[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 14, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 17287-17365]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-7767]



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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 Peninsular Bighorn Sheep and Determination of a Distinct 
Population Segment of Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni); 
Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 70 / Tuesday, April 14, 2009 / Rules 
and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

FWS-R8-ES-2007-0005; 92210-1117-0000-B4
RIN 1018-AV09


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Peninsular Bighorn Sheep and Determination of a 
Distinct Population Segment of Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis 
nelsoni)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designate 
revised critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep, a distinct 
population segment (DPS) of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis 
nelsoni) occupying the Peninsular Ranges of Southern California, under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, 
approximately 376,938 acres (ac) (152,542 hectares (ha)) fall within 
the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. This revised 
designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep reduces 
the 2001 designation by approximately 467,959 ac (189,377 ha). The 
revised critical habitat is located in Riverside, San Diego, and 
Imperial Counties, California.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on May 14, 2009.

ADDRESSES: The final rule, final economic analysis, and map of critical 
habitat will be available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Supporting documentation we used in preparing this 
final rule will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Suite 
101, Carlsbad, CA 92011; telephone 760-431-9440; facsimile 
760-431-5901.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES section). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-
8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to 
the designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep in 
this final rule. For more information on the taxonomy, biology, and 
ecology of Peninsular bighorn sheep, refer to the final listing rule 
published in the Federal Register on March 18, 1998 (63 FR 13134), the 
original final critical habitat rule published in the Federal Register 
on February 1, 2001 (66 FR 8650), the proposed rule to revise critical 
habitat published in the Federal Register on October 10, 2007 (72 FR 
57740), and the August 26, 2008 (73 FR 50498), notice of availability 
of the draft economic analysis (DEA) that announced revisions to the 
proposed critical habitat designation.
    The listed entity treated in this rule is a DPS of desert bighorn 
sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). We will refer to this entity as 
Peninsular bighorn sheep, or as a DPS (not species or subspecies).
    As stated in the October 10, 2007, proposed critical habitat rule, 
we are formally recognizing the listed entity as Peninsular bighorn 
sheep, a DPS of the desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). 
This is the currently accepted taxonomic placement of these animals. We 
submitted this as a change for inclusion in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR). The taxonomic revision does not affect discreteness 
and significance of Peninsular bighorn sheep as a DPS. In the 1998 
final listing rule, Peninsular bighorn sheep were listed as a DPS of 
the species Ovis canadensis. At the time of listing at least six 
subspecies of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) were named, including 
Ovis canadensis cremnobates, which is a name that previously had been 
applied to the Peninsular bighorn sheep. However, because of ongoing 
questions regarding the distinctiveness of the subspecific taxa at that 
time, the Peninsular Ranges population was considered a distinct 
population segment (DPS) of the species O. canadensis rather than as a 
subspecies or a DPS of a particular subspecies.
    Relevant information regarding the systematic relationships of the 
infraspecific (below species rank) taxa of bighorn sheep at or near the 
time of listing was based on morphometric (variation in size and shape) 
assessments, as well as molecular analyses, such as mitochondrial DNA 
(mtDNA) assessments (Wehausen and Ramey 1993; Ramey 1993; Ramey 1995; 
Boyce et al. 1999) and microsatellite and histocompatibility complex 
loci analysis (Boyce et al. 1997; Gutierrez-Espeleta et al. 1998). 
While the discriminatory value of these various approaches was not 
addressed in the recovery plan (USFWS 2000), the Service concluded in 
the morphology and taxonomy section of the Recovery Plan (USFWS 2000, 
p. 3) that the currently recognized subspecies for desert bighorn 
sheep, Ovis canadensis nelsoni, includes the Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
This taxonomic placement was recognized in the final critical habitat 
designation for the Peninsular bighorn sheep published in 2001 (USFWS 
2001, p. 8650). In that rule, we described the range of the DPS as 
coincident with the U.S. portion of the formerly recognized Ovis 
canadensis cremnobates. The current known range for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep remains the same, as does its status as a DPS of the 
desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni).
    Regardless of its systematic affiliation, the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep continues to meet the criteria for consideration as a DPS. Within 
this document, we refer to the listed entity as a distinct population 
segment (DPS) of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni), not as 
a subspecies as we did within the discussion portion of the October 10, 
2007, proposed critical habitat rule. We will continue to use the 
common name Peninsular bighorn sheep when referring to this DPS. No 
discussions or references to the Peninsular bighorn sheep DPS are 
intended to apply to any other portions of the range (e.g., San 
Bernardino Mountains, Joshua Tree National Park, the desert mountains 
of southwestern Nevada and northwestern Arizona) of the desert bighorn 
sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). For a detailed discussion of the DPS 
analysis for Peninsular bighorn sheep, see the Distinct Vertebrate 
Population Segment section of the 1998 final listing rule (March 18, 
1998, 63 FR 13134). Therefore, we are changing the listed entity from a 
DPS of the species Ovis canadensis, to a DPS of the subspecies Ovis 
canadensis nelsoni. This final rule includes a change to the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife at 50 CFR 17.11(h) to reflect this 
change.

DPS Description, Life History, Distribution, Ecology, and Habitat

    No new substantial information pertaining to the DPS description, 
life history, ecology, or habitat of Peninsular bighorn sheep was 
received following the 2007 proposed rule to revise critical habitat 
for this DPS. Therefore, please refer to the final listing rule 
published in the Federal Register on March 18, 1998 (63 FR 13134), and 
the proposed rule to revise critical habitat published in the Federal 
Register on October 10, 2007 (72 FR 57740), for a discussion of the 
DPS's description, life history, ecology, and habitat.

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DPS Distribution

    During the first public comment period for the proposed rule, we 
received new information regarding occurrence data that had been 
collected within the past year. The areas in which new sheep occurrence 
data was received include the South Santa Rosa Mountains along Grave 
Wash and the Jacumba Mountains near Interstate 8. The occurrence data 
received falls within the boundary of the 2001 critical habitat 
designation and the 2000 Recovery Plan area; therefore, we do not 
believe this new information markedly affects the known distribution of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. However, we considered this new occurrence 
data and revised our proposed designation to include these areas 
recently used by Peninsular bighorn sheep (see the Notice of 
Availability (NOA), August 26, 2008, 73 FR 50498). The areas 
represented by the new occurrence data are included in this final 
designation (see the ``Summary of Changes From the 2007 Proposed Rule 
To Revise Critical Habitat to This Final Rule to Revise Critical 
Habitat'' section of this final rule).

Previous Federal Actions

    As discussed in the proposed rule to revise critical habitat for 
this DPS, a July 31, 2006, court-approved consent decree enacted a 
limited partial vacatur of tribal, mining, and Desert Riders lands and 
remanded the critical habitat designation back to the Service for new 
rulemaking. The Service was obligated under the consent decree to 
submit a proposed revised critical habitat designation to the Federal 
Register on or before September 30, 2007, and a final revised critical 
habitat designation on or before September 30, 2008. We published a 
proposed revised critical habitat designation in the Federal Register 
on October 10, 2007 (72 FR 57740), and accepted public comments on the 
proposed revised designation for 60 days, ending December 10, 2007. 
Because significant new information was received, the parties agreed to 
extend the due date to the Federal Register of the final revised 
critical habitat rule to March 30, 2009. On August 26, 2008 (73 FR 
50498), we opened a second public comment period on the proposed 
revised critical habitat designation and announced our intention to 
hold two public hearings on the proposed rule that were held in Palm 
Desert, California, on September 10, 2008. In the same Federal Register 
notice we announced the availability of our Draft Economic Analysis 
(DEA) (dated June 9, 2008) and announced changes to the proposed rule. 
We accepted public comments during the second open comment period for 
60 days, ending October 27, 2008. For more information on previous 
Federal actions concerning Peninsular bighorn sheep, refer to the final 
listing rule published in the Federal Register on March 18, 1998 (63 FR 
13134), the final critical habitat designation published in the Federal 
Register on February 1, 2001 (66 FR 8650), and the proposed rule to 
revise critical habitat published in the Federal Register on October 
10, 2007 (72 FR 57740).

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public during two comment 
periods on the proposed rule to revise critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. The first comment period opened October 10, 2007 (72 FR 
57740), and closed December 10, 2007, and was associated with the 
publication of the proposed rule. We received several requests for a 
public hearing during this comment period. The second comment period 
opened August 26, 2008 (73 FR 50498), and closed October 27, 2008, and 
was associated with the notice of availability of the DEA, announcement 
of revisions to the proposed critical habitat, and a notice of public 
hearings that were held September 10, 2008. During these two public 
comment periods, we contacted appropriate Federal, State, and local 
agencies; scientific organizations; and other interested parties and 
invited them to comment on the proposed rule to revise critical habitat 
for this DPS and the associated DEA.
    During the first comment period, we received 212 public comments 
directly addressing the proposed revision of critical habitat: 1 from a 
Federal agency, 2 from State agencies, 1 from an elected official, and 
208 from organizations and individuals. During the second comment 
period and the September 10, 2008, public hearings, we received 5,092 
comments directly addressing the proposed revision of critical habitat 
for this DPS or the DEA: 1 from an elected official, 2 from State 
agencies, 3 from local governments, and 5,086 from organizations and 
individuals.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited expert 
opinions from five knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise 
that included familiarity with the DPS, the geographic region in which 
it occurs, and conservation biology principles. We received responses 
from all five of the peer reviewers.
    We reviewed all comments received from the peer reviewers and the 
public for substantive issues and new information regarding critical 
habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. These comments are addressed 
below and incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    Comment 1: Several peer reviewers stated the proposed critical 
habitat is flawed because it does not provide for connectivity. One 
peer reviewer stated further that the proposal fragments the habitat 
available to the Peninsular bighorn sheep. Several peer reviewers 
asserted that, although essential habitat (as identified by the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep Recovery Team and depicted in the 2000 
Peninsular bighorn sheep Recovery Plan) and critical habitat originally 
designated in 2001 promoted habitat connectivity among all 
subpopulations, the proposed critical habitat essentially severs the 
San Jacinto Mountains subpopulation (Unit 1) and the Carrizo Canyon 
subpopulation (Unit 3) from the remainder of the range (Units 2A and 
2B). One peer reviewer also noted that movement of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep has been documented between these areas. According to the same 
peer reviewer, a collared ram from the San Jacinto Mountains was 
observed during July and August 2008 on several different occasions in 
the northern Santa Rosa Mountains with other bighorn sheep there. The 
peer reviewer concluded that not including these areas as critical 
habitat incorrectly suggests that these areas are not critical to the 
long-term recovery or survival of the population.
    Another peer reviewer stated that movement between Units l, 2A, 2B, 
and 3 is important and that critical habitat should be extended to 
protect corridors connecting the units. The same peer reviewer 
maintained that if any unit is isolated, the subpopulation may not be 
viable and that critical habitat should be expanded to include 
corridors for movement between units. One peer reviewer noted an 
extensive and irrefutable body of scientific literature that 
illustrates the importance of habitat connectivity. Two peer reviewers 
stated that, despite the acknowledgement in the proposed rule that 
connectivity is vital for this species' recovery, the revised critical 
habitat designation decreases connectivity or does not include 
corridors for movement. One peer reviewer asserted that habitat 
fragmentation will only promote the

