltcoos River to Tahkenitch Creek Spit, 527 ac (213 
ha): The northern end of this subunit is on the southwestern coast of 
Lane County, Oregon, about 7 mi (11.3 km) southwest of the City of 
Florence. The southern end is on the northwestern coast of Douglas 
County, Oregon, about 10 mi (16.1 km) northwest of the City of 
Reedsport. It is bounded by the Siltcoos River to the north, Tahkenitch 
Creek to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The subunit is 
characteristic of a dune-backed beach and sand spit in close proximity 
to a tidally influenced river mouth. It includes the following features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Wide sand spits or wash 
overs and sparsely vegetated areas of sandy dune relatively undisturbed 
by human or tidal activity (for nesting and foraging); areas of sandy 
beach above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast 
wrack supporting small invertebrates (for foraging); and close 
proximity to tidally influenced freshwater areas (for foraging). 
Recently documented plovers for this subunit include an average of 
seven breeding plovers in 2003 and two wintering plovers in 2003 
(Lauten et al. in litt. 2003; Service in litt. 2004). This subunit is 
capable of supporting 20 breeding plovers under proper management. The 
subunit consists of 527 federally owned acres (213.3 ha) managed by the 
U.S. Forest Service as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area in the 
Siuslaw National Forest. The primary threats that may require special 
management in this subunit are introduced European beachgrass that 
encroaches on the available nesting and foraging habitat; disturbance 
from humans, dogs and OHVs in important foraging and nesting areas; and 
predators such as the American crow and common raven.
    OR 9, Coos Bay North Spit, 278 ac (112.5 ha): This unit is on the 
western coast of Coos County, Oregon, about 5 mi (8.0 km) west of the 
City of Coos Bay. It is bounded by Coos Bay to the east, the Coos Bay 
North Jetty to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The unit 
is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and interior interdune flats 
created through dredge material disposal or through habitat 
restoration. It includes the following features essential to the 
conservation of the species (PCEs): Expansive sparsely vegetated 
interdune flats (for nesting and foraging); areas of sandy beach above 
and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging); and close proximity to 
tidally influenced estuarine areas (for foraging). The most recently 
documented plovers for this unit include an average of 17 breeding and 
3 wintering plovers in 2003 (Lauten et al. in litt. 2003; Service in 
litt. 2004). This unit provides habitat capable of supporting 54 
breeding plovers under proper management. The unit consists of 278 
federally owned acres (112.5 ha) primarily managed by the Bureau of 
Land Management. Threats that may require special management in this 
unit are introduced European beachgrass that encroaches on the 
available nesting and foraging habitat; disturbance from humans, dogs 
and OHVs in important foraging and nesting areas; and predators such as 
the American crow and common raven.
    OR 10, Bandon/Cape Blanco Area: One subunit within this unit was 
identified as essential to the conservation of the species, near the 
town of Bandon in Coos and Curry Counties, Oregon.
    Subunit OR 10A, Bandon to Floras Lake, 632 ac (256 ha): This 
subunit is on the southwestern coast of Coos County, Oregon, about 4 mi 
(6.4 km) south of the City of Bandon. It is bounded by China Creek to 
the north, the New River to the east, Floras Lake to the south, and the 
Pacific Ocean to the west. The subunit is characteristic of a dune-
backed beach and barrier spit. It includes the following features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Wide sand spits or 
washovers and sparsely vegetated areas of sandy dune relatively 
undisturbed by human or tidal activity (for nesting and foraging); 
areas of sandy beach above and below the high tide line with occasional 
surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (foraging); and close 
proximity to tidally influenced freshwater areas (for foraging). The 
most recently documented plovers for this subunit include an average of 
15 breeding and 18 wintering plovers in 2003 (Lauten et al. in litt. 
2003; Service in litt. 2004). This subunit is capable of supporting 54 
breeding plovers under proper management. The subunit consists of 298 
ac (120 ha) of federally owned land, 171 ac (69 ha) of State-owned 
land, 12 ac of county-owned land (5 ha), and 163 ac (66 ha) of 
privately owned land. The Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon 
Parks and Recreation Department are the unit's primary land managers. 
Threats that may require special management in this subunit are 
introduced European beachgrass that encroaches on the available nesting 
and foraging habitat; disturbance from humans, dogs, horses and OHVs in 
important foraging and nesting areas; and predators such as the common 
raven and red fox.

California

    Unit CA 1, Lake Earl; 57 ac (24 ha): This unit is located directly 
west of the Lake Earl/Lake Tolowa lagoon system. The portion of the 
proposed unit extending north to Kellogg Road has been dropped from the 
final critical habitat designation, reducing the size of the unit from 
91 acres (37 ha) to the designated 57 acres (24 ha). The narrow portion 
of the proposed unit that extended along the Pacific Shores housing 
development was removed from the final rule because of information 
received regarding the dense stands of non-native European beachgrass 
along an already narrow beach, the relatively steep slope of the 
beachfront, and intensive use by OHVs. These factors combined make the 
northern portion of the proposed unit non-essential habitat. As a 
consequence, the final designated unit extends slightly to the south on 
to State Park property, while avoiding the private property to the 
north.
    The Lake Earl lagoon is approximately 3 mi (4.8 km) in length, 
encompasses 90.8 ac (36.7 ha), and lies approximately 2 mi (3.2 km) 
north of Point Saint George and the McNamara Airfield. Essential 
features of the unit for Pacific Coast WSP conservation include sandy 
beaches above and below the mean high tide line, wind-blown sand in 
dune systems immediately inland of the active beach face, and the wash 
over area at the lagoon mouth. The Lake Earl unit is a historical 
breeding site, and has harbored a small population of wintering plovers 
in recent years (Watkins, pers. comm. 2004). We expect this unit is 
capable of supporting 10 breeding plovers with adaptive management. All 
57 ac (24 ha) are managed by the State under the jurisdiction of the 
California Department of Fish and Game, and California State Parks. 
Threats to the species include the following: Degradation of the sand 
dune system due to encroachment of European beachgrass; destruction of 
habitat and loss of wintering and nesting plovers from OHV use; and, 
destruction of habitat from annual mechanical breaching (as authorized 
by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE)) of the Lake Earl/Lake Tolowa 
lagoon.

[[Page 57000]]

Monitoring indicates that the practice of breaching has only temporary, 
short-term effects to wintering plovers.
    CA 2, Big Lagoon, 280 ac (113 ha): This unit consists of a large 
sand spit that divides the Pacific Ocean from Big Lagoon. The northern 
extent of the Big Lagoon spit is approximately three mi (4.8 km) south 
of the Town of Orick. The unit contains the following features 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP (PCEs): Low 
lying sandy dunes and open sandy areas that are relatively undisturbed 
by humans; and sandy beach above and below the high tide line that 
supports small invertebrates. The Big Lagoon spit is historical nesting 
habitat, and currently maintains a winter population of fewer than 10 
plovers (Watkins, pers. comm. 2001). We estimate the unit can support 
16 breeding plovers. The unit is located on the spit, which is 
approximately 3.8 mi (6.1 km) in length. Most of the unit (279.2 ac, 
113.0 ha) is managed by the California Department of Parks and 
Recreation (CA State Parks). An additional 0.6 ac (0.26 ha) are 
Humboldt County-managed. State Parks has conducted habitat restoration 
at this unit through the hand-removal of non-native vegetation. The 
primary threat to wintering and breeding plovers that may require 
special management is the disturbance from humans and dogs walking 
through winter flocks and potential nesting areas.
    CA 3, McKinleyville Area: This unit consists of two subunits in the 
vicinity of McKinleyville, California, in Humboldt County.
    CA 3A, Clam Beach/Little River, 155 ac (63 ha): The Little River/
Clam Beach subunit's northern boundary is directly across from the 
south abutment of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge that crosses the Little 
River. The southern subunit boundary is aligned with the north end of 
the southernmost, paved Clam Beach parking area. The length of the unit 
is approximately 1.8 mi (2.8 km). Essential features of the subunit 
that contribute towards the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP 
include large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and 
below the high tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated 
terrain. The subunit currently supports a breeding population of 
approximately 12 plovers, and a winter population of up to 55 plovers 
(Colwell, et al. 2003). It has developed into one of four primary 
nesting locations within northern California. We expect the subunit to 
be capable of supporting six pairs of breeding plovers. The primary 
threats to nests, chicks, and both wintering and breeding adult plovers 
in this subunit are OHV use, predators, and disturbance caused by 
humans and dogs. Of the total 154.9 ac (62.7 ha), approximately 81.5 
acres (33 ha) are under the jurisdiction of the CA State Parks, 24.1 
acres (9.8 ha) are in private ownership, and 49.5 acres (20 ha) are 
under the ownership and management of Humboldt County.
    CA 3B, Mad River Beach, 377 ac (153 ha): This subunit was largely 
swept clean of European beachgrass when the Mad River temporarily 
shifted north in the 1980's and 1990's. The Mad River Beach subunit is 
approximately 2.8 mi (4.5 km) long, and ranges from the U.S. Highway 
101 Vista Point below the Arcata Airport in the north, to School Road 
in the south. One hundred sixty one acres (65 ha) are owned and managed 
by Humboldt County, and 216.5 (87.6 ha) are privately owned. Essential 
features of the subunit that contribute towards the conservation of the 
Pacific Coast WSP include large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy 
beach above and below the high tide line, and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain. We expect the subunit to eventually support 
12 breeding plovers with proper management. The current breeding 
population is believed to be less than 5 plovers, although plovers from 
this subunit readily intermix with plovers in CA 3A (Colwell, et al. 
2003). Occasional winter use by plovers has been intermittently 
documented, with most wintering within the adjacent critical habitat 
unit to the north (Hall, pers. comm. 2003). The primary threats to 
nests, chicks, and both wintering and breeding adult plovers are OHV 
use, and disturbance caused by equestrians and humans with accompanying 
dogs.
    Unit CA 4, Eel River Area: This unit consists of 4 subunits, 1 each 
on the north and south spits of the mouth of the Eel River, 1 for the 
Eel River gravel bars supporting nesting plovers approximately 5 to 10 
mi (3 to 6 km) inland, and 1 extending from the south spit of Humboldt 
Bay to the beach adjacent to the north Eel River spit subunit.
    Subunit CA 4A, Humboldt Bay, South Spit Beach, 375 ac (152 ha): 
This subunit is located across Humboldt Bay, less than one mile (<1.6 
km) west of the City of Eureka, with the southern boundary being Table 
Bluff. Three hundred forty-four acres (139.3 ha) of the unit are owned 
by the California Department of Fish and Game, but are managed by the 
Federal Bureau of Land Management, 10.1 ac (4.1 ha) are owned and 
managed by the County of Humboldt, and 20.2 ac (8.2 ha) are owned by 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The subunit is 4.8 mi (7.7 km) in 
total length. The following features essential to the conservation of 
the Pacific Coast WSP can be found within the unit: Large areas of 
sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the high tide line, 
and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. The plover 
wintering population is estimated at under 15 individuals, and three 
nests, from 4 breeders, were attempted within the subunit in 2003 
(Colwell, et al. 2003). This subunit is capable of supporting 30 
breeding plovers. The Bureau of Land Management has conducted habitat 
restoration within the subunit, in consultation with us. The primary 
threats to adult plovers, chicks, and nests, are OHV use, and 
disturbance from equestrians and humans with dogs.
    Subunit CA 4B, Eel River North Spit and Beach, 283 ac (114 ha): 
This subunit stretches from Table Bluff on the north to the mouth of 
the Eel River in the south. The subunit is estimated to be 3.9 miles 
(6.3 km) long, and is managed by the California Department of Fish and 
Game, except for five acres of private land. Essential features of the 
unit include: Large areas of sandy, sparsely vegetated dunes for 
reproduction and foraging, and areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high tide line supporting small invertebrates for foraging. Driftwood 
is an important component of the habitat in this subunit, providing 
shelter from the wind both for nesting plovers and for invertebrate 
prey species. The subunit's winter population of plovers is estimated 
at less than 20 (LeValley, 2004). As many as 11 breeders have been 
observed during breeding season window surveys, with a breeding 
population estimated at less than 15 (Colwell, et al. 2003). We expect 
this subunit to eventually support 20 breeding plovers with proper 
management. Threats include predators, OHVs, and disturbance from 
equestrians and humans with dogs.
    Subunit CA 4C, Eel River South Spit and Beach, 402 ac (163 ha): 
This subunit encompasses the beach segment from the mouth of the Eel 
River, south to Centerville Road, approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) west 
of the Town of Ferndale. The subunit is 5 miles (8.3 km) long. 397.1 
acres (160.7 ha) are private, and the remaining 4.4 ac (1.8 ha) are 
managed by Humboldt County. Essential features of the subunit include: 
Large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. 
This subunit is capable of supporting 20 breeding plovers. A single 
nest was found during the 2004 breeding season (McAllister, pers. comm. 
2004). The

[[Page 57001]]

winter population is estimated at under 80 plovers, many of which breed 
on the Eel River gravel bars (CA 5) (McAllister, pers. comm. 2003, 
Transou, pers. comm. 2003). Threats include predators, OHVs, and 
disturbance from equestrians and humans with dogs.
    Subunit CA 4D, Eel River Gravel Bars; 1,190 ac (481 ha): The 
overall acreage of this unit has changed from the proposed 1,193 ac 
(483 ha) due to information received regarding the inclusion of 
developed properties managed by the California Department of 
Transportation. The 3 acres containing road developments have been 
dropped from the final designation, and is considered a mapping error.
    This subunit is inundated during winter months due to high flows in 
the Eel River. It is 6.4 mi (10.3 km) from the Town of Fernbridge, 
upstream to the confluence of the Van Duzen River. The Eel River is 
contained by levees in this section, and consists of gravel bars and 
wooded islands. The subunit contains a total of 1,190 ac (481 ha), of 
which 176 ac (71) are owned and managed by Humboldt County, 76 ac (30 
ha) are under the jurisdiction of the California State Lands 
Commission, and 938 ac (379 ha) are privately owned. Essential features 
of this subunit include bare, open gravel bars comprised of both sand 
and cobble which support reproduction and foraging. This Subunit 
harbors the most important breeding habitat in California north of San 
Francisco Bay, having the highest fledging success rate of any area 
from Mendocino County to the Oregon border. This subunit is capable of 
supporting 40 breeding plovers. Recent window surveys documented 22 
breeding birds in this subunit (LeValley, pers. comm. 2004). Threats 
include predators, OHVs, and disturbance from gravel mining and humans 
with dogs.
    CA 5, MacKerricher Beach, 1,048 ac (424 ha): This unit is 
approximately 3.5 miles (5.5 km) long. The unit is just south of the 
Ten Mile River, and approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) north of the City of 
Fort Bragg. 1,017.2 acres (411.6 ha) are managed by CA State Parks, and 
31.2 acres (12.6 ha) are private. Essential features of the unit 
include: Large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and 
below the high tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated 
terrain. State Parks has been conducting removal of European beachgrass 
to improve habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP and other sensitive dune 
species within the unit. This unit is capable of supporting 20 breeding 
plovers. The current breeding population is estimated at less than 10 
(Colwell, et al. 2003). The winter population of plovers is under 45 
(Cebula, pers. comm. 2004). Threats to nests, chicks and both wintering 
and breeding adults include predators and disturbance from equestrians 
and humans with dogs.
    CA 6, Manchester Beach, 341 ac (138 ha): The Manchester Beach unit 
is approximately 3.5 miles (5.7 km) in length. California State Parks 
manages 336.2 ac (136.1 ha) of the unit, while the remaining 4.8 ac 
(1.9 ha) are private. Essential features of the unit include: Large 
areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the high 
tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. This 
unit provides an important wintering site for the region (Service 
2001). In 2003, a pair of plovers nested within the unit, and 
successfully hatched 2 chicks. However, those chicks did not survive 
(Colwell, et al. 2003). The current wintering population is estimated 
at less than 20 (Cebula, pers. comm. 2004). Threats to nests, chicks 
and both wintering and breeding adults include predators and 
disturbance from equestrians and humans with dogs.
    CA 7, Dillon Beach, 30 ac (12 ha): This unit was excluded from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, 
primarily based upon the landowner's willingness to enter a partnership 
ensure conservation (see section titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act). This unit 
is located at the mouth of Tomales Bay, just south of the town of 
Dillon Beach. It stretches for about 1.25 mi (2.01 km) north from Sand 
Point. PCEs provided by the unit include surf-cast debris supporting 
small invertebrates for foraging, and large stretches of relatively 
undisturbed, sparsely vegetated sandy beach, both above and below high 
tide line, for foraging and potentially for nesting. Although nesting 
has not been noted here, the unit is an important wintering area. One 
hundred twenty three wintering plovers were counted at this spot during 
the last winter survey in January 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). Other than 
State lands intermittently exposed below mean high tide, the unit is 
entirely on private land. Potential threats that may require special 
management include predators and disturbance by humans and their pets.
    CA 8, Pt. Reyes Beach, 462 ac (187 ha): This unit occupies most of 
the west-facing beach between Point Reyes and Tomales Point. It is 
located entirely within the Point Reyes National Seashore, and consists 
primarily of dune backed beaches. The unit includes the following PCEs 
essential to plover conservation: Sparsely vegetated sandy beach above 
and below high tide for nesting and foraging, wind-blown sand dunes for 
nesting and predator avoidance, and tide-cast debris attracting small 
invertebrates for foraging. It supports both nesting and wintering 
plovers, and can support 50 breeding birds with proper management. 
Threats in the area that may require special management include 
disturbance by humans and pets, and predators (particularly ravens and 
crows).
    CA 9, Limantour Spit, 124 ac (50 ha): Limantour Spit is a roughly 
2.25 mile (4.0 km) sand spit at the north end of Drake's Bay. The unit 
includes the end of the spit, and contracts to include only the south-
facing beach towards the base of the spit. It is completely within the 
Point Reyes National Seashore. CA 9 can support both nesting and 
wintering plovers, although nesting has not been documented since 2000 
(Page in litt. 2003, 2004). Ninety-five wintering plovers were counted 
at the site during the January 2004 survey (Page in litt. 2004). The 
unit is expected to contribute significantly to plover conservation in 
the region by providing habitat capable of supporting ten nesting 
birds. PCEs at the unit include sparsely vegetated beach sand, above 
and below high tide for nesting and foraging, and tide-cast debris 
supporting small invertebrates. Threats that may require special 
management include disturbance by humans and pets, and nest predators 
such as crows and ravens.
    CA 10, Half Moon Bay, 37 ac (15 ha): This unit stretches for about 
1.25 mi (2.01 km) along Half Moon Bay State Beach, and is entirely 
within California State Park land. It includes sandy beach above and 
below the high tide line for nesting and foraging, and surf-cast debris 
to attract small invertebrates. Small numbers of breeding birds have 
been found at the location in the past three surveys, including four 
breeding birds in the most recent survey, conducted in 2003 (Page in 
litt. 2003). The unit also supports a sizeable winter flock, consisting 
of 65 birds in 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). We expect the unit to 
eventually support ten breeding birds in the unit under proper 
management, which makes it a potentially significant contributor to 
plover conservation. Potential threats in the area that may require 
special management include disturbance by humans and pets, and nest 
predators.
    CA 11, Santa Cruz Coast: This unit consists of three relatively 
small pocket beaches in Santa Cruz County, California. The unit forms 
an important link between larger breeding beeches to

[[Page 57002]]

the north and south, such as Half Moon Bay and the Monterey Bay 
beaches.
    Subunit CA 11A, Waddell Creek Beach, 9 ac (4 ha): This subunit 
includes the mouth of Waddell Creek and is located about 20 mi (32.2 
km) north of the city of Santa Cruz. It extends about 0.7 mi (1.1 km) 
north along the coast from a point about 0.1 mi (0.2 km) south of the 
creek mouth to a point about 0.6 mi (0.4 km) north of the creek. This 
unit was listed as being unoccupied in the proposed rule in error. From 
3 to 11 nesting plovers were counted in this unit in the early 1990's, 
and the area also supported a sizeable wintering plover population of 
up to 50 birds during that time (Service 1991). More recently, at least 
one nest successfully hatched in 2004 and one in 2005 (G. Page, Point 
Reyes Bird Observatory, pers. comm. 2005). The area provides several 
essential habitat features, including wind-blown sand dunes, areas of 
sandy beach above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-
cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) 
and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and 
predator avoidance). With proper management, and in conjunction with 
the other two small units proposed for Santa Cruz County (CA 11B and 
11C), this subunit can attract additional nesting plovers and thereby 
facilitate genetic interchange between the larger units at Half Moon 
Bay (CA 10) and Palm Beach and Moss Landing (CA 12) (see Criterion 3, 
Methods section, above). CA 11A encompasses approximately 8.1 ac (3.3 
ha) of State land and 1.3 ac (0.5 ha) of private land. Human 
disturbance is the primary threat to plovers in the subunit that might 
require special management.
    Subunit CA 11B, Scott Creek Beach, 19 ac (8 ha): This subunit 
includes the mouths of Scott and Molino creeks and is located about 13 
mi (20.9 km) north of the city of Santa Cruz. It extends about 0.7 mi 
(1.1 km) north along the coast from the southern end of the sandy beach 
(0.3 mi (0.5 km) south of Molino Creek) to a point about 0.1 mi (0.4 
km) north of Scott Creek. Recent surveys have found from 12 (in 2000) 
to 1 (in 2004) nesting plovers occupying the area (Page in litt. 2004), 
and it is an important snowy plover wintering area, with up to 114 
birds each winter (Page in litt. 2004). This subunit is essential to 
the conservation of the species because with proper management, and in 
conjunction with the other two small units proposed for Santa Cruz 
County (CA 11B and 11C), it can attract additional nesting plovers and 
thereby facilitate genetic interchange between the larger units at Half 
Moon Bay (CA 10) and Palm Beach and Moss Landing (CA 12) (see Criterion 
3, Methods section, above). The subunit includes the following habitat 
features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). CA 13 
is situated entirely on private land. Human disturbance and predators 
are the primary threats to snowy plovers in this subunit that may 
require special management.
    Subunit CA 11C, Wilder Creek Beach, 10 ac (4 ha): This subunit is 
located at the mouth of Laguna Creek and is about 8 mi (12.9 km) north 
of the city of Santa Cruz. It extends about 0.5 mi (0.3 km) north along 
the coast from the southern end of the sandy beach to the northern end 
of the beach across the mouth of Laguna Creek. Five nesting plovers 
were found in the area in 2000 (Page in litt. 2004). The subunit 
includes the following essential features: Areas of sandy beach above 
and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). CA 
11C is capable of supporting sixteen breeding birds under proper 
management. The subunit is entirely situated on State-owned land. 
Disturbance from humans and pets, development, OHV use, pets, and 
predators are the primary threats to snowy plovers in this subunit that 
may require special management.
    CA 12, Monterey Bay Beaches: This unit now includes one subunit 
within Monterey Bay, California, in parts of Santa Cruz and Monterey 
Counties.
    Subunit CA 12A, Jetty Rd to Aptos, 272 ac (110 ha): This subunit 
was excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act based upon its high economic costs (see section titled 
Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 
4(b)(2) of the Act). This subunit is about 5 mi (8 km) west of the city 
of Watsonville and includes Sunset and Zmudowski State beaches. The 
mouth of the Pajaro River is located near the center of the unit, and 
Elkhorn Slough is at the south end of the unit. It extends about 8.5 mi 
(13.7 km) north along the coast from Elkhorn Slough to Zils Road. This 
is an important snowy plover nesting area, with 8-38 birds nesting each 
year, and is also an important wintering area, with up to 250 birds 
each winter (Page in litt. 2004)). This subunit is capable of 
supporting 54 breeding birds under proper management. It includes the 
following features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above 
and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). CA 
12A exists entirely on State lands. Human disturbance, development, 
horses, OHV use, pets, predators, and dune-stabilizing vegetation such 
as European beachgrass are the primary threats to snowy plovers in this 
subunit that may require special management.
    Subunit CA 12B, Elkhorn Slough Mudflats, 281 ac (114 ha): CA 12B is 
about 3.5 mi (5.6 km) north of the city of Castroville along the north 
side of Elkhorn Slough east of Highway 1. It extends about 1 mi (1.6 
km) along the north shore of Elkhorn Slough east of Highway 1 and about 
0.5 mi (0.8 km) north from Elkhorn Slough to Bennett Slough. This is an 
important nesting area, with 6-47 birds nesting each year, and is also 
an important wintering area, with up to 95 birds each winter (Page in 
litt. 2004, Stenzel in litt. 2004). This subunit is capable of 
supporting 80 breeding birds under proper management. It includes the 
following features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above 
and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). The 
subunit is situated entirely on State-owned land. Human disturbance, 
development, horses, OHV use, pets, predators, and vegetation are the 
primary threats to snowy plovers in this subunit that may require 
special management.
    Subunit CA 12C, Monterey to Moss Landing, 788 ac (319 ha): This 
subunit was excluded from critical habitat designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high economic costs (see section 
titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act). This subunit includes the beaches along 
the southern half of Monterey Bay from the city of Monterey at the 
south end of the subunit to Moss Landing and the mouth of Elkhorn 
Slough at the north end of the unit. The mouth of the Salinas River is 
located near the center of the unit. It extends about 15 mi (24.2 km) 
north along the coast from Monterey to Moss Landing. This is an 
important nesting area, with 61 to 104 nesting birds each year, and is 
also an

[[Page 57003]]

important snowy plover wintering area, with up to 190 birds each winter 
(Page in litt. 2004, Stenzel in litt. 2004). This subunit is capable of 
supporting 162 breeding birds under proper management. It includes the 
following habitat features essential to the species: Areas of sandy 
beach above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast 
wrack supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and 
generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and 
predator avoidance). CA 12C includes approximately 470 ac (190 ha) of 
State and local lands, and 63 ac (25 ha) of Federal land. It would 
include an additional 142 ac (57.5 ha) of Federal land in the Salinas 
River National Wildlife Refuge, but we are excluding that area based on 
the existence of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Salinas River 
NWR that has undergone section 7 consultation (see section titled 
Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 
4(b)(2) of the Act). Human disturbance, development, horses, OHV use, 
pets, predators, and habitat changes resulting from exotic vegetation 
are the primary threats to snowy plovers in this subunit that may 
require special management.
    CA 13, Point Sur Beach, 61 ac (25 ha): This unit is about 17 mi 
(27.4 km) south of the city of Monterey and immediately north of Point 
Sur. It extends about 1 mi (1.6 km) north along the coast from Point 
Sur. This is an important snowy plover wintering area, with up to 65 
birds each winter (Page in litt. 2004). A few nesting pairs (1-2) also 
occupy this unit each year (Stenzel in litt. 2004). This unit is 
capable of supporting 20 breeding birds under proper management. It 
includes the following features essential to the species: Wind-blown 
sand dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the high tide line 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (for 
nesting and foraging) and generally barren to sparsely vegetated 
terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). This unit is situated 
entirely on State-owned land. Human disturbance and habitat changes due 
to exotic vegetation are the primary threats to snowy plovers in this 
unit that may require special management.
    CA 14, San Simeon Beach, 28 ac (11 ha): CA 14, which is entirely 
within San Simeon State Beach, is located about 5 mi (8 km) south of 
San Simeon. It extends about 0.9 mi (1.5 km) north along the coast from 
a point opposite the intersection of Highway 1 and Moonstone Beach 
Drive to the northwestern corner of San Simeon State Beach. This is an 
important snowy plover wintering area, supporting 143 birds as 
documented by the most recent winter survey (Page in litt. 2004). The 
unit also supports a small number of nesting plovers: One nest hatched 
three chicks in 2002, and one nest was initiated but lost to predators 
in 2003 (Orr in litt. 2004). This unit includes the following features 
essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below the high 
tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). Human 
disturbance, pets, and dune stabilizing vegetation are the primary 
threats to snowy plovers in this unit that may require special 
management.
    CA 15, Estero Bay Beaches: This unit now includes one subunit in 
Estero Bay, California, San Luis Obispo County. The subunit designated 
as critical habitat (CA 15A) is a pocket beach at the north end of the 
bay.
    Subunit CA 15A, Villa Creek Beach, 17 ac (7 ha): The Villa Creek 
subunit is about 3.5 mi (5.6 km) northwest of the city of Cayucos, and 
is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Villa 
Creek Beach is located near the northern boundary of the Estero Bluffs 
property. It extends 0.3 mi (0.5 km) northwest along the beach from an 
unnamed headland 1.4 mi (2.3 km) north of Point Cayucos to an unnamed 
headland northwest of Villa Creek, and inland (north) for 0.25 mi (0.4 
km) along Villa Creek. This subunit is an important breeding area that 
supports between 21 and 38 adults during the breeding season, and up to 
31 nests (Larson 2003a). This area is also an important wintering site 
that supports up to 30 wintering birds (George 2001). It includes the 
following features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above 
and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). 
Threats that may require special management include human disturbance, 
pets, horses, and predators.
    Subunit CA 15B, Atascadero Beach, 101 ac (40 ha): This subunit was 
excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act based upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application 
of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act). A 43-ac (17 ha) portion of this subunit from Highway 41/
Atascadero Road south to Morro Bay Rock was removed as not essential to 
the conservation of the plover. This area is heavily disturbed by 
recreational beach users and does not provide the features essential 
for the conservation of the species (e.g., an area free from 
disturbance) and is not, by definition, critical habitat. However, the 
remainder of subunit 15B was determined to be essential for western 
snowy plover conservation.
    The subunit is located at Morro Strand State Beach near the city of 
Morro Bay, and is managed entirely by the California Department of 
Parks and Recreation. It extends about 1.6 mi (2.5 km) north along the 
beach from Atascadero Road/Highway 41 to an unnamed rocky outcrop 
opposite the end of Yerba Buena Street at the north end of Morro Bay. 
This is an important breeding area supporting up to 40 nests each year 
(Larson 2003b). CA 15B is also an important wintering area, with up to 
152 wintering birds (Service 2001). This subunit is essential to 
species conservation because it contributes significantly to the 
regional conservation goal by providing habitat capable of supporting 
40 breeding birds under proper management (Service 2001). It includes 
the following features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally 
barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator 
avoidance). Human disturbance, pets, and predators are the primary 
threats to plovers in this unit that may require special management.
    Subunit CA 15C, Morro Bay Beach, 611 ac (247 ha): This subunit was 
excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act based upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application 
of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act). The subunit is located at Morro Bay near Morro Rock. The 
majority of the beach is managed by the California Department of Parks 
and Recreation, while the northern tip of the sand spit is owned by the 
city of Morro Bay. It extends 6.9 miles (11.1 km) north along the beach 
from a rocky outcrop about 0.2 mi (0.3 km) north of Hazard Canyon to 
the northern tip of the sand spit. This is an important breeding and 
wintering area that supports more than 100 breeding adults and up to 
148 wintering birds (Page in litt. 2003). This subunit is capable of 
supporting 110 breeding birds under proper management. It includes the 
following features essential to the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, 
areas of above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast 
wrack