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decline of this DPS and goes directly against the recommendations of 
the Recovery Plan that the Service adopted.
    Our Response: We agree with the peer reviewers that habitat 
connectivity is important to allow for movement between ewe groups and 
to maintain genetic variation. We also agree with the peer reviewer 
that an extensive amount of scientific evidence illustrates the 
importance of habitat connectivity, and we considered this information 
during the development of this critical habitat designation. We 
acknowledge that areas potentially providing connectivity between Units 
1 and 2A and between Units 2B and 3 were included in the 2001 critical 
habitat designation; however, based on our reevaluation of the data 
available at the time of the 2001 designation, data obtained since, and 
our revised methodology for delineating critical habitat, we find that 
those areas do not meet the definition of critical habitat because the 
available data do not identify specific areas between these units that 
contain the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the DPS.
    The best available data do not provide any information indicating 
what areas, if any, Peninsular bighorn sheep use as connectivity 
corridors within the expansive areas between Units 1 and 2A and Units 
2B and 3. Although the peer reviewers presented data showing that at 
least one collared ram has moved between Units 1 and 2A, we do not have 
occurrence data suggesting a specific corridor between these units. In 
addition, we have no data documenting natural sheep movement between 
Units 3 and 2B. As such we have not included specific corridors between 
Units 1 and 2A or between Units 3 and 2B in the designation. However, 
we will continue to monitor movement between these units to determine 
if specific movement corridors exist. In contrast, where the available 
data do support the identification of specific areas utilized by the 
DPS as movement corridors, such as between the ewe groups in the Santa 
Rosa Mountains and the Vallecito Mountains ewe group, those areas are 
included in the critical habitat designation.
    We recognize this finding is different than what is outlined as 
essential habitat in the 2000 Recovery Plan and what was designated as 
critical habitat in the 2001 designation (which largely adopted the 
boundary delineated in the Recovery Plan). The Recovery Plan and 2001 
critical habitat rule note that allowing for ram movement between ewe 
groups is important for maintaining genetic variation in the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep metapopulation. While we believe connectivity areas are 
important for the Peninsular bighorn sheep's recovery, we have 
significantly more data available today than when the Recovery Plan and 
2001 critical habitat were finalized. We have utilized the currently 
available data to more precisely identify areas meeting the definition 
of critical habitat; in particular, areas related to connectivity. Such 
areas are included in this designation where the data support the 
determination that such areas contain the physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the DPS. For other potential 
connectivity areas that were included in the 2001 designation, the 
available movement and occurrence data we have for those areas do not 
support the identification of specific areas that provide a movement 
corridor that is essential for the conservation of the DPS.
    We believe it is important to note that critical habitat 
designation is a different process than development of a recovery plan. 
A critical habitat designation is a specific regulatory action that 
defines specific areas as critical habitat in accordance with the 
statutory definition. A recovery plan is a guidance document developed 
in cooperation with partners, which provides a roadmap with detailed 
site-specific management actions to help conserve listed species and 
their ecosystems. The term ``essential,'' as used in the recovery plan, 
is not necessarily used in the same manner as it is used in the 
definition of critical habitat. The recovery plan provides important 
information about the species and the actions that are needed to bring 
about its recovery, while critical habitat identifies specific areas 
that are essential for the species' conservation.
    The deviation from the Peninsular bighorn sheep Recovery Plan 
boundary and the 2001 final critical habitat designation is primarily 
the result of using a revised methodology to delineate critical 
habitat. Our revised methodology incorporates new information to best 
identify areas that meet the definition of critical habitat (see 
``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation To the 
2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' section for more 
discussion). As a result, the final revised critical habitat boundary 
does not include areas the Recovery Plan identified as necessary for 
the conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep that we since 
determined (based on the best available data at this time) are not 
essential for the conservation of this DPS. Therefore, we believe the 
final revised critical habitat boundary more precisely maps the 
physical and biological features that occur within the geographical 
area occupied by the Peninsular bighorn sheep at the time of listing, 
which includes those areas containing preferred habitat for sheep use.
    There are likely additional areas outside of the final revised 
critical habitat boundary that contain some of the PCEs, including 
areas identified in the Recovery Plan and 2001 critical habitat. We 
recognize that areas outside of the critical habitat boundary are 
likely utilized by Peninsular bighorn sheep (primarily for movement of 
rams between ewe groups). However, as stated above, the data available 
at this time do not support the identification of specific areas 
containing the essential features that provide a movement corridor 
between Units 1 and 2A or between Units 2B and 3. Additionally, Unit 2A 
is continuous with Unit 2B and these units contain a large contiguous 
portion of the Peninsular Ranges allowing for movement between six ewe 
groups with these units. Furthermore, although we do not have 
information to identify specific movement corridors, the areas between 
Units 1 and 2A or between Units 2B and are steep, rugged, and remote 
and there are no perceived threats in these areas. Therefore, we are 
confident that these areas will still be available for any natural 
sheep movements between units allowing for genetic connectivity.
    We recognize that the designation of critical habitat may not 
include all of the habitat that may eventually be determined to be 
necessary for the recovery of Peninsular bighorn sheep, and critical 
habitat designations do not signal that habitat outside the designation 
is unimportant or may not contribute to recovery. Areas outside the 
final revised critical habitat designation will continue to be subject 
to conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act 
and regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy 
standard and the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if actions 
occurring in these areas may affect sheep; these protections and 
conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of the DPS.
    Please see the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' and 
``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation To the 
2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this final 
rule for further discussion of this topic.
    Comment 2: Two peer reviewers stated that exclusion of areas under 
the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Habitat Conservation 
Plan (Tribal HCP) and Coachella Valley Multiple

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Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Coachella Valley MSHCP) is 
inappropriate because the Coachella Valley MSHCP and the Tribal HCP are 
not yet approved, and therefore provide absolutely no protection to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep or their habitat at this time. One peer 
reviewer stated it would be pre-decisional to exclude critical habitat 
based on these plans. Another peer reviewer suggested that managers and 
those making policy decisions should have solid documentation that the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep will receive the same level of enforceable 
protection from the Tribal HCP and the Coachella Valley MSHCP as 
provided by the Endangered Species Act. One peer reviewer stated that 
the proposed exclusion of tribal lands and lands covered by the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP are not supported by the best available science 
and that removal of these areas from critical habitat will increase the 
threats to the persistence and recovery of Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: We believe the exclusion of the identified tribal 
lands and the lands covered by the Coachella Valley MSHCP, which is now 
final, is appropriate based on the potential impacts associated with 
designating these areas as critical habitat. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
states that the ``Secretary shall designate critical habitat, and make 
revisions thereto, on the basis of the best scientific data available 
and 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.'' The Act further states that the 
Secretary may exclude any area from critical habitat if he determines 
that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying 
such area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, 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 concerned.
    We believe that critical habitat designation would negatively 
impact the working relationships and conservation partnerships we have 
formed with permittees, the Tribe, and other private landowners (i.e., 
other relevant impacts), and could result in decreased voluntary 
conservation efforts to benefit the Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
Additionally, as explained in detail in the ``Application of Section 
4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' section of 
this final rule, we believe these conservation partnerships will 
provide as much or more benefit than consultation under section 7(a)(2) 
related to the critical habitat designation (the primary benefit of a 
designation).
    The exclusion of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians lands is 
not based on the 2007 draft Tribal HCP, but is primarily based on the 
importance of our government-to-government relationship with the Agua 
Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, our conservation partnership with 
the Tribe, and their current management of tribal lands as described in 
the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy (adopted by the Tribe on November 
12, 2002, and implemented since its adoption). Furthermore, in 
accordance with the Secretarial Order 3206, ``American Indian Tribal 
Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered 
Species Act'' (June 5, 1997); 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 relevant 
provision of the Departmental Manual of the Department of the Interior 
(512 DM 2), we believe that fish, wildlife, and other natural resources 
on tribal lands are better managed under tribal authorities, policies, 
and programs than through Federal regulation wherever possible and 
practicable. Based on this philosophy, we believe that, in most cases, 
designation of tribal lands as critical habitat provides very little 
additional benefit to threatened and endangered species. Conversely, 
such designation is often viewed by tribes as unwarranted and an 
unwanted intrusion into tribal self governance, thus compromising the 
government-to-government relationship essential to achieving our mutual 
goal of managing for healthy ecosystems upon which the viability of 
threatened and endangered species populations depend. As an indication 
of the success of our partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of 
Cahuilla Indians and their commitment to natural resources management, 
a regional HCP is being developed, which incorporates protections and 
management of this DPS's essential physical and biological features.
    The protections provided by the Coachella Valley MSHCP and the 
Tribe's resource management are consistent with the mandates under 
section 7 of the Act to avoid destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat and go beyond that prohibition by including active 
management and protection of essential habitat areas. These established 
partnerships demonstrate a continued commitment to conservation and aid 
in fostering additional partnerships for the benefit of all sensitive 
species on tribally-owned or controlled lands, Coachella Valley MSHCP 
permittee-owned/controlled lands, and other private lands. Finally, we 
determined that the Tribe's management of its resources provides 
protection and management, in perpetuity, of lands that meet the 
definition of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep in Units 1 
and 2A, and the Coachella Valley MSHCP provides further evidence of 
this partnership and continued protection of these features. 
Furthermore, we determined that the routine implementation of 
conservation measures in these units, combined with protections 
provided under the jeopardy standard of section 7 of the Act in these 
two occupied units, provide assurances that the DPS will not go extinct 
as a result of these exclusions.
    Please see the ``Application of Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant 
Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' section of this final rule for 
additional discussion of the Coachella Valley MSHCP and tribal 
conservation strategies and the benefits provided to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep.
    Comment 3: Several peer reviewers stated that alluvial fans and 
low-elevation habitat provide important resources for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and noted that the proposed critical habitat does not 
include extensive areas of alluvial fans and other low-elevation 
habitat that were included in the 2001 critical habitat designation. 
Two peer reviewers stated that, based on a geographic information 
systems (GIS) evaluation of proposed critical habitat by California 
Department of Parks and Recreation staff, nearly 250,000 ac (101,172 
ha) of habitat have been removed from the eastern side of critical 
habitat, as compared to critical habitat designated in 2001. The peer 
reviewers further stated this area includes alluvial fans, washes, 
bajadas (i.e., converging alluvial fans), canyon bottoms, and open 
playas, which provide important forage resources and which are used 
during movement between more mountainous terrain. One peer reviewer 
stated that the fact that bighorn sheep use gentle terrain, such as 
alluvial fans and washes, despite potentially increasing their risk of 
predation, provides strong evidence that these areas provide critically 
important resources.
    Another peer reviewer commented that the 2007 proposed revision 
eliminates key low-slope areas and raises the boundary upslope, which 
they assert is a contradiction to the best available science. One peer 
reviewer noted there are contradictions of slope

[[Page 17292]]

condition in the rule based on straight lines drawn on the critical 
habitat maps, even though the text in the proposed rule describes the 
importance of gentle slopes to bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: We agree that low-elevation habitat is important for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep because these areas can provide seasonal 
abundance of forage vegetation and water resources. In our August 26, 
2008, NOA (73 FR 50498), we announced a revision to our criteria used 
to identify critical habitat to include occurrence data from 1988 to 
2008. Because of comments received from peer reviewers and the public 
about low-elevation habitat and the revision of our criteria used to 
identify critical habitat to include a larger occurrence data set, we 
reevaluated and revised our proposed revised critical habitat boundary. 
In our August 26, 2008, NOA (73 FR 50498), we announced changes to the 
proposed critical habitat revision, including the addition of 36,240 ac 
(14,667 ha) of habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep, the majority of 
which is low-elevation, low-slope, or alluvial-fan habitat on the 
eastern edge of the Peninsular Ranges. We acknowledge there are some 
low-elevation areas included in the 2001 designation of critical 
habitat that are not included in this final designation. However, 
currently available data do not support a determination that these 
areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
of listing are essential for the conservation of the sheep; therefore 
these areas do not meet the definition of critical habitat.
    Please see the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat,'' the 
``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation to the 
2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat,'' and the ``Summary of 
Changes From the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat to This 
Final Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this final rule for 
further discussion of this topic.
    Comment 4: One peer reviewer objected to the statement in the 
proposed critical habitat rule that essential habitat delineated in the 
Recovery Plan (and in the 2001 critical habitat designation) included a 
``buffer'' of 0.5 mile (mi) (0.8 kilometer (km)) around slopes greater 
than or equal to 20 percent. The peer reviewer stated that buffer areas 
identified in the Recovery Plan were added as ``essential habitat'' (as 
defined in the Recovery Plan) because these areas include important 
resources for bighorn sheep; they were not added as a buffer around 
essential habitat. The peer reviewer reiterated what was written in the 
Recovery Plan (i.e., that bighorn sheep have been observed at great 
distances from slopes of greater than or equal to 20 percent, and the 
recovery team chose to define essential habitat as those areas within 
800 m (2,625 ft) of slopes of greater than or equal to 20 percent). 
Additionally, the peer reviewer stated that the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep recovery team recognized that this area would capture the 
majority of Peninsular bighorn sheep use in these areas and that 
inclusion of these areas represented inclusion of important resources.
    Our Response: The Recovery Plan acknowledges that the 800-m (2,625-
ft) area around slopes greater than or equal to 20 percent is a buffer. 
Page 157 of the Recovery Plan describes the process of delineating 
these areas as follows: ``A buffer of 0.8 kilometer (0.5 mile) was then 
applied to the perimeter of all areas of slope [greater than or equal 
to 20 percent] in the derivative grid.'' The inclusion of this area 
around 20 percent slopes adds expanses of land to the Recovery Plan 
area and the 2001 critical habitat designation, but we have relatively 
little to no occurrence data indicating that sheep use those areas. By 
including these 0.5-mi (0.8-km) buffers in the Recovery Plan, a 
boundary was developed that included almost any location that a 
Peninsular bighorn sheep could possibly roam, but such a buffer would 
not meet the statutory definition of ``critical habitat,'' because such 
areas are not essential for the conservation of the DPS. As stated in 
section 3(5)(C) of the Act, except in those circumstances determined by 
the Secretary, critical habitat shall not include the entire 
geographical area which can be occupied by the threatened or endangered 
species. Please see the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat,'' 
and the ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation 
To the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this 
final rule for further discussion of this topic.
    Comment 5: One peer reviewer stated that the proposed delineation 
does not appear to be based on good science or conservation principles 
and that the major reduction in area (as compared to the original 
critical habitat delineated in 2001) will jeopardize the chances of 
recovery and survival of this population. A second peer reviewer stated 
that the proposal to remove over 50 percent of critical habitat is 
contrary to the PCEs as well as the Recovery Plan. A third peer 
reviewer believes the revised critical habitat is geared towards 
sustaining the current, low population level of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep, rather than planning for recovery. Finally, a fourth peer 
reviewer stated it is unclear what changed between the time of the 2000 
Recovery Plan and today that would cause certain areas to be eliminated 
that were previously determined as essential for the DPS's recovery.
    Our Response: The designation of critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep is based on the best scientific data available regarding 
the DPS, including: (1) A compilation of data from peer-reviewed, 
published literature; (2) unpublished or non-peer reviewed survey and 
research reports; and (3) opinions of biologists knowledgeable about 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and their habitat. Consequently, the PCEs, as 
described in this final rule, represent our best assessment of what 
habitat components are essential for the conservation of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep, and we believe that our final revised designation is 
adequate to ensure the conservation of this DPS throughout its extant 
range.
    The Act defines critical habitat as (1) the specific areas within 
the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed 
on which are found those physical or biological features (a) essential 
to the conservation of the species, and (b) which may require special 
management considerations or protection, and (2) specific areas outside 
the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed 
upon a determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for 
the conservation of the species. Consistent with section 3(5)(C) of the 
Act, the designation does not include the entire geographical area 
which can be occupied by Peninsular bighorn sheep, but is limited to 
those areas that we determined meet the definition of critical habitat. 
The reduction in total area from what was identified as important for 
the Peninsular bighorn sheep in the Recovery Plan and designated in 
2001 is primarily the result of: (1) Exclusions of habitat under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act; (2) revision of the primary constituent 
elements; (3) revision of our criteria used to identify critical 
habitat; (4) removal of lands within the geographical area occupied by 
the DPS at the time it was listed that do not contain the physical or 
biological features as identified by the PCEs in the appropriate 
quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of the 
DPS; and (5) removal of lands outside the geographical area occupied by 
the DPS at the time it was listed that are not

[[Page 17293]]

essential for the conservation of the DPS.
    The 2001 critical habitat designation was predominantly based on 
the 2000 Recovery Plan, and we used the best available scientific 
information at that time to delineate critical habitat. Since 2001, we 
received significant additional occurrence data and formulated a better 
understanding about specific habitat requirements of this DPS that was 
not known when we first designated critical habitat for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. We utilized this new information to appropriately revise 
the PCEs and criteria used to identify critical habitat, consistent 
with the Act. Additionally, case law has developed since 2001 regarding 
the Act's requirements and the definition of critical habitat (e.g., 
The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance v. U.S. Dep't of the 
Interior, 344 F. Supp. 2d 108 (D.D.C. 2004); Home Builders Ass'n of N. 
Cal. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80255 (E.D. 
Cal. 2006); and Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n v. Kempthorne, 534 F. 
Supp. 2d 1013 (D. Ariz. 2008)).
    Therefore, we refined our approach to this critical habitat 
designation, including identification of the geographical areas 
occupied by the DPS at the time of listing, identification of physical 
or biological features essential to the conservation of the DPS, 
determination of any areas outside the geographical area occupied by 
the DPS at the time of listing that are essential for the conservation 
of the DPS, and appropriate exclusions under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act. A complete discussion of how data collected since the 2001 
designation were utilized to refine the proposed designation can be 
found in the ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat 
Designation To the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' and 
``Summary of Changes From the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical 
Habitat To This Final Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of 
this final rule.
    We delineated critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep 
using the criteria presented in the ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section of this final rule. Application of these 
criteria results in the determination of the physical and biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of this DPS, identified 
as the DPS's PCEs laid out in the appropriate quantity and spatial 
arrangement essential to the conservation of the DPS. Therefore, not 
all areas supporting the identified PCEs will meet the definition of 
critical habitat.
    Refer to our response to Comment 1 for a discussion on the 
difference between critical habitat designation and development of a 
Recovery Plan.
    Our proposed designation, in combination with our August 26, 2008, 
NOA, which announced the addition of areas to the proposed designation, 
and this final designation accurately describe all specific areas 
meeting the statutory definition of critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. See the ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical 
Habitat Designation To the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical 
Habitat'' and ``Summary of Changes From the 2007 Proposed Rule To 
Revise Critical Habitat To This Final Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' 
sections of this final rule for more information.
    Comment 6: Two peer reviewers pointed out that the proposed 
critical habitat rule states that researchers have documented movement 
of rams ``between up to three ewe groups.'' The peer reviewers 
suggested this statement incorrectly cites Rubin et al. (1998), which 
documented male movement among at least six groups, and the proposed 
rule therefore underestimates the importance of connectivity throughout 
the range. The peer reviewers stated that researchers have documented 
movement of radio collared males and females among all eight 
subpopulations, demonstrating that these subpopulations are currently 
linked via animal movement. One peer reviewer stated that historic ram 
movement data between the northern Santa Rosa Mountains and the San 
Jacinto Mountains was not used in delineating proposed critical 
habitat. The peer reviewer further stated that they believe the Service 
has had this data for years and, if used, they believe the Service 
would not have developed a critical habitat designation lacking 
connectivity between critical habitat units.
    Our Response: We corrected the section of the critical habitat 
designation involving the Rubin et al. (1998) citation mentioned above 
and included the additional information on the metapopulation structure 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep into the PCEs discussion in this rule. With 
regard to historic ram movement data and connectivity, see our response 
to Comment 1 and the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' and 
``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation To the 
2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this final 
rule for further discussion.
    Comment 7: One peer reviewer believes that the critical habitat 
designation should encompass areas of historical occupancy if it is 
intended to aid in the recovery of the Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: Please refer to our response to Comment 5 for the 
statutory definition of critical habitat. The Service may designate as 
critical habitat areas outside the geographical area occupied by a 
species at the time it was listed (i.e., historical habitat) only when 
we can determine that those areas are essential for the conservation of 
the species (section 3(5)(A)(ii) of the Act). We have determined that 
designating critical habitat solely within the geographical area 
occupied by the DPS at the time it was listed will provide for the 
conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep. We, therefore, did not 
include areas of historical occupancy that were outside of these areas. 
As previously mentioned in this final rule, critical habitat 
designations do not signal that habitat outside the designation is 
unimportant or may not contribute to a species' recovery. See our 
response to Comment 5 above and the ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section of this final rule for more information.
    Comment 8: One peer reviewer had concerns about designating 
critical habitat based on occupancy at the time of listing. The peer 
reviewer identified what the peer reviewer believed to be two 
shortcomings of this approach, as follows: (1) Critical habitat is 
designated based on the distribution of a species at its lowest 
abundance level, and most likely its most limited spatial distribution, 
thereby reducing the probability of encompassing areas required for 
full recovery; and (2) designated critical habitat assumes that all 
areas have been sufficiently surveyed to document occupancy and doesn't 
address false absences. Another peer reviewer believes that the Service 
failed to recognize false absences as a result of this approach, and 
that this is a grave error because the peer reviewer believes many 
important areas may not be included in the critical habitat 
designation.
    Our Response: In response to the peer reviewer's comment and other 
public comments related to the delineation of critical habitat based on 
occupancy at the time of listing, we revised our criteria used to 
delineate critical habitat as announced in the NOA published in the 
Federal Register on August 25, 2008 (73 FR 50498). As a revision to our 
criteria, we included areas with occupancy data indicating they are 
currently occupied or areas with occupancy data indicating they were 
occupied at some point between 2008