[[Page 57004]]

supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally 
barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator 
avoidance). Human disturbance, horses, pets, predators, and dune-
stabilizing vegetation are the primary threats to plovers that may 
require special management.
    CA 16, Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes, 969 ac (392 ha): A 300-ac (121.4-
ha) portion of this unit was removed because we determined it was not 
essential to the conservation of the plover. The area removed consists 
of the heavily used open riding area at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular 
Recreation Area. The open riding area is the entire area open to 
recreation vehicles during the western snowy plover nesting season, and 
extends from the park entrance to post 6 (State Parks 2004). There are 
marker posts, numbered 1 through 8 along the coastal strand of the 
riding area to provide orientation. These posts are 0.5 miles apart. 
The open riding area is not essential for the conservation of the 
western snowy plover because it is subject to regular disturbance from 
both street legal vehicles and OHVs. Vehicle disturbance in the open 
riding area has precluded it from supporting a substantial number of 
nesting western snowy plovers (only one nest was established in the 
open riding area in 2004 [State Parks 2004]). The open riding area does 
not contain the features essential for the conservation of the species 
(e.g., an area free from disturbance) and is not, by definition, 
critical habitat. Therefore, we are not designating the open riding 
area, including the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) length of beach from the park 
entrance to the start of the nesting area at post 6, as critical 
habitat.
    The remainder of this unit was either removed from critical habitat 
pursuant to section 3(5)(a) of the Act, based upon its existing 
management, or excluded from critical habitat designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act based upon its high economic costs (see section 
titled Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act). The remainder of the unit consists of two 
larger areas connected by a narrow strip of land below the mean high 
water (MHW) line. The narrow strip is all that remains of that part of 
the unit after the exclusion of Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes National 
Wildlife Refuge. The Unit is located south of Grover City and Oceano 
and includes areas of Rancho Guadalupe County Park, managed by Santa 
Barbara County; and the Guadalupe Oil Field, the Oso Flaco Natural Area 
and Oceano Dunes Off-road Vehicular Recreation Area, managed by the 
California Department of Parks and Recreation. The unit extends about 9 
mi (14.5 km) north along the beach from a point about 0.4 mi (0.6 km) 
north of Mussel Point to Marker Post 6. Marker posts numbered 1 through 
8, and 0.5 mile apart, occur along the coastal strand of the ODSVRA 
riding area to provide orientation to park visitors. This is an 
important breeding area capable of supporting between 123 and 246 
breeding adults (Service 2001) and over 300 wintering birds (Service 
2001; George 2001). This unit is essential to species conservation 
because it contributes significantly to the regional conservation goal 
by providing habitat capable of supporting 350 breeding birds under 
proper management (Service 2001). It includes the following features 
essential to the species: wind-blown sand dunes, areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally 
barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator 
avoidance). This unit includes approximately 469.7 ac (190 ha) of State 
and local land, and 498.9 ac (201.9 ha) of private land. Potential 
threats that may require special management include direct human 
disturbance, OHVs, horses, pets, and predators.
    CA 17, Vandenberg: This unit, consisting of two subunits, is 
located on Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, 
California. We have excluded all essential lands in this unit from the 
final critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
(see Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section for a detailed discussion).
    Subunit CA 17A, Vandenberg North, 626 ac (253 ha): We have excluded 
all essential lands in this subunit from the final critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Application of 
Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section for a detailed discussion). This subunit is located on 
Vandenberg Air Force Base about 14 mi (22.5 km) southwest of the city 
of Santa Maria. It extends about 7.9 mi (12.7 km) north along the coast 
from a point along the beach 0.5 mi (0.8 km) south of Purisima Point to 
an unnamed creek or canyon 0.6 mi (1 km) south of Lion's Head, an area 
of rocky outcrops. This is an important breeding area that supports 
between 90 and 145 breeding adults (SRS 2003). This is also an 
important wintering area with up to 265 wintering birds (Page in litt. 
2004). This subunit is capable of supporting 250 breeding birds under 
proper management. It includes the following features essential to the 
species: wind-blown sand dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). The 
subunit is entirely owned by the U.S. Air Force. Disturbance of nesting 
by humans and pets, military activities, predators, and the spread of 
dense vegetation are the primary threats to plovers in this subunit 
that may require special management.
    Subunit CA 17B, Vandenberg South, 304 ac (123 ha): We have excluded 
all essential lands in this subunit from the final critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Application of 
Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section for a detailed discussion). This subunit is located on 
Vandenberg Air Force Base about 9 mi (14.5 km) west of the city of 
Lompoc, and is entirely on U.S. Air Force land. It extends about 4.6 mi 
(7.4 km) north along the coast from an unnamed rocky outcrop 0.2 mi 
(0.3 km) north of Canada la Honda Creek to the first rock outcropping 
along the beach north of the Santa Ynez River (0.8 mi (0.3 km) north of 
the river). This is an important breeding area that supports between 10 
and 97 breeding adults (SRS 2003). This is also an important wintering 
area with up to 233 wintering birds (Page in litt. 2004). This subunit 
is capable of supporting 150 breeding birds under proper management. It 
includes the following features essential to the species: wind-blown 
sand dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the high tide line 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (for 
nesting and foraging) and generally barren to sparsely vegetated 
terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). Human disturbance, 
military activities, pets, predators, and the spread of dense-growing 
vegetation are the primary threats to plovers in this subunit that may 
require special management.
    CA 18, Devereux Beach, 36 ac (15 ha): This unit is situated 
entirely on State and local land at Coal Oil Point, about 7 mi (11.3 
km) west along the coast from the city of Santa Barbara. It extends 
about 3.1 mi (1.9 km) north along the coast from the western boundary 
of Isla Vista County Park to a point along the beach opposite the end 
of Santa Barbara Shores Drive. In recent years, up to 18 breeding 
plovers have occupied this unit (Sandoval 2004). This unit is also

[[Page 57005]]

an important wintering area; three hundred and sixty birds were found 
in the area in the most recent winter survey (Page in litt. 2004). The 
unit includes the following features essential to the species: areas of 
sandy beach above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-
cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) 
and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and 
predator avoidance). Disturbance by humans and pets is the primary 
threat to snowy plovers in this unit that may require special 
management.
    CA 19, Oxnard Lowlands: This unit includes four subunits near the 
city of Oxnard in Ventura County, California. This is an important 
snowy plover breeding location for this region of the coast, as the 
next concentration of nesting snowy plovers to the south is located on 
Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base about 100 mi (160 km) away.
    Subunit CA 19A, Mandalay Beach to Santa Clara River, 406 ac (164 
ha): This subunit extends 6.1 mi (9.8 km) north along the coast from 
the north jetty of the Channel Islands harbor to a point about 0.5 mi 
(0.8 km) north of the Santa Clara River. However, the map of this 
subunit (Map 54), published in the proposed rule, depicted this unit as 
starting about 1 mile north of the jetty (Hollywood Beach). We have 
corrected the map of subunit 19A to display the complete subunit, which 
includes Hollywood Beach.
    We removed a 4-ac (1.6 ha) area from the proposed subunit CA 19A 
because it is a highly disturbed and heavily used recreational area 
that includes volleyball courts. This area is heavily disturbed by 
recreational beach users and does not include the PCEs for the 
conservation of the species, and is not, by definition, critical 
habitat. However, with this removal, the final designation includes the 
remainder of subunit CA 19A as critical habitat.
    This is an important snowy plover nesting area, with 9 to 70 birds 
nesting each year and is also an important wintering area for the 
plover, with up to 33 birds each winter (Service 2001). This unit is 
essential to species conservation because it contributes significantly 
to the regional conservation goal by providing habitat capable of 
supporting 64 breeding birds under proper management (Service 2001). It 
includes the following features essential to the species: wind-blown 
sand dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the high tide line 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates (for 
nesting and foraging) and generally barren to sparsely vegetated 
terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). This unit includes 
approximately 104.5 ac (42.3 ha) of private land. The remaining 301.3 
ac (123.5 ha) belongs to State or local agencies. Potential threats 
that may require special management include direct human disturbance, 
development, pets, and dune-stabilizing vegetation.
    Subunit CA 19B, Ormond Beach, 175 ac (70.8 ha): This subunit is 
located on State lands near the cities of Port Hueneme and Oxnard. It 
extends about 2.9 mi (4.7 km) northwest along the coast from Arnold 
Road and the boundary of the Navy Base Ventura County, Point Mugu 
(NBVC) to the J Street Drainage, approximately 0.5 mi (0.8 km) east of 
the south jetty of Port Hueneme. We removed a 28-ac (11.3 ha) area of 
subunit CA 19B, from the J Street drainage to the south jetty of Port 
Hueneme, because it is a highly disturbed and heavily used recreational 
area that includes a fishing pier, picnic tables, barbeques, 
restaurant, parking lots, dog walk, and volleyball courts. This area is 
also the location of biennial sand replenishment activities. This area 
is heavily disturbed by recreational beach users and does not provide 
the PCEs essential for the conservation of the species (e.g., an area 
free from disturbance) and is not, by definition, critical habitat. 
However, we have designated the remainder of subunit CA 19B as critical 
habitat.
    This subunit is an important snowy plover nesting area for this 
region of the coast, as the next concentration of nesting snowy plovers 
to the south (other than the adjacent unit CA 19C) is located on Camp 
Pendleton Marine Corps Base about 100 mi (160 km). The number of birds 
nesting within this unit has varied from about 20 to 34 per year 
(Service 2001). CA 19B is also an important wintering area for the 
plover, with up to 123 birds each winter (Service 2001). This subunit 
is essential to species conservation because it contributes 
significantly to the regional conservation goal by providing habitat 
capable of supporting 50 breeding birds under proper management 
(Service 2001). It includes the following features essential to the 
species: Wind-blown sand dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). 
Disturbance from humans and pets is the primary threat that may require 
special management for snowy plovers in this unit.
    Subunit CA 19C, Mugu Lagoon North, 321 ac (130 ha): This subunit is 
owned by DOD (Naval Base Ventura). The DOD portion is exempted under 
section 4(a)(3) of the Act because of their approved INRMP that 
provides a benefit to the species (see Application of Section 3(5)(A) 
and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section for 
a detailed discussion). This subunit begins immediately adjacent to 
subunit CA 19B, at the northern coastal boundary of Navy Base Ventura 
County, Pt Mugu (NBVC), and extends about 3.3 mi (5.3 km) southeast. 
Surveys have generally provided information for the entire ``Mugu 
Lagoon Beach'' area, so plover population information provided here for 
CA 19C applies to CA 19D as well. The number of birds nesting in the 
area has varied from about 40 to 80 per year (Stenzel in litt. 2004). 
CA 19C and 19D are also important wintering areas for the plover, with 
up to 62 birds each winter (Page in litt. 2004). CA 19C and 19D are 
capable of supporting 110 breeding birds under proper management. They 
include the following features essential to the species: Areas of sandy 
beach above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast 
wrack supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and 
generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and 
predator avoidance). CA 19C is located entirely within the boundaries 
of the NBVC. Important threats that may require special management 
include direct human disturbance, military activities, and predators.
    Subunit CA 19D, Mugu Lagoon South, 87 ac (35 ha): This subunit is 
mostly owned by DOD (Naval Base Ventura). The DOD portion is exempted 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act because of the approved INRMP that 
provides a benefit to the species. Remaining in the designation is an 
18.3-ac (7.4 ha) section at its southern end, which extends into Pt 
Mugu State Park, owned by the California Department of Parks and 
Recreation. Because surveys have commonly treated CA 19C and CA 19D as 
a single unit, plover population information for both subunits is 
provided in the narrative for CA 19C. The subunit contains the 
following features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above 
and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). 
Important threats that may require special management include direct 
human disturbance, military activities, and predators.

[[Page 57006]]

    CA 20, Zuma Beach, 68 ac (28 ha): This unit is located about 8 mi 
(3.2 km) west of the city of Malibu. It extends about 2.8 mi (4.5 km) 
north along the coast from the north side of Point Dume to the base of 
Trancas Canyon. This unit is an important wintering location for the 
plover, with 130 birds surveyed in January, 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). 
It includes the following essential features: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates (for foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance). This 
unit encompasses approximately 60 ac (24.3 ha) of CA State Parks lands, 
and 8 ac (3.2 ha) of privately owned land. Direct human disturbance, 
development, horses, and pets are the primary threats to snowy plovers 
in this unit that may require special management.
    CA 21, Santa Monica Bay: This unit includes four subunits in Santa 
Monica Bay, Los Angeles County, California.
    Subunit CA 21A, Santa Monica Beach, 25 ac (10 ha): This subunit is 
on the west coast of Los Angeles County, immediately west of the City 
of Santa Monica. It stretches roughly 0.9 miles (1.4 km) from Montana 
Avenue to the mouth of Santa Monica Canyon. This location includes the 
following essential habitat features: A wide sandy beach with 
occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates. It supported 
a wintering flock of 32 plovers in 2004 (Page in litt. 2004), and 
annually supports a significant wintering flock of plovers in a 
location with high quality breeding habitat. The subunit consists of 25 
ac (10 ha), of which 6 ac (2.4 ha) are owned by the CA State Parks, and 
19 acres (7.7 ha) are private. The primary threats that may require 
special management in this subunit are disturbance from human 
recreational use, as well as beach raking, which removes the wrack line 
and reduces food resources.
    Subunit CA 21B, Dockweiler North, 43 ac (17 ha): This subunit is 
located immediately west of the Los Angeles International Airport, 
south of Ballona Creek and west of the El Segundo Dunes. It stretches 
roughly 0.5 miles (0.8 km) centered at Sandpiper Street. Essential 
habitat features (PCEs) in the subunit include a wide sandy beach with 
occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates. This 
subunit, in conjuction with subunits 21C and 21D, annually supports a 
significant wintering flock of plovers in a location with high quality 
breeding habitat (Page in litt. 2004). It is entirely owned by the 
California Department of Parks and Recreation. The primary threats that 
may require special management are disturbance from human recreational 
use, as well as beach raking, which removes the wrack line and reduces 
food resources.
    Subunit CA 21C, Dockweiler South, 24 ac (10 ha): This subunit is 
located immediately west of the City of El Segundo and the Hyperion 
Wastewater Treatment Plant. It stretches roughly 0.7 miles (1.1 km) 
centered at Grand Avenue. This location includes the following 
essential habitat features: A wide sandy beach with occasional surf-
cast wrack supporting small invertebrates. In conjuction with subunits 
21B and 21D it annually supports a significant wintering flock of 
plovers in a location with high quality breeding habitat (Page in litt. 
2004). This subunit consists of 24 acres (9.7 ha), of which 13 acres 
(5.3 ha) are owned by the California Department of Parks and 
Recreation, and 11 acres (4.5 ha) are privately owned. The primary 
threats that may require special management in this subunit are 
disturbance from human recreational use, as well as beach raking, which 
removes the wrack line and reduces food resources.
    Subunit CA 21D, Hermosa State Beach, 10 ac (4 ha): This subunit is 
located immediately west of the City of Hermosa Beach. This subunit 
stretches roughly 0.25 miles (0.4 km) from 2nd Street to 6th Street. 
This location includes the following PCEs: A wide sandy beach with 
occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates. This 
location contained a wintering flock of 33 plovers in 2004, and 43 in 
2003 (Clark in litt. 2004; Page in litt. 2004). In conjunction with 
subunits 21B and 21C it annually supports a large and significant 
wintering flock of plovers. This subunit consists of 10 acres (4 ha), 
all of which are owned by the California Department of Parks and 
Recreation. The primary threats that may require special management in 
this subunit are disturbance from human recreational use, as well as 
beach raking, which removes the wrack line and reduces food resources.
    CA 22, Bolsa Chica Area: This unit includes two subunits in the 
vicinity of the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Orange County, California. The 
first of these subunits includes essential habitat in the wetlands 
themselves, while the second comprises a small area of beach 
immediately adjacent.
    Subunit CA 22A, Bolsa Chica Reserve, 591 ac (239 ha): This subunit 
is located immediately west of the City of Huntington Beach and east of 
the Pacific Coast Highway. It contains the following essential habitat 
features: Tidally influenced estuarine mud flats supporting small 
invertebrates, and seasonally dry ponds that provide nesting and 
foraging habitat for snowy plovers. This location supported 31 breeding 
adult plovers in 2003, and 38 in 2002 (Page in litt. 2003). This 
subunit annually supports one of the largest breeding populations of 
snowy plovers in the region, and contributes significantly to the 
conservation goal for the region by providing habitat capable of 
supporting 50 breeding birds under proper management. This subunit 
consists of 591 acres (239.2 ha), all of which are privately owned. The 
primary threat that may require special management in this subunit is 
egg and chick predation. This site, an abandoned oil field, is planned 
to undergo significant reconstruction and restoration, which should 
greatly increase the available breeding habitat for snowy plovers. 
Subunit CA 22B, Bolsa Chica State Beach; 13 ac (2 ha): This subunit was 
mislabeled during the proposed rule process. The correct name, shown 
here for subunit CA 22B, is Bolsa Chica State Beach. The UTMs for the 
unit's legal description were also presented in error during the 
proposed rule, and are correctly provided within this rule. CA 22B is 
located immediately west of the City of Huntington Beach and south of 
CA 22A. It stretches roughly 0.3 miles (0.4 km) from Seapoint Avenue 
north to the future lagoon mouth channel into Bolsa Chica Ecological 
Reserve. This location includes the following essential habitat 
features: A wide sandy beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates. The subunit contained a wintering flock of 11 
plovers in 2004 (Page in litt. 2004), and annually supports a 
significant wintering flock of plovers in a location with high quality 
breeding habitat. This subunit consists of 12 ac (5 ha) owned by the 
California Department of Parks and Recreation and 1 ac (0.4 ha) that is 
privately owned. The primary threats that may require special 
management in this subunit are disturbance from human recreational use, 
as well as beach raking, which removes the wrack line and reduces food 
resources.
    CA 23, Santa Ana River Mouth, 13 ac (5 ha): This unit is on the 
west coast of Orange County, immediately west of the City of Huntington 
Beach. It includes the following essential habitat features: A wide 
sandy beach with surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and 
tidally influenced estuarine mud flats that provide nesting and 
foraging habitat for snowy plovers. This site contains a large breeding 
colony of

[[Page 57007]]

California Least Terns and has also supported occasional breeding snowy 
plovers. This unit is the only beach front location in Orange County 
that supports adult plovers through the breeding season. The entire 
unit is owned by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The 
primary threat that may require special management in this unit is 
disturbance from human recreational use.
    Unit CA 24, San Onofre Beach; 40 ac (16 ha): This unit is on the 
west coast of San Diego County, at the northwest corner of Marine Corps 
Base Camp Pendleton. This unit stretches roughly 0.8 miles (1 km) from 
the mouth of San Mateo Creek to the mouth of San Onofre Creek and 
includes the following essential habitat features: A wide sandy beach 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates. This 
location contained a wintering flock of 14 plovers in January, 2004, 
with 60 recorded in January, 2003 (Clark in litt. 2004, Page in litt. 
2004). This unit annually supports a large and significant wintering 
flock of plovers (Page in litt. 2004) and contributes significantly to 
the conservation goal for the region by providing habitat capable of 
supporting 15 breeding birds under proper management. The unit consists 
of 40 acres (16 ha), of which 37.5 ac (15 ha) are owned by the 
California Department of Parks and Recreation, and 2.5 ac (1 ha) are 
privately owned. The primary threat that may require special management 
in this unit is disturbance from human recreational use.
    CA 25 (A, B and C), Batiquitos Lagoon, 65 ac (26 ha): This unit is 
on the west coast of San Diego County, between the cities of Carlsbad 
and Encinitas. The unit includes three subunits that make up the 
breeding islands created for nesting seabirds and shorebirds during 
restoration of the lagoon in 1996. Also included is a portion of South 
Carlsbad State Beach that supports a significant wintering population 
of plovers. This unit includes the following essential habitat 
features: Sandy beaches and tidally influenced estuarine mud flats with 
tide-cast organic debris supporting small invertebrates. This location 
contained a wintering flock of 82 plovers in 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). 
Nineteen breeding adults were recorded during the 2003 window survey 
(Page in litt. 2003). This unit annually supports a large and 
significant wintering flock of plovers, and contributes significantly 
to the conservation goal for the region by providing habitat capable of 
supporting 70 breeding birds under proper management. This unit 
consists of a total of 65 acres (26 ha), of which 9 acres (4 ha) are 
owned by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, 21 acres (8 
ha) are owned by the California Department of Fish and Game, and 35 
acres (14 ha) are non-public. The primary threats that may require 
special management in this unit are egg and chick predation, as well as 
disturbance from human recreational use at South Carlsbad State Beach.
    CA 26, Los Penasquitos, 24 ac (10 ha): This unit is located in San 
Diego County, immediately south of the City of Del Mar. It includes a 
portion of Torrey Pines State Beach that supports a significant 
wintering population of plovers. Essential habitat features supported 
by the unit include a wide sandy beach with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates, as well as tidally influenced estuarine 
mud flats with tide-cast organic debris. This location contained a 
wintering flock of 21 plovers in 2004, and 39 in 2003 (Clark in litt. 
2004, Page in litt. 2004). This unit annually supports a large and 
significant wintering flock of plovers, and contributes significantly 
to the conservation goal for the region by providing habitat capable of 
supporting ten breeding birds under proper management. The unit 
consists of 24 acres (10 ha), all of which are owned by the California 
Department of Parks and Recreation. The primary threat that may require 
special management in this unit is disturbance from human recreational 
use.
    CA 27, South San Diego Beaches: This unit includes six subunits in 
south San Diego County, California. Four of these subunits are on the 
Pacific coast, extending southwards from the mouth of San Diego Bay. 
The remaining two subunits (27D and 27E) are located in the San Diego 
Bay itself while a sixth subunit (27E) is in San Diego Bay itself.
    Subunit CA 27A, North Island North, 117 ac (47 ha): This subunit is 
exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the Act because of their approved 
INRMP that provides a benefit to the species (see Application of 
Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section for a detailed discussion). It is located immediately west 
of the City of Coronado. The subunit stretches roughly 1.9 miles (3 km) 
from Zuniga Point to the north end of Coronado City Beach. This subunit 
and the adjacent subunit 27B contain the following essential habitat 
features: A wide sandy beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates, as well as wind-blown sand in dune systems 
immediately inland of the active beach face. This location contained a 
wintering flock of 37 plovers in January, 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). 
Biologists also recorded 17 breeding adults during the 2003 window 
survey (Page in litt. 2003). These subunits annually support a large 
and significant wintering flock of plovers, and contribute 
significantly to the conservation goal for the region by providing 
habitat capable of supporting 20 breeding birds under proper 
management. This subunit is entirely on land owned by the Department of 
Defense. The primary threats that may require special management in 
these subunits are disturbance from human recreational use and military 
activities, as well as beach raking, which removes the wrack line and 
reduces food resources.
    Subunit CA27B North Island S., 44 ac (18 ha): This subunit is 
located immediately west of the City of Coronado. This subunit 
stretches roughly 0.6 miles (0.9 km) from the boundary with NAS North 
Island to the south end of the natural sand dunes at Coronado City 
Beach. It includes the following essential habitat features: A wide 
sandy beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates, as well as wind-blown sand in dune systems immediately 
inland of the active beach face. This location is adjacent to the 
sizable plover population at NAS North Island, which contained a 
wintering flock of 37 plovers in January, 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). 
Biologists also recorded 17 breeding adults at North Island during the 
2003 window survey (Page in litt. 2003). This subunit contributes 
significantly to the conservation goal for the region by providing 
habitat, in conjunction with the adjacent military lands, capable of 
supporting 20 breeding birds under proper management. This unit 
consists of land 44 acres owned by the City of Coronado. The primary 
threats that may require special management in these subunits are 
disturbance from human recreational use as well as beach raking, which 
removes the wrack line and reduces food resources.
    Subunit CA 27C, Silver Strand, 99 ac (40 ha): All Navy lands within 
subunit CA 27C have been exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the Act 
because of their approved INRMP that provides a benefit to the species 
(see Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section for a detailed discussion). The 
remainder of this subunit (Silver Strand State Beach) was excluded from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based 
upon its high economic costs (see section titled Application of Section 
3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section

[[Page 57008]]