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(present time) and 1988 (i.e., the time of listing (1998) less 10 
years, which is the average lifespan of Peninsular bighorn sheep). Use 
of a data set that considers a larger time-span of occurrence data 
accounts for the large fluctuations in Peninsular bighorn sheep 
population levels over the last two decades, and provides a reasonable 
delineation of the geographical area occupied by the species at the 
time of listing. After rangewide estimates were made in the 1970s, the 
population was estimated as high as 1,171 in 1974 (Weaver 1974, p. 5). 
The population was estimated at 570 individuals in 1988 (Weaver 1989, 
p. 11). We reported in the final listing rule for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep that the population at that time (1998) was approximately 280 
individuals (March 18, 1998, 63 FR 13134). The most recent estimate 
from 2006 puts the population at approximately 800 individuals (Torres 
2007, p. 1). By considering occurrence data between 1988 and the 
present, we are not designating critical habitat based on the 
distribution of the DPS at its lowest abundance level, nor its most 
limited spatial distribution as the peer reviewer suggested.
    We realize that false absences can result from rangewide surveys 
for Peninsular bighorn sheep. Additionally, we are aware that not all 
areas within the range of the DPS have been surveyed or studied 
equally. For example, there is a disproportionate amount of data from 
the northern half of the Peninsular Ranges in the United States, 
compared to the southern half that has not been studied as thoroughly. 
Regardless, we used the best available scientific information and 
occurrence data in determining areas occupied by Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. No information is available to indicate which portions of the 
DPS's range might include false absences.
    Comment 9: One peer reviewer believes that delineation of critical 
habitat must not rely on simple occurrence data alone, but should also 
rely on robust methods of identifying and mapping critical habitat 
based on habitat features.
    Our Response: We agree with the peer reviewer's statement. We 
delineated critical habitat based on occurrence data and a combination 
of habitat features. We designated critical habitat for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep within areas that we determined were occupied at the time 
of listing and that contain the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of the DPS. Lands were designated based 
on sufficient essential features being present to support the life 
processes. Please see our response to Comment 5 and the ``Criteria Used 
To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this final rule for detailed 
discussions.
    Comment 10: One peer reviewer noted a large number of known 
Peninsular bighorn sheep locations (documented post-listing) that were 
not included in the proposed revised critical habitat and further 
stated that it was unclear why these areas were not included. Another 
peer reviewer listed multiple areas that are documented as occupied at 
or since the time of listing but were not included in the proposed 
critical habitat designation. The peer reviewer indicated that 
occurrence data documenting occupancy were provided to the Service 
prior to the delineation of proposed critical habitat, and further 
stated that these areas provide lambing habitat, foraging areas, 
connectivity between mountainous areas, and important water sources. 
The peer reviewer determined that nearly 1,000 of these locations were 
not included in the proposed critical habitat following an examination 
of occurrence data collected during 2001 to 2003 with the use of Global 
Positioning System (GPS) collars in areas between Highway 74 and the 
southern edge of the Vallecito Mountains. Finally, another peer 
reviewer believes there are large areas without location data of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep that are included as critical habitat and 
areas with bighorn sheep location data that are not included as 
critical habitat.
    Our Response: Upon receiving the peer reviewers' comments, we 
examined the occurrence data considered in the delineation of the 
proposed revised critical habitat and found that a set of data was 
missing from our GIS database. Subsequently, we included that 
occurrence data into our GIS database and double-checked to ensure that 
all occurrence records submitted to the Service were included for our 
analyses. In light of this data and our revised criteria used to 
identify critical habitat (i.e., a data set that includes data since 
1988), we revised our proposed critical habitat boundary, as reported 
in the NOA, to include the areas represented by the location data 
(August 26, 2008, 73 FR 50498).
    Comment 11: One peer reviewer suggested the proposed revised 
critical habitat could have been improved had it been an ``open 
process'' that included the expertise of biologists on the Recovery 
Team, as well as others who have worked with bighorn sheep for decades, 
like what was done for the Peninsular bighorn sheep Recovery Plan. The 
peer reviewer believes that the resulting proposed critical habitat 
designation reflects a hurried process that used arbitrary decision-
making, is not scientifically based, and contradicts the Services' 
Recovery Plan for the DPS.
    Our Response: Contrary to the opinion of the peer reviewer, 
designating critical habitat is an open process. We solicited 
additional expert opinion and public comment through publication of our 
proposed revised rule that was developed using the best scientific data 
available at that point in time. As stated in the proposed rule, 
comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation 
used in the preparation of the proposed rule, are available for public 
inspection at the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. In accordance with 
section 4(5)(A) of the Act and the regulations at 50 CFR 424.16(c)(1), 
the Secretary shall--
    (i) Publish notice of the proposal in the Federal Register;
    (ii) Give actual notice of the proposed regulation (including the 
complete text of the regulation) to the State agency in each State in 
which the species is believed to occur, and to each county or 
equivalent jurisdiction therein in which the species is believed to 
occur, and invite the comment of each such agency and jurisdiction;
    (iii) Give notice of the proposed regulation to any Federal 
agencies, local authorities, or private individuals or organizations 
known to be affected by the rule;
    (iv) Insofar as practical, and in cooperation with the Secretary of 
State, give notice of the proposed regulation to list, delist, or 
reclassify a species to each foreign nation in which the species is 
believed to occur or whose citizens harvest the species on the high 
seas, and invite the comment of such nation;
    (v) Give notice of the proposed regulation to such professional 
scientific organizations as the Secretary deems appropriate; and
    (vi) Publish a summary of the proposed regulation in a newspaper of 
general circulation in each area of the United States in which the 
species is believed to occur. Further, the regulations at 50 CFR 
424.16(c)(2) state that at least 60 days shall be allowed for public 
comment following publication in the Federal Register of a rule 
proposing the listing, delisting, or reclassification of a species, or 
the designation or revision of critical habitat.
    On May 14, 2007, representatives from the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office and the Regional Office, including the Regional 
Director, met with recovery team members in part to inform members that 
we were initiating work to propose revisions to designated critical 
habitat for the Peninsular

[[Page 17295]]

bighorn sheep. At that meeting, we requested that recovery team members 
submit any data they wanted us to consider in our proposed revision. We 
received data from one recovery team member in response to this 
request.
    During the development of this revision to critical habitat for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep, we followed the appropriate guidance and 
regulations regarding inclusion of expert biologists and other 
appropriate entities, including the general public. In accordance with 
our policy on peer review published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinions from five 
knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise that included 
familiarity with the DPS, the geographic region in which it occurs, and 
conservation biology principles. We reviewed all comments received from 
the peer reviewers and the public for substantive issues and new 
information regarding the designation of critical habitat for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Under section 4(f)(2) of the Act, the Secretary may procure the 
services of appropriate public and private agencies and institutions 
and other qualified persons in developing and implementing recovery 
plans. However, the Act limits the use of recovery teams appointed 
under this subsection to the development and implementation of recovery 
plans. The Act does not contain a provision for development of critical 
habitat teams. However, the Service could set up a critical habitat 
team, but it would be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act 
(FACA), unlike a recovery team that is exempt from FACA. Since the Act 
contains specific timeframes for completion of critical habitat 
designations, creating a critical habitat team would slow the process 
of designation of critical habitat causing us to be out of compliance 
with the statutory requirements of the Act. However, consistent with 
our peer review policy and the Act's standard of using the best 
available scientific data, we openly and publically solicited 
information for consideration in rule development and solicited peer 
review of our proposal.
    In total, we received comments from all five peer reviewers that we 
solicited comments from, and we received 5,299 comments from the 
general public during two public comment periods and two public 
hearings. Therefore, we believe we followed an open process during 
development of the Peninsular bighorn sheep revised critical habitat 
designation.
    Regarding the peer reviewer's beliefs that the proposed critical 
habitat designation reflects a hurried process that used arbitrary 
decision-making and was not scientifically based, we disagree with this 
comment. As noted above, we solicited information from the entire 
Peninsular bighorn sheep recovery team prior to the proposed revisions 
to the designation. We also solicited expert opinions from five 
knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise that included 
familiarity with the DPS, the geographic region in which it occurs, and 
conservation biology principles. Additionally, the designation of 
critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep is based on the best 
scientific data available regarding the DPS, including: (1) A 
compilation of data from peer-reviewed, published literature; (2) 
unpublished or non-peer reviewed survey and research reports; and (3) 
opinions of biologists knowledgeable about Peninsular bighorn sheep and 
their habitat (see our response to Comment 5 and the ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat'' section for additional discussion on use of 
available scientific data and how this data was used to develop 
criteria for identifying critical habitat).
    Comment 12: One peer reviewer believes it is impossible to 
duplicate the delineation of the revised critical habitat based on the 
Service's poorly described methods and an inadequate explanation of how 
the PCEs were used to delineate critical habitat. Another peer reviewer 
believes the proposed rule does not provide specifics on how proposed 
revised critical habitat was delineated, nor does it include discussion 
of the actual methods of identifying and mapping the PCEs. The same 
peer reviewer stated that along several sections of the proposed 
revised critical habitat boundary, the boundary line follows a 
perfectly straight course, which does not appear to conform to (or 
follow) any obvious biological or topographical feature; therefore, the 
peer reviewer questioned how this boundary line was placed. Another 
peer reviewer could not identify the specific methods used to create 
the revised boundary of the proposed rule and further stated that the 
boundary lines give the appearance of being hand-drawn, rather than 
based on a scientific method.
    Our Response: As discussed in our response to Comment 5 above and 
the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this 
final rule, we delineated critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep using the following criteria: (1) Areas that contain the PCEs 
required by the DPS as determined from aerial imagery and GIS data on 
vegetation, elevation, and slope; (2) areas within the ewe group 
distribution (i.e., subpopulations) boundaries identified by Rubin et 
al. (1998); (3) areas occupied by the subspecies between 2008 (present 
time) and 1988; and (4) areas where occupancy data points indicate 
repeated Peninsular bighorn sheep use, but which were not captured 
within the ewe group distribution boundaries identified by Rubin et al. 
(1998). Application of these criteria results in the determination of 
the physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of this DPS, identified as the DPS's PCEs laid out in the 
appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the 
conservation of the DPS. Since the 2007 proposed rule, we revised the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this rule to 
provide more detail and description of the stepwise process used, data 
considered, habitat features mapped, and method used to delineate 
critical habitat boundaries. The boundaries were drawn with GIS 
software using detailed aerial imagery maps and data layers of 
occurrences and habitat information. Any straight lines along the 
boundary of critical habitat are the result of following habitat 
features that are naturally straight in appearance.
    Comment 13: One peer reviewer asked if a model was employed, and if 
so, describe the type and state whether it was based on expert opinion.
    Our Response: We did not use a model to delineate critical habitat 
for the Peninsular bighorn sheep. For more information on how we 
delineated critical habitat, see the ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section of this final rule.
    Comment 14: One peer reviewer inquired as to whether or not PCEs 
were weighted in the process of revising critical habitat.
    Our Response: The PCEs were not weighted in the process of revising 
critical habitat.
    Comment 15: One peer reviewer expressed concern that Anza Borrego 
Desert State Park's vegetation maps were not utilized in the critical 
habitat revision. The peer reviewer believes that vegetation has a 
critical influence on what type of habitat the Peninsular bighorn sheep 
use; therefore, he asserts that this information would have been 
instrumental in delineating a more accurate critical habitat boundary. 
Another peer reviewer asked which vegetation layer was used in 
delineating critical habitat.
    Our Response: We believed it was important to use a GIS vegetation 
data

[[Page 17296]]

layer that provided a consistent analysis over the entire extent of the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep range. Any vegetation layers that were 
prepared for a specific entity, including a park (such as Anza Borrego 
Desert State Park) or individual county, were not all-encompassing and 
therefore inappropriate for the analysis. The proposed and final 
revised critical habitat includes land in three separate counties 
(Imperial, Riverside, and San Diego). Therefore, the GIS layer that we 
used for the vegetation analysis portion of defining proposed critical 
habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep was the Fire and Resource 
Assessment Program layer created by the California Department of 
Forestry and Fire Protection. For further information on this 
vegetation data, see their Web site at: http://frap/cdf/ca/gov. This 
vegetation layer was most appropriate because it extended over the 
entire area of the Peninsular Ranges and allowed for consistency in our 
analysis of vegetation across the range of this DPS.
    Comment 16: One peer reviewer was concerned that our methodology 
included an elevation cut-off of 4,600 ft (1,400 m) to guide the 
critical habitat boundary line. The peer reviewer stated that, at 
times, Peninsular bighorn sheep rely on areas higher than this, 
especially on the western side of the Santa Rosa Mountains.
    Our Response: We acknowledge that Peninsular bighorn sheep have 
occasionally been observed above 4,600 ft (1,400 m) elevation; however, 
it is commonly accepted that sheep within the Peninsular Ranges are 
primarily restricted to lower elevations (see the ``Primary Constituent 
Elements (PCEs)'' section for more information). We do not have 
evidence to suggest that areas above 4,600 ft (1,400 m) elevation are 
essential for the conservation of this DPS, and the commenter did not 
provide information to support the assertion that sheep rely on higher 
elevations. As previously mentioned in this final rule, critical 
habitat designations do not signal that habitat outside of the 
designation is unimportant or may not contribute to recovery (see our 
response to Comment 1 above).
    Comment 17: One peer reviewer stated that the rule indicates that 
areas with canopy cover greater than 30 percent were not included as 
critical habitat. The peer reviewer asked what information was used to 
determine this cut-off point and what GIS data layer was used to 
identify these areas.
    Our Response: Generally, bighorn sheep primarily rely on their 
sense of sight to detect predators. Research shows that bighorn sheep 
will avoid habitat where dense vegetation reduces visibility and, 
instead, prefer to use habitat with vegetative canopy cover less than 
or equal to 30 percent (Risenhoover and Bailey 1985, p. 799; Etchberger 
et al. 1989, p. 906; Dunn 1996, p. 1). Bighorn sheep in the Peninsular 
Ranges avoid higher elevations (above 4,600 ft (1,400 m)), likely due 
to decreased visibility (and therefore increased predation risk) 
associated with denser vegetation (i.e., chaparral and conifer 
woodland) found at higher elevations (Service 2000, p. 10).
    The GIS layer that was used for the vegetation analysis for the 
proposed revised critical habitat designation for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep was the Fire and Resource Assessment Program layer 
created by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 
With this layer, we were able to highlight areas likely to have 
vegetative canopy cover over 30 percent (i.e., chaparral and conifer 
woodland). Subsequently, we used detailed aerial imagery to focus on 
those areas and visually confirm whether or not those areas had canopy 
cover above 30 percent. If areas appeared to have canopy cover over 30 
percent, those areas were removed from the critical habitat 
delineation. Therefore, vegetated areas within the final revised 
critical habitat designation include only those areas that provide 
lower density vegetation and better visibility to detect potential 
predators.
    Comment 18: One peer reviewer inquired as to how we identified 
areas unlikely to be used by Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we used 
the best scientific data available in designating critical habitat, and 
more specifically (as per section 3(5)(A) of the Act), in determining 
the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the DPS at 
the time of listing that contain the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the DPS which may require special 
management considerations or protection, as well as in determining if 
any specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the DPS at 
the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the DPS. 
Areas unlikely to be used by Peninsular bighorn sheep were identified 
by Service biologists using detailed aerial imagery maps of the 
Peninsular Ranges with GIS information on vegetation, elevation, slope, 
and sheep occurrence data from 1988 to 2008. Please see our responses 
to Comments 5, 16, and 17 and the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical 
Habitat'' section for additional information related to how we used the 
data to delineate critical habitat.
    Comment 19: One peer reviewer noted that the proposed rule (72 FR 
57740, October 10, 2007) includes language describing how the 
delineation of critical habitat is supported by a draft habitat model 
provided to the Service by Peninsular bighorn sheep biologists, because 
areas designated as critical habitat ``roughly fall within the upper 
level habitat suitability classes derived from the preliminary model.'' 
The peer reviewer believes the Service incorrectly interpreted the 
draft model, suggesting that the Service did not understand the model 
results. The peer reviewer also stated that although the recent models 
are based on two years of GPS data from a subset of the total 
population, and may therefore underestimate use of some areas, they 
provide support for the essential habitat line and the original (2001) 
critical habitat line. The peer reviewer believes that the models do 
not provide support for the currently proposed revised critical habitat 
delineation.
    Our Response: As stated in the proposed rule, we did not adopt the 
above mentioned predictive habitat model in our critical habitat 
delineation process because: (1) It was in draft form and had not been 
peer reviewed; and (2) it was based on only two years of GPS data from 
a subset of the Peninsular bighorn sheep population. In response to 
comments received from peer reviewers and the public, we reanalyzed the 
draft predictive habitat model. However, we continue to believe it is 
inappropriate to draw conclusions on whether the model supports or does 
not support our revised critical habitat designation for this DPS 
because there are limitations in the data set used to create the model 
(i.e., only two years of GPS data), the model is in draft form, and has 
not been peer reviewed.
    Comment 20: One peer reviewer believes that the proposed rule (as 
written) suggests that the proposed critical habitat delineation was 
based partially on ewe group delineations in Rubin et al. (1998). The 
peer reviewer noted that the Rubin et al. (1998) ewe group delineation 
was intended to document the approximate known distribution of ewe 
groups at that time. The peer reviewer further stated the ewe group 
delineation was not intended to represent essential habitat, it does 
not include additional areas used by rams, and it does not represent 
areas of connectivity. The peer reviewer clarified that the ewe group 
delineation in Rubin et al. (1998) was based on a small number of 
radiocollared sheep

[[Page 17297]]

(GPS collars had not been used in the study at that time), it did not 
include locational information on sheep in the San Jacinto Mountains, 
and it was based on data collected in the mid-1990s when the population 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep was at its smallest known size. Finally, 
the peer reviewer contends that the proposed rule is implying that ewe-
group delineations in Rubin et al. (1998) were based on animal 
locations collected during 1971-1996 (p. 57747). However, the peer 
reviewer stated that ewe-group delineations were actually based on data 
collected during 1993-1996; Rubin et al. (1998) did use data collected 
since 1971, but those data were only represented by water-hole count 
data (used to examine long-term abundance trends). Therefore, the peer 
reviewer believes that the ewe group delineations in Rubin et al. 
(1998) present a minimum distribution of bighorn sheep in the 
Peninsular Ranges.
    Our Response: As stated in this final rule and the ``Criteria Used 
To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of the NOA (73 FR 50498, August 
26, 2008), we mapped ewe group areas from Rubin et al. (1998) over GIS 
imagery of the Peninsular Ranges to delineate the distribution of ewe 
groups in the proposed revised critical habitat as an initial step in 
the delineation process. We consider Rubin et al. (1998) to be the best 
available data on Peninsular bighorn sheep ewe group distribution. The 
ewe group delineations presented in Rubin et al. (1998) were based on 
data collected during 1993 to 1996 (not 1971 to 1996 as incorrectly 
stated in the proposed rule (72 FR 57740, October 10, 2007)), when the 
population of Peninsular bighorn sheep was at historically low levels. 
Therefore, the ewe group delineations present a minimum distribution of 
bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges. However, this is the only data 
we are aware of that identifies the distribution of ewe groups and 
subgroups within the Peninsular Ranges. Furthermore, we believe that 
the ewe groups presented in Rubin et al. (1998) accurately depict the 
general locations of the known ewe groups in these ranges and provide a 
logical starting point for the delineation of critical habitat.
    Comment 21: One peer reviewer believes that climate change will 
undoubtedly have an effect on habitat, and changes in temperature and 
precipitation will likely increase the importance of upper elevation 
habitats. Additionally, the peer reviewer believes the proposed 
revision to critical habitat excludes some high elevation areas 
currently occupied by bighorn sheep and reduces the protection of 
habitat that will be essential for conservation of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep in the future.
    Our Response: Peninsular bighorn sheep generally do not use the 
upper elevation habitats of the Peninsular Ranges at this time because 
those areas are more densely vegetated and provide conditions of poor 
visibility. For further discussion, see our responses to Comments 16 
and 17.
    We acknowledge that climate change could result in changes in the 
resources and habitat condition along an elevational gradient in the 
Peninsular Ranges. However, the scientific evidence available at this 
time does not suggest that upper elevation habitats in the Peninsular 
Ranges will become more visually open (i.e., more suitable for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep) as a result of a climate change scenario like 
that described by the peer reviewer. The peer reviewer did not submit 
any specific data supporting the contention for the need to expand 
critical habitat to include currently unoccupied upper elevation 
habitat. We are unaware of any studies or data that would indicate this 
request is appropriate. In fact, Epps et al. (2004, p. 111) applied a 
climate change model that assumed an increase in temperature of 2 
degrees Celsius and a decrease in precipitation of 12 percent and found 
no change in the probability of extinction for sheep in those ranges 
supporting the Peninsular bighorn sheep. Should additional data become 
available, we may revise this final critical habitat designation, 
subject to available funding and other conservation priorities.
    Comment 22: One peer reviewer agreed with the Service regarding 
correction of an earlier error to recognize this listed entity as a DPS 
of the subspecies Ovis canadensis nelsoni. The peer reviewer also 
stated that no attempt was made by the Service in the proposed rule to 
give the reader a full geographic picture of how this DPS fits into the 
larger distribution of that subspecies. The peer reviewer believes that 
this animal should be referred to as a DPS, avoiding the term 
subspecies. The peer reviewer believes that if Peninsular bighorn sheep 
is defined as simply ``bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges,'' then 
the word Peninsular in that phrase is redundant and unnecessary. The 
peer reviewer believes the problem is that the use of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep in this context gives the reader a false impression that 
there is something unique and different about this subspecies. The peer 
reviewer suggested this could be avoided by referring to the animal as 
``bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges.'' Another peer reviewer 
stated that the commonly accepted vernacular name for Ovis canadensis 
nelsoni is Nelson's bighorn sheep and not Peninsular bighorn sheep. The 
peer reviewer suggested the Service refer to this DPS throughout the 
rule as ``Nelson's bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges.''
    Our Response: As discussed in the Background section of this final 
rule, we are formally changing the listed entity as a DPS of the desert 
bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis nelsoni, and this final rule includes 
such change to the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife at 50 CFR 
17.11(h). Within this final rule, we believe it is appropriate to 
continue to refer to these sheep with the common name Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. Further, we will refer to this listed entity as a DPS, 
not a species or subspecies as we have in previous Federal Register 
publications. We also have included information on the geographic 
distribution of the desert bighorn sheep subspecies, of which 
Peninsular bighorn sheep are a DPS, in the ``Background'' section of 
this final rule.
    Comment 23: One peer reviewer noted that in the proposed rule the 
Service stated it ``has been hypothesized that desert bighorn sheep can 
survive without a permanent water source,'' although the Service did 
not provide a citation. The peer reviewer believes the most appropriate 
citation should have been Krausman et al. (1985), which demonstrated 
this to be true for a Sonoran Desert population. The peer reviewer 
further believes that more meaningful discussion would have compared 
high temperatures for the population studied by Krausman et al. (1985) 
with those in the Peninsular Ranges, from which a greater need for 
water could be surmised. The same peer reviewer noted that the Service 
also did not provide a citation in the proposed rule when referring to 
water as ``especially important to lactating ewes. * * *'' The peer 
reviewer believes that Bleich et al. (1997) refuted this as a myth.
    Our Response: In light of the peer reviewer's comment, we included 
the citation of Krausman et al. (1985) into our discussion of water in 
the ``Primary Constituent Elements (PCEs)'' section of this final rule. 
All other variables (e.g., vegetation, elevation, climate, terrain) 
being the same, we agree with the peer reviewer that it could be 
assumed that sheep living in ranges with higher temperatures would have 
a greater need for water. However, we are not aware of an analysis 
comparing the Peninsular Ranges to the Little Harquahalas studied