4(b)(2) of the Act). This subunit is located immediately south of the 
City of Coronado. It stretches roughly 3.5 miles (5.6 km) along the 
Pacific coast side of the Silver Strand, from the southern end of NAB 
Coronado to the south end of the Naval Radio Receiving Facility. The 
essential habitat features of this subunit include a wide sandy beach 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, as well 
as wind-blown sand in dune systems immediately inland of the active 
beach face. In conjunction with excluded habitat on NAB Coronado, this 
location contained wintering flocks totaling 56 plovers in 2004 (Page 
in litt. 2004). Fifty eight breeding adults were recorded during the 
2003 window survey (Page in litt. 2003). This subunit annually supports 
a large and significant wintering flock of plovers (Page in litt. 
2004), and will contribute significantly to the recovery goal for the 
region by supporting 65 breeding birds under proper management. The 
subunit consists of 96 ac (39 ha) owned by the California Department of 
Parks and Recreation, and 3 ac (1 ha) of non-public land. The primary 
threat that may require special management in this unit is disturbance 
from human recreational use and military training, as well as egg and 
chick predation.
    Subunit CA 27D, Delta Beach, 85 ac (35 ha): All lands within 
subunit CA 27D have been exempted under section 4(a)(3) of the Act 
because of the Navy's approved INRMP that provides a benefit to the 
species (see Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions 
Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section for a detailed discussion). 
This subunit is located immediately south of the City of Coronado on 
the west side of San Diego Bay. It includes the following essential 
habitat features: sandy beaches above and below mean high tide line and 
tidally influenced estuarine mud flats with tide-cast organic debris 
that provide nesting and foraging habitat for snowy plovers. This 
location contained a wintering flock of 32 plovers in 2004 (Page in 
litt. 2004). It annually supports a large and significant wintering 
flock of plovers, and contributes significantly to the conservation 
goal for the region by providing habitat capable of supporting 10 
breeding birds under proper management. This subunit consists of 85.3 
acres (34.5 ha), all of which are owned by the Department of Defense. 
The primary threat that may require special management in this subunit 
is egg and chick predation.
    Subunit CA 27E, Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge, 128 ac (52 
ha): This subunit is located immediately west of the City of Chula 
Vista on the east side of San Diego Bay. It includes the following 
essential habitat features: Sandy beaches above and below mean high 
tide line and tidally influenced estuarine mud flats that provide 
nesting and foraging habitat for snowy plovers. This location contained 
a wintering flock of 36 plovers in 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). It 
annually supports a large and significant wintering flock of plovers, 
and contributes significantly to the conservation goal for the region 
by providing habitat capable of supporting 20 breeding birds under 
proper management. This subunit consists of 128 ac (52 ha), of which 77 
ac (31 ha) are owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and 51 ac 
(21 ha) are privately owned. The primary threat that may require 
special management in this subunit is egg and chick predation.
    Subunit CA 27F, Tijuana Estuary and Beach, 182ac (73.5 ha): This 
unit was slightly modified to remove a small amount of acreage of Navy 
land exempted under 4(a)(3) (See exemptions under 4(a)(3) below). The 
subunit is located immediately south of the City of Imperial Beach. It 
stretches roughly 2.3 miles (3.7 km) from the end of Seacoast Drive to 
the U.S./Mexico border. This location includes the following essential 
habitat features: A wide sandy beach with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates, as well as tidally influenced estuarine 
mud flats with tide-cast organic debris supporting small invertebrates 
for foraging. This subunit contained wintering flocks totaling 93 
plovers in 2004 (Page in litt. 2004). It also supported at least 12 
breeding adults in 2003, as indicated by the 2003 window survey (Page 
in litt. 2003). This subunit annually supports a large and significant 
wintering flock of plovers, and contributes significantly to the 
conservation goal for the region by providing habitat capable of 
supporting 40 breeding birds under proper management. The subunit is 
182ac (73.5 ha), of which 76 acres (31 ha) are owned by the California 
Department of Parks and Recreation, 83 acres (34 ha) are owned by the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and 22 acres (9 ha) are non-public. The 
primary threats that may require special management in this unit are 
disturbance from human recreational use and predation of chicks and 
eggs.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7 of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are 
not likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. In our 
regulations at 50 CFR 402.2, we define destruction or adverse 
modification as ``a direct or indirect alteration that appreciably 
diminishes the value of critical habitat for both the survival and 
recovery of a listed species. Such alterations include, but are not 
limited to: Alterations adversely modifying any of those physical or 
biological features that were the basis for determining the habitat to 
be critical.'' We are currently reviewing the regulatory definition of 
adverse modification in relation to the conservation of the species.
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is 
proposed or listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its 
critical habitat, if any is proposed or designated. Regulations 
implementing this interagency cooperation provision of the Act are 
codified at 50 CFR part 402.
    Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with 
us on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence 
of a proposed species or result in destruction or adverse modification 
of proposed critical habitat. Conference reports provide conservation 
recommendations to assist the agency in eliminating conflicts that may 
be caused by the proposed action. We may issue a formal conference 
report if requested by a Federal agency. Formal conference reports on 
proposed critical habitat contain an opinion that is prepared according 
to 50 CFR 402.14, as if critical habitat were designated. We may adopt 
the formal conference report as the biological opinion when the 
critical habitat is designated, if no substantial new information or 
changes in the action alter the content of the opinion (see 50 CFR 
402.10(d)). The conservation recommendations in a conference report are 
advisory.
    If a species is listed or critical habitat is designated, section 
7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to ensure that activities they 
authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of such a species or to destroy or adversely modify 
its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a listed species 
or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) 
must enter into consultation with us. Through this consultation, the 
action agency ensures that their actions do not destroy or adversely 
modify critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat, we also

[[Page 57009]]

provide reasonable and prudent alternatives to the project, if any are 
identifiable. ``Reasonable and prudent alternatives'' are defined at 50 
CFR 402.02 as alternative actions identified during consultation that 
can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended purpose of 
the action, that are consistent with the scope of the Federal agency's 
legal authority and jurisdiction, that are economically and 
technologically feasible, and that the Director believes would avoid 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Reasonable and 
prudent alternatives can vary from slight project modifications to 
extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs associated with 
implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are similarly 
variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where critical 
habitat is subsequently designated and the Federal agency has retained 
discretionary involvement or control over the action or such 
discretionary involvement or control is authorized by law. 
Consequently, some Federal agencies may request reinitiation of 
consultation or a conference with us on actions for which formal 
consultation has been completed, if those actions may affect designated 
critical habitat, or adversely modify or destroy proposed critical 
habitat.
    Federal activities that may affect the Pacific Coast WSP or its 
critical habitat will require consultation under section 7. Activities 
on private or State-owned lands, or lands under County or local 
jurisdictions requiring a permit from a Federal agency, such as a 
permit from the Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean 
Water Act, a Section 10(a)(1)(B) permit from the Service, or some other 
Federal action, including funding (e.g., Federal Highway Administration 
or Federal Emergency Management Agency funding), will be subject to the 
section 7 consultation process. Federal actions not affecting listed 
species or critical habitat and actions on non-Federal and private 
lands that are not federally funded, authorized, or permitted, do not 
require section 7 consultations.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat those activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation. Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat may also jeopardize the continued existence of the Pacific 
Coast WSP. Federal activities that, when carried out, may adversely 
affect critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP include, but are not 
limited to:
    (1) Actions and management efforts affecting Pacific Coast WSP on 
Federal lands such as national seashores, parks, and wildlife reserves;
    (2) Dredging and dredge spoil placement activities that permanently 
remove PCEs to the extent the essential biological function of plover 
habitat is adversely affected for the foreseeable future;
    (3) Construction and maintenance of eroded areas or structures 
(e.g., roads, walkways, marinas, salt ponds, access points, bridges, 
culverts) which interfere with plover nesting, breeding, or foraging, 
produce increases in predation, or promote a dense growth of vegetation 
that precludes an area's use by plovers;
    (4) Stormwater and wastewater discharge from communities;
    (5) Flood control actions that change the PCEs to the extent that 
the habitat no longer contributes to the conservation of the species.
    Such activities may adversely modify critical habitat by flooding, 
covering with material, removing tide-cast organic debris, removing or 
depositing substrate in such a way as to diminish invertebrate prey, 
encourage dense vegetation growth, inundating an area with contaminants 
or failing to adequately provide for contaminant removal, or by failing 
to provide a relatively disturbance-free area for the completion of 
biological functions.
    All lands designated as critical habitat are within the historical 
geographic area occupied by the species, and are likely to be used by 
the Pacific Coast WSP whether for foraging, breeding, growth of 
juveniles, dispersal, migration or sheltering. Some of these lands may 
currently be subject to activities identified as potentially adversely 
affecting the critical habitat. The Service will determine if Federal 
actions taken within these areas result in adverse modification to 
critical habitat when the Section 7 consultation process is 
implemented. We consider all lands included in this designation to be 
essential to the conservation of the species. Federal agencies already 
consult with us on activities that may affect the Pacific Coast WSP in 
areas currently occupied by the species to ensure that their actions do 
not jeopardize the continued existence of the species. Additionally, 
many of the critical habitat units designated under this rule were 
previously designated on December 9, 1999 (64 FR 68508). As a 
consequence, we believe this designation of critical habitat is not 
likely to result in a significant regulatory burden above that already 
in place due to the presence of the listed species and previously 
designated critical habitat.
    If you have questions regarding whether specific activities will 
constitute destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat, 
contact the Field Supervisor, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES section). Requests for copies of the regulations on listed 
wildlife and plants and inquiries about prohibitions and permits may be 
addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Endangered 
Species, 911 N.E. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232 (telephone 503/
231-2063; facsimile 503/231-6243.

Application of Section 3(5)(A) and 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 
4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 3(5)(A) of the Act defines critical habitat as the specific 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species on which are 
found those physical and biological features (i) essential to the 
conservation of the species and (ii) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. Therefore, areas within the 
geographic area occupied by the species that do not contain the 
features essential for the conservation of the species are not, by 
definition, critical habitat. Similarly, areas within the geographic 
area occupied by the species that do not require special management 
also are not, by definition, critical habitat. To determine whether an 
area requires special management, we first determine if the essential 
features located there generally require special management to address 
applicable threats. If those features do not require special 
management, or if they do in general but not for the particular area in 
question because of the existence of an adequate management plan or for 
some other reason, then the area does not require special management.
    We consider a current plan to provide adequate management or 
protection if it meets three criteria: (1) The plan is complete and 
provides a conservation benefit to the species (i.e., the plan must 
maintain or provide for an increase in the species' population, or the 
enhancement or restoration of its habitat within the area covered by 
the plan); (2) the plan provides assurances that the conservation 
management strategies and actions will be implemented (i.e., those 
responsible for implementing the plan are capable of accomplishing the 
objectives, and have an implementation

[[Page 57010]]

schedule or adequate funding for implementing the management plan); 
and, (3) the plan provides assurances that the conservation strategies 
and measures will be effective (i.e., it identifies biological goals, 
has provisions for reporting progress, and is of a duration sufficient 
to implement the plan and achieve the plan's goals and objectives).
    Section 318 of the fiscal year 2004 National Defense Authorization 
Act (Pub. L. 108-136) amended the Act to address the relationship of 
Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans (INRMPs) to critical 
habitat by adding a new section 4(a)(3)(B). This provision prohibits 
the Service 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 INRMP prepared under 
section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary of the 
Interior determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the 
species for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.
    Further, section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that critical habitat 
shall be designated, and revised on the basis of the best scientific 
data available after taking into consideration the economic impact, the 
impact on national security, and any other relevant impact of 
specifying any particular area as critical habitat. An area may be 
excluded from critical habitat if it is determined, following an 
analysis, that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of 
specifying a particular area as critical habitat, unless the failure to 
designate such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction 
of the species.
    In our critical habitat designations we used both the provisions 
outlined in sections 3(5)(A) and 4(b)(2) of the Act to evaluate those 
specific areas that we are proposing as critical habitat. Lands we have 
found do not meet the definition of critical habitat under section 
3(5)(A), and lands excluded pursuant to section 4(b)(2), include those 
covered by the following types of plans if they provide assurances that 
the conservation measures they outline will be implemented and 
effective: (1) Legally operative HCPs that cover the species; (2) draft 
HCPs that cover the species and have undergone public review and 
comment (i.e., pending HCPs); (3) Tribal conservation plans that cover 
the species; (4) State conservation plans that cover the species; and, 
(5) National Wildlife Refuge System Comprehensive Conservation Plans. 
See below for a detailed discussion.

Relationship of Critical Habitat to Military Lands--Application of 
Section 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    As discussed above, under section 4(a)(3) of the Act, the Secretary 
is prohibited from designating as critical habitat any Department of 
Defense lands or other geographical areas that are subject to an INRMP 
if the Secretary has determined in writing that such plan provides a 
benefit to the species for which critical habitat is proposed for 
designation. In order to qualify for this exemption, an INRMP must be 
found to provide benefit to the species in question. An INRMP 
integrates implementation of the military mission of the installation 
with stewardship of the natural resources found there. Each INRMP 
includes an assessment of the ecological needs on the military 
installation, including conservation provisions for listed species; a 
statement of goals and priorities; a detailed description of management 
actions to be implemented to provide for these ecological needs; and a 
monitoring and adaptive management plan. We consult with the military 
on the development and implementation of INRMPs for installations with 
listed species. Habitat on military installations with completed and 
approved INRMPs that provide a benefit to the species are exempt from 
designation as critical habitat pursuant to section 4(a)(3)(B).
    We are re-affirming our exemption of the U.S. Navy's San Nicolas 
Island and have exempted lands owned by U.S. Navy (Naval Base Coronado, 
Naval Base Ventura County) and the U.S. Marine Corps (Camp Pendleton) 
from this final critical habitat designation pursuant to section 
4(a)(3) of the Act based on legally operative INRMPs that provide a 
benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP. This includes all or portions of 
Units CA 27 at Naval Base Coronado, CA at Camp Pendleton, and CA 19 and 
Naval Base Ventura County. In our December 17, 2004, proposed rule (69 
FR 75608), we excluded Camp Pendleton and Naval Base Coronado under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act for national security reasons, we now 
recognize that we are prohibited from designating critical habitat on 
those lands pursuant to section 4(a)(3) of the Act based on their 
legally operative INRMPs that have been found to provide a benefit to 
the Pacific Coast WSP. We are excluding all essential habitat on 
Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based 
on impacts to national security. Vandenberg AFB is in the process of 
completing an INRMP and accompanying Endangered Species Management Plan 
(ESMP), which will provide management for the Pacific Coast WSP.

San Nicolas Island

    As described in our December 17, 2004, proposed rule (69 FR 75608) 
all 534 ac (212 ha) of essential habitat on San Nicolas Island, in 
Ventura County, California are exempt from this critical habitat 
designation pursuant to section 4(a)(3) of the Act. This area 
corresponds roughly to location CA-100 in our Draft Recovery Plan, is 
owned by the U.S. Navy, and contains habitat capable of supporting 150 
breeding plovers with adaptive management. The U.S. Navy has completed 
an INRMP which addresses plover management for the area. The Secretary 
has determined that the INRMP provides a benefit to the species and 
provided a biological opinion during formal consultation under section 
7 of the Act.

Naval Base Coronado (NBC)

    The U.S. Navy completed a final INRMP in May 2002 for Naval Base 
Coronado, which includes North Island Naval Air Station, Naval 
Amphibious Base, Coronado, and Naval Radio Receiving Facility, that 
provides a benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP. The Proposed Management 
Strategy for the Western Snowy Plover (P. 4-56) itemizes the actions to 
which the Navy has committed in order to manage the species on their 
lands. Many of the items reiterate terms and conditions of previous 
biological opinions issued by the Service. However, the INRMP does go 
on to stipulate other actions above and beyond these requirements 
including minimizing activities which can affect invertebrate 
populations upon which shorebirds depend for foraging, identifying 
opportunities to use dredge material having high sand content for 
expansion and rehabilitation of beach areas to create improved nesting 
substrate, and replacing exotic iceplant and other nonnatives from 
remnant dunes with native vegetation to comply with Executive Order 
13112 on Invasive Species and the Noxious Weed Act. These activities 
would enhance the habitat and population of western snowy plovers on 
Navy lands. Therefore, we find that the INRMP for Naval Base Coronado 
provides a benefit for the Pacific Coast WSP and pursuant to section 
4(a)(3) of the Act, Navy lands within proposed unit CA 27 are exempt 
from critical habitat.

Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton (MCBCP)

    The Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton completed a final INRMP in

[[Page 57011]]

October 2001 that provides a benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP. This 
INRMP itemizes the actions to which the Marine Corps has committed in 
order to manage the species on their lands. Many of the items reiterate 
terms and conditions of previous biological opinions issued by the 
Service. These include annually fencing and posting warning signs 
around the plover nesting areas; annually monitoring the plover 
population and locations, providing estimates of the number of breeding 
individuals, reproductive success, distribution, abundance, and 
habitat; and continuing predator control measures within the vicinity 
of plover nesting sites. These activities have enhanced the habitat and 
population of western snowy plovers at Camp Pendleton. Therefore, we 
find that the INRMP for Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton provides a 
benefit for the Pacific Coast WSP and pursuant to section 4(a)(3) of 
the Act, Marine Corps lands at Camp Pendleton are exempt from critical 
habitat.

Naval Base Ventura County

    We have reviewed Naval Base Ventura County's INRMP and biological 
opinion, and the Secretary has determined that Naval Base Ventura 
County's INRMP provides a benefit to the western snowy plover and 
therefore, consistent with Public Law 108-136 (Nov. 2003): Nat. Defense 
Authorization Act for FY04 and Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, the 
Department of Defense's Naval Base Ventura County (subunits CA 19C and 
part of CA 19D) is exempt from critical habitat based on the adequacy 
of their legally operative INRMP.

Vandenberg Air Force Base

    We are excluding Vandenberg AFB under section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
based on information we received regarding use of these areas for 
mission-essential training and the potential impacts on national 
security. Based on the following analysis, we find the benefit of 
excluding these units outweighs the benefit of including them, 
primarily due to the impact on national security.
    The western snowy plover occupies 12.5 miles (20 km) of beach and 
dune habitat on Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg contains features 
essential to the conservation of the species and is of important 
biological value because it supports approximately 20 percent of the 
Pacific coast population of western snowy plovers.
    The Air Force recognizes the need for protection and conservation 
of sensitive species, including the western snowy plover, on military 
lands and has identified conservation measures to protect and conserve 
western snowy plovers and their habitat. The Air Force has coordinated 
with us to finalize the development of their Endangered Species 
Management Plan (ESMP) for the western snowy plover at Vandenberg, 
which currently guides management of all lands occupied by western 
snowy plovers at this base. The ESMP includes measures to minimize harm 
to the western snowy plover from base activities and outlines actions 
to ensure the persistence of western snowy plovers on the installation. 
The ESMP is an appendix to, and part of, the INRMP for Vandenberg Air 
Force Base. We anticipate the INRMP will be signed in late 2005.

(1) Benefits of Inclusion

    The primary benefit of any critical habitat with regard to 
activities that require consultation pursuant to section 7 of the Act 
is to ensure that the activity will not destroy or adversely modify 
designated critical habitat. However, because the Air Force has worked 
cooperatively with the Service to develop an ESMP that protects the 
western snowy plover and its essential habitat on Vandenberg, and the 
nearly finalized INRMP is expected to be completed in 2005 (for which 
we will complete a Section 7 consultation), we do not believe that 
designation of critical habitat on the base will significantly benefit 
the western snowy plover beyond the protection already afforded the 
species under the Act. The designation of critical habitat may provide 
a different level of protection under section 7(a)(2) of the Act for 
the Pacific Coast WSP that is separate from the obligation of a Federal 
agency to ensure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of the endangered species. Under the Gifford 
Pinchot decision, critical habitat designations may provide greater 
benefits to the recovery of a species than was previously believed, but 
it is not possible to quantify this benefit at present. However, the 
protection provided is still a limitation on the harm that occurs as 
opposed to a requirement to provide a conservation benefit. We 
completed a section 7 consultation on the ESMP.
    The area excluded as critical habitat is currently occupied by the 
species. If this area were designated as critical habitat, any actions 
with a Federal nexus which might adversely affect the critical habitat 
would require a consultation with us, as explained previously, in 
Effects of Critical Habitat Designation section. However, inasmuch as 
this area is currently occupied by the species, consultation for 
Federal activities which might adversely impact the species or would 
result in take would be required even without the critical habitat 
designation. Primary constituent elements in this area would be 
protected from destruction or adverse modification by federal actions 
using a conservation standard based on the Ninth Circuit Court's 
decision in Gifford Pinchot. This requirement would be in addition to 
the requirement that proposed Federal actions avoid likely jeopardy to 
the species' continued existence. However, as the area is occupied by 
the Pacific Coast WSP, consultation for activities which may adversely 
affect the species, including possibly significant habitat modification 
(see definition of ``harm'' at 50 CFR 17.3), would be required, even 
without the critical habitat designation. The requirement to conduct 
such consultation would occur regardless of whether the authorization 
for incidental take occurs under either section 7 or section 10 of the 
Act.
    In Sierra Club v. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 
2001), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the 
identification of habitat essential to the conservation of the species 
can provide informational benefits to the public, State and local 
governments, scientific organizations, and Federal agencies. The court 
also noted that heightened public awareness of the plight of listed 
species and their habitats may facilitate conservation efforts. 
However, we believe that there would be little additional informational 
benefit gained from including Vandenberg AFB within the designation 
because the educational benefits have been largely accomplished through 
the INRMP development process and development of the ESMP for the 
western snowy plover. The Air Force is already aware of essential 
western snowy plover habitat areas on the installation. In addition, we 
have already completed formal section 7 consultation on the ESMP.

(2) Benefits of Exclusion

    Substantial benefits are expected to result from the exclusion of 
Vandenberg from critical habitat. The Air Force has stated in their 
February 7, 2005, comment letter that designation of beaches and 
coastline at Vandenberg, as critical habitat, would limit the amount of 
coastline available for executing their mission. Mission activities at 
Vandenberg include: Launching and tracking satellites in space, 
training missile crews, supporting ship to shore military training 
exercises, testing and evaluating the country's intercontinental 
ballistic missile

[[Page 57012]]

systems, and supporting aircraft tests in the Western Test Range/
Pacific Missile Range (California, Hawaii, and the western Pacific 
Ocean). Designation of critical habitat on the base would require the 
Air Force to engage in additional consultation with us on activities 
that may affect designated critical habitat. The requirement to consult 
on activities occurring on the base could delay and impair the ability 
of the Air Force to conduct mission critical activities, thereby 
adversely affecting national security.
    In addition, exclusion of Vandenberg beaches from the final 
designation will allow us to continue working with the Air Force in a 
spirit of cooperation and partnership. The DOD generally views 
designation of critical habitat on military lands as an indication that 
their actions to protect the species and its habitat are inadequate. 
Excluding these areas from the perceived negative consequences of 
critical habitat will facilitate cooperative efforts between the 
Service and the Air Force to formulate the best possible INRMP and 
ESMP, and continue effective management of the western snowy plover at 
Vandenberg Air Force Base.

(3) Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion

    In 2004, we had a series of meetings with the Air Force to discuss 
their management of western snowy plovers, their essential habitat, and 
possible impacts to the base. We also received extensive comments from 
the Air Force during the public comment period. In light of the Air 
Force's ESMP for the western snowy plover, and the Air Force's need to 
maintain a high level of readiness regarding mission critical National 
security interests, we excluded critical habitat on all lands within 
unit CA 17, including all Vandenberg lands, under section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act. We find that the benefits of excluding these lands from 
critical habitat outweigh the benefits of including them.

(4) Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species

    We find that the exclusion of these areas will not lead to the 
extinction of the western snowy plover because Air Force activities at 
Vandenberg have had little, if any, adverse effect on western snowy 
plovers, and the ESMP is expected to effectively manage for the 
persistence of the western snowy plovers at this installation. Also 
because these lands are occupied by plovers, any actions which might 
adversely affect the western snowy plover must undergo a consultation 
with the Service under the requirements of section 7 of the Act. The 
western snowy plover is protected from take under section 9. The 
exclusions leave these protections unchanged from those which would 
exist if the excluded areas were designated as critical habitat. Based 
upon the above, we find that these exclusions would not result in 
extinction of the species.

Relationship of Critical Habitat to National Wildlife Refuges--
Application of Section 3(5)(A) of the Act

    We are not including essential habitat in all or portions of units 
CA 12C, CA 16, and WA 4 that fall within the boundaries of Salinas 
River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR, or 
Willapa NWR respectively under section 3(5)(A) of the Act. The Salinas 
River NWR has completed a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) that 
addresses plovers, Willapa NWR is in the process of completing a CCP 
and is actively managing for snowy plovers on refuge lands, and 
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR has completed a plover management plan. In 
order for the Secretary to determine that an area is adequately managed 
and does not require special management, the Secretary must evaluate 
existing management and find that it provides (1) a conservation 
benefit to the species; (2) reasonable assurances for implementation; 
and (3) reasonable assurances that conservation efforts will be 
effective. The Secretary has reviewed the management plans and actions 
for each of the three refuges and has determined that all three refuges 
are adequately managed for the Pacific Coast WSP, and therefore do not 
need special management are not included in this final critical habitat 
designation pursuant to section 3(5)(A) of the Act.

Salinas River NWR

    We are re-affirming our application of section 3(5)(A) of the Act 
to essential habitat at Salinas River NWR as described in our December 
17, 2004, proposed rule (69 FR 75608). Salinas River NWR has completed 
a CCP that provides a conservation benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP. 
The CCP emphasizes the protection of plovers by a variety of means, 
including seasonal closure of nesting areas, nest exclosures, symbolic 
fencing (low cable fence used to discourage humans from approaching 
nests), and law enforcement patrols. Under the CCP plovers are 
monitored each breeding season for reproductive success and all 
nestlings are banded for further monitoring. In addition, mammalian 
predators are managed to selectively remove problem predators during 
the plover breeding season. We expect funding to continue to this 
refuge through the Federal budget process to continue to implement the 
CCP. An intra-Service section 7 consultation was completed on the CCP 
on June 25, 2002 (Service 2002). The Service found that most of the 
management actions proposed in the CCP would be effective and provide a 
conservation benefit to plovers. Therefore, all essential habitat for 
the Pacific Coast WSP within the Salinas River NWR (142-ac (57.5 ha) 
portion of subunit 12C) is not included in this final critical habitat 
designation as these lands are adequately managed pursuant to section 
3(5)(A) of the Act.

Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes NWR

    We are re-affirming our application of section 3(5)(A) of the Act 
to essential habitat at Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes NWR as described in our 
December 17, 2004, proposed rule (69 FR 75608). Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes 
NWR has completed a plover management plan that provides a conservation 
benefit to this species. The plan provides for the protection of 
plovers by a variety of means, including seasonal closure of nesting 
areas, nest exclosures, symbolic fencing (low cable fence used to 
discourage humans from approaching nests), and law enforcement patrols. 
Under the plan plovers are monitored each breeding season for 
reproductive success; the number of plovers wintering on the refuge is 
also monitored. We expect funding to continue to this refuge through 
the Federal budget process to continue to implement the plover 
management plan. An intra-Service section 7 consultation was completed 
on the refuge's plover management plan on March 22, 2001 (Service 
2001). The Secretary determined that the measures included in the plan 
would be effective and benefit plovers. Therefore, all essential 
habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP within the Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes NWR 
(234-ac (94.7 ha) portion of unit 16) is not included in this final 
critical habitat designation as these lands are adequately managed 
pursuant to section 3(5)(A) of the Act.

Willapa NWR

    Willapa NWR is in the process of completing a CCP, and is currently 
operating under a management plan that was signed in 1986, which 
provides for management for the Pacific Coast WSP. Although the 1986 
refuge management plan was signed and implemented prior to the Pacific 
Coast WSP listing in 1993, it addresses issues related to human 
disturbance and protection of the snowy

[[Page 57013]]

plover as a sensitive species, and serves as in interim management 
plan.
    The Leadbetter Point Unit of Willapa NWR is one of the northern-
most breeding sites for the Pacific Coast WSP. Refuge personnel from 
Willapa NWR have been monitoring snowy plovers on the refuge annually 
since 1984. Nest exclosures were first used on the refuge in 2004 and 
are credited with significant improvement in hatching success. The 
refuge has been posting snowy plover nesting areas on the Leadbetter 
Unit since the species was listed. Area closure signs are erected in 
early to mid-March each year and taken down in October. Symbolic 
fencing is erected at two areas where hiking trails emerge onto the 
beach to direct people to the wet sand portion of the beach. The 
Leadbetter unit of Willapa NWR is closed to motor vehicles except 
during special razor clam seasons (generally 2-3 days a month from late 
fall through early spring). Dogs are not permitted on the beach. The 
refuge is committed to minimizing disturbance to snowy plovers during 
the nesting season and will continue to manage public use at the 
Leadbetter Unit.
    Historical nesting habitat for the snowy plover on Leadbetter Point 
consisted of extensive areas of open or sparsely vegetated, low dunes. 
Much of this habitat has been invaded by American and European 
beachgrass. The refuge initiated habitat restoration of historical 
nesting areas at Leadbetter Spit in 2002. Sixteen acres of beachgrass 
have been cleared to date and snowy plovers have nested every year in 
the restoration area since the first acre was cleared.
    We expect funding to continue to this refuge through the federal 
budget process to continue implementing plover management and 
finalization and implementation of the CCP. The Secretary has 
determined that the management measures at Willapa NWR are effective 
and provide a conservation benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP. Therefore, 
all essential habitat for this species at Willapa NWR (Unit WA 4) is 
not included in this final critical habitat designation as these lands 
are adequately managed pursuant to section 3(5)(A) of the Act.

Relationship of Critical Habitat to Approved Habitat Conservation Plans 
(HCPs)--Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    We are excluding critical habitat from approximately 23 ac (9.3 ha) 
of non-Federal lands within the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation 
Program (MSCP) Area under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Non-Federal lands 
we are excluding from critical habitat include lands at the mouth of 
the San Diego River.

San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that critical habitat shall be 
designated, and revised, on the basis of the best available scientific 
data available after taking into consideration the economic impact, 
impact on national security, and any other relevant impact, of 
specifying any particular area as critical habitat. An area may be 
excluded from critical habitat if it is determined that the benefits of 
such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying a particular area as 
critical habitat, unless the failure to designate such area as critical 
habitat will result in the extinction of the species. Consequently, we 
may exclude an area from critical habitat based on economic impacts, 
impacts on national security, or other relevant impacts such as 
preservation of conservation partnerships, if we determine the benefits 
of excluding an area from critical habitat outweigh the benefits of 
including the area in critical habitat, provided the action of 
excluding the area will not result in the extinction of the species.
    Below we first provide some general background information on the 
San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan 
(MSCP/HCP), followed by an analysis pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act of the benefits of including San Diego MSCP/HCP land within the 
critical habitat designation, an analysis of the benefits of excluding 
this area, and an analysis of why we believe the benefits of exclusion 
are greater than those of inclusion. Finally, we provide a 
determination that exclusion of these lands will not result in 
extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP.
    In southwestern San Diego County, the MSCP effort encompasses more 
than 236,000 ha (582,000 ac) and involves the participation of the 
County of San Diego and 11 cities, including the City of San Diego. 
This regional HCP is also a regional subarea plan under the NCCP 
program and is being developed in cooperation with California 
Department of Fish and Game. The MSCP provides for the establishment of 
approximately 69,573 ha (171,000 ac) of preserve areas to provide 
conservation benefits for 85 federally listed and sensitive species 
over the life of the permit (50 years), including the Pacific Coast 
WSP.
    We have excluded from this critical habitat designation 
approximately 23 ac (9.3 ha) of non-Federal lands within the Multiple 
Habitat Preserve Alternative (MHPA) that are targeted for conservation 
within the City of San Diego Subarea Plan under the San Diego Multiple 
Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Non-
Federal lands that contain the features essential to the conservation 
of the species are excluded from critical habitat include lands at the 
mouth of the San Diego River for the Pacific Coast WSP.
    Conservation measures specific to the Pacific Coast WSP within the 
San Diego MSCP/HCP include conservation of 93% of potential habitat 
(about 650 acres), including 99% of saltpan habitat and 90-95% of beach 
outside of intensive recreational beaches. The City of San Diego must 
implement measures to protect nesting sites from human disturbance 
during the reproductive season and control predators. Based on habitat 
preservation and potential impacts, direct effects to the species are 
not anticipated from implementation of the plan. Indirect effects will 
include edge effects from increased recreation uses, beach cleaning, 
and predation resulting from additional landscaping and structures that 
could be used as raptor perches. Effects to this species are to be 
minimized through conditions for coverage that include protection of 
nesting sites from human disturbance during the reproductive season and 
specific measures to protect against detrimental edge effects. No take 
of plovers was authorized through the plan.

(1) Benefits of Inclusion

    Overall, we believe that there is minimal benefit from designating 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP within the San Diego MSCP/
HCP because, as explained above, these lands are already managed for 
the conservation of covered species, including the Pacific Coast WSP. 
Below we discuss benefits of inclusion of these HCP lands.
    A benefit of including an area within a critical habitat 
designation is the protection provided by section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
that directs Federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. 
The designation of critical habitat may provide a different level of 
protection under section 7(a)(2) of the Act for the Pacific Coast WSP 
that is separate from the obligation of a Federal agency to ensure that 
their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
the endangered species. Under the Gifford Pinchot decision, critical 
habitat designations may provide greater benefits to the recovery of a 
species than was

[[Page 57014]]

previously believed, but it is not possible to quantify this benefit at 
present. However, the protection provided is still a limitation on the 
harm that occurs as opposed to a requirement to provide a conservation 
benefit. We completed a section 7 consultation on the issuance of the 
section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for the San Diego MSCP/HCP on June 6, 1997, 
and concluded that no take of this species is authorized under the 
plan, and therefore implementation of the plan is not likely to result 
in jeopardy to the species.
    The area excluded as critical habitat is currently occupied by the 
species. If this area were designated as critical habitat, any actions 
with a Federal nexus which might adversely affect the critical habitat 
would require a consultation with us, as explained previously, in 
Effects of Critical Habitat Designation section. However, inasmuch as 
this area is currently occupied by the species, consultation for 
Federal activities which might adversely impact the species or would 
result in take would be required even without the critical habitat 
designation.
    Primary constituent elements in this area would be protected from 
destruction or adverse modification by Federal actions using a 
conservation standard based on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in 
Gifford Pinchot. This requirement would be in addition to the 
requirement that proposed Federal actions avoid likely jeopardy to the 
species' continued existence. However, as the mouth of the San Diego 
River is occupied by the Pacific Coast WSP, consultation for activities 
which may adversely affect the species, including possibly significant 
habitat modification (see definition of ``harm'' at 50 CFR 17.3), would 
be required, even without the critical habitat designation. The 
requirement to conduct such consultation would occur regardless of 
whether the authorization for incidental take occurs under either 
section 7 or section 10 of the Act.
    In Sierra Club v. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 
2001), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the 
identification of habitat essential to the conservation of the species 
can provide informational benefits to the public, State and local 
governments, scientific organizations, and Federal agencies. The court 
also noted that heightened public awareness of the plight of listed 
species and their habitats may facilitate conservation efforts. 
However, we believe that there would be little additional informational 
benefit gained from including the San Diego MSCP/HCP within the 
designation because this area is included in the HCP. Consequently, we 
believe that the informational benefits are already provided even 
though this area is not designated as critical habitat. Additionally, 
the purpose of the San Diego MSCP/HCP to provide protection and 
enhancement of habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP is already well 
established among State and local governments, and Federal agencies.
    The inclusion of these 23 ac (9.3 ha) of non-Federal land as 
critical habitat would provide some additional Federal regulatory 
benefits for the species consistent with the conservation standard 
based on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford Pinchot. A 
benefit of inclusion would be the requirement of a Federal agency to 
ensure that their actions on these non-Federal lands do not likely 
result in jeopardizing the continued existence of the species or result 
in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. This 
additional analysis to determine destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat is likely to be small because the lands are not under 
Federal ownership and any Federal agency proposing a Federal action on 
these 23 ac (9.3 ha) of non-Federal lands would likely consider the 
conservation value of these lands as identified in the San Diego MSCP/
HCP and take the necessary steps to avoid jeopardy or the destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    As discussed below, however, we believe that designating any non-
Federal lands within the MHPA as critical habitat would provide little 
additional educational and Federal regulatory benefits for the species. 
Because the excluded areas are occupied by the species, there must be 
consultation with the Service over any action which may affect these 
populations or that would result in take. The additional educational 
benefits that might arise from critical habitat designation have been 
largely accomplished through the public review and comment of the 
environmental impact documents which accompanied the development of the 
San Diego MSCP/HCP and the recognition by the City of San Diego of the 
presence of the threatened Pacific Coast WSP and the value of their 
lands for the conservation and recovery of the species.
    For 30 years prior to the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford 
Pinchot, the Fish and Wildlife Service equated the jeopardy standard 
with the standard for destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat. However, in Gifford Pinchot the court noted the government, by 
simply considering the action's survival consequences, was reading the 
concept of recovery out of the regulation. The court, relying on the 
CFR definition of adverse modification, required the Service to 
determine whether recovery was adversely affected. The Gifford Pinchot 
decision arguably made it easier to reach an ``adverse modification'' 
finding by reducing the harm, affecting recovery, rather than the 
survival of the species. However, there is an important distinction: 
Section 7(a)(2) limits harm to the species either through take or 
critical habitat. It does not require positive improvements or 
enhancement of the species status. Thus, any management plan which 
considers enhancement or recovery as the management standard will 
almost always provide more benefit than the critical habitat 
designation.

(2) Benefits of Exclusion

    As mentioned above, the San Diego MSCP/HCP provides for the 
conservation of occupied and potential habitat, the control of nest 
predators, and measures to protect nesting sites from human 
disturbance. The San Diego MSCP/HCP therefore provides for protection 
of the PCEs, and addresses special management needs such as predator 
control and management of habitat. Designation of critical habitat 
would therefore not provide as great a benefit to the species as the 
positive management measures in the plan.
    The benefits of excluding lands within HCPs from critical habitat 
designation include relieving landowners, communities, and counties of 
any additional regulatory burden that might be imposed by a critical 
habitat designation consistent with the conservation standard based on 
the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford Pinchot. Many HCPs, 
particularly large regional HCPs take many years to develop and, upon 
completion, become regional conservation plans that are consistent with 
the recovery objectives for listed species that are covered within the 
plan area. Additionally, many of these HCPs provide conservation 
benefits to unlisted, sensitive species. Imposing an additional 
regulatory review after an HCP is completed solely as a result of the 
designation of critical habitat may undermine conservation efforts and 
partnerships in many areas. In fact, it could result in the loss of 
species' benefits if participants abandon the voluntary HCP process 
because the critical habitat designation may result in additional 
regulatory requirements than faced by other parties who have not 
voluntarily participated in species conservation. Designation of 
critical habitat within the boundaries of

[[Page 57015]]

approved HCPs could be viewed as a disincentive to those entities 
currently developing HCPs or contemplating them in the future. Another 
benefit from excluding these lands is to maintain the partnerships 
developed among the City of San Diego, the State of California, and the 
Service to implement the San Diego MSCP/HCP. Instead of using limited 
funds to comply with administrative consultation and designation 
requirements which can not provide protection beyond what is currently 
in place, the partners could instead use their limited funds for the 
conservation of this species.
    A related benefit of excluding lands within HCPs from critical 
habitat designation is the unhindered, continued ability to seek new 
partnerships with future HCP participants including States, Counties, 
local jurisdictions, conservation organizations, and private 
landowners, which together can implement conservation actions that we 
would be unable to accomplish otherwise. If lands within HCP plan areas 
are designated as critical habitat, it would likely have a negative 
effect on our ability to establish new partnerships to develop HCPs, 
particularly large, regional HCPs that involve numerous participants 
and address landscape-level conservation of species and habitats. By 
excluding these lands, we preserve our current partnerships and 
encourage additional conservation actions in the future.
    Furthermore, an HCP or NCCP/HCP application must itself be 
consulted upon. While this consultation will not look specifically at 
the issue of adverse modification to critical habitat, unless critical 
habitat has already been designated within the proposed plan area, it 
will determine if the HCP jeopardizes the species in the plan area. In 
addition, Federal actions not covered by the HCP in areas occupied by 
listed species would still require consultation under section 7 of the 
Act. HCP and NCCP/HCPs typically provide for greater conservation 
benefits to a covered species than section 7 consultations because HCPs 
and NCCP/HCPs assure the long-term protection and management of a 
covered species and its habitat, and funding for such management 
through the standards found in the 5 Point Policy for HCPs (64 FR 
35242) and the HCP ``No Surprises'' regulation (63 FR 8859). Such 
assurances are typically not provided by section 7 consultations that, 
in contrast to HCPs, often do not commit the project proponent to long-
term special management or protections. Thus, a consultation typically 
does not accord the lands it covers the extensive benefits a HCP or 
NCCP/HCP provides. The development and implementation of HCPs or NCCP/
HCPs provide other important conservation benefits, including the 
development of biological information to guide the conservation efforts 
and assist in species conservation, and the creation of innovative 
solutions to conserve species while allowing for development.
    In the biological opinion for the San Diego MSCP/HCP, the Service 
concluded that no take of this species is authorized under the plan and 
therefore implementation of the plan is not likely to result in 
jeopardy to the species.

(3) Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion

    We have reviewed and evaluated the exclusion of critical habitat 
for the Pacific Coast WSP from approximately 23 ac (9.3 ha) of non-
Federal lands within the San Diego MSCP/HCP; and based on this 
evaluation, we find that the benefits of exclusion (avoid increased 
regulatory costs which could result from including those lands in this 
designation of critical habitat, ensure the willingness of existing 
partners to continue active conservation measures, maintain the ability 
to attract new partners, and direct limited funding to conservation 
actions with partners) of the lands containing features essential to 
the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP within the San Diego MSCP/HCP 
outweigh the benefits of inclusion (limited educational and regulatory 
benefits, which are largely otherwise provided for under the MSCP) of 
these lands as critical habitat. The benefits of inclusion of these 23 
ac (9.3 ha) of non-Federal lands as critical habitat are lessened 
because of the significant level of conservation provided to the 
Pacific Coast WSP under the San Diego MSCP/HCP (conservation of 
occupied and potential habitat, control of nest predators, and 
restrictions on disturbance and harassment). In contrast, the benefits 
of exclusion of these 23 ac (9.3 ha) of non-Federal lands as critical 
habitat are increased because of the high level of cooperation by the 
City of San Diego and State of California to conserve this species and 
this partnership exceeds any conservation value provided by a critical 
habitat designation.

(4) Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species

    We believe that exclusion of these 23 ac (9.3 ha) of non-Federal 
lands will not result in extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP since 
these lands will be conserved and managed for the benefit of this 
species pursuant to the San Diego MSCP/HCP. The San Diego MSCP/HCP 
includes specific conservation objectives, avoidance and minimization 
measures, and management for the San Diego MSCP/HCP that exceed any 
conservation value provided as a result of a critical habitat 
designation.
    The jeopardy standard of section 7 and routine implementation of 
habitat conservation through the section 7 process also provide 
assurances that the species will not go extinct. In addition, the 
species is protected from take under section 9 of the Act. The 
exclusion leaves these protections unchanged from those that would 
exist if the excluded areas were designated as critical habitat.
    Critical habitat is being designated for the Pacific Coast WSP in 
other areas that will be accorded the protection from adverse 
modification by federal actions using the conservation standard based 
on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford Pinchot. Additionally, 
the species within the San Diego MSCP/HCP occurs on lands protected and 
managed either explicitly for the species or indirectly through more 
general objectives to protect natural values. These factors acting in 
concert with the other protections provided under the Act, lead us to 
find that exclusion of these 23 ac (9.3 ha) within the San Diego MSCP/
HCP will not result in extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP.

Relationship of Critical Habitat to San Francisco Bay--Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    We are re-affirming our December 17, 2004, proposed rule exclusion 
of six units bordering the south San Francisco Bay totaling 1,847 ac 
(747.4 ha) under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (69 FR 75608). Pacific 
Coast WSP habitat in this region consists primarily of artificial salt 
ponds and associated levees, much of which has recently come under the 
management of various local, State and Federal agencies including the 
Service and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). The 
agencies are developing a management and restoration plan for the salt 
ponds that will take into account the conflicting habitat needs of at 
least four threatened or endangered species (i.e., Pacific Coast WSPs, 
clapper rails, salt marsh harvest mice, and least terns). Additionally, 
millions of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds that use this area 
yearly will be afforded protection in this area. The plan is expected 
to be completed in 2007. (Margaret Kolar, Service, in litt., May 4, 
2004).

[[Page 57016]]

(1) Benefits of Inclusion

    The primary benefit of including an area within a critical habitat 
designation is the protection provided by section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
that directs Federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. 
The designation of critical habitat may provide a different level of 
protection under section 7(a)(2) of the Act for the Pacific Coast WSP 
that is separate from the obligation of a Federal agency to ensure that 
their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
the endangered species. Under the Gifford Pinchot decision, critical 
habitat designations may provide greater benefits to the recovery of a 
species than was previously believed, but it is not possible to 
quantify this benefit at present. However, the protection provided is 
still a limitation on the harm that occurs as opposed to a requirement 
to provide a conservation benefit.
    Primary constituent elements in this area would be protected from 
destruction or adverse modification by federal actions using a 
conservation standard based on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in 
Gifford Pinchot. This requirement would be in addition to the 
requirement that proposed Federal actions avoid likely jeopardy to the 
species' continued existence. However, as San Francisco Bay is occupied 
by the Pacific Coast WSP, consultation for activities which may 
adversely affect the species, including possibly significant habitat 
modification (see definition of ``harm'' at 50 CFR 17.3), would be 
required, even without the critical habitat designation. The 
requirement to conduct such consultation would occur regardless of 
whether the authorization for incidental take occurs under either 
section 7 or section 10 of the Act.
    By including the six San Francisco Bay units in our final critical 
habitat designations, we could provide those areas with immediate 
critical habitat protection rather than waiting for the salt pond 
management plan to be completed in 2007. However, as discussed in the 
analyses for other excluded units above, the protections provided under 
section 7 largely overlap with protections resulting from critical 
habitat designation. Three of the excluded units are on the Don Edwards 
San Francisco Bay NWR, which is managed by the Service. Any significant 
changes to salt pond operations within those units would trigger 
consultation under section 7, as would the completion of the salt pond 
management plan itself. Two of the units are on land managed by the 
CDFG, while the final and smallest unit is on land managed by a county 
governmental agency called the Hayward Area Recreation District (HARD). 
Both of these agencies are participating with the Service in 
development of the management plan, and neither would be directly 
affected by critical habitat designation since they are not Federal 
agencies. The Service is participating as well in the development of 
the management plan, making necessary an internal section 7 
consultation evaluating the effects of the actions on the plan.
    In Sierra Club v. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 
2001), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the 
identification of habitat essential to the conservation of the species 
can provide informational benefits to the public, State and local 
governments, scientific organizations, and Federal agencies. The court 
also noted that heightened public awareness of the plight of listed 
species and their habitats may facilitate conservation efforts. The 
additional educational benefits that might arise from critical habitat 
designation have been largely accomplished through the ongoing 
development of the management plan for these areas.
    For 30 years prior to the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford 
Pinchot, the Fish and Wildlife Service equated the jeopardy standard 
with the standard for destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat. However, in Gifford Pinchot the court noted the government, by 
simply considering the action's survival consequences, was reading the 
concept of recovery out of the regulation. The court, relying on the 
CFR definition of adverse modification, required the Service to 
determine whether recovery was adversely affected. The Gifford Pinchot 
decision arguably made it easier to reach an `adverse modification' 
finding by reducing the harm, affecting recovery, rather than the 
survival of the species. However, there is an important distinction: 
Section 7(a)(2) limits harm to the species either through take or 
critical habitat. It does not require positive improvements or 
enhancement of the species status. Thus, any management plan which 
considers enhancement or recovery as the management standard will 
almost always provide more benefit than the critical habitat 
designation.

(2) Benefits of Exclusion

    By excluding the six units from critical habitat designation, we 
avoid restricting the flexibility for the development of the salt pond 
management plan which might otherwise establish habitat managed for 
plovers in other locations. The six excluded San Francisco Bay units 
were chosen based on recent high usage of those areas by plovers, 
although the plovers have demonstrated a willingness to travel 
relatively large distances within the Bay area to nest wherever habitat 
is most appropriate (Kolar in litt. 2004). Because plover habitat in 
the area can easily be created or removed in different areas by drying 
or flooding particular ponds, the management planners currently have 
the flexibility to move plover habitat to wherever it would be most 
advantageous in light of the conservation needs of the population and 
of other threatened and endangered species present in the Bay area. By 
designating critical habitat according to the current locations of 
essential habitat features, we would tend to lock the current 
management scheme into place for the designated units, thereby reducing 
management flexibility for other listed species and targeted 
ecosystems.
    Additionally, the management planning process is a collaborative 
effort involving cooperation and input from numerous stakeholders such 
as landowners, public land managers, and the general public. This 
allows the best information and local knowledge to be brought to the 
table, and may encourage a sense of commitment to the Pacific Coast 
WSPs continuing well-being. We are unable to match this level of public 
participation in the critical habitat designation process due to time 
constraints. By excluding these lands, we preserve our current 
partnerships and encourage additional conservation actions in the 
future. Finally, the enhancement and management of plover habitat will 
benefit greatly from coordination between the various owners and 
managers in the area. The ongoing planning process can provide for that 
coordination, whereas the critical habitat designation process cannot. 
Designation of critical habitat would therefore not provide as great a 
benefit to the species as the positive management measures in a plan.

(3) The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion

    We find that the Pacific Coast WSP will obtain greater benefits if 
we avoid designating habitat in the San Francisco Bay and instead allow 
participating agencies to complete their salt pond management plan 
unencumbered by critical habitat considerations. While

[[Page 57017]]

the salt pond management plan offers considerable benefits in 
comparison to critical habitat, we must also consider the likelihood 
that the plan will be completed. In this case we find the likelihood to 
be high because the major participants are all resource management 
agencies, and because the management plan is related to the recent 
purchase (i.e., 16,500 ac (6,677 ha)) of salt ponds from a salt 
manufacturing company) by the Service and CDFG. This purchase involved 
the close cooperation of numerous resource management and environmental 
organizations. Accordingly, we are excluding six units in the south San 
Francisco Bay from designation.

(4) Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species

    Critical habitat is being designated for the Pacific Coast WSP in 
other areas that will be accorded the protection from adverse 
modification by federal actions using the conservation standard based 
on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford Pinchot. Also the 
jeopardy standard of section 7 and routine implementation of habitat 
conservation through the section 7 process provides assurances that the 
species will not go extinct. In addition, the species is protected from 
take under section 9 of the Act. The exclusion leaves these protections 
unchanged from those that would exist if the excluded areas were 
designated as critical habitat.
    Additionally, the species occurs on lands protected and managed 
either explicitly for the species or indirectly through more general 
objectives to protect natural values. These factors acting in concert 
with the other protections provided under the Act, lead us to find that 
exclusion the six south San Francisco units will not result in 
extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP.

Relationship of Critical Habitat to Dillon Beach--Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    We are excluding unit CA 7 (Dillon Beach) 30 ac (12 ha), at the 
mouth of Tomales Bay in Marin County, California, under section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act. Pacific Coast WSP habitat in this region consists primarily 
of sparsely vegetated sandy beach both above and below the high tide 
line. Approximately 95 percent of the unit is owned by Lawson's 
Landing, Inc. (Lawson), which operates a nearby campground. The 
remainder is owned by Oxfoot Associates, LLC (Oxfoot), which operates a 
day-use beach with associated parking lot. The location supports 
wintering plovers, but does not currently support any nesting (Page in 
litt. 2004, Stenzel in litt. 2004). Wintering plovers are typically 
present at the site from July through February. The entire area is 
subject to moderate use by human pedestrians and unleashed dogs, which 
enter the beach from both the campground to the south and the day-use 
beach to the north.
    In the period between the proposed designation and the final 
designation we have been in contact with the landowners and are in the 
process of developing conservation measures to assist in conserving 
Pacific Coast WSP and their habitat on Dillon Beach. Although 
finalization of the conservation measures have not been completed, we 
expect the measures will be finalized and will benefit Pacific Coast 
WSP conservation in the area.

(1) Benefits of Inclusion

    The primary benefit of including an area within a critical habitat 
designation is the protection provided by section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
that directs Federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. 
The designation of critical habitat may provide a different level of 
protection under section 7(a)(2) of the Act for the Pacific Coast WSP 
that is separate from the obligation of a Federal agency to ensure that 
their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
the endangered species. Under the Gifford Pinchot decision, critical 
habitat designations may provide greater benefits to the recovery of a 
species than was previously believed, but it is not possible to 
quantify this benefit at present. However, the protection provided is 
still a limitation on the harm that occurs as opposed to a requirement 
to provide a conservation benefit.
    Primary constituent elements in this area would be protected from 
destruction or adverse modification by federal actions using a 
conservation standard based on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in 
Gifford Pinchot. This requirement would be in addition to the 
requirement that proposed Federal actions avoid likely jeopardy to the 
species' continued existence. However, as Dillon Beach is occupied by 
wintering plovers, consultation for activities which may adversely 
affect the species, including possibly significant habitat modification 
(see definition of ``harm'' at 50 CFR 17.3), would be required, even 
without the critical habitat designation. The requirement to conduct 
such consultation would occur regardless of whether the authorization 
for incidental take occurs under either section 7 or section 10 of the 
Act.
    The inclusion of these 30 ac (12 ha) of non-Federal lands as 
critical habitat would provide some additional Federal regulatory 
benefits for the species consistent with the conservation standard 
based on the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford Pinchot. 
However, this additional benefit is likely to be small because the 
lands are not under Federal ownership and any Federal agency proposing 
a Federal action on these 30 ac (12 ha) of non-Federal lands would 
likely consider the conservation value of these lands as identified in 
the proposed deed restrictions and conservation strategy, and take 
necessary steps to avoid jeopardy or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat.
    By including the Dillon Beach unit in our final critical habitat 
designations, we could provide those areas with immediate critical 
habitat protection rather than waiting for the agreement to be 
completed. However, as discussed in the analyses for other excluded 
units above, the protections provided under section 7 largely overlap 
with protections resulting from critical habitat designation. The 
Service is participating as well in the development of the conservation 
measures with the landowners, and as such, evaluating the effects of 
the actions on the Pacific Coast WSP. Excluding these privately owned 
lands with conservation strategies from critical habitat may, by way of 
example, provide positive social, legal, and economic incentives to 
other non-Federal landowners who own lands that could contribute to 
listed species recovery if voluntary conservation measures on these 
lands are implemented.
    In Sierra Club v. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 
2001), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the 
identification of habitat essential to the conservation of the species 
can provide informational benefits to the public, State and local 
governments, scientific organizations, and Federal agencies. The court 
also noted that heightened public awareness of the plight of listed 
species and their habitats may facilitate conservation efforts. The 
additional educational benefits that might arise from critical habitat 
designation have been largely accomplished through the ongoing 
development of the management plan for this area.
    For 30 years prior to the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in Gifford 
Pinchot, the Fish and Wildlife Service equated the jeopardy standard 
with the standard for destruction or adverse modification of

[[Page 57018]]

critical habitat. However, in Gifford Pinchot the court noted the 
government, by simply considering the action's survival consequences, 
was reading the concept of recovery out of the regulation. The court, 
relying on the CFR definition of adverse modification, required the 
Service to determine whether recovery was adversely affected. The 
Gifford Pinchot decision arguably made it easier to reach an `adverse 
modification' finding by reducing the harm, affecting recovery, rather 
than the survival of the species. However, there is an important 
distinction: Section 7(a)(2) limits harm to the species either through 
take or critical habitat. It does not require positive improvements or 
enhancement of the species status. Thus, any management plan, or in 
this case proposed deed restriction with accompanying conservation 
strategy, which considers enhancement or recovery as the management 
standard will almost always provide more benefit than the critical 
habitat designation.

(2) Benefits of Exclusion

    Lawson and Oxfoot (landowners) are working with the Service to 
place deed restrictions over the 30 ac (12 ha) of privately owned land 
at Dillon Beach identified as essential habitat. Working with the 
Service, Lawson is proposing to restrict development and habitat 
alteration on the 30 ac (12 ha) proposed for critical habitat, while 
Oxfoot, who controls the major access point to the beach is proposing 
to construct and maintain interpretive signage visible to beachgoers 
entering the property. Additionally, the major landowner and the 
Service are pursuing grant funding by the landowner and the Service to 
produce additional interpretive signs and flyers, which would be placed 
in easily visible locations on portions of the property. These 
conservation measures will protect the wintering plover habitat at 
Dillon Beach.
    The provision restricting development and habitat alteration 
addresses the general rangewide threat of habitat loss, while the 
following provisions directly address the threat of disturbance by 
humans and pets, and indirectly address the threat of predators by 
encouraging beachgoers to avoid practices that might attract predators, 
such as leaving trash on the beach. Therefore, designation of critical 
habitat would not provide as great a benefit to the species as the 
positive management measures in the proposed plan.
    Additionally, the management planning process is a voluntary 
collaborative effort involving cooperation and input from the 
landowners and the Service. This cooperation allows the best 
information and local knowledge to be brought to the table, and may 
encourage a sense of commitment to the Pacific Coast WSPs continuing 
well-being. In this case, the landowner has explicitly stated that they 
would not be willing to work with the Service to conserve the Pacific 
Coast WSP and implement conservation measures if critical habitat is 
designated on their property. Finally, the enhancement and management 
of plover habitat will benefit greatly from coordination between the 
various owners and managers in the area. The ongoing planning process 
can provide for that coordination, whereas the critical habitat 
designation process cannot. Designation of critical habitat would 
therefore not provide as great a benefit to the species as the positive 
management measures in a plan. By excluding these lands, we preserve 
our current partnerships and encourage additional conservation actions 
in the future.

(3) The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion

    We have reviewed and evaluated the exclusion of approximately 30 ac 
(12 ha) from the critical habitat designation for the Pacific Coast 
WSP. Based on this evaluation, we find that the benefits of exclusion 
(ensure willingness of existing partners to enact conservation 
measures, maintain ability to attract new partners) of the lands 
containing features essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast 
WSP within Dillon Beach unit outweigh the benefits of inclusion 
(limited educational and regulatory benefits) of these lands as 
critical habitat. Allowing landowners to participate voluntarily to 
develop and implement management strategies and conservation measures 
will provide greater benefit to the species than designation of 
critical habitat alone. However, in weighing the benefits of inclusion 
versus the benefits of exclusion, the Service must also consider the 
likelihood that the conservation plan and accompanying deed 
restrictions will be completed. In this case we find the likelihood to 
be high because the major participants are all involved in the current 
process of developing conservation strategies for the Pacific Coast WSP 
and have voluntarily contacted the Service in the development of such 
measures. During the period between the proposed designation and the 
final designation we have been in contact with the local landowners and 
have established an excellent working relationship with the local 
landowners and their representative and feel confident that an 
agreement will be reached in the near future for the conservation of 
the Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. Accordingly, we are excluding 
the Dillon Beach unit from the designation.

(4) Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species

    We believe that exclusion of these 30 ac (12 ha) of non-Federal 
lands will not result in extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP since 
these lands are proposed to be conserved and managed under deed 
restriction and an accompanying conservation strategy. Additionally, 
critical habitat is being designated for the Pacific Coast WSP in other 
areas that will be accorded the protection from adverse modification by 
Federal actions using the conservation standard based on the Ninth 
Circuit Court's decision in Gifford Pinchot. Also the jeopardy standard 
of section 7 and routine implementation of habitat conservation through 
the section 7 process provides assurances that the species will not go 
extinct. In addition, the species is protected from take under section 
9 of the Act. The exclusion leaves these protections unchanged from 
those that would exist if the excluded areas were designated as 
critical habitat.
    Additionally, the species occurs on lands protected and managed 
either explicitly for the species or indirectly through more general 
objectives to protect natural values. These factors acting in concert 
with the other protections provided under the Act, lead us to find that 
exclusion of the 30 ac (12 ha) Dillon Beach unit would not result in 
extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP.