[[Page 17298]]

by Krausman et al. (1985, p. 26). Regarding the peer reviewer's comment 
regarding Bleich et al. (1997), we reevaluated the available literature 
on the importance of water to lactating ewes. As a result, we revised 
the discussion of water in the ``Primary Constituent Elements (PCEs)'' 
section of this final rule.
    Comment 24: One peer reviewer stated the proposed rule lists sites 
for breeding and space for mating as key habitat elements, but the peer 
reviewer believes there is no evidence to suggest that lack of breeding 
is a limiting factor for these sheep. The peer reviewer also believes 
there is no evidence that breeding takes place in any habitat other 
than where normal activities occur during the months in which breeding 
and mating take place.
    Our Response: We acknowledge the peer reviewer's concerns regarding 
Peninsular bighorn sheep breeding habitat. We did not suggest in the 
proposed rule that lack of breeding is a limiting factor for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep or that breeding occurs exclusively in a specific type of 
habitat. Rather, our intention was to highlight the importance of 
maintaining space for individual and population growth and normal 
behavior, which includes breeding.
    Comment 25: One peer reviewer believes the document could be 
strengthened by using primary literature (versus grey literature) and 
citing original sources.
    Our Response: Consistent with section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the 
Secretary shall use the best scientific data available when making 
critical habitat determinations. Data reviewed by the Secretary may 
include, but are not limited to, scientific or commercial publications, 
administrative reports, maps or other graphic materials, information 
received from experts on the subject, and comments from interested 
parties. Designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
includes a compilation of data from peer-reviewed, published 
literature; unpublished or non-peer reviewed survey and research 
reports; and opinions of biologists knowledgeable about Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and their habitat. We use primary literature whenever 
possible, although in some cases grey literature provides timely and 
detailed information that may otherwise not be available. Therefore, in 
this final revised critical habitat designation we have used the best 
scientific information available at this time, including updated 
information provided by peer reviewers and commenters, which is 
incorporated into this rule where appropriate.
    Comment 26: One peer reviewer believes the distribution of critical 
habitat could be more exact (and defensible) based on locations of 
sheep. The peer reviewer further stated that the Service should 
consider documented sheep locations approximately 500-1,000 m (1,640-
3,280 ft) in any direction as the boundary of critical habitat, because 
the peer reviewer believes this would be defensible given the accuracy 
of the radio and GPS collar generated locations. Finally, the peer 
reviewer suggested other defensible options for a more exact critical 
habitat delineation, including the use of minimum convex polygons or 95 
percent adaptive kernel techniques (and the connectivity between them).
    Our Response: Consistent with 50 CFR 424.12(b), when considering 
the designation of critical habitat, the Secretary shall focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements within the 
defined area that are essential to the conservation of a given species 
and that may require special management considerations or protection. 
Additionally, as per section 3(5)(A)(ii) of the Act, critical habitat 
also includes specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by 
the species at the time it is listed if such areas are essential for 
the conservation of the species. While delineating critical habitat, we 
not only considered Peninsular bighorn sheep locations, but also a 
combination of habitat features. We believe that drawing circles around 
occurrence points as the commenter has suggested (by delineating the 
critical habitat boundary as 500-1,000 m (1,640-3,280 ft) in any 
direction of a sheep location) would not accurately reflect essential 
habitat for this DPS because collared sheep represent a subset of the 
total number of sheep in the Peninsular Ranges. Additionally, there are 
a disproportionate number of collared animals in the northern extent of 
the DPS's range compared to the southern extent of its range. 
Therefore, we believe basing critical habitat only on occurrence data 
would lead to an underrepresentation of the habitat essential to the 
whole population.
    Both the minimum convex polygons or 95 percent adaptive kernel 
techniques could be valid options for determining a species' habitat or 
home range; however, we believe our criteria used to identify critical 
habitat gives a more precise delineation of essential habitat based on 
occurrence data and the physical or biological features essential to 
the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep (see ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat''). We did consider the use of other 
techniques to delineate critical habitat, including minimum convex 
polygons or 95 percent adaptive kernel techniques such as the peer 
reviewer suggested. However, those techniques can yield broad and 
irregularly shaped polygons of habitat inclusive of expanses of areas 
that lack occurrence data.
    We delineated critical habitat boundaries as described in the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this final 
rule. Please see this section for a detailed discussion of the 
delineation process used for this rule.
    Comment 27: One peer reviewer stated it was not clear in the 
proposed rule how the distribution of bighorn sheep and occupied areas 
were determined. The peer reviewer believes the ``Methods'' section 
does not define occupied habitat. The peer reviewer believes that if 
sheep are regularly using an area, it is important for the Service to 
define occupied habitat. However, if sheep have not used an area in 
more than 5 to 10 years and there is no suitable habitat adjacent to 
that area, the peer reviewer believes it would be difficult to defend 
this area as critical. The peer reviewer suggested an in-depth 
cumulative effects examination to address this issue.
    Our Response: We agree with the peer reviewer that areas of 
regular, repeated sheep use are important to this DPS; however, we 
disagree with the peer reviewer's assertion that areas not used by 
sheep in more than 5 to 10 years will be difficult to defend as 
critical habitat. Section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act defines critical 
habitat as the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time 
it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the Act, 
on which are found those physical or biological features (a) essential 
to the conservation of the species and (b) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. As a revision to our criteria 
announced in the NOA (73 FR 50498, August 26, 2008), we included areas 
with occupancy data indicating they are currently occupied or areas 
with occupancy data indicating they were occupied at some point between 
2008 (present time) and 1988 (i.e., the time of listing (1998) less 10 
years, which is the average lifespan of Peninsular bighorn sheep).
    Use of a data set that considers a larger time-span of occurrence 
data accounts for the large fluctuations in Peninsular bighorn sheep 
population levels over the last two decades. Because the average 
lifespan of sheep is approximately 10 years (Botta 2008a, p. 1), areas 
occupied 10 years prior to listing should be considered occupied at 
listing. Therefore, we appropriately

[[Page 17299]]

included areas supporting the essential physical and biological 
features that may require special management considerations or 
protection that are within areas occupied at the time of listing. We 
did not include areas that were unsuitable or otherwise did not support 
physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species. Please see our response to Comment 8 and ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this rule for additional 
discussion on occupancy and methodology used to develop critical 
habitat.
    With regard to the assertions about a cumulative effects analysis, 
the peer reviewer may be confusing a cumulative effects analysis under 
section 7 of the Act or NEPA with the process for designating critical 
habitat. A ``cumulative effects'' analysis is not required under 
section 4 of the Act. Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we did consider 
the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of 
designating critical habitat.
    Comment 28: One peer reviewer believes that bighorn sheep habitat 
along the border could be altered by illegal immigrants and the Border 
Patrol (or other agents that pursue illegal immigrants). The peer 
reviewer also believes that future economic growth could further 
infringe on the bighorn sheep's habitat in the southern part of its 
range as it has in the northern part of its range. The peer reviewer 
believes that these issues should be addressed in a cumulative effects 
analysis.
    Our Response: When delineating critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep, we used the best available scientific information to 
determine those areas that meet the definition of critical habitat. We 
do not have any data indicating that activities associated with the 
Border Patrol activities or illegal immigration threaten Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat along the border, nor did the peer reviewer 
supply data to support this assumption. The DEA analyzed projected 
economic growth and associated economic impacts, and the majority of 
projected growth is expected to occur in the northern part of the 
range. We recognize the potential threat of development in the 
``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this 
final rule. Again, the peer reviewer may be confusing a cumulative 
effects analysis under section 7 of the Act or NEPA with the process 
for designating critical habitat.
    Comment 29: One peer reviewer did not agree with our discussion of 
the potential negative effects of roads to Peninsular bighorn sheep as 
stated in the 2007 proposed rule. The peer reviewer believes that the 
citation of Epps et al. (2005, p. 1035) in the proposed rule is 
inappropriate to this DPS because that study was concerned with the 
effects of major fenced highways, and the roads in question in the 
Peninsular Ranges are smaller two-lane roads that Peninsular bighorn 
sheep cross regularly.
    Our Response: In light of the above comment, we revised our 
discussion of the effects of roads on Peninsular bighorn sheep and 
revised our citation of Epps et al. (2005). Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this final rule.
    Comment 30: One peer reviewer believes that the discussion in the 
2007 proposed rule of behavioral interactions between humans and 
bighorn sheep is not objective and lacks a real analysis of the problem 
as its basis. The peer reviewer believes that an analysis is required 
regarding our statement that ``disturbance could modify the sheep's 
behavior or cause bighorn sheep to flee an area.'' The peer reviewer 
believes this statement falsely implies that such an incident is 
detrimental to the conservation of this animal. Additionally, the peer 
reviewer suggested we provide an alternative statement indicating that 
bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges are a good example of a DPS that 
can readily habituate to human activities that are non-threatening and 
geographically predictable.
    Our Response: The opening paragraphs of our proposed revised 
critical habitat designation clearly state that the rule is not 
intended to serve as a comprehensive review of desert bighorn sheep 
ecology and conservation, and such reviews can be found elsewhere. The 
proposed rule briefly discusses the natural history and management of 
bighorn sheep, and then concentrates upon the methodology used to 
designate critical habitat. The effects of human activities on bighorn 
sheep have been discussed and debated by many biologists and managers 
for decades; thus, we included a brief synopsis of the topic. We 
recognized there were differences of opinion, and thus we were careful 
to include words such as ``potential.'' It should be noted that we were 
discussing human activity in a general sense, and we listed a variety 
of activities as examples.
    A careful review of the literature reveals that bighorn sheep group 
or individual responses to human activity are highly variable and 
influenced by local factors and local history. Therefore, generalized 
statements extending to all bighorn sheep are inappropriate. An 
overwhelming majority of biologists have expressed concern and have 
recommended limiting or managing human activities in bighorn sheep 
habitat. The peer reviewer is correct in asserting that much of the 
literature consists of opinions and that there is a need for additional 
well-designed studies that provide stronger inferences. However, 
considering the volume of opinions on the potential impacts that human 
activities may have on bighorn sheep, it was appropriate to include 
discussion of these potential impacts when considering if the physical 
or biological features essential to the conservation of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep may require special management considerations or 
protection.
    Comment 31: One peer reviewer made the following statement: 
``Conspicuous by its absence in this proposal is any reference to the 
recent Turner et al. [2004] published habitat analysis of bighorn sheep 
in the northern Peninsular Ranges, the Ostermann et al. [2005] rebuttal 
to that, and the response by Turner et al. [2005].'' The peer reviewer 
further stated that a subsequent unpublished preliminary habitat 
analysis by Rubin et al. was referenced in the proposed rule instead, 
with a statement that it was not adopted because of its preliminary 
nature; yet it was used as validation of the critical habitat 
boundaries, which effectively is stating that it was adopted. The peer 
reviewer pointed out that in discussing why the new proposal includes 
much less habitat, the Service stated that many areas in the original 
critical habitat did not support features essential for the 
conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep or otherwise contain 
suitable habitat for the DPS. The peer reviewer stated this is the same 
point made by Turner et al. (2004), and regardless of whether the 
Service accepts the details of their habitat modeling, the peer 
reviewer believes it would be appropriate to cite them as having 
arrived at the same conclusion. Finally, the peer reviewer stated that, 
without advocating one study over the other, this is not objective, and 
there should be a discussion addressing why the Turner et al. analysis 
was not used, while an unpublished preliminary analysis was used.
    Our Response: We considered the papers cited above (Turner et al. 
2004; 2005; and Ostermann et al. 2005), but they did not play a role in 
the development of the critical habitat designation. Therefore, they 
were not cited and discussed in the proposed rule. Turner et al. (2004) 
based their model primarily upon data collected