Relationship of Critical Habitat to Economic Impacts--Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    This section allows the Secretary to exclude areas from critical 
habitat for economic reasons if she determines that the benefits of 
such exclusion exceed the benefits of designating the area as critical 
habitat, unless the exclusion will result in the extinction of the 
species concerned. This is a discretionary authority Congress has 
provided to the Secretary with respect to critical habitat. Although 
economic and other impacts may not be considered when listing a 
species, Congress has expressly required their consideration when 
designating critical habitat.
    In general, we have considered in making the following exclusions 
that all of the costs and other impacts predicted in the economic 
analysis may not be avoided by excluding the area, due to

[[Page 57019]]

the fact that all of the areas in question are currently occupied by 
the Pacific Coast WSP requirements for consultation under Section 7 of 
the Act, or for permits under section 10 (henceforth ``consultation''), 
for any take of this species, which should also serve to protect the 
species and its habitat, and other protections for the species exist 
elsewhere in the Act and under State and local laws and regulations. In 
conducting economic analyses, we are guided by the 10th Circuit Court 
of Appeal's ruling in the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association case 
(248 F.3d at 1285), which directed us to consider all impacts, 
``regardless of whether those impacts are attributable co-extensively 
to other causes.'' As explained in the analysis, due to possible 
overlapping regulatory schemes and other reasons, there are also some 
elements of the analysis that may overstate some costs.
    Conversely, the Ninth Circuit has recently ruled (``Gifford 
Pinchot'', 378 F.3d at 1071) that the Service's regulations defining 
``adverse modification'' of critical habitat are invalid because they 
define adverse modification as affecting both survival and recovery of 
a species. The Court directed us to consider that determinations of 
adverse modification should be focused on impacts to recovery. While we 
have not yet proposed a new definition for public review and comment, 
compliance with the Court's direction may result in additional costs 
associated with the designation of critical habitat (depending upon the 
outcome of the rulemaking). In light of the uncertainty concerning the 
regulatory definition of adverse modification, our current 
methodological approach to conducting economic analyses of our critical 
habitat designations is to consider all conservation-related costs. 
This approach would include costs related to sections 4, 7, 9, and 10 
of the Act, and should encompass costs that would be considered and 
evaluated in light of the Gifford Pinchot ruling.
    We are excluding all or portions of six units or subunits of the 
proposed critical habitat for economic reasons. Congress expressly 
contemplated that exclusions under this section might result in such 
situations when it enacted the exclusion authority. House Report 95-
1625, stated on page 17: ``Factors of recognized or potential 
importance to human activities in an area will be considered by the 
Secretary in deciding whether or not all or part of that area should be 
included in the critical habitat * * * In some situations, no critical 
habitat would be specified. In such situations, the Act would still be 
in force preventing any taking or other prohibited act * * *'' 
(emphasis supplied). We accordingly believe that these exclusions, and 
the basis upon which they are made, are fully within the parameters for 
the use of section 4(b)(2) set out by Congress. In reaching our 
decision about which areas should be excluded from the final critical 
habitat designation for economic reasons, we considered the following 
factors to be important: (1) The units (or subunits) with the highest 
cost; (2) a substantial break in costs from one unit (or subunit) to 
the next that may indicate disproportionate impacts; and (3) possible 
cost impacts to public works projects such as transportation or other 
infrastructure from the designation.
    The draft economic analysis published in the Federal Register on 
August 16, 2005 (70 FR 48094) analyzed the economic effects of the 
proposed critical habitat designation for the Pacific Coast WSP in the 
States of Washington, Oregon, and California. The economic impacts of 
critical habitat designation vary widely between States, among 
counties, and even within counties. The counties most impacted by the 
critical habitat designation to the recreation and tourist industry are 
all located in either central or southern California, and include Santa 
Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and San Diego counties. 
Further, economic impacts are unevenly distributed within counties. The 
analysis was conducted at the proposed unit or subunit level. The 
subunits with the greatest economic impacts include Vandenberg South 
(CA 17B), Atascadero Beach (CA 15B), Vandenberg North (CA 17A), Silver 
Strand (CA 27C), Jetty Road to Aptos (CA 12A), Morro Bay Beach (CA 
15C), Pismo Beach/Nipomo (CA 16), and Monterey to Moss Landing (CA 
12C). These 8 subunits make up approximately 90 percent of the total 
costs of designation. Vandenberg North (CA 17A) and Vandenberg South 
(CA 17B) are excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based on 
National Security concerns by the Air Force. Portions of Silver Strand 
(CA 27C) are exempt from this critical habitat designation under 
section 4(a)(3) of the Act. For a discussion of these exclusions and 
exemptions see the Relationship of Critical Habitat to Military Lands--
Application of Section 4(a)(3) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) 
section. Had these units not already been excluded or exempted, they 
likely would have been excluded for economic reasons.
    Mitigation requirements increase the cost of development and 
avoidance requirements are assumed to reduce coastal recreational 
opportunities and the quality of visits, thereby affecting the amount 
of localized tourism. Adverse impacts to coastal recreation and tourism 
are estimated to be 95 percent of the costs associated with this 
critical habitat designation for the Pacific Coast WSP. Management 
activities designed to enhance plover conservation accounts for 
approximately 3.3 percent of designation costs, while impacts to 
military operations (1.4 percent), development (0.2 percent) and gravel 
mining (0.1 percent) were also estimated. The total future costs (from 
2005 to 2025) at the proposed critical habitat units are estimated to 
be $272.8 million to $645.3 million on a present value basis ($514.9 to 
$1,222.7 million expressed in constant dollars). Costs attributed to 
lost or diminished recreation and tourism ranges from $244.4 million to 
$611.1 million. Future costs to the military resulting from the 
designation would be approximately $9.1 million in present value terms, 
plus adverse impacts to military readiness and national security that 
are not monetized.
    A copy of the final economic analysis with supporting documents are 
included in our administrative record and may be obtained by contacting 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Endangered Species (see 
ADDRESSES section).

Economic Exclusions

    We have considered, but are excluding from critical habitat for the 
Pacific Coast WSP essential habitat in the six subunits and counties 
listed in Table 3.

[[Page 57020]]



             Table 3.--Excluded Subunits and Estimated Costs
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Economic impact
        Unit or subunit                 County          in draft EA  ($)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CA 12A: Jetty Rd.--Aptos......  Santa Cruz and                48,563,000
                                 Monterey.
CA 12C: Monterey--Moss Landing  Monterey.............        210,378,000
CA 15B: Atascadero Beach......  San Luis Obispo......         31,395,000
CA 15C: Morro Bay Beach.......  San Luis Obispo......         73,584,000
CA 16: Pismo Beach/Nipomo.....  San Luis Obispo and          109,309,000
                                 Santa Barbara.
CA 27C: Silver Strand.........  San Diego............         43,714,000
                               ------------------------
    Total.....................  .....................        516,943,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The notice of availability of the draft economic analysis (70 FR 
48094: August 16, 2005) solicited public comment on the potential 
exclusion of high cost areas. As we finalized the economic analysis, we 
identified high costs associated with the proposed critical habitat 
designation throughout the range of the Pacific Coast WSP. Costs 
related to conservation activities for the proposed Pacific Coast WSP 
critical habitat pursuant to sections 4, 7, and 10 of the Act are 
estimated to be $272.8 to $645.3 million over the next 20 years on a 
present value basis. In constant dollars, the draft economic analysis 
estimates there will be an economic impact of $514.9 to $1,22.7 million 
expressed in constant dollars over the next 20 years. The activities 
affected by plover conservation may include recreation, plover 
management, real estate development, military base operations, and 
gravel extraction. Ninety percent of all future costs are associated 
with 8 central and southern California units identified above (Table 
3). On the basis of the significance of these costs, we determined that 
these warrant exclusion from designation.

(1) Benefits to Inclusion of the Six Excluded Units or Subunits

    The primary benefit of including an area within a critical habitat 
designation is the protection provided by section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
that directs Federal agencies to ensure that their actions do not 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. 
The designation of critical habitat may provide a different level of 
protection under section 7(a)(2) of the Act for the Pacific Coast WSP 
that is separate from the obligation of a Federal agency to ensure that 
their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
the endangered species. Under the Gifford Pinchot decision, critical 
habitat designations may provide greater benefits to the recovery of a 
species than was previously believed, but it is not possible to 
quantify this benefit at present. However, the protection provided is 
still a limitation on the harm that occurs as opposed to a requirement 
to provide a conservation benefit.
    The area excluded as critical habitat is currently occupied by the 
species. If this area were designated as critical habitat, any actions 
with a Federal nexus which might adversely affect the critical habitat 
would require a consultation with us, as explained previously, in 
Effects of Critical Habitat Designation section. However, inasmuch as 
this area is currently occupied by the species, consultation for 
Federal activities which might adversely impact the species or would 
result in take would be required even without the critical habitat 
designation. Primary constituent elements in this area would be 
protected from destruction or adverse modification by federal actions 
using a conservation standard based on the Ninth Circuit Court's 
decision in Gifford Pinchot. This requirement would be in addition to 
the requirement that proposed Federal actions avoid likely jeopardy to 
the species' continued existence. However, as all six units are 
occupied by the Pacific Coast WSP, consultation for activities which 
may adversely affect the species, including possibly significant 
habitat modification (see definition of ``harm'' at 50 CFR 17.3), would 
be required, even without the critical habitat designation. The 
requirement to conduct such consultation would occur regardless of 
whether the authorization for incidental take occurs under either 
section 7 or section 10 of the Act.
    We determined, however, in the economic analysis that designation 
of critical habitat could result in up to $645.3 million in costs, the 
majority of which are related to recreational and tourism impacts. We 
believe that the potential decrease in coastal recreation and 
associated tourism resulting from this designation of critical habitat 
for the Pacific Coast WSP, would minimize impacts to and potentially 
provide some protection to the species, the sandy beach, river gravel 
bar, and evaporation pond habitats where they reside, and the physical 
and biological features essential to the species' conservation (i.e., 
the primary constituent elements). Thus, this decrease in recreation 
and tourism would directly translate into a potential benefit to the 
species that would result from this designation.
    Another possible benefit of a critical habitat designation is 
education of landowners and the public regarding the potential 
conservation value of these areas. This may focus and contribute to 
conservation efforts by other parties by clearly delineating areas of 
high conservation values for certain species. However, we believe that 
this education benefit has largely been achieved, or is being achieved 
in equal measure by other means. Although we have not completed the 
recovery planning process for the Pacific Coast WSP, the designation of 
critical habitat would assist in the identification of potential core 
recovery areas for the species. The critical habitat designation and 
the current draft recovery plan provide information geared to the 
general public, landowners, and agencies about areas that are important 
for the conservation of the species and what actions they can implement 
to further the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP within their own 
jurisdiction and capabilities, and contains provisions for ongoing 
public outreach and education as part of the recovery process.
    In summary, we believe that inclusion of the six subunits as 
critical habitat would provide some additional Federal regulatory 
benefits for the species. However, that benefit is limited to some 
degree by the fact that the designated critical habitat is occupied by 
the species, and therefore there must, in any case, be consultation 
with the Service over any Federal action which may affect the species 
in those six units. The additional educational benefits which might 
arise from critical habitat designation are largely accomplished 
through the multiple opportunities for public notice and comments which

[[Page 57021]]

accompanied the development of this regulation, publicity over the 
prior litigation, and public outreach associated with the development 
of the draft and, ultimately, the implementation of the final recovery 
plan for the Pacific Coast WSP.

(2) Benefits to Exclusion of the Six Excluded Units or Subunits

    The economic analysis conducted for this proposal estimates that 
the costs associated with designating these six subunits would be 
approximately $645.3 million. Estimated costs would be associated with 
the Pacific Coast WSP in amounts shown in Table 3 above. By excluding 
these subunits, some or all of these costs will be avoided.

(3) Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion of the Six 
Units or Subunits

    We believe that the benefits from excluding these lands from the 
designation of critical habitat--avoiding the potential economic and 
human costs, both in dollars and jobs, predicted in the economic 
analysis-- exceed the educational and regulatory benefits which could 
result from including those lands in this designation of critical 
habitat.
    We have evaluated and considered the potential economic costs on 
the recreation and tourism industry relative to the potential benefit 
for the Pacific Coast WSP and its primary constituent elements derived 
from the designation of critical habitat. We believe that the potential 
economic impact of up to approximately $645.3 million on the tourism 
industry significantly outweighs the potential conservation and 
protective benefits for the species and their primary constituent 
elements derived from the residential development not being constructed 
as a result of this designation.
    We also believe that excluding these lands, and thus helping 
landowners avoid the additional costs that would result from the 
designation, will contribute to a more positive climate for Habitat 
Conservation Plans and other active conservation measures which provide 
greater conservation benefits than would result from designation of 
critical habitat `` even in the post-Gifford Pinchot environment--which 
requires only that the there be no adverse modification resulting from 
actions with a Federal nexus. We therefore find that the benefits of 
excluding these areas from this designation of critical habitat 
outweigh the benefits of including them in the designation.
    We believe that the required future recovery planning process would 
provide at least equivalent value to the public, State and local 
governments, scientific organizations, and Federal agencies in 
providing information about habitat that contains those features 
considered essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP, and 
in facilitating conservation efforts through heightened public 
awareness of the plight of the listed species. The draft recovery plan 
contains explicit objectives for ongoing public education, outreach, 
and collaboration at local, state, and federal levels, and between the 
private and public sectors, in recovering the Pacific Coast WSP.

(4) Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species

    We believe that exclusion of these lands will not result in the 
extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP as these areas are considered 
occupied habitat. Actions which might adversely affect the species are 
expected to have a Federal nexus, and would thus undergo a section 7 
consultation with the Service. The jeopardy standard of section 7, and 
routine implementation of habitat preservation through the section 7 
process, as discussed in the economic analysis, provide assurance that 
the species will not go extinct. In addition, the species is protected 
from take under section 9 of the Act. The exclusion leaves these 
protections unchanged from those that would exist if the excluded areas 
were designated as critical habitat.
    Critical habitat is being designated for the species in other areas 
that will be accorded the protection from adverse modification by 
Federal actions using the conservation standard based on the Ninth 
Circuit decision in Gifford Pinchot. Additionally, the species occurs 
on lands protected and managed either explicitly for the species, or 
indirectly through more general objectives to protect natural values, 
this provides protection from extinction while conservation measures 
are being implemented. For example, the Pacific Coast WSP is protected 
on lands such as State and National Parks, and are managed specifically 
for the species e.g., Point Reyes National Seashore. The species also 
occurs on lands managed to protect and enhance coastal ecosystems and 
wetlands, e.g. Moss Landing Wildlife Area and the San Francisco Bay 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
    We believe that exclusion of the six subunits will not result in 
extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP as they are considered occupied 
habitat. Federal Actions which might adversely affect the species would 
thus undergo a consultation with the Service under the requirements of 
section 7 of the Act. The jeopardy standard of section 7, and routine 
implementation of habitat preservation as part of the section 7 
process, as discussed in the draft economic analysis, provide insurance 
that the species will not go extinct. The exclusion leaves these 
protections unchanged from those that would exist if the excluded areas 
were designated as critical habitat.
    Critical habitat is being designated for the Pacific Coast WSP in 
other areas that will be accorded the protection from adverse 
modification by federal actions using the conservation standard based 
on the Ninth Circuit decision in Gifford Pinchot. Additionally, the 
species occurs on lands protected and managed either explicitly for the 
species, or indirectly through more general objectives to protect 
natural values, this factor acting in concert with the other 
protections provided under the Act for these lands absent designation 
of critical habitat on them, and acting in concert with protections 
afforded each species by the remaining critical habitat designation for 
the species, lead us to find that exclusion of these six subunits will 
not result in extinction of the Pacific Coast WSP.

Economic Analysis

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires us to designate critical 
habitat on the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available and to consider the economic and other relevant impacts of 
designating a particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude areas 
from critical habitat upon a determination that the benefits of such 
exclusions outweigh the benefits of Specifying such areas as critical 
habitat. We cannot exclude such areas from critical habitat when such 
exclusion will result in the extinction of the species concerned.
    Following the publication of the proposed critical habitat 
designation, we conducted an economic analysis to estimate the 
potential economic effect of the designation. The draft analysis was 
made available for public review on August 16, 2005 (70 FR 48094). We 
accepted comments on the draft analysis until September 15, 2005.
    The primary purpose of the economic analysis is to estimate the 
potential economic impacts associated with the designation of critical 
habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. This information is intended to 
assist the Secretary in making decisions about whether the benefits of 
excluding particular areas from the designation outweigh the

[[Page 57022]]

benefits of including those areas in the designation. This economic 
analysis considers the economic efficiency effects that may result from 
the designation, including habitat protections that may be co-extensive 
with the listing of the species. It also addresses distribution of 
impacts, including an assessment of the potential effects on small 
entities and the energy industry. This information can be used by the 
Secretary to assess whether the effects of the designation might unduly 
burden a particular group or economic sector.
    This analysis focuses on the direct and indirect costs of the rule. 
However, economic impacts to land use activities can exist in the 
absence of critical habitat. These impacts may result from, for 
example, local zoning laws, State and natural resource laws, and 
enforceable management plans and best management practices applied by 
other State and Federal agencies. Economic impacts that result from 
these types of protections are not included in the analysis as they are 
considered to be part of the regulatory and policy baseline.
    A copy of the final economic analysis with supporting documents are 
included in our administrative record and may be obtained by contacting 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Endangered Species (see 
ADDRESSES section) or for downloading from the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/sacramento/default.htm.

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations and 
notices that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to 
make this final rule easier to understand, including answers to 
questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the final 
rule clearly stated? (2) Does the final rule contain technical jargon 
that interferes with the clarity? (3) Does the format of the final rule 
(grouping and order of the sections, use of headings, paragraphing, and 
so forth) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Is the description of the 
notice in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble helpful 
in understanding the final rule? (5) What else could we do to make this 
final rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments on how we could make this final rule 
easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of 
the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240. You 
may e-mail your comments to this address: [email protected].

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with Executive Order 12866, this document is a 
significant rule in that it may raise novel legal and policy issues, 
but it is not anticipated to have an annual effect on the economy of 
$100 million or more or adversely affect the economy in a material way. 
Due to the timeline for publication in the Federal Register, the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) has not formally reviewed this rule. As 
explained above, we prepared an economic analysis of this action. We 
used this analysis to meet the requirement of section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act to determine the economic consequences of designating the specific 
areas as critical habitat. We also used it to help determine whether to 
exclude specific areas as critical habitat, as provided for under 
section 4(b)(2), if we determine that the benefits of such exclusion 
outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical 
habitat, unless we determine, based on the best scientific and 
commercial data available, that the failure to designate such area as 
critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (as amended by the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996), 
whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for 
any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for 
public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the 
effects of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small 
organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of the agency 
certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA amended the RFA to 
require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis 
for certifying that the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA also 
amended the RFA to require a certification statement.
    Small entities include small organizations, such as independent 
nonprofit organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including 
school boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 
50,000 residents; as well as small businesses. Small businesses include 
manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 employees, 
wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, retail and 
service businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales, general 
and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 million in 
annual business, special trade contractors doing less than $11.5 
million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with annual 
sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic impacts to 
these small entities are significant, we consider the types of 
activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this rule, as 
well as the types of project modifications that may result. In general, 
the term ``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical 
small business firm's business operations.
    To determine if the rule could significantly affect a substantial 
number of small entities, we consider the number of small entities 
affected within particular types of economic activities (e.g., housing 
development, grazing, oil and gas production, timber harvesting). We 
apply the ``substantial number'' test individually to each industry to 
determine if certification is appropriate. However, the SBREFA does not 
explicitly define ``substantial number'' or ``significant economic 
impact.'' Consequently, to assess whether a ``substantial number'' of 
small entities is affected by this designation, this analysis considers 
the relative number of small entities likely to be impacted in an area. 
In some circumstances, especially with critical habitat designations of 
limited extent, we may aggregate across all industries and consider 
whether the total number of small entities affected is substantial. In 
estimating the number of small entities potentially affected, we also 
consider whether their activities have any Federal involvement.
    Designation of critical habitat only affects activities conducted, 
funded, or permitted by Federal agencies. Some kinds of activities are 
unlikely to have any Federal involvement and so will not be affected by 
critical habitat designation. In areas where the species is present, 
Federal agencies already are required to consult with us under section 
7 of the Act on activities they fund, permit, or implement that may 
affect Pacific Coast WSP. Federal agencies also must consult with us if 
their activities may affect critical habitat. Designation of critical 
habitat, therefore, could result in an additional economic impact on 
small entities due to the requirement to reinitiate

[[Page 57023]]

consultation for ongoing Federal activities.
    To determine if the proposed designation of critical habitat for 
the Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover would affect a 
substantial number of small entities, we considered the number of small 
entities affected within particular types of economic activities (e.g., 
recreation, residential and related development, and commercial gravel 
mining). We considered each industry or category individually to 
determine if certification is appropriate. In estimating the numbers of 
small entities potentially affected, we also considered whether their 
activities have any Federal involvement; some kinds of activities are 
unlikely to have any Federal involvement and so will not be affected by 
the designation of critical habitat. Designation of critical habitat 
only affects activities conducted, funded, permitted or authorized by 
Federal agencies; non-Federal activities are not affected by the 
designation.
    In our economic analysis of this proposed designation, we evaluated 
the potential economic effects on small business entities and small 
governments resulting from conservation actions related to the listing 
of this species and proposed designation of its critical habitat. We 
evaluated small business entities in five categories: Habitat and 
plover management activities, beach-related recreation activities, 
residential and related development, activities on military lands, and 
commercial mining. Of these five categories, impacts of plover 
conservation to habitat and plover management, and activities on 
military lands are not anticipated to affect small entities as 
discussed in Appendix A of our draft economic analysis. The following 
summary of the information contained in Appendix A of the draft 
economic analysis provides the basis for our determination.
    On the basis of our analysis of western snowy plover conservation 
measures, we determined that this designation of critical habitat for 
the western snowy plover would result in potential economic effects to 
recreation. Section 4 of the draft economic analysis discusses impacts 
of restrictions on recreational activity at beaches containing 
potential critical habitat for the plover. Individual recreators may 
experience welfare losses as a result of foregone or diminished trips 
to the beach. If fewer trips are taken by recreators, then some local 
businesses serving these visitors may be indirectly affected. In our 
August 16, 2005, notice of availability on the draft economic analysis 
and proposed rule (70 FR 48094), we did not believe that this proposed 
designation would have an effect on a substantial number of small 
businesses and would also not result in a significant effect to 
impacted small businesses. In this final rule, we have excluded 8 units 
(Vandenberg South (CA 17B), Atascadero Beach (CA 15B), Vandenberg North 
(CA 17A), Silver Strand (CA 27C), Jetty Road to Aptos (CA 12A), Morro 
Bay Beach (CA 15C), Pismo Beach/Nipomo (CA 16), and Monterey to Moss 
Landing (CA 12C)) that contained approximately 90 percent of the 
economic impacts of the proposed designation; approximately 95 percent 
of the economic impacts are due to impacts to recreations. Because we 
have excluded these 8 units, this further confirms that this 
designation will not have an effect on a substantial number of small 
businesses and would also not result in a significant effect to 
impacted small businesses.
    For development activities, a detailed analysis of impacts to these 
activities is presented in Section 5 of the draft economic analysis. 
For this analysis, we determined that two development projects 
occurring within the potential critical habitat are expected to incur 
costs associated with plover conservation efforts. One of these 
projects is funded by Humboldt County, which does not qualify as a 
small government, and is therefore not relevant to this small business 
analysis. The economic impact to the one project that qualifies as a 
small business is estimated to be 2.5 percent of the tax revenue. 
Because only one small business is estimated to be impacted by this 
proposal and only 2.5 percent of revenues are estimated to be incurred, 
we have determined that this designation will not have an effect on a 
substantial number of small businesses.
    For gravel mining activities, we have determined that five gravel 
mining companies exist within Unit CA-4D of the proposed designation of 
critical habitat. We determined that the annualized impact from plover 
conservation activities to these small businesses was approximately 0.5 
percent of the total sales of these five mining companies. From this 
analysis, we have determined that this designation would also not 
result in a significant effect to the annual sales of these small 
businesses impacted by this designation.
    Based on this data we have determined that this final designation 
would not affect a substantial number of small businesses involved in 
recreation, residential and related development and commercial gravel 
mining. Further, we have determined that this final designation would 
also not result in a significant effect to the annual sales of those 
small businesses impacted by this designation. As such, we are 
certifying that this final designation of critical habitat would not 
result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. Please refer to Appendix A of our economic analysis of 
this designation for a more detailed discussion of potential economic 
impacts to small business entities.
    In general, two different mechanisms in section 7 consultations 
could lead to additional regulatory requirements for the approximately 
four small businesses, on average, that may be required to consult with 
us each year regarding their project's impact on Pacific Coast WSP and 
its habitat. First, if we conclude, in a biological opinion, that a 
proposed action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a 
species or adversely modify its critical habitat, we can offer 
``reasonable and prudent alternatives.'' Reasonable and prudent 
alternatives are alternative actions that can be implemented in a 
manner consistent with the scope of the Federal agency's legal 
authority and jurisdiction, that are economically and technologically 
feasible, and that would avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of 
listed species or result in adverse modification of critical habitat. A 
Federal agency and an applicant may elect to implement a reasonable and 
prudent alternative associated with a biological opinion that has found 
jeopardy or adverse modification of critical habitat. An agency or 
applicant could alternatively choose to seek an exemption from the 
requirements of the Act or proceed without implementing the reasonable 
and prudent alternative. However, unless an exemption were obtained, 
the Federal agency or applicant would be at risk of violating section 
7(a)(2) of the Act if it chose to proceed without implementing the 
reasonable and prudent alternatives.
    Second, if we find that a proposed action is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of a listed animal or plant species, 
we may identify reasonable and prudent measures designed to minimize 
the amount or extent of take and require the Federal agency or 
applicant to implement such measures through non-discretionary terms 
and conditions. We may also identify discretionary conservation 
recommendations designed to minimize or avoid the adverse effects of a 
proposed action on listed species or critical habitat, help implement 
recovery plans, or to develop information that could contribute to the 
recovery of the species.

[[Page 57024]]

    Based on our experience with consultations pursuant to section 7 of 
the Act for all listed species, virtually all projects--including those 
that, in their initial proposed form, would result in jeopardy or 
adverse modification determinations in section 7 consultations--can be 
implemented successfully with, at most, the adoption of reasonable and 
prudent alternatives. These measures, by definition, must be 
economically feasible and within the scope of authority of the Federal 
agency involved in the consultation. We can only describe the general 
kinds of actions that may be identified in future reasonable and 
prudent alternatives. These are based on our understanding of the needs 
of the species and the threats it faces, as described in the final 
listing rule and this critical habitat designation. Within the final 
CHUs, the types of Federal actions or authorized activities that we 
have identified as potential concerns are:
    (1) Actions and management efforts affecting Pacific Coast WSP on 
Federal lands such as national seashores, parks, and wildlife reserves;
    (2) Dredging and dredge spoil placement activities that permanently 
remove PCEs to the extent that essential biological function of plover 
habitat is adversely affected;
    (3) Construction and maintenance of eroded areas or structures 
(e.g., roads, walkways, marinas, salt ponds, access points, bridges, 
culverts) which interfere with plover nesting, breeding, or foraging; 
produce increases in predation; or promote a dense growth of vegetation 
that precludes an area's use by plovers;
    (4) Stormwater and wastewater discharge from communities; and,
    (5) Flood control actions that change the PCEs to the extent that 
the habitat no longer contributes to the conservation of the species.
    It is likely that a developer or other project proponent could 
modify a project or take measures to protect Pacific Coast WSP. The 
kinds of actions that may be included if future reasonable and prudent 
alternatives become necessary include conservation set-asides, predator 
reduction activities, symbolic fencing to reduce human impacts to 
breeding areas, management of nonnative species, restoration of 
degraded habitat, and regular monitoring. These are based on our 
understanding of the needs of the species and the threats it faces, as 
described in the final listing rule and proposed critical habitat 
designation. These measures are not likely to result in a significant 
economic impact to project proponents.
    In summary, we have considered whether this would result in a 
significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. 
We have determined, for the above reasons and based on currently 
available information, that it is not likely to affect a substantial 
number of small entities. Federal involvement, and thus section 7 
consultations, would be limited to a subset of the area designated. The 
most likely Federal involvement could include Corps permits, permits we 
may issue under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, FHA funding for road 
improvements, and regulation of recreation by the Park Service and BLM. 
A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 802(2))

    Under the SBREFA, this rule is not a major rule. Our detailed 
assessment of the economic effects of this designation is described in 
the economic analysis. Based on the effects identified in the economic 
analysis, we determined that this rule will not have an annual effect 
on the economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase 
in costs or prices for consumers, and will not have significant adverse 
effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with 
foreign-based enterprises. Refer to the final economic analysis for a 
discussion of the effects of this determination.

Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This final rule to 
designated critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP is not expected 
to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. 
Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), the Service makes the following findings:
    (a) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, tribal 
governments, or the private sector and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or Tribal governments'' with two 
exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It also 
excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal 
program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal 
program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, 
local, and Tribal governments under entitlement authority, ``if the 
provision would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' 
or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. (At the time of 
enactment, these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; AFDC work 
programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; Social Services Block Grants; 
Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; Foster Care, Adoption 
Assistance, and Independent Living; Family Support Welfare Services; 
and Child Support Enforcement.) ``Federal private sector mandate'' 
includes a regulation that ``would impose an enforceable duty upon the 
private sector, except (i) a condition of Federal assistance; or (ii) a 
duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program.''
    (b) The economic analysis discusses potential impacts of critical 
habitat designation for the western snowy plover including 
administrative costs, water management activities, oil and gas 
activities, concentrated animal feeding operations, agriculture, and 
transportation. The analysis estimates that costs of the rule could 
range from $272.8 to $645.3 million over the next 20 years. In constant 
dollars, the draft economic analysis estimates there will be an 
economic impact of $514.9 to $1,222.7 million over the next 20 years. 
In this final rule, we have excluded 8 units (Vandenberg South (CA 
17B), Atascadero Beach (CA 15B), Vandenberg North (CA 17A), Silver 
Strand (CA 27C), Jetty Road to Aptos (CA 12A), Morro Bay Beach (CA 
15C), Pismo Beach/Nipomo (CA 16), and Monterey to Moss Landing (CA 
12C)) that contained approximately 90 percent of the economic impacts 
of the proposed designation. Recreational activities are expected to 
experience the greatest economic impacts related to western snowy 
plover conservation activities,

[[Page 57025]]

although those impacts are going to be greatly diminished as a result 
of our exclusions pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Impacts on 
small governments are not anticipated. Furthermore, any costs to 
recreators would not be expected to be passed on to entities that 
qualify as small governments. Consequently, for the reasons discussed 
above, we do not believe that the designation of critical habitat for 
the western snowy plover will significantly or uniquely affect small 
government entities. As such, a Small Government Agency Plan is not 
required.
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities who receive Federal 
funding, assistance, permits, or otherwise require approval or 
authorization from a Federal agency for an action may be indirectly 
impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally binding 
duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat 
rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the extent that 
non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they receive 
Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid program, 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply; nor would critical 
habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs listed above 
onto State governments.
    (b) Due to current public knowledge of the species' protection, the 
prohibition against take of the species both within and outside of the 
designated areas, and the fact that critical habitat provides no 
incremental restrictions, we do not anticipate that this rule will 
significantly or uniquely affect small governments. As such, Small 
Government Agency Plan is not required. We will, however, further 
evaluate this issue as we conduct our economic analysis and revise this 
assessment if appropriate.

Federalism

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. In keeping with Department of Interior and Department of 
Commerce policy, we requested information from, and coordinated 
development of, this proposed critical habitat designation with 
appropriate State resource agencies in California, Oregon and 
Washington. The designation of critical habitat in areas currently 
occupied by the Pacific Coast WSP habitat imposes no additional 
restrictions to those currently in place and, therefore, has little 
incremental impact on State and local governments and their activities. 
The designation may have some benefit to these governments in that the 
areas essential to the conservation of the species are more clearly 
defined, and the primary constituent elements of the habitat necessary 
to the survival of the species are specifically identified. While 
making this definition and identification does not alter where and what 
federally sponsored activities may occur, it may assist these local 
governments in long-range planning (rather than waiting for case-by-
case section 7 consultations to occur).

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order. We have proposed designating critical habitat in 
accordance with the provisions of the Act. This proposed rule uses 
standard property descriptions and identifies the primary constituent 
elements within the designated areas to assist the public in 
understanding the habitat needs of the Pacific Coast WSP.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule 
will not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or 
local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency 
may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, 
a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    It is our position that, outside the Tenth Circuit, we do not need 
to prepare environmental analyses as defined by the NEPA in connection 
with designating critical habitat under the Act. We published a notice 
outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on 
October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). This assertion was upheld in the courts 
of the Ninth Circuit (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 
Ore. 1995), cert. denied 116 S. Ct. 698 (1996). This final 
determination does not constitute a major Federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and the Department 
of Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. We have determined that 
there are no tribal lands essential for the conservation of the Pacific 
Coast WSP. Therefore, designation of critical habitat for the Pacific 
Coast WSP has not been designated on Tribal lands.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available upon request from the Field Supervisor, Arcata Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section).

Author(s)

    The primary author of this package is the Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office staff (see ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

0
Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.


0
2. In Sec.  17.95(b), revise the entry for ``Western Snowy Plover 
(Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)--Pacific coast population'' to read 
as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (b) Birds.
* * * * *

[[Page 57026]]

Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)--Pacific Coast 
Population
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted on the maps below for the 
following States and counties:
    (i) Washington: Grays Harbor and Pacific counties;
    (ii) Oregon: Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane, and Tillamook counties; 
and
    (iii) California: Del Norte, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Marin, 
Mendocino, Monterey, Orange, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, 
Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura counties.
    (2) The primary constituent elements of critical habitat for the 
pacific coast population of western snowy plover are the habitat 
components that provide:
    (i) Sparsely vegetated areas above daily high tides (such as sandy 
beaches, dune systems immediately inland of an active beach face, salt 
flats, seasonally exposed gravel bars, dredge spoil sites, artificial 
salt ponds and adjoining levees) that are relatively undisturbed by the 
presence of humans, pets, vehicles or human-attracted predators 
(essential for reproduction, food, shelter from predators, protection 
from disturbance, and space for growth and normal behavior);
    (ii) Sparsely vegetated sandy beach, mud flats, gravel bars or 
artificial salt ponds subject to daily tidal inundation, but not 
currently under water, that support small invertebrates (essential for 
food); and
    (iii) Surf or tide-cast organic debris such as seaweed or driftwood 
(essential to support small invertebrates for food, and to provide 
shelter from predators and weather for reproduction).
    (3) Critical habitat does not include existing features and 
structures, such as buildings, paved areas, boat ramps, and other 
developed areas, not containing one or more of the primary constituent 
elements. Any such structures that were inside the boundaries of a 
critical habitat unit at the time it was designated are not critical 
habitat. The land on which such structures directly sit is also not 
critical habitat, as long as the structures remain in place.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of USGS 7.5' quadrangles, and critical habitat units 
were then mapped using Universal Transverse Mercatur, North American 
Datum 1927 (UTM NAD 27) coordinates. These coordinates establish the 
vertices and endpoints of the landward bounds of the units. Other 
bounds are established descriptively according to compass headings and 
the position of the mean low waterline (MLW). For purposes of 
estimating unit sizes, we approximated MLW in California using the most 
recent GIS projection of mean high water (MHW). We chose MHW both 
because it is the only approximation of the coastline currently 
available in GIS format. We were unable to obtain recent GIS maps of 
MHW or MLW for Oregon and Washington; therefore, we approximated MLW 
for units in those States based on aerial photographs.
    (5) Exclusions from the critical habitat designation. Certain 
geographic areas are excluded from the critical habitat designation as 
described below in this paragraph (5).
    (i) Exclusions under sections 3(5)(A) and 4(b)(2) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Vandenberg 
Air Force Base, San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program, six 
units bordering the south San Francisco Bay totaling 1,847 ac (747.4 
ha), Dillon Beach (Unit CA 7), Vandenberg South (CA 17B), Atascadero 
Beach (CA 15B), Vandenberg North (CA 17A), Silver Strand (CA 27C), 
Jetty Road to Aptos (CA 12A), Morro Bay Beach (CA 15C), Pismo Beach/
Nipomo (CA 16), and Monterey to Moss Landing (CA 12C).
    (ii) [Reserved].
    (6) Note: Maps M1-M4 (index maps) follow:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 57027]]

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[[Page 57028]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.001


[[Page 57029]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.002


[[Page 57030]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.003


[[Page 57031]]


    (7) Unit WA 2, Gray's Harbor County, Washington.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps West Port, and Point Brown, 
Washington, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 411969, 5198743; 412118, 5198955; 412321, 5199143; 412474, 
5199276; 412581, 5199342; 412760, 5199464; 412914, 5199534; 413095, 
5199617; 413220, 5199696; 413634, 5199705; 413834, 5199702; 413941, 
5199606; 414011, 5199668; 414163, 5199815; 414189, 5199727; 414265, 
5199581; 414434, 5199496; 414600, 5199488; 414816, 5199423; 414960, 
5199536; 415149, 5199660; 415368, 5199839; 415604, 5199856; 415808, 
5199733; 416012, 5199539; 416064, 5199233; 416059, 5198892; 416059, 
5198535; 416020, 5198256; 415914, 5198083; 415679, 5198078; 415512, 
5198134; 415356, 5198262; 415200, 5198457; 414976, 5198591; 414791, 
5198696; 414626, 5198794; 414430, 5198897; 414260, 5199040; 414064, 
5199151; 413809, 5199254; 413603, 5199268; 413412, 5199107; 413205, 
5198905; 413067, 5198813; 412875, 5198772; 412670, 5198713; 412504, 
5198634; 412411, 5198529; 412393, 5198396; 412460, 5198236; 412387, 
5198123; 412260, 5197998; 412114, 5198138; 411995, 5198227; 411816, 
5198366; returning to 411969, 5198743.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit WA 2 (Map M5) follows:


[[Page 57032]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.004


[[Page 57033]]


    (8) Unit WA 3, Pacific County, Washington.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Grayland, and North Cove, 
Washington, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 416476, 5177381; 415946, 5177482; 415875, 5177830; 415806, 
5178119; 415755, 5178555; 415630, 5178985; 415500, 5179419; 415492, 
5179835; 415746, 5180411; 415933, 5180734; 416091, 5181113; 416093, 
5181429; 416098, 5181688; 416474, 5181685; 416492, 5181483; 416521, 
5181242; 416550, 5180859; 416543, 5180507; 416559, 5180293; 416559, 
5180171; 416537, 5180035; 416541, 5179894; 416545, 5179798; 416570, 
5179614; 416563, 5179469; 416574, 5179293; 416561, 5179199; 416543, 
5179101; 416528, 5178820; 416534, 5178526; 416523, 5178330; 416545, 
5178157; 416516, 5177956; 416481, 5177740; 416481, 5177511; returning 
to 416476, 5177381.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit WA 3 (Map M6) follows:

[[Page 57034]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.005


[[Page 57035]]


    (9) Unit WA 4, Pacific County, Washington.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps North Cove, and Oysterville, 
Washington, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 418747, 5156518; 418673, 5156518; 418673, 5156666; 418617, 
5157830; 418525, 5159271; 418433, 5160860; 418285, 5162689; 418193, 
5164185; 418201, 5164730; 418262, 5165289; 418377, 5166088; 418684, 
5166723; 419029, 5166925; 419464, 5166919; 419684, 5166777; 419815, 
5166467; 419904, 5166114; 419756, 5165718; 419549, 5165726; 419403, 
5165688; 419283, 5165618; 418960, 5165433; 418727, 5165193; 418549, 
5164867; 418423, 5164456; 418422, 5163778; 418444, 5162761; 418503, 
5161719; 418570, 5160431; 418666, 5159127; 418777, 5157778; 418843, 
5156510; 418747, 5156518; returning to 418747, 5156518.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit WA 4 (Map M7) follows:


[[Page 57036]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.006


[[Page 57037]]


    (10) Unit OR 3, Tillamook County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Garibaldi, Oregon, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 425807, 
5046046; 425855, 5046042; 425953, 5046029; 426052, 5045994; 426095, 
5045969; 426142, 5045939; 426175, 5045895; 426208, 5045840; 426224, 
5045807; 426227, 5045780; 426208, 5045772; 426184, 5045778; 426149, 
5045794; 426122, 5045784; 426098, 5045756; 426081, 5045721; 426091, 
5045643; 426120, 5045495; 426128, 5045441; 426159, 5045231; 426167, 
5045131; 426167, 5045049; 426151, 5045006; 426143, 5044953; 426151, 
5044898; 426159, 5044844; 426124, 5044732; 426104, 5044648; 426078, 
5044433; 426052, 5044257; 426020, 5044062; 425972, 5043800; 425889, 
5043253; 425718, 5043279; 425706, 5043277, proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 425807, 5046046.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 3 (Map M8) follows:


[[Page 57038]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.007


[[Page 57039]]


    (11) Unit OR 7, Lane County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Mercer Lake OE W, and Mercer 
Lake, Oregon, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 410183, 4883959; 410218, 4883951; 410246, 4883955; 410260, 
4883947; 410265, 4883920; 410273, 4883864; 410269, 4883809; 410257, 
4883747; 410252, 4883652; 410244, 4883585; 410241, 4883515; 410230, 
4883391; 410213, 4883323; 410205, 4883270; 410202, 4883221; 410198, 
4883167; 410200, 4883104; 410207, 4883029; 410211, 4882970; 410206, 
4882928; 410206, 4882870; 410213, 4882806; 410239, 4882738; 410252, 
4882699; 410254, 4882655; 410259, 4882615; 410261, 4882590; 410259, 
4882532; 410230, 4882501; 410203, 4882470; 410179, 4882445; 410156, 
4882418; 410135, 4882388; 410116, 4882344; 410099, 4882271; 410059, 
4881847; 410020, 4881553; 410011, 4881367; 409963, 4881129; 409938, 
4880858; 409903, 4880597; 409872, 4880368; 409867, 4880331; 409863, 
4880299; 409874, 4880271; 409885, 4880244; 409903, 4880212; 409921, 
4880180; 409943, 4880130; 409952, 4880094; 409956, 4880050; 409954, 
4880012; 409933, 4879992; 409921, 4879973; 409921, 4879955; 409929, 
4879927; 409941, 4879890; 409944, 4879863; 409941, 4879833; 409935, 
4879815; 409920, 4879804; 409874, 4879770; 409848, 4879743; 409839, 
4879717; 409832, 4879667; 409841, 4879634; 409837, 4879601; 409822, 
4879571; 409801, 4879536; 409784, 4879508; 409775, 4879488; 409764, 
4879474; 409753, 4879444; 409768, 4879273; 409762, 4879169; 409726, 
4879017; 409708, 4878913; 409692, 4878839; 409682, 4878765; 409698, 
4878740; 409696, 4878733; 409699, 4878717; 409701, 4878694; 409696, 
4878656; 409687, 4878598; 409692, 4878500; 409693, 4878433; 409699, 
4878296; 409699, 4878270; 409695, 4878244; 409682, 4878211; 409665, 
4878174; 409645, 4878126; 409639, 4878088; 409638, 4878061; 409631, 
4878025; 409629, 4877989; 409615, 4877967; 409609, 4877942; 409604, 
4877919; 409604, 4877895; 409613, 4877852; 409597, 4877832; 409549, 
4877801; 409529, 4877773; 409450, 4877776; 409382, 4877775; 409347, 
4877775; proceed generally N following the mean low water mark (defined 
at the beginning of the section) and returning to 410183, 4883959.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 7 (Map M9) follows:


[[Page 57040]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.008


[[Page 57041]]


    (12) Unit OR 8A, Lane County and Douglas County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Goose Pasture, and 
Tahkenitch Creek, Oregon, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 
coordinates (E,N): 407380, 4860464; 407406, 4860666; 407511, 4860648; 
407519, 4860648; 407522, 4860651; 407524, 4860654; 407527, 4860653; 
407531, 4860649; 407535, 4860642; 407538, 4860635; 407538, 4860627; 
407538, 4860619; 407537, 4860612; 407533, 4860609; 407530, 4860598; 
407534, 4860589; 407553, 4860580; 407551, 4860572; 407549, 4860556; 
407552, 4860545; 407556, 4860538; 407563, 4860528; 407570, 4860521; 
407567, 4860514; 407566, 4860503; 407567, 4860492; 407577, 4860476; 
407587, 4860473; 407596, 4860469; 407590, 4860435; 407561, 4860441; 
407551, 4860436; 407542, 4860427; 407534, 4860424; 407526, 4860424; 
407515, 4860451; 407380, 4860464; proceed generally N following the 
mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and 
returning to 407380, 4860464.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 8A (Map M10) follows:


[[Page 57042]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.009


[[Page 57043]]


    (13) Unit OR 8B, Douglas County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Tahkenitch Creek, Oregon, 
land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 406189, 
4851652; 406140, 4851272; 406110, 4850981; 406094, 4850863; 406112, 
4850811; 406137, 4850770; 406164, 4850739; 406206, 4850717; 406241, 
4850649; 406269, 4850528; 406271, 4850440; 406255, 4850358; 406244, 
4850278; 406233, 4850190; 406208, 4850160; 406181, 4850149; 406192, 
4850119; 406178, 4850053; 406151, 4849995; 406162, 4849965; 406181, 
4849943; 406149, 4849887; 406142, 4849860; 406131, 4849819; 406125, 
4849763; 406107, 4849710; 406076, 4849613; 406089, 4849502; 406063, 
4849426; 406033, 4849394; 405990, 4849385; 405951, 4849350; 405932, 
4849324; 405929, 4849295; 405921, 4849256; 405881, 4849256; 405830, 
4849253; 405798, 4849226; 405769, 4849126; 405706, 4848682; 405673, 
4848515; 405610, 4848210; 405577, 4847990; 405544, 4847815; 405461, 
4847397; 405368, 4846903; 405280, 4846370; 405239, 4846137; 405096, 
4845426; 405005, 4845434; 405022, 4845624; 405050, 4845765; 405069, 
4845876; 405124, 4846045; 405154, 4846214; 405173, 4846400; 405225, 
4846598; 405259, 4846861; 405308, 4847125; 405338, 4847285; 405365, 
4847406; 405393, 4847605; 405432, 4847726; 405464, 4847878; 405505, 
4848114; 405505, 4848215; 405526, 4848317; 405549, 4848411; 405568, 
4848463; 405582, 4848526; 405588, 4848603; 405593, 4848630; 405626, 
4848827; 405654, 4848993; 405681, 4849080; 405685, 4849161; 405712, 
4849378; 405719, 4849497; 405744, 4849633; 405777, 4849767; 405819, 
4849901; 405844, 4850059; 405879, 4850171; 405909, 4850333; 405898, 
4850496; 405931, 4850644; 405953, 4850761; 406002, 4850989; 406034, 
4851109; 406048, 4851202; 406062, 4851291; 406067, 4851372; 406069, 
4851454; 406090, 4851580; 406079, 4851662; 406161, 4851892; 406192, 
4852001; 406218, 4852092; 406239, 4852197; 406225, 4852259; 406209, 
4852315; 406218, 4852367; 406230, 4852424; 406239, 4852484; 406266, 
4852553; 406271, 4852635; 406273, 4852725; 406282, 4852799; 406294, 
4852884; 406308, 4852962; 406321, 4853033; 406333, 4853104; 406348, 
4853157; 406367, 4853248; 406379, 4853320; 406380, 4853362; 406377, 
4853408; 406372, 4853454; 406369, 4853491; 406377, 4853533; 406406, 
4853573; 406409, 4853618; 406406, 4853660; 406411, 4853702; 406426, 
4853731; 406454, 4853795; 406476, 4853895; 406473, 4853951; 406476, 
4854051; 406475, 4854119; 406494, 4854200; 406514, 4854270; 406530, 
4854360; 406546, 4854443; 406532, 4854535; 406522, 4854585; 406551, 
4854677; 406585, 4854767; 406603, 4854831; 406603, 4854865; 406608, 
4854919; 406625, 4854991; 406645, 4855053; 406661, 4855121; 406679, 
4855220; 406691, 4855306; 406702, 4855384; 406691, 4855441; 406671, 
4855503; 406678, 4855555; 406691, 4855624; 406711, 4855718; 406739, 
4855809; 406762, 4855906; 406774, 4855986; 406773, 4856058; 406762, 
4856124; 406776, 4856189; 406787, 4856270; 406806, 4856354; 406815, 
4856413; 406813, 4856487; 406833, 4856551; 406852, 4856628; 406860, 
4856657; 406870, 4856676; 406877, 4856700; 406886, 4856729; 406887, 
4856758; 406890, 4856789; 406904, 4856844; 406903, 4856902; 406899, 
4856939; 406901, 4856996; 406910, 4857037; 406928, 4857075; 406954, 
4857137; 406961, 4857195; 406963, 4857248; 406982, 4857293; 406989, 
4857352; 406999, 4857467; 407004, 4857524; 407011, 4857598; 407012, 
4857682; 407022, 4857762; 407023, 4857822; 407020, 4857860; 407039, 
4857973; 407104, 4858294; 407093, 4858371; 407076, 4858441; 407082, 
4858507; 407106, 4858572; 407131, 4858625; 407164, 4858662; 407179, 
4858710; 407183, 4858790; 407200, 4858879; 407221, 4858961; 407247, 
4859089; 407246, 4859131; 407241, 4859169; 407227, 4859248; 407237, 
4859307; 407234, 4859358; 407347, 4859349; 407345, 4859280; 407338, 
4859242; 407338, 4859206; 407336, 4859179; 407334, 4859157; 407329, 
4859144; 407328, 4859128; 407331, 4859105; 407339, 4859089; 407347, 
4859076; 407359, 4859065; 407371, 4859057; 407390, 4859051; 407418, 
4859039; 407436, 4859030; 407457, 4859016; 407479, 4858997; 407513, 
4858967; 407532, 4858949; 407554, 4858932; 407579, 4858907; 407587, 
4858884; 407599, 4858847; 407612, 4858818; 407618, 4858790; 407626, 
4858760; 407629, 4858742; 407628, 4858717; 407621, 4858691; 407615, 
4858674; 407621, 4858634; 407632, 4858609; 407642, 4858582; 407654, 
4858557; 407671, 4858533; 407691, 4858503; 407697, 4858486; 407699, 
4858468; 407702, 4858459; 407680, 4858431; 407643, 4858402; 407633, 
4858399; 407607, 4858357; 407565, 4858284; 407532, 4858252; 407492, 
4858191; 407465, 4858156; 407454, 4858128; 407455, 4858063; 407402, 
4858011; 407335, 4857992; 407298, 4857997; 407266, 4857992; 407232, 
4857990; 407203, 4857980; 407181, 4857952; 407161, 4857909; 407146, 
4857855; 407132, 4857793; 407127, 4857763; 407115, 4857726; 407092, 
4857601; 407078, 4857519; 407056, 4857385; 407021, 4857166; 407011, 
4857100; 406997, 4856986; 406943, 4856627; 406890, 4856228; 406828, 
4855764; 406774, 4855388; 406720, 4855094; 406721, 4855074; 406731, 
4855047; 406756, 4855023; 406791, 4855014; 406827, 4855005; 406838, 
4854997; 406815, 4854865; 406816, 4854840; 406812, 4854805; 406803, 
4854770; 406787, 4854746; 406784, 4854725; 406773, 4854681; 406749, 
4854626; 406750, 4854589; 406731, 4854491; 406714, 4854455; 406710, 
4854438; 406714, 4854398; 406700, 4854302; 406684, 4854217; 406675, 
4854197; 406621, 4854191; 406594, 4854177; 406581, 4854167; 406555, 
4853958; 406555, 4853937; 406601, 4853933; 406635, 4853937; 406665, 
4853927; 406682, 4853911; 406679, 4853866; 406665, 4853816; 406650, 
4853787; 406617, 4853748; 406582, 4853724; 406540, 4853706; 406525, 
4853688; 406511, 4853681; 406504, 4853649; 406324, 4852508; 406312, 
4852398; 406288, 4852280; 406189, 4851652; proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 406189, 4851652.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 8B (Map M11) follows:


[[Page 57044]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.010


[[Page 57045]]


    (14) Unit OR 8D, Coos County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Lakeside, Oregon, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 401636, 
4828760; 401679, 4828749; 401747, 4828726; 401658, 4828374; 401613, 
4828096; 401470, 4827477; 401409, 4827191; 401129, 4826018; 401127, 
4826013; 401086, 4825757; 401054, 4825630; 401025, 4825485; 400988, 
4825352; 400986, 4825307; 401004, 4825278; 401041, 4825223; 401105, 
4825207; 401218, 4825201; 401279, 4825159; 401303, 4825088; 401306, 
4825027; 401290, 4824934; 401229, 4824826; 401173, 4824723; 401118, 
4824609; 400993, 4824523; 400901, 4824418; 400880, 4824308; 400860, 
4824209; 400860, 4824112; 400857, 4824072; 400855, 4824044; 400852, 
4824012; 400827, 4823985; 400798, 4823971; 400769, 4823937; 400747, 
4823910; 400729, 4823894; 400718, 4823871; 400697, 4823844; 400679, 
4823812; 400650, 4823775; 400612, 4823704; 400552, 4823593; 400483, 
4823365; 400446, 4823262; 400393, 4823043; 400362, 4822926; 400335, 
4822833; 400320, 4822785; 400224, 4822422; 400189, 4822303; 400141, 
4822147; 400030, 4822156; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
401636, 4828760.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 8D (Map M12) follows:


[[Page 57046]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.011


[[Page 57047]]


    (15) Unit OR 9, Coos County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Empire, and Charleston, 
Oregon, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 
401636, 4828760; 394245, 4805890; 393957, 4805261; 393701, 4804768; 
393592, 4804572; 393390, 4804169; 393440, 4804146; 393286, 4803816; 
393209, 4803614; 393042, 4803271; 392971, 4803090; 392984, 4802913; 
392971, 4802808; 392997, 4802749; 393060, 4802650; 392984, 4802525; 
392909, 4802426; 392851, 4802339; 392965, 4802319; 393103, 4802120; 
393037, 4801882; 392991, 4801895; 392942, 4801829; 392915, 4801780; 
392702, 4801829; 392390, 4801908; 392192, 4801921; 392137, 4801773; 
392058, 4801603; 391696, 4801111; 391595, 480115 proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 401636, 4828760.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 9 (Map M13) follows:


[[Page 57048]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.012


[[Page 57049]]