[[Page 17300]]

from a subpopulation that exhibited atypical habitat selection 
patterns. Approximately 90 percent of the data points utilized were 
collected from a group of bighorn sheep that frequented urban areas in 
the vicinity of Rancho Mirage. Furthermore, 79 percent of the data 
points utilized were collected over only a seven-year period when 
bighorn sheep use of urban areas was most pronounced. This fact also 
biased the data from a spatial standpoint because point locations were 
much easier to collect in urban settings. Approximately 80 percent of 
the point locations utilized were obtained within 1.9 mi (3 km) of an 
artificial water source, which was located next to a residential 
community. Additionally, Turner et al. (2004) assumed that the density 
of bighorn sheep point locations in a given area accurately reflected 
habitat quality, and they did not account for variations in sampling 
effort and detection. Finally, the Turner et al. (2004) model utilized 
a subset of the available data. Only a small amount of the data 
utilized was collected from other bighorn sheep groups that exhibited 
behavior and habitat use patterns typical of bighorn sheep inhabiting 
the remainder of the Peninsular Ranges.
    For the reasons stated above, the Turner et al. (2004) model should 
not be considered a general model for identifying or ranking bighorn 
sheep habitat in the Peninsular Ranges. Its validity is specific to the 
small group of sheep that frequented urban areas in Rancho Mirage from 
1994-2000. The Turner et al. (2005) rebuttal to Ostermann et al. (2005) 
did not fully address the above issues, but instead aired past 
grievances with the Service and addressed aspects of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep recovery that were not specific to their model or Ostermann et 
al. (2005).
    The preliminary habitat analysis conducted by Rubin et al. (2007) 
utilized point locations collected from bighorn sheep not closely 
associated with urban areas, and their efforts utilized different and 
recently developed methodology. The preliminary results were presented 
by Rubin et al. to our office and examined. However, the Rubin et al. 
(2007) preliminary results were not used to adjust the boundaries of 
the proposed critical habitat designation (see our response to Comment 
20 above). The peer reviewer is justified in asserting that if the 
preliminary results of Rubin et al. (2007) were mentioned in the 
proposed rule, then the Turner et al. (2004) model, plus rebuttals, 
also should have been discussed. However; since neither model was used 
to designate the proposed critical habitat, we removed further 
discussion of the models (e.g., Rubin et al. 2007; Turner et al. 2004) 
from this final rule.

Public Comments

Comments Related to Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat
    Comment 32: Two commenters stated that upon examination of 
occurrence data and the original critical habitat (2001), they believe 
that the original critical habitat was overdrawn. The commenters 
further believe that the original critical habitat contains large areas 
of land that have no evidence of current or historic bighorn sheep 
activity or that have had only a handful of observations over the past 
30 years. The commenters noted that the Service's attempt to base the 
proposed critical habitat on more technical, state-of-the-art 
distributional information appears to be a step toward resolving some 
of these issues. The commenters believe the methodology used in the 
proposed rule is vague, and the sources of information do not appear to 
be publicly available. For example, one commenter questioned how the 
ewe group delineation from Rubin et al. (1998) was compared to all 
occupancy data collected since the time of listing on GIS imagery maps. 
Both commenters also questioned how ewe group delineation was expanded 
to include areas where occupancy data points indicate repeated 
Peninsular bighorn sheep use and recent sheep movements.
    Our Response: We acknowledge that the 2001 critical habitat 
designation contains large areas of land that have no evidence of 
current or historic bighorn sheep activity or have had only a handful 
of observations over the past 30 years. A complete discussion of how 
information and data collected since the 2001 designation was utilized 
to refine the proposed designation and the steps used in the 
delineation process (i.e., methodology) can be found in the ``Criteria 
Used To Identify Critical Habitat,'' ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 
Critical Habitat Designation To the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise 
Critical Habitat,'' and ``Summary of Changes From the 2007 Proposed 
Rule To Revise Critical Habitat To This Final Rule To Revise Critical 
Habitat'' sections of this final rule.
    Comment 33: Two commenters believe it is disconcerting that the 
proposed rule expands areas of occupancy (from E. Rubin's ewe group 
determination) to include areas where there are only a handful of 
sightings, where sighting data are unverifiable, and where bighorn 
sheep have been recently released. The commenters believe this suggests 
that critical habitat can be ``created'' by releasing bighorn sheep 
into previously unoccupied areas. The commenters further stated that 
the expansion of the northernmost ewe group delineation in the San 
Jacinto Mountains could be justifiable; however, they believe there is 
no way to objectively evaluate the information used in support of this 
expansion. The commenters provided the example that several bighorn 
sheep sightings in Chino Canyon were the result of helicopter pursuits 
driving animals onto the valley floor. The commenters questioned if 
these coerced observations were included in the database. Additionally, 
the commenters believe the proposed rule expanded the southernmost ewe 
group delineation near Interstate 8 based on consistent, recent 
sightings of uncollared Peninsular bighorn sheep and asked the Service 
if this includes ewes, lambs, and rams. The commenters stated that 
their understanding was that California Department of Fish and Game 
(CDFG) personnel suggest these are occasional sightings of rams. The 
commenters believe that since these are uncollared animals, it is 
unknown if these ``consistent sightings'' are of one or a few 
individuals being repeatedly seen or from multiple groups colonizing 
the area and further indicated that subjective statements such as this 
by the Service are unacceptable in a final rule.
    Our Response: We believe it was necessary and justifiable to 
explore and consider additional available scientific information 
because the ewe group delineations from Rubin et al. (1998) were 
intended to document the approximate known distribution of ewe groups 
at that time and were based on only a few years of data. Using the ewe 
group delineations as a starting point, we expanded our proposed 
critical habitat boundary from the ewe group delineations using a much 
larger set of occurrence data from 1988 to 2008 and information on 
essential habitat features. See our response to Comment 20 and the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this final 
rule for more discussion on the methodology and expanded critical 
habitat boundary.
    In response to the commenters' assertion that we included areas 
where there are only a handful of sightings, where sighting data are 
unverifiable, and where bighorn sheep have been recently released, we 
used the best available scientific data in determining whether the 
areas in question meet the definition of critical habitat. A captive 
breeding program has been maintained by the Bighorn Institute since 
1984 in

[[Page 17301]]