    (16) Unit OR 10A, Coos County and Curry County, Oregon.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Bandon, Floras Lake, and 
Langlois, Oregon, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 
coordinates (E,N): 383032, 4769361; 383046, 4769436; 383042, 4769495; 
383042, 4769541; 383036, 4769584; 383034, 4769625; 383032, 4769672; 
383047, 4769672; 383079, 4769666; 383115, 4769654; 383145, 4769655; 
383178, 4769655; 383202, 4769645; 383228, 4769633; 383248, 4769596; 
383259, 4769526; 383250, 4769486; 383225, 4769479; 383179, 4769476; 
383171, 4769447; 383135, 4769361; 383100, 4769213; 383079, 4769128; 
383063, 4769061; 383047, 4768989; 383045, 4768946; 383030, 4768890; 
383012, 4768820; 382991, 4768707; 382977, 4768620; 382965, 4768535; 
382940, 4768432; 382917, 4768316; 382895, 4768227; 382870, 4768128; 
382853, 4768018; 382833, 4767920; 382798, 4767778; 382768, 4767645; 
382735, 4767504; 382713, 4767389; 382691, 4767273; 382666, 4767174; 
382643, 4767072; 382628, 4766975; 382608, 4766922; 382591, 4766834; 
382566, 4766684; 382544, 4766554; 382576, 4766510; 382603, 4766451; 
382644, 4766419; 382674, 4766392; 382671, 4766339; 382641, 4766274; 
382588, 4766209; 382541, 4766138; 382545, 4766086; 382567, 4766024; 
382556, 4765947; 382545, 4765889; 382529, 4765815; 382508, 4765731; 
382480, 4765623; 382443, 4765515; 382432, 4765445; 382402, 4765359; 
382379, 4765289; 382368, 4765189; 382358, 4765107; 382333, 4765011; 
382296, 4764904; 382289, 4764842; 382255, 4764757; 382230, 4764699; 
382219, 4764637; 382198, 4764585; 382190, 4764527; 382180, 4764495; 
382154, 4764458; 382142, 4764403; 382142, 4764352; 382142, 4764287; 
382120, 4764238; 382110, 4764191; 382108, 4764152; 382081, 4764081; 
382057, 4764030; 382051, 4764000; 382053, 4763958; 382032, 4763917; 
382035, 4763877; 382038, 4763851; 381965, 4763851; 381908, 4763845; 
381855, 4763831; 381835, 4763787; 381815, 4763732; 381796, 4763652; 
381768, 4763565; 381740, 4763474; 381700, 4763351; 381665, 4763216; 
381633, 4763117; 381613, 4763049; 381577, 4762926; 381547, 4762797; 
381509, 4762682; 381487, 4762602; 381457, 4762530; 381435, 4762449; 
381415, 4762385; 381387, 4762281; 381356, 4762183; 381331, 4762117; 
381322, 4762102; 381279, 4761979; 381241, 4761866; 381217, 4761735; 
381284, 4761715; 381342, 4761681; 381292, 4761524; 381229, 4761341; 
381210, 4761227; 381165, 4761047; 381126, 4760920; 381057, 4760801; 
381017, 4760674; 380975, 4760600; 380940, 4760529; 380922, 4760431; 
380893, 4760280; 380861, 4760150; 380845, 4760050; 380821, 4759978; 
380771, 4759894; 380735, 4759845; 380710, 4759775; 380685, 4759712; 
380647, 4759617; 380621, 4759515; 380602, 4759445; 380558, 4759388; 
380539, 4759293; 380507, 4759191; 380469, 4759070; 380450, 4758982; 
380431, 4758842; 380405, 4758791; 380386, 4758721; 380361, 4758639; 
380348, 4758556; 380340, 4758479; 380312, 4758387; 380278, 4758300; 
380183, 4758086; 379983, 4758087; 379957, 4757987; 379865, 4757759; 
379821, 4757615; 379737, 4757407; 379704, 4757340; 379624, 4757140; 
379560, 4756968; 379496, 4756803; 379432, 4756628; 379387, 4756528; 
379333, 4756378; 379270, 4756202; 379190, 4756013; 379160, 4755949; 
379119, 4755837; 379072, 4755728; 379003, 4755562; 378939, 4755407; 
378934, 4755397; 378894, 4755299; 378848, 4755186; 378802, 4755067; 
378732, 4754907; 378684, 4754772; 378652, 4754685; 378588, 4754546; 
378553, 4754457; 378497, 4754350; 378440, 4754210; 378435, 4754197; 
378372, 4754061; 378343, 4753975; 378311, 4753896; 378286, 4753834; 
378276, 4753808; 378264, 4753779; 378238, 4753706; 378235, 4753663; 
378233, 4753630; 378226, 4753586; 378215, 4753550; 378208, 4753517; 
378208, 4753479; 378193, 4753454; 378168, 4753407; 378140, 4753371; 
378140, 4753331; 378149, 4753278; 378140, 4753234; 378110, 4753195; 
378099, 4753128; 378063, 4753070; 378034, 4753026; 378017, 4752979; 
377999, 4752941; 377988, 4752913; 377955, 4752901; 377934, 4752879; 
377939, 4752854; 377935, 4752828; 377911, 4752803; 377895, 4752751; 
377879, 4752704; 377867, 4752664; 377851, 4752619; 377850, 4752586; 
377832, 4752547; 377811, 4752531; 377785, 4752535; 377769, 4752528; 
377750, 4752506; 377728, 4752511; 377714, 4752531; 377697, 4752531; 
377703, 4752515; 377700, 4752489; 377688, 4752482; 377692, 4752456; 
377673, 4752408; 377646, 4752346; 377641, 4752310; 377639, 4752271; 
377630, 4752232; 377594, 4752154; 377575, 4752116; 377560, 4752101; 
377543, 4752081; 377528, 4752077; 377524, 4752063; 377532, 4752050; 
377506, 4752057; 377484, 4752070; 377462, 4752061; 377445, 4752023; 
377415, 4751972; 377378, 4751899; 377368, 4751881; 377287, 4751726; 
377202, 4751552; 377118, 4751382; 377052, 4751245; 377001, 4751131; 
376982, 4751082; 376962, 4751045; 376928, 4750980; 376866, 4750871; 
376751, 4750655; 376686, 4750517; 376667, 4750450; 376658, 4750421; 
376640, 4750398; 376621, 4750368; 376621, 4750340; 376624, 4750312; 
376624, 4750295; 376616, 4750282; 376607, 4750262; 376599, 4750241; 
376588, 4750216; 376577, 4750207; 376442, 4750212; proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 383032, 4769361.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit OR 10A (Map M14) follows:


[[Page 57050]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.013


[[Page 57051]]


    (17) Unit CA 1, Del Norte County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Crescent City, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 398209, 
4631037; 398218, 4631060; 398224, 4631082; 398235, 4631106; 398262, 
4631184; 398262, 4631184; 398262, 4631185; 398373, 4631543; 398383, 
4631574; 398467, 4631555; 398466, 4631552; 398670, 4631260; 398324, 
4631005; 398289, 4630526; 398017, 4630524; 398209, 4631037; proceed 
generally N following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning 
of the section) and returning to 398209, 4631037.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 1 (Map M15) follows:


[[Page 57052]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.014


[[Page 57053]]


    (18) Unit CA 2, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Rodgers Peak, and Trinadad, 
California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 406854, 4563175; 406909, 4563169; 406777, 4562537; 406691, 
4561673; 406135, 4560211; 405555, 4558600; 405187, 4557482; 404923, 
4557330; proceed generally N following the mean low water mark (defined 
at the beginning of the section) and returning to 406854, 4563175.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 2 (Map M16) follows:


[[Page 57054]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.015


[[Page 57055]]


    (19) Unit CA 3A, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Crannell, and Arcata North, 
California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 406554, 4541473; 406850, 4541471; 406870, 4540965; 406746, 
4540695; 406583, 4540426; 406413, 4539149; 406354, 4538891; 406371, 
4538797; 406294, 4538652; 406149, 4538652; proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 406554, 4541473.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 3A (Map M17) follows after description 
of Unit CA 3B.

    (20) Unit CA 3B, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Arcata North, and Tyee City, 
California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 405657, 4536319; 405968, 4536317; 404931, 4531851; 404539, 
4531879 proceed generally N following the mean low water mark (defined 
at the beginning of the section) and returning to 405657, 4536319.

    (ii) Note: Map of Units CA 3A and CA 3B (Map M17) follows:


[[Page 57056]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.016


[[Page 57057]]


    (21) Unit CA 4A, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Eureka, Fields Landing, and 
Cannibal Island, California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 
27 coordinates (E,N): 395866, 4512270; 395968, 4512054; 395898, 
4511510; 395741, 4511140; 394616, 4509320; 394166, 4508589; 392132, 
4505460; 392114, 4505473 proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
395866, 4512270.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 4A (Map M18) follows:


[[Page 57058]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.017


[[Page 57059]]


    (22) Unit CA 4B, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Cannibal Island, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 392114, 
4505473; 392178, 4505423; 392157, 4505254; 391892, 4504800; 391616, 
4504350; 390808, 4502622; 390100, 4501334; 389495, 4499927; 389538, 
4499526; 389226, 4499809 proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
392114, 4505473.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 4B (Map M19) follows:


[[Page 57060]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.018


[[Page 57061]]


    (23) Unit CA 4C, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Cannibal Island, and 
Ferndale, California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 
coordinates (E,N): 389046, 4499539; 389171, 4499501; 388506, 4498145; 
385862, 4492184; 385723, 4492184 proceed generally N following the mean 
low water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning 
to 389046, 4499539.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 4C (Map M20) follows:

    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.019
    

[[Page 57062]]


    (24) Unit CA 4D, Humboldt County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Fortuna, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 402468, 
4488324; 402916, 4487812; 401861, 4487818; 401912, 4488452; 401713, 
4490121; 402020, 4490920; 402257, 4491861; 402084, 4492244; 401310, 
4493127; 401048, 4493965; 400511, 4494573; 399443, 4495225; 398221, 
4496114; 398394, 4496472; 399149, 4496127; 400242, 4495244; 401586, 
4494208; 402142, 4492667; 402449, 4491912; 402481, 4491253; 402263, 
4490095; 402276, 4489021; 402468, 4488324; proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 402468, 4488324.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 4D (Map M21) follows:


[[Page 57063]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.020


[[Page 57064]]


    (25) Unit CA 5, Mendocino County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Inglenook, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 434183, 
4378272; 434210, 4378274; 434246, 4377994; 434507, 4377586; 434498, 
4376652; 434928, 4376643; 434941, 4376311; 434702, 4375952; 434316, 
4375850; 434321, 4375592; 433949, 4375521; 433722, 4375797; 433623, 
4375691; 433938, 4375209; 434062, 4374702; 434048, 4374174; 434190, 
4373926; 434133, 4373749; 433892, 4373805; 433570, 4374036; 433436, 
4374324; 433498, 4374626; 433493, 4374864; 433391, 4374920; 433325, 
4374764; 433205, 4374397; 433246, 4374176; 433373, 4374009; 433684, 
4372868; 433502, 4372573; 432647, 4372582; 432442, 4372975; proceed 
generally N following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning 
of the section) and returning to 434183, 4378272.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 5 (Map M22) follows:


[[Page 57065]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.021


[[Page 57066]]


    (26) Unit CA 6, Mendocino County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Mallo Pass Creek, and Point 
Arena California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 
coordinates (E,N): 439747, 4317317; 439796, 4317313; 439669, 4316995; 
439235, 4315894; 438610, 4314327; 438483, 4314133; 438349, 4313805; 
438391, 4313293; 438277, 4312863; 438136, 4312640; 438192, 4311851; 
437426, 4311863; 437428, 4312213; 437179, 4312237; proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 439747, 4317317.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 6 (Map M23) follows:


[[Page 57067]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.022


[[Page 57068]]


    (27) Unit CA 8, Marin County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Tomales, and Drakes Bay, 
California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 504572, 4222726; 504572, 4222726; 504614, 4222726; 504533, 
4222176; 504474, 4221753; 504423, 4221606; 504323, 4220932; 504115, 
4220064; 504015, 4219779; 503828, 4219017; 503862, 4218832; 503786, 
4218734; 503872, 4218442; 503881, 4218252; 503864, 4218189; 504076, 
4218038; 504054, 4217950; 504303, 4217736; 503996, 4217911; 503852, 
4217840; 503755, 4217538; 503404, 4217327; 503248, 4217088; 503131, 
4216783; 503063, 4216501; 502871, 4215990; 502578, 4215108; 502379, 
4214536; 502420, 4214406; 502698, 4214160; 502576, 4214092; 502308, 
4214311; 501984, 4213425; 501745, 4212755; 501458, 4211988; 501205, 
4211284; 501258, 4211192; 501175, 4211211; 500930, 4210500; 500900, 
4210342; 500793, 4210193; 500720, 4209996; 500637, 4209716; 500474, 
4209346; 500433, 4209173; 500364, 4209049; 500289, 4208756; 500194, 
4208591; 500009, 4208106; 499997, 4207982; 499943, 4207897; 499858, 
4207658; 499821, 4207609; 499817, 4207502; 499707, 4207202; 499580, 
4206933; 499511, 4206729; 499411, 4206501; 499306, 4206118; 499361, 
4205940; 499323, 4205958; 499335, 4205836; 499191, 4205825; 499100, 
4205651; 498998, 4205696; 498933, 4205752; proceed generally N 
following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the 
section) and returning to 504572, 4222726.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 8 (Map M24) follows:


[[Page 57069]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.023


[[Page 57070]]


    (28) Unit CA 9, Marin County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Drakes Bay, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 506112, 
4209385; 506127, 4209403; 506148, 4209411; 506156, 4209407; 506160, 
4209409; 506164, 4209409; 506175, 4209409; 506181, 4209408; 506190, 
4209406; 506199, 4209398; 506212, 4209393; 506224, 4209381; 506227, 
4209377; 506236, 4209364; 506250, 4209351; 506258, 4209335; 506283, 
4209313; 506304, 4209295; 506356, 4209248; 506636, 4208969; 506702, 
4208934; 506808, 4208934; 506886, 4208919; 506941, 4208908; 507068, 
4208896; 507113, 4208881; 507123, 4208888; 507103, 4208939; 507113, 
4208949; 507123, 4208947; 507125, 4208947; 507125, 4208947; 507136, 
4208944; 507169, 4208919; 507257, 4208926; 507262, 4208927; 507276, 
4208929; 507278, 4208928; 507398, 4208937; 507451, 4208967; 507465, 
4208969; 507473, 4208976; 507475, 4208978; 507479, 4208977; 507486, 
4208976; 507497, 4208980; 507504, 4208982; 507509, 4208988; 507513, 
4208990; 507524, 4208995; 507539, 4208993; 507554, 4208995; 507557, 
4208996; 507564, 4208994; 507571, 4208993; 507588, 4208983; 507672, 
4208957; 507725, 4208955; 507734, 4208948; 507740, 4208941; 507742, 
4208942; 507745, 4208943; 507754, 4208938; 507759, 4208931; 507809, 
4208942; 507821, 4208933; 507826, 4208934; 507829, 4208935; 507833, 
4208930; 507835, 4208929; 507838, 4208927; 507841, 4208925; 507848, 
4208920; 507853, 4208911; 507860, 4208908; 507934, 4208927; 507969, 
4208945; 507995, 4209003; 508011, 4209013; 508013, 4209018; 508016, 
4209019; 508030, 4209025; 508047, 4209034; 508048, 4209035; 508050, 
4209034; 508068, 4209029; 508081, 4209024; 508098, 4209021; 508101, 
4209019; 508150, 4209009; 508228, 4208993; 508269, 4208978; 508305, 
4208939; 508313, 4208932; 508315, 4208928; 508330, 4208912; 508483, 
4208887; 508485, 4208887; 508500, 4208884; 508513, 4208881; 508589, 
4208894; 508691, 4208894; 508700, 4208902; 508700, 4208822; 510301, 
4208503; 510301, 4208469; 510275, 4208473; 510258, 4208478; 510237, 
4208484; 510228, 4208485; 510202, 4208487; 510165, 4208496; 510134, 
4208505; 510112, 4208510; 510072, 4208518; 510040, 4208527; 510006, 
4208529; 509977, 4208540; 509963, 4208543; 509958, 4208543; 509938, 
4208546; 509898, 4208553; 509862, 4208555; 509851, 4208558; 509835, 
4208563; 509824, 4208566; 509802, 4208571; 509778, 4208576; 509750, 
4208578; 509731, 4208579; 509680, 4208585; 509627, 4208595; 509577, 
4208604; 509563, 4208609; 509555, 4208612; 509539, 4208617; 509508, 
4208629; 509462, 4208642; 509448, 4208645; 509439, 4208647; 509429, 
4208648; 509392, 4208661; 509385, 4208663; 509347, 4208677; 509308, 
4208680; 509279, 4208688; 509258, 4208693; 509232, 4208697; 509196, 
4208700; 509178, 4208701; 508902, 4208724; 508704, 4208751; 508696, 
4208750; 508682, 4208746; 508665, 4208742; 508632, 4208740; 508601, 
4208747; 508577, 4208748; 508560, 4208749; 508545, 4208753; 508525, 
4208758; 508498, 4208761; 508450, 4208766; 508431, 4208764; 508396, 
4208761; 508350, 4208763; 508347, 4208763; 508312, 4208768; 508275, 
4208767; 508237, 4208774; 508216, 4208775; 508199, 4208775; 508178, 
4208779; 508166, 4208782; 508150, 4208784; 508134, 4208786; 508100, 
4208789; 508095, 4208789; 508065, 4208793; 508056, 4208793; 508019, 
4208789; 507980, 4208798; 507948, 4208793; 507920, 4208793; 507910, 
4208794; 507867, 4208789; 507821, 4208791; 507775, 4208790; 507763, 
4208792; 507743, 4208793; 507736, 4208794; 507690, 4208795; 507651, 
4208792; 507617, 4208793; 507611, 4208793; 507605, 4208792; 507602, 
4208792; 507576, 4208790; 507547, 4208791; 507539, 4208791; 507487, 
4208789; 507446, 4208791; 507393, 4208795; 507338, 4208787; 507282, 
4208785; 507236, 4208792; 507235, 4208792; 507221, 4208796; 507202, 
4208794; 507189, 4208799; 507180, 4208798; 507152, 4208804; 507140, 
4208807; 507117, 4208812; 507104, 4208816; 507089, 4208816; 507071, 
4208816; 507066, 4208818; 507040, 4208823; 507038, 4208824; 507007, 
4208830; 507001, 4208833; 506975, 4208844; 506962, 4208850; 506875, 
4208863; 506828, 4208855; 506821, 4208851; 506817, 4208849; 506799, 
4208840; 506780, 4208829; 506759, 4208821; 506739, 4208815; 506738, 
4208815; 506712, 4208815; 506711, 4208816; 506702, 4208812; 506675, 
4208814; 506663, 4208811; 506659, 4208810; 506655, 4208811; 506640, 
4208813; 506636, 4208814; 506624, 4208811; 506608, 4208809; 506582, 
4208814; 506547, 4208824; 506518, 4208825; 506486, 4208836; 506484, 
4208838; 506477, 4208840; 506457, 4208849; 506439, 4208863; 506434, 
4208871; 506430, 4208877; 506423, 4208885; 506417, 4208891; 506409, 
4208895; 506397, 4208910; 506367, 4208941; 506262, 4209015; 506194, 
4209093; 506158, 4209192; 506115, 4209314; and returning to 506112, 
4209385.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 9 (Map M25) follows:


[[Page 57071]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.024


[[Page 57072]]


    (29) Unit CA 10, San Mateo County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Half Moon Bay, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 548431, 
4148414; 548480, 4148414; 548972, 4147370; 549024, 4146767; 549079, 
4146435; 548995, 4146435; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
548431, 4148414.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 10 (Map M26) follows:


[[Page 57073]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.025


[[Page 57074]]


    (30) Unit CA 11A, Santa Cruz County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Ano Nuevo, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 564392, 
4105215; 564379, 4105194; 564373, 4105195; 564326, 4105243; 564324, 
4105252; 564324, 4105263; 564324, 4105285; 564319, 4105310; 564313, 
4105344; 564310, 4105355; 564303, 4105380; 564295, 4105401; 564287, 
4105409; 564275, 4105421; 564247, 4105442; 564236, 4105451; 564232, 
4105454; 564226, 4105459; 564212, 4105471; 564207, 4105475; 564181, 
4105500; 564173, 4105507; 564153, 4105525; 564145, 4105535; 564137, 
4105544; 564104, 4105574; 564086, 4105594; 564072, 4105611; 564068, 
4105616; 564041, 4105649; 564025, 4105671; 564013, 4105687; 564006, 
4105696; 564007, 4105697; 564059, 4105657; 564114, 4105629; 564210, 
4105606; 564224, 4105591; 564223, 4105587; 564223, 4105573; 564228, 
4105565; 564239, 4105548; 564250, 4105535; 564261, 4105521; 564272, 
4105509; 564284, 4105491; 564300, 4105478; 564307, 4105467; 564310, 
4105464; 564320, 4105457; 564333, 4105437; 564335, 4105434; 564348, 
4105415; 564352, 4105411; 564363, 4105397; 564376, 4105385; 564385, 
4105367; 564395, 4105341; 564401, 4105321; 564403, 4105300; 564401, 
4105280; 564400, 4105273; 564397, 4105249; 564392, 4105215; returning 
to 564392, 4105215.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 11A (Map M27) follows:


[[Page 57075]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.026


[[Page 57076]]


    (31) Unit CA 11B, Santa Cruz County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Davenport, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 568335, 
4099623; 568357, 4099641; 568491, 4099548; 568511, 4099559; 568644, 
4099426; 568705, 4099359; 568766, 4099278; 568789, 4099227; 568743, 
4099219; 568725, 4099203; 568732, 4099154; 568793, 4099079; 568797, 
4099050; 568724, 4099017; 568788, 4098813; 568812, 4098739; 568810, 
4098648; 568780, 4098657; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
568335, 4099623.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 11B (Map M28) follows:


[[Page 57077]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.027


[[Page 57078]]


    (32) Unit CA 11C, Santa Cruz County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Santa Cruz, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 581976, 
4089882; 581995, 4089920; 582016, 4089973; 582043, 4090004; 582099, 
4090029; 582146, 4090031; 582186, 4090014; 582190, 4089975; 582220, 
4089960; 582286, 4089956; 582339, 4089976; 582379, 4089965; 582325, 
4089864; 582317, 4089828; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
581976, 4089882.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 11C (Map M29) follows:


[[Page 57079]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.028


[[Page 57080]]


    (33) Unit CA 12B, Monterey County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Moss Landing, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 608763, 
4074606; 608691, 4074563; 608670, 4074673; 608584, 4074676; 608543, 
4074678; 608446, 4074735; 608439, 4074818; 608641, 4074826; 608664, 
4074856; 608625, 4075263; 608614, 4075389; 608635, 4075389; 608631, 
4075470; 608729, 4075467; 608787, 4075475; 608845, 4075503; 608883, 
4075530; 608927, 4075571; 608956, 4075595; 608997, 4075637; 609048, 
4075659; 609093, 4075666; 609168, 4075653; 609218, 4075654; 609270, 
4075672; 609344, 4075728; 609380, 4075742; 609451, 4075750; 609528, 
4075677; 609566, 4075533; 609597, 4075526; 609642, 4075452; 609672, 
4075419; 609693, 4075383; 609709, 4075374; 609746, 4075376; 609782, 
4075377; 609817, 4075380; 609856, 4075384; 609882, 4075367; 609917, 
4075348; 609958, 4075367; 609985, 4075364; 610013, 4075359; 610058, 
4075336; 610029, 4075268; 610029, 4075128; 609963, 4075106; 609930, 
4075084; 609878, 4075050; 609842, 4075010; 609817, 4074970; 609801, 
4074919; 609802, 4074868; 609786, 4074834; 609768, 4074794; 609748, 
4074758; 609727, 4074728; 609705, 4074713; 609656, 4074713; 609581, 
4074728; 609517, 4074739; 609454, 4074739; 609391, 4074732; 609351, 
4074722; 609319, 4074708; 609280, 4074688; 609244, 4074671; 609173, 
4074665; 609007, 4074650; 608939, 4074661; 608892, 4074643; 608840, 
4074635; returning to 608763, 4074606.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 12B (Map M30) follows:


[[Page 57081]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.029


[[Page 57082]]


    (34) Unit CA 13, Monterey County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Point Sur, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 599299, 
4019363; 599421, 4019200; 599320, 4018471; 599091, 4018323; 598903, 
4018365; 598903, 4018365; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
599299, 4019363.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 13 (Map M31) follows:


[[Page 57083]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.030


[[Page 57084]]


    (35) Unit CA 14, San Luis Obispo County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Pico Creek, and San Luis 
Obispo, California, land bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 
coordinates (E,N): 669618, 3940622; 669684, 3940666; 669759, 3940658; 
669823, 3940570; 669860, 3940553; 670111, 3939799; 670221, 3939478; 
670238, 3939332; 670183, 3939330; proceed generally N following the 
mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and 
returning to 669618, 3940622.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 14 (Map M32) follows:


[[Page 57085]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.031


[[Page 57086]]


    (36) Unit CA 15A, San Luis Obispo County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Cayucos, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 10 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 684204, 
3925805; 684260, 3925827; 684349, 3925831; 684316, 3925944; 684374, 
3925990; 684389, 3926027; 684425, 3926024; 684453, 3925985; 684721, 
3925617; 684671, 3925608; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
684204, 3925805.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 15A (Map M33) follows:


[[Page 57087]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.032


[[Page 57088]]


    (37) Unit CA 18, Santa Barbara County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Dos Pueblos Canyon, and 
Goleta, California, land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 
coordinates (E,N): 234194, 3812313; 234195, 3812330; 234324, 3812283; 
234446, 3812230; 234583, 3812107; 234686, 3812003; 234773, 3811918; 
234823, 3811862; 234938, 3811694; 235005, 3811597; 235067, 3811524; 
235171, 3811381; 235232, 3811310; 235359, 3811141; 235381, 3811072; 
235424, 3811010; 235428, 3810963; 235437, 3810924; 235477, 3810884; 
235498, 3810866; 235532, 3810858; 235570, 3810877; 235592, 3810897; 
235616, 3810922; 235681, 3810981; 235729, 3811016; 235817, 3811054; 
235933, 3811084; 236074, 3811089; 236175, 3811083; 236270, 3811077; 
236314, 3811067; 236310, 3811029; proceed generally N following the 
mean low water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and 
returning to 234194, 3812313.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 18 (Map M34) follows:


[[Page 57089]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.033


[[Page 57090]]


    (38) Unit CA 19A, Ventura County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Oxnard, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 291536, 
3790654; 291943, 3790429; 293789, 3790422; 293909, 3790178; 292342, 
3790186; 291693, 3789833; 291920, 3789159; 292048, 3788658; 292238, 
3788005; 292271, 3787968; 292297, 3787886; 292292, 3787826; 292351, 
3787673; 292404, 3787548; 292400, 3787482; 292954, 3786197; 293048, 
3785979; 293018, 3785959; 293526, 3784688; 293569, 3784701; 293823, 
3784111; 293981, 3783717; 293983, 3783693; 294439, 3782668; 294526, 
3782458; 294707, 3782195; 294760, 3782104; 294683, 3782108; 294704, 
3782086; 294750, 3781994; 294787, 3781952; 294852, 3781838; 294879, 
3781802; 294729, 3781717; 294723, 3781760; 294713, 3781782; 294699, 
3781800; 294676, 3781817; 294671, 3781819; 294650, 3781827; 294631, 
3781835; 294604, 3781838; 294585, 3781849; 294568, 3781857; 294557, 
3781878; 294553, 3781896; 294547, 3781922; 294544, 3781941; 294543, 
3781964; 294543, 3781984; 294545, 3782006; 294549, 3782032; 294548, 
3782058; 294542, 3782084; 294541, 3782090; 294535, 3782125; 294526, 
3782156; 294514, 3782192; 294504, 3782226; 294498, 3782242; 294495, 
3782249; 294489, 3782267; 294477, 3782306; 294463, 3782352; 294448, 
3782403; 294434, 3782462; 294429, 3782477; 294420, 3782507; 294402, 
3782554; 294389, 3782595; 294376, 3782626; 294351, 3782682; 294331, 
3782729; 294314, 3782773; 294285, 3782829; 294273, 3782855; 294256, 
3782890; 294239, 3782923; 294225, 3782962; 294208, 3783001; 294187, 
3783054; 294180, 3783080; 294166, 3783116; 294149, 3783150; 294139, 
3783176; 294130, 3783215; 294115, 3783248; 294099, 3783272; 294085, 
3783303; 294074, 3783348; 294060, 3783377; 294040, 3783411; 294010, 
3783460; 293994, 3783498; 293976, 3783551; 293962, 3783594; 293942, 
3783648; 293922, 3783688; 293908, 3783715; 293898, 3783734; 293878, 
3783755; 293874, 3783759; 293870, 3783763; 293864, 3783782; 293863, 
3783783; 293855, 3783808; 293843, 3783854; 293829, 3783891; 293814, 
3783926; 293794, 3783965; 293770, 3784021; 293761, 3784045; 293741, 
3784092; 293716, 3784137; 293697, 3784189; 293677, 3784240; 293652, 
3784289; 293623, 3784357; 293610, 3784393; 293588, 3784443; 293572, 
3784479; 293561, 3784499; 293545, 3784529; 293527, 3784573; 293506, 
3784617; 293486, 3784667; 293471, 3784713; 293448, 3784768; 293427, 
3784825; 293410, 3784866; 293401, 3784887; 293385, 3784930; 293360, 
3784986; 293337, 3785035; 293322, 3785078; 293314, 3785099; 293304, 
3785127; 293286, 3785175; 293271, 3785215; 293256, 3785255; 293254, 
3785261; 293240, 3785292; 293233, 3785328; 293230, 3785340; 293229, 
3785342; 293224, 3785361; 293214, 3785382; 293213, 3785384; 293203, 
3785400; 293191, 3785431; 293176, 3785478; 293174, 3785482; 293171, 
3785492; 293158, 3785530; 293149, 3785548; 293144, 3785558; 293142, 
3785562; 293120, 3785619; 293106, 3785651; 293096, 3785681; 293092, 
3785691; 293084, 3785711; 293070, 3785746; 293066, 3785755; 293066, 
3785757; 293055, 3785792; 293042, 3785823; 293023, 3785874; 293004, 
3785916; 292989, 3785962; 292970, 3786005; 292947, 3786059; 292927, 
3786101; 292916, 3786121; 292910, 3786135; 292902, 3786150; 292885, 
3786181; 292872, 3786223; 292862, 3786258; 292848, 3786284; 292840, 
3786303; 292825, 3786340; 292816, 3786363; 292800, 3786391; 292798, 
3786395; 292792, 3786403; 292786, 3786410; 292785, 3786412; 292782, 
3786419; 292775, 3786441; 292774, 3786443; 292764, 3786469; 292755, 
3786493; 292725, 3786558; 292709, 3786595; 292709, 3786598; 292697, 
3786625; 292681, 3786656; 292680, 3786658; 292676, 3786663; 292670, 
3786673; 292666, 3786678; 292655, 3786700; 292654, 3786703; 292642, 
3786740; 292634, 3786761; 292631, 3786772; 292628, 3786779; 292618, 
3786802; 292609, 3786822; 292598, 3786846; 292590, 3786864; 292588, 
3786870; 292581, 3786889; 292575, 3786906; 292568, 3786919; 292563, 
3786931; 292562, 3786932; 292553, 3786951; 292552, 3786953; 292532, 
3787000; 292512, 3787049; 292505, 3787071; 292494, 3787099; 292481, 
3787132; 292478, 3787139; 292470, 3787163; 292452, 3787219; 292430, 
3787265; 292425, 3787276; 292416, 3787297; 292400, 3787337; 292384, 
3787381; 292380, 3787388; 292371, 3787404; 292371, 3787405; 292364, 
3787417; 292343, 3787473; 292338, 3787485; 292337, 3787488; 292321, 
3787526; 292297, 3787585; 292296, 3787588; 292295, 3787588; 292272, 
3787635; 292243, 3787694; 292216, 3787767; 292196, 3787815; 292177, 
3787876; 292159, 3787920; 292157, 3787926; 292153, 3787937; 292146, 
3787962; 292136, 3787992; 292124, 3788022; 292122, 3788027; 292115, 
3788043; 292095, 3788098; 292090, 3788116; 292077, 3788155; 292076, 
3788157; 292076, 3788158; 292057, 3788206; 292055, 3788211; 292053, 
3788216; 292048, 3788237; 292038, 3788270; 292023, 3788314; 292018, 
3788330; 292002, 3788380; 291991, 3788411; 291986, 3788424; 291974, 
3788463; 291968, 3788483; 291953, 3788529; 291952, 3788534; 291947, 
3788560; 291943, 3788587; 291933, 3788636; 291931, 3788640; 291916, 
3788679; 291897, 3788731; 291875, 3788782; 291856, 3788846; 291832, 
3788928; 291818, 3788975; 291818, 3788976; 291813, 3788995; 291807, 
3789010; 291807, 3789010; 291792, 3789048; 291766, 3789118; 291751, 
3789171; 291739, 3789208; 291738, 3789212; 291717, 3789279; 291703, 
3789322; 291696, 3789346; 291681, 3789395; 291671, 3789432; 291671, 
3789434; 291665, 3789455; 291661, 3789464; 291652, 3789484; 291510, 
3789962; 291510, 3789967; 291507, 3790007; 291508, 3790019; 291510, 
3790052; 291509, 3790065; 291508, 3790095; 291505, 3790118; 291499, 
3790142; 291490, 3790179; 291482, 3790214; 291470, 3790249; 291468, 
3790254; 291456, 3790296; 291447, 3790332; 291431, 3790369; 291421, 
3790398; 291419, 3790406; 291417, 3790413; 291414, 3790433; 291406, 
3790485; 291387, 3790625; 291374, 3790687; 291368, 3790723; 291362, 
3790759; 291358, 3790792; 291351, 3790831; 291349, 3790865; 291348, 
3790900; 291344, 3790941; 291340, 3790980; 291336, 3791004; 291335, 
3791012; 291362, 3791013; 291410, 3790772; 291536, 3790654; proceed 
generally N following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning 
of the section) and returning to 291536, 3790654.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 19A (Map M35) follows:


[[Page 57091]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.034


[[Page 57092]]


    (39) Unit CA 19B, Ventura County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps Oxnard, and Point Magu, 
California, land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 301219, 3777693; 300831, 3777265; 300825, 3777270; 300806, 
3777284; 300783, 3777305; 300751, 3777332; 300731, 3777349; 300698, 
3777377; 300669, 3777400; 300643, 3777423; 300614, 3777448; 300567, 
3777480; 300539, 3777504; 300514, 3777529; 300495, 3777545; 300468, 
3777563; 300449, 3777582; 300422, 3777615; 300388, 3777639; 300367, 
3777657; 300344, 3777676; 300326, 3777689; 300306, 3777706; 300289, 
3777719; 300273, 3777733; 300255, 3777748; 300226, 3777778; 300207, 
3777796; 300191, 3777809; 300174, 3777824; 300156, 3777841; 300139, 
3777858; 300117, 3777878; 300081, 3777914; 300048, 3777944; 300039, 
3777958; 300028, 3777971; 300018, 3777978; 299997, 3778002; 299978, 
3778030; 299954, 3778052; 299937, 3778067; 299917, 3778082; 299885, 
3778114; 299854, 3778146; 299827, 3778167; 299800, 3778187; 299773, 
3778211; 299761, 3778227; 299739, 3778248; 299711, 3778277; 299687, 
3778297; 299657, 3778325; 299637, 3778346; 299615, 3778366; 299579, 
3778392; 299550, 3778418; 299529, 3778447; 299511, 3778468; 299494, 
3778483; 299474, 3778503; 299455, 3778521; 299431, 3778534; 299401, 
3778560; 299376, 3778579; 299357, 3778601; 299334, 3778630; 299313, 
3778649; 299295, 3778670; 299271, 3778701; 299262, 3778707; 299243, 
3778722; 299213, 3778747; 299194, 3778765; 299174, 3778786; 299144, 
3778817; 299117, 3778840; 299089, 3778867; 299053, 3778901; 299018, 
3778932; 298985, 3778961; 298957, 3778991; 298930, 3779014; 298897, 
3779041; 298864, 3779067; 298836, 3779090; 298801, 3779115; 298770, 
3779144; 298729, 3779181; 298683, 3779218; 298660, 3779236; 298620, 
3779280; 298584, 3779310; 298559, 3779328; 298505, 3779359; 298474, 
3779379; 298431, 3779413; 298396, 3779434; 298365, 3779448; 298317, 
3779471; 298289, 3779490; 298266, 3779506; 298243, 3779519; 298216, 
3779537; 298200, 3779545; 298189, 3779550; 298164, 3779563; 298122, 
3779582; 298080, 3779603; 298042, 3779629; 298000, 3779648; 297961, 
3779678; 297913, 3779700; 297864, 3779729; 297819, 3779758; 297771, 
3779784; 297727, 3779819; 297691, 3779838; 297656, 3779855; 297613, 
3779877; 297567, 3779900; 297534, 3779917; 297494, 3779932; 297453, 
3779953; 297404, 3779980; 297359, 3780001; 297309, 3780030; 297242, 
3780065; 297270, 3780182; 297633, 3780001; 298075, 3779695; 298150, 
3779675; 299371, 3778748; 299746, 3778489; 300378, 3777964; 300888, 
3777929; 300911, 3777924; 300923, 3777917; 300936, 3777908; 300956, 
3777892; 301219, 3777693; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
301219, 3777693.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 19B (Map M36) follows:


[[Page 57093]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.035


[[Page 57094]]


    (40) Unit CA 19D, Ventura County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Point Magu, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 309410, 
3773725; 309460, 3773796; 309560, 3773719; 309596, 3773763; 309661, 
3773726; 309714, 3773654; 309836, 3773503; 309847, 3773468; 309815, 
3773441; 309804, 3773452; 309784, 3773467; 309774, 3773475; 309772, 
3773477; 309751, 3773495; 309739, 3773506; 309712, 3773523; 309698, 
3773533; 309676, 3773549; 309673, 3773550; 309661, 3773558; 309630, 
3773578; 309589, 3773607; 309578, 3773614; 309530, 3773650; 309488, 
3773677; 309462, 3773692; 309445, 3773703; 309433, 3773711; 309410, 
3773725; proceed generally N following the mean low water mark (defined 
at the beginning of the section) and returning to 309410, 3773725.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 19D (Map M37) follows:


[[Page 57095]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.036


[[Page 57096]]


    (41) Unit CA 20, Los Angeles County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Point Dume, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 329965, 
3766877; 329924, 3766830; 329985, 3766786; 330017, 3766822; 330095, 
3766754; 330094, 3766751; 330084, 3766734; 330081, 3766721; 330155, 
3766656; 330233, 3766591; 330253, 3766588; 330272, 3766589; 330283, 
3766586; 330337, 3766538; 330324, 3766526; 330377, 3766467; 330388, 
3766467; 330428, 3766419; 330503, 3766346; 330597, 3766260; 330733, 
3766164; 330734, 3766150; 330742, 3766140; 330970, 3765974; 331003, 
3765952; 331025, 3765933; 331045, 3765912; 331281, 3765663; 331539, 
3765394; 331669, 3765298; 331791, 3765248; 331956, 3765199; 331981, 
3765198; 332021, 3765195; 332052, 3765196; 332076, 3765189; 332121, 
3765165; 332140, 3765152; 332146, 3765142; 332147, 3765126; 332122, 
3765074; 332087, 3765013; 332081, 3764993; 332081, 3764972; 332083, 
3764966; 332099, 3764935; 332103, 3764929; 332037, 3764863; 332019, 
3764880; 332003, 3764895; 331988, 3764908; 331973, 3764917; 331965, 
3764922; 331957, 3764927; 331930, 3764951; 331913, 3764969; 331904, 
3764979; 331897, 3764986; 331886, 3764999; 331883, 3765003; 331882, 
3765004; 331876, 3765009; 331858, 3765025; 331836, 3765051; 331813, 
3765078; 331797, 3765098; 331783, 3765116; 331774, 3765125; 331755, 
3765144; 331738, 3765158; 331724, 3765168; 331683, 3765204; 331643, 
3765243; 331640, 3765246; 331605, 3765278; 331589, 3765293; 331588, 
3765294; 331564, 3765319; 331527, 3765350; 331486, 3765395; 331456, 
3765417; 331433, 3765432; 331404, 3765452; 331401, 3765454; 331400, 
3765455; 331389, 3765467; 331365, 3765493; 331361, 3765497; 331325, 
3765542; 331299, 3765572; 331275, 3765604; 331248, 3765627; 331243, 
3765631; 331212, 3765659; 331178, 3765688; 331147, 3765713; 331108, 
3765746; 331070, 3765774; 331036, 3765797; 331035, 3765798; 331012, 
3765818; 331009, 3765820; 330986, 3765838; 330962, 3765871; 330937, 
3765897; 330904, 3765925; 330878, 3765944; 330853, 3765961; 330827, 
3765983; 330795, 3766008; 330764, 3766026; 330752, 3766032; 330739, 
3766039; 330732, 3766043; 330711, 3766057; 330706, 3766060; 330681, 
3766090; 330679, 3766091; 330667, 3766104; 330663, 3766107; 330653, 
3766117; 330644, 3766126; 330643, 3766127; 330629, 3766143; 330604, 
3766172; 330587, 3766179; 330579, 3766181; 330573, 3766186; 330368, 
3766380; 330365, 3766384; 330348, 3766403; 330328, 3766422; 330321, 
3766428; 330279, 3766466; 330236, 3766502; 330207, 3766528; 330173, 
3766550; 330136, 3766569; 330105, 3766597; 330085, 3766611; 330070, 
3766624; 330023, 3766660; 330022, 3766661; 330018, 3766664; 330010, 
3766673; 329969, 3766702; 329962, 3766707; 329960, 3766708; 329937, 
3766727; 329911, 3766747; 329888, 3766766; 329882, 3766771; 329847, 
3766792; 329813, 3766815; 329785, 3766836; 329781, 3766839; 329816, 
3766887; 329836, 3766875; 329851, 3766892; 329890, 3766865; 329899, 
3766877; 329886, 3766885; 329912, 3766923; 329924, 3766912; 329965, 
3766877; proceed generally N following the mean low water mark (defined 
at the beginning of the section) and returning to 329965, 3766877.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 20 (Map M38) follows:


[[Page 57097]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.037


[[Page 57098]]


    (42) Unit CA 21A, Los Angeles County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Topanga, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 359653, 
3766064; 359698, 3766104; 359706, 3766112; 359794, 3766072; 359841, 
3766016; 359865, 3765980; 359868, 3765955; 359871, 3765928; 359981, 
3765838; 360136, 3765710; 360156, 3765737; 360157, 3765740; 360346, 
3765605; 360713, 3765301; 360821, 3765208; 360782, 3765167; 360750, 
3765131; proceed generally N following the mean low water mark (defined 
at the beginning of the section) and returning to 359653, 3766064.

    (ii) Note: Map of Units CA 21A (Map M39) follows:


[[Page 57099]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.038


[[Page 57100]]


    (43) Unit CA 21B, Los Angeles County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Venice, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 366261, 
3757311; 366467, 3757409; 366791, 3756716; 366577, 3756633; proceed 
generally N following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning 
of the section) and returning to 366261, 3757311.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 21B (Map M40) follows after 
description of Unit CA 21C.

    (44) Unit CA 21C, Los Angeles County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Venice, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 367740, 
3753997; 367843, 3754038; 367860, 3754002; 367883, 3753980; 367924, 
3753925; 367945, 3753827; 367911, 3753766; 367924, 3753739; 367968, 
3753730; 368021, 3753592; 368235, 3753042; 368173, 3753011; proceed 
generally N following the mean low water mark (defined at the beginning 
of the section) and returning to 367740, 3753997.

    (ii) Note: Map of Units CA 21B and CA 21C (Map M40) follows:


[[Page 57101]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.039


[[Page 57102]]


    (45) Unit CA 21D, Los Angeles County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Redondo Beach OE S, 
California, land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates 
(E,N): 370468, 3747024; 370560, 3747050; 370594, 3746936; 370696, 
3746667; 370602, 3746644; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
370468, 3747024.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 21D (Map M41) follows:


[[Page 57103]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.040


[[Page 57104]]


    (46) Unit CA 22A, Orange County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Seal Beach, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 403074, 
3728680; 403074, 3728681; 403267, 3728834; 403265, 3728996; 403238, 
3729044; 403290, 3729077; 403342, 3729164; 403545, 3729348; 403571, 
3729356; 403635, 3729419; 404409, 3729117; 404407, 3728750; 404398, 
3728717; 404399, 3728532; 404464, 3728525; 404727, 3728380; 404729, 
3728299; 405337, 3727975; 405370, 3727979; 405369, 3727845; 405358, 
3727807; 405339, 3727778; 405295, 3727725; 405113, 3727543; 405081, 
3727505; 405050, 3727457; 405006, 3727428; 404907, 3727378; 404859, 
3727355; 404833, 3727349; 404801, 3727356; 404766, 3727373; 404712, 
3727387; 404584, 3727405; 404557, 3727413; 404529, 3727431; 404495, 
3727462; 404465, 3727486; 404426, 3727492; 404372, 3727479; 404183, 
3727422; 403756, 3727974; 403749, 3727975; 403740, 3727969; 403720, 
3727949; 403709, 3727950; 403697, 3727958; 403684, 3727961; 403653, 
3727943; returning to 403074, 3728680.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 22A (Map M42) follows after 
description of Unit CA 22B.

    (47) Unit CA 22B, Orange County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Seal Beach, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 404089, 
3727241; 404122, 3727265; 404183, 3727186; 404256, 3727101; 404389, 
3726951; 404360, 3726921; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
404089, 3727241.

    (ii) Note: Map of Units CA 22A and CA 22B (Map M42) follows:


[[Page 57105]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.041


[[Page 57106]]


    (48) Unit CA 23, Orange County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Newport Beach, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 411152, 
3721501; 411152, 3721498; 411154, 3721486; 411161, 3721477; 411171, 
3721472; 411183, 3721471; 411189, 3721473; 411197, 3721476; 411208, 
3721485; 411217, 3721493; 411224, 3721488; 411220, 3721483; 411201, 
3721465; 411198, 3721462; 411173, 3721438; 411154, 3721408; 411133, 
3721368; 411117, 3721336; 411106, 3721293; 411094, 3721298; 411074, 
3721321; 411069, 3721327; 411061, 3721335; 411054, 3721344; 411043, 
3721354; 411039, 3721358; 411018, 3721375; 411000, 3721392; 410981, 
3721413; 410958, 3721437; 410939, 3721452; 410903, 3721473; 410888, 
3721489; 410971, 3721619; 410978, 3721616; 410989, 3721606; 410997, 
3721617; 411008, 3721631; 411140, 3721534; 411157, 3721515; returning 
to 411152, 3721501.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 23 (Map M43) follows:


[[Page 57107]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.042


[[Page 57108]]


    (49) Unit CA 24, Orange County and San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map San Clemente, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 444728, 
3694059; 444754, 3694175; 444782, 3694151; 444839, 3694108; 444911, 
3694062; 445037, 3694001; 445278, 3693889; 445569, 3693753; 445795, 
3693646; 445898, 3693601; 445898, 3693576; 445875, 3693547; 445874, 
3693547; 445838, 3693559; 445747, 3693585; 445651, 3693593; 445618, 
3693595; 445475, 3693623; 445447, 3693630; 445406, 3693640; 445385, 
3693640; 445369, 3693641; 445347, 3693640; 445334, 3693645; 445329, 
3693650; 445313, 3693664; 445271, 3693702; 445220, 3693751; 445194, 
3693775; 445105, 3693840; 445062, 3693872; 445012, 3693898; 444957, 
3693919; 444929, 3693926; 444928, 3693926; 444899, 3693930; 444882, 
3693937; 444854, 3693959; 444852, 3693960; 444818, 3693980; 444814, 
3693982; 444767, 3694004; 444736, 3694020; 444712, 3694035; 444709, 
3694040; 444728, 3694059; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
444728, 3694059.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 24 (Map M44) follows:


[[Page 57109]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.043


[[Page 57110]]


    (50) Unit CA 25A, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Encinitas, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 470975, 
3660809; 470982, 3660811; 471014, 3660802; 471058, 3660765; 471085, 
3660733; 471105, 3660704; 471122, 3660645; 471129, 3660592; 471148, 
3660540; 471147, 3660511; 471155, 3660493; 471153, 3660485; 471153, 
3660485; 471147, 3660482; 471122, 3660510; 471112, 3660507; 471106, 
3660501; 471067, 3660464; 471066, 3660464; 471081, 3660447; 471084, 
3660437; 471084, 3660417; 471077, 3660393; 471077, 3660378; 471085, 
3660361; 471044, 3660341; 471013, 3660349; 471002, 3660338; 470992, 
3660306; 470980, 3660296; 470977, 3660316; 470969, 3660338; 470968, 
3660341; 470962, 3660360; 470955, 3660391; 470949, 3660420; 470943, 
3660453; 470942, 3660456; 470933, 3660489; 470925, 3660522; 470924, 
3660525; 470914, 3660562; 470907, 3660588; 470906, 3660597; 470901, 
3660624; 470893, 3660651; 470892, 3660654; 470884, 3660676; 470877, 
3660694; 470872, 3660706; 470864, 3660726; 470861, 3660740; 470860, 
3660742; 470859, 3660754; 470862, 3660764; 470866, 3660765; 470874, 
3660770; 470903, 3660785; 470962, 3660804; returning to 470975, 
3660809.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 25A (Map M45) follows after 
description of Unit CA 25C.

    (51) Unit CA 25B, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Oceanside, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 472453, 
3660939; 472518, 3660920; 472571, 3660894; 472603, 3660856; 472613, 
3660817; 472614, 3660776; 472576, 3660736; 472538, 3660692; 472498, 
3660666; 472478, 3660670; 472452, 3660693; 472451, 3660695; 472404, 
3660732; 472373, 3660751; 472352, 3660760; 472335, 3660762; 472311, 
3660758; 472296, 3660748; 472282, 3660746; 472264, 3660752; 472244, 
3660769; 472209, 3660804; 472183, 3660843; 472164, 3660882; 472153, 
3660903; 472145, 3660929; 472156, 3660952; 472190, 3660981; 472223, 
3660990; 472288, 3660980; 472393, 3660956; returning to 472453, 
3660939.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 25B (Map M45) follows after 
description of Unit CA 25C.

    (52) Unit CA 25C, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Oceanside, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 474053, 
3661505; 474074, 3661515; 474082, 3661492; 474109, 3661464; 474118, 
3661461; 474119, 3661450; 474144, 3661424; 474169, 3661398; 474189, 
3661386; 474201, 3661384; 474210, 3661378; 474228, 3661376; 474237, 
3661377; 474247, 3661359; 474263, 3661344; 474302, 3661334; 474357, 
3661336; 474385, 3661334; 474386, 3661294; 474393, 3661252; 474413, 
3661233; 474450, 3661217; 474494, 3661203; 474539, 3661214; 474584, 
3661200; 474628, 3661181; 474654, 3661143; 474615, 3661062; 474594, 
3661042; 474562, 3661043; 474543, 3661039; 474530, 3661043; 474504, 
3661070; 474472, 3661111; 474452, 3661130; 474380, 3661179; 474321, 
3661194; 474236, 3661205; 474200, 3661211; 474166, 3661225; 474140, 
3661244; 474113, 3661268; 474081, 3661304; 474075, 3661333; 474076, 
3661393; 474075, 3661440; 474048, 3661501; returning to 474053, 
3661505.

    (ii) Note: Map of Units CA 25A, CA 25B, and CA 25C (Map M45) 
follows:


[[Page 57111]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.044


[[Page 57112]]


    (53) Unit CA 26, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Del Mar California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 475548, 
3644417; 475597, 3644428; 475626, 3644433; 475629, 3644418; 475632, 
3644391; 475625, 3644370; 475626, 3644353; 475627, 3644350; 475633, 
3644335; 475628, 3644322; 475637, 3644298; 475640, 3644293; 475647, 
3644279; 475649, 3644271; 475641, 3644267; 475639, 3644267; 475635, 
3644257; 475638, 3644237; 475642, 3644195; 475643, 3644190; 475648, 
3644165; 475657, 3644139; 475658, 3644120; 475664, 3644091; 475671, 
3644073; 475674, 3644054; 475683, 3644029; 475688, 3644001; 475693, 
3643983; 475694, 3643965; 475701, 3643945; 475704, 3643929; 475708, 
3643891; 475733, 3643895; 475749, 3643893; 475778, 3643878; 475815, 
3643868; 475826, 3643878; 475869, 3643912; 475883, 3643920; 475893, 
3643930; 475909, 3643935; 475919, 3643943; 475930, 3643950; 475923, 
3643429; 475917, 3643436; 475902, 3643454; 475885, 3643478; 475864, 
3643509; 475851, 3643533; 475838, 3643545; 475824, 3643566; 475804, 
3643590; 475788, 3643603; 475774, 3643706; 475763, 3643718; 475756, 
3643749; 475750, 3643781; 475748, 3643798; 475714, 3643792; 475685, 
3643787; 475683, 3643797; 475689, 3643805; 475711, 3643807; 475723, 
3643809; 475713, 3643871; 475701, 3643870; 475700, 3643870; 475699, 
3643869; 475690, 3643866; 475667, 3643865; 475660, 3643894; 475657, 
3643904; 475652, 3643926; 475647, 3643946; 475644, 3643956; 475641, 
3643964; 475635, 3643986; 475630, 3644011; 475622, 3644032; 475613, 
3644053; 475606, 3644077; 475599, 3644101; 475595, 3644132; 475593, 
3644149; 475590, 3644179; 475586, 3644211; 475582, 3644230; 475580, 
3644243; 475578, 3644258; 475573, 3644280; 475567, 3644312; 475563, 
3644337; 475555, 3644376; 475550, 3644411; returning to 475548, 
3644417.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 26 (Map M46) follows:


[[Page 57113]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.045


[[Page 57114]]


    (54) Unit CA 27B, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Point Loma, California, land 
bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 481501, 
3616480; 481510, 3616481; 481524, 3616453; 481540, 3616447; 481565, 
3616444; 481580, 3616449; 481601, 3616462; 481613, 3616490; 481630, 
3616491; 481669, 3616488; 481690, 3616481; 481734, 3616460; 481794, 
3616435; 481826, 3616413; 481836, 3616401; 481893, 3616389; 481928, 
3616379; 481996, 3616538; 481998, 3616537; 482008, 3616531; 482011, 
3616518; 482024, 3616510; 482038, 3616511; 482160, 3616439; 482347, 
3616345; 482534, 3616238; 482693, 3616137; 482984, 3615950; 483137, 
3615853; 483030, 3615679; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
481501, 3616480.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 27B (Map M47) follows:


[[Page 57115]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.046


[[Page 57116]]


    (55) Unit CA 27E, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map National City, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 490217, 
3611878; 490174, 3611856; 490047, 3611789; 490028, 3611784; 489947, 
3611738; 489878, 3611704; 489865, 3611701; 489834, 3611692; 489806, 
3611682; 489792, 3611676; 489727, 3611655; 489611, 3611609; 489580, 
3611587; 489555, 3611597; 489521, 3611593; 489412, 3611550; 489384, 
3611531; 489366, 3611519; 489331, 3611518; 489282, 3611513; 489259, 
3611508; 489253, 3611511; 489253, 3611512; 489237, 3611505; 489229, 
3611501; 489208, 3611497; 489161, 3611496; 489138, 3611503; 489122, 
3611535; 489097, 3611608; 489093, 3611675; 489094, 3611724; 489101, 
3611774; 489123, 3611843; 489166, 3611914; 489200, 3611955; 489201, 
3611954; 489200, 3611942; 489199, 3611931; 489204, 3611920; 489210, 
3611918; 489219, 3611920; 489228, 3611922; 489240, 3611929; 489246, 
3611938; 489245, 3611947; 489237, 3611952; 489225, 3611959; 489219, 
3611969; 489220, 3611973; 489501, 3612069; 489791, 3612166; 490070, 
3612259; 490144, 3612287; 490269, 3611906; 490231, 3611887; 490217, 
3611878; returning to 490217, 3611878.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 27E (Map M48) follows:


[[Page 57117]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.047


[[Page 57118]]


    (56) Unit CA 27F, San Diego County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Imperial Beach, California, 
land bounded by the following UTM 11 NAD 27 coordinates (E,N): 487747, 
3603052; 487774, 3603045; 487775, 3602998; 487776, 3602973; 487782, 
3602890; 487784, 3602855; 487795, 3602817; 487852, 3602714; 487855, 
3602708; 487857, 3602705; 487884, 3602674; 487895, 3602625; 487900, 
3602575; 487888, 3602515; 487865, 3602451; 487840, 3602415; 487840, 
3602398; 487845, 3602382; 487865, 3602354; 487885, 3602334; 487935, 
3602307; 487986, 3602298; 488089, 3602283; 488115, 3602272; 488115, 
3602119; 488115, 3602119; 488163, 3602119; 488176, 3602119; 488191, 
3602119; 488215, 3602040; 488220, 3602021; 488218, 3601977; 488214, 
3601966; 488209, 3601953; 488199, 3601928; 488220, 3601871; 488227, 
3601841; 488221, 3601817; 488207, 3601802; 488178, 3601790; 488177, 
3601766; 488183, 3601680; 488201, 3601524; 488202, 3601514; 488218, 
3601458; 488235, 3601397; 488267, 3601352; 488292, 3601337; 488296, 
3601328; 488298, 3601324; 488290, 3601310; 488289, 3601309; 488294, 
3601262; 488308, 3601227; 488338, 3601155; 488350, 3601139; 488372, 
3601126; 488369, 3601108; 488364, 3601102; 488381, 3601046; 488393, 
3601035; 488389, 3601016; 488385, 3601005; 488397, 3600864; 488414, 
3600789; 488431, 3600753; 488442, 3600707; 488455, 3600623; 488460, 
3600571; 488462, 3600541; 488516, 3600211; 488512, 3600098; 488525, 
3599982; 488543, 3599731; 488519, 3599700; 488497, 3599679; 488484, 
3599658; 488481, 3599607; 488479, 3599545; 488485, 3599487; 488391, 
3599479; 488355, 3600146; 488284, 3600563; 488270, 3600623; 488268, 
3600633; 488266, 3600640; 488262, 3600676; 488255, 3600707; 488246, 
3600747; 488237, 3600787; 488226, 3600824; 488215, 3600867; 488203, 
3600907; 488196, 3600938; 488192, 3600960; 488190, 3600970; 488188, 
3600980; 488180, 3601013; 488175, 3601040; 488169, 3601068; 488156, 
3601101; 488152, 3601121; 488148, 3601136; 488143, 3601148; 488104, 
3601308; 488055, 3601513; 487954, 3601774; 487883, 3601935; 487822, 
3602015; 487792, 3602053; 487789, 3602061; 487784, 3602072; 487780, 
3602080; 487765, 3602103; 487754, 3602128; 487693, 3602349; 487693, 
3602358; 487684, 3602390; 487674, 3602420; 487659, 3602478; 487655, 
3602497; 487646, 3602564; 487645, 3602576; 487645, 3602586; 487644, 
3602592; 487640, 3602616; 487639, 3602636; 487638, 3602646; 487636, 
3602655; 487633, 3602674; 487631, 3602703; 487627, 3602732; 487623, 
3602760; 487621, 3602791; 487615, 3602816; 487609, 3602849; 487607, 
3602885; 487605, 3602894; 487602, 3602915; 487599, 3602941; 487595, 
3602976; 487595, 3602998; 487592, 3603024; 487590, 3603045; 487669, 
3603044; 487680, 3603054; 487682, 3603073; 487697, 3603064; 487705, 
3603062; 487747, 3603052; proceed generally N following the mean low 
water mark (defined at the beginning of the section) and returning to 
487747, 3603052.

    (ii) Note: Map of Unit CA 27F (Map M49) follows:


[[Page 57119]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29SE05.048

* * * * *

    Dated: September 20, 2005.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 05-19096 Filed 9-28-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C