cooperation with CDFG and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Captive-
bred Peninsular bighorn sheep have been released in the northern Santa 
Rosa Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains (Ostermann et al. 2001, p. 
751) solely into areas currently and historically occupied by the DPS. 
We recognize that a small percentage of data points considered may be 
those of released sheep from the captive breeding program; however, we 
do not suggest that critical habitat can be created by releasing sheep 
into previously unoccupied areas, as the commenters have asserted. 
Furthermore, all areas included in the designation contain data points 
from non-captive-bred sheep. In regard to the commenters' concerns and 
assertions about the data considered, we are not aware of any 
``coerced'' observations in our database. Finally, the recent bighorn 
sheep sightings near Interstate 8 include multiple ewes and lambs in 
groups of varying sizes.
    Comment 34: Several commenters expressed concern about the draft 
habitat model mentioned in the proposed rule.
    Our Response: We did not use the draft habitat model in our 
critical habitat delineation for the proposed rule or this final rule. 
See our response to Comment 19 above.
    Comment 35: Two commenters questioned why the Service does not 
mention in the proposed rule the three current peer reviewed papers on 
bighorn sheep critical habitat in the northern Peninsular Ranges (i.e., 
Turner et al. 2004; 2005; Ostermann et al. 2005). The commenters 
believe this is incongruous, as the critical habitat delineated in the 
proposed rule most closely approximates the conclusions of Turner et 
al. (2004).
    Our Response: Please see our response to Comment 31 for a 
discussion of these papers.
    Comment 36: Several commenters believe that the proposed revised 
critical habitat is flawed because it fails to consider historic and 
recent known Peninsular bighorn sheep locations. One commenter believes 
the current proposal fails to include and adequately consider the vast 
majority of known Peninsular bighorn sheep locations prior to the 
listing of the DPS as endangered in 1998, when the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep population was at a historic low point and their range was 
severely constricted. The commenter also believes that omitting 
historic locations of Peninsular bighorn sheep from critical habitat 
designation ensures that the distribution of the DPS will remain 
severely limited in relation to its historic distribution and is 
contrary to the Act. The commenter suggested that to promote recovery 
of the DPS, it is essential that Peninsular bighorn sheep be able to 
re-inhabit their historic range which, given the rapid expansion of 
human development in the area, will be impossible if sufficient 
historic habitat is not protected as critical habitat.
    Additionally, one commenter believes the critical habitat 
designation in the proposed rule does not accurately take into account 
multiple sheep locations recorded since Peninsular bighorn sheep were 
listed in 1998. The commenter noted that conservation groups have been 
informed by the Peninsular bighorn sheep recovery team members that the 
proposed revised critical habitat fails to consider known sheep 
locations that were made available to the Service by members of the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep recovery team. The commenter noted their 
belief that the consequence of this omission (whether purposeful or 
inadvertent) is that significant areas of currently occupied habitat 
essential to the DPS are omitted from the proposed rule.
    Our Response: Regarding the commenters' concern about a flawed 
proposal and assertions about historic and known sheep locations not 
considered in the proposed revised critical habitat designation, we 
revised our criteria in light of these concerns and similar comments 
from peer reviewers about the limited dataset used in the proposed 
rule. The revisions were announced in the NOA published in the Federal 
Register on August 26, 2008 (73 FR 50498). We revised our criteria to 
consider occurrence data between 2008 (present time) and 1988 (i.e., 
the time of listing (1998) less 10 years, which is the average lifespan 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep). Use of a data set that considers a larger 
time-span of occurrence data accounts for the large fluctuations in 
Peninsular bighorn sheep population levels over the last two decades. 
See our response to Comment 8 above.
    Regarding the concerns that critical habitat should include the 
historical range of the DPS, the Service may designate as critical 
habitat areas outside of the geographical area occupied by a species at 
the time it was listed (i.e., historical habitat) only when we can 
demonstrate that those areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species (section 3(5)(A)(ii) of the Act). Likewise, we can designate as 
critical habitat areas outside the geographical area presently occupied 
by a species only when a designation limited to the species' present 
range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species (50 
CFR 424.12(e)). Refer to our response to Comment 7 for further 
discussion.
    We believe that we considered a scope of occurrence data that is 
reflective of the large population fluctuations of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep over the past two decades, not just occurrence data from a 
``historic low point'' when the range of this DPS was ``severely 
constricted,'' as the commenter suggests. See our response to Comment 8 
above for a detailed discussion.
    With regard to the commenter's concerns of the omission of 
occurrence data previously provided to the Service, we examined the 
occurrence data considered in the delineation of the proposed revised 
critical habitat and found that a set of data was missing from our GIS 
database. Subsequently, we included that occurrence data into our GIS 
database and double-checked to ensure that all occurrence records 
submitted to the Service were included for our analyses. Please see our 
response to Comment 10 above.
    Comment 37: One commenter asserted that instead of including the 
full catalogue of known locations, the Service's proposed revised 
critical habitat gives greater weight to occurrence data acquired 
remotely through radio telemetry and GPS. The commenter believes that 
this nonrandom sampling inevitably biases the assessment of habitat 
selection by Peninsular bighorn sheep towards more intensively studied 
groups and that it cannot be construed as representative of habitat use 
throughout the range.
    Our Response: We realize that much of the occurrence data for this 
DPS is based on data acquired remotely through radio telemetry and GPS. 
Additionally, we are aware that not all areas within the range of the 
DPS have been surveyed or studied equally (see our response to Comment 
8). For example, the extreme southern portion of the Peninsular Ranges 
has not been studied as heavily with radio telemetry and GPS collar 
technology as in the north. Therefore, we use a variety of occurrence 
data such as photographic evidence, scat data, and field notes 
collected from Service biologists and other species experts to 
determine occupied habitat. The designation of critical habitat for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep is based on the best scientific data available 
regarding the DPS, including a compilation of data from peer-reviewed, 
published literature; unpublished or non-peer-reviewed survey and 
research reports; and opinions of biologists knowledgeable about 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and their habitat.

[[Page 17302]]

    Comment 38: One commenter believes the proposed rule is flawed 
because it uses uncertain and unclear methodology, and another 
commenter believes the Service failed to consider the best scientific 
and commercial data available. Additionally, one commenter believes 
that the failure to provide a clear and transparent methodology 
prevents independent validation of the proposed changes insofar as 
scientists and other members of the public are unable to conduct a 
comprehensive appraisal of the methods and determinations.
    Several commenters stated that it is unclear how the Service 
utilized the PCEs identified in the proposed rule to ascertain whether 
specific habitat should be categorized as critical. One commenter 
stated that he was unable to assess how the Service derived the maps of 
critical habitat, as they contain features not consistent with known 
topography or known bighorn sheep locations. The commenter further 
noted that the critical habitat maps in the proposed rule show several 
lengthy and inexplicable straight line edges of habitat, notably 
adjacent to Borrego Springs and south of Route 78, which do not conform 
to the terrain and for which no biological explanation or justification 
is provided in the proposed rule; they added that bighorn sheep habitat 
does not naturally occur in such a linear fashion. The commenter had 
concerns that these boundaries may have been based on political and 
economic reasoning rather than sound science.
    Our Response: As discussed in our responses to Comments 5 and 12 
above and the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of 
this final rule, we delineated critical habitat for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep using the following criteria: (1) Areas that contain the 
PCEs required by the DPS as determined from aerial imagery and GIS data 
on vegetation, elevation, and slope; (2) areas within the ewe group 
distribution (i.e., subpopulations) boundaries identified by Rubin et 
al. (1998); (3) areas occupied by the DPS between 2008 (present time) 
and 1988; and (4) areas where occupancy data points indicate repeated 
Peninsular bighorn sheep use, but which were not captured within the 
ewe group distribution boundaries identified by Rubin et al. (1998). 
Application of these criteria results in the determination of the 
physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation 
of this DPS, identified as the DPS's PCEs laid out in the appropriate 
quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of the 
DPS. Since the 2007 proposed rule, we revised the ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this rule to provide more detail 
and a description of the stepwise process used, data considered, 
habitat features mapped, and method used to delineate critical habitat 
boundaries. Any boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation 
that seem straight in appearance are the result of our criteria used to 
identify critical habitat and are not the result of political or 
economic reasoning.
    Comment 39: Many commenters stated that the methods were not 
designed by or made in consultation with members of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep recovery team who are most familiar with Peninsular 
bighorn sheep ecology and habitat and that they diverge significantly 
from those methods previously used in the Recovery Plan to determine 
critical habitat for the DPS.
    Our Response: In accordance with our policy on peer review 
published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinions 
from five knowledgeable individuals (some of which were on the recovery 
team) with scientific expertise that included familiarity with the DPS, 
the geographic region in which it occurs, and conservation biology 
principles. We reviewed all comments received from the peer reviewers 
and the public for substantive issues and new information regarding the 
designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
Furthermore, on May 14, 2007, representatives from the Carlsbad Fish 
and Wildlife Office and the Regional Office, including the Regional 
Director, met with recovery team members in part to inform members that 
we were initiating work to propose revisions to designated critical 
habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep. At that meeting, we requested 
that recovery team members submit any data they wanted us to consider 
in our proposed revision. Therefore, we believe that we followed the 
appropriate guidance and regulations regarding inclusion of expert 
biologists and others during development of this critical habitat 
designation. See our response to Comment 11 above.
    Comment 40: One commenter believes that the 0.5-mi (0.8-km) buffer 
zone around slopes equal or greater than 20 percent as described in the 
Recovery Plan is not necessary, and they expressed support for the 
Service not to include this buffer in the final critical habitat 
designation.
    Our Response: The areas of the 0.5-mi (0.8-km) zone around 20 
percent slopes were included in the Recovery Plan and 2001 final 
critical habitat designation because they may contain resources for the 
DPS, and bighorn sheep have on occasion been observed to wander great 
distances from areas of 20 percent slope. The inclusion of these areas 
resulted in the addition of large expanses of land to the Recovery Plan 
area and the 2001 critical habitat designation. However, based on the 
best scientific information currently available and our criteria used 
to identify critical habitat, those areas do not meet the definition of 
critical habitat. As a result, we are not including some areas that 
were previously designated as critical habitat that are within this 
0.5-mi (0.8-km) zone around 20 percent slopes. See our response to 
Comment 4 above, and the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' 
and ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation To 
the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this 
final rule for further discussion.
    Comment 41: One commenter had concerns about the occurrence data 
considered in our criteria used to identify critical habitat. The 
commenter stated that no scientifically based reason is identified for 
why occurrence data from 1988 to present is used. The commenter 
followed that Peninsular bighorn sheep occurred in the area for 
millennia prior to 1988 and were in decline by the 1970's. The 
commenter was also concerned that our use of occupancy data points was 
restricted to those indicating repeated Peninsular bighorn sheep use. 
The commenter stated that given the incomplete records for the location 
of all bighorn sheep at all times, especially in the southern part of 
the range, they believe it is unreasonable that only the repeated 
occupancy data points were used for the designation.
    Our Response: As stated in our response to Comment 27 above, we 
considered areas with occupancy data indicating that they are currently 
occupied or areas with occupancy data indicating they were occupied at 
some point between 2008 and 1988 (i.e., the time of listing (1998) less 
10 years, which is the average lifespan of Peninsular bighorn sheep). 
Use of a data set that considers this time span of occurrence data 
accounts for the large fluctuations in Peninsular bighorn sheep 
population levels over the last two decades. Because the average 
lifespan of sheep is approximately 10 years (Botta 2008a, p. 1), areas 
occupied 10 years prior to listing should be considered occupied at 
listing. Regarding the concerns over using repeated occupancy data 
given the incomplete records in the southern part

[[Page 17303]]

of the range, we are aware that not all areas within the range of the 
DPS have been surveyed or studied equally (see our response to Comment 
8 above). Regardless, we used the best available scientific information 
and occurrence data in determining areas occupied by Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. Please see the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' 
section of this rule for more information.
    Comment 42: In response to our August 26, 2008, NOA announcing 
changes to the proposed rule, one commenter wrote; ``The proposed 
expansion of critical habitat beyond the boundaries, beyond those in 
the October 2007 critical habitat proposed rule, relies on essentially 
the same qualitative, opinion-based approach that led to the remand of 
critical habitat for new rulemaking by the Court (Agua Caliente v. 
Scarlett).''
    Our Response: The commenter implies that the consent decree and 
associated remand of critical habitat reflect a court judgment 
supporting their opinion that the methodology used in delineating 
critical habitat is inappropriate. However, the court order upholding 
the approval of the consent decree states, ``It is also well 
established that in approving a consent decree, the Court does not 
delve into the merits of the case, but rather limits its review to 
determine if the settlement is fair, reasonable, and equitable.'' There 
was no court ``ruling'' that the methodology used to designate the 
critical habitat boundary was inappropriate. The parties agreed to a 
settlement to avoid the mutual risks and expenses of protracted 
litigation. Additionally, issues other than the methodology for 
delineating critical habitat, such as the economic analysis and tribal 
sovereignty, played important roles in the case.
Comments Related to the Primary Constituent Elements
    Comment 43: One commenter believes that information about how PCEs 
are quantified, the models used for their application, and the methods 
applied to point-by-point determination of exclusion from critical 
habitat are not described in the proposed rule and are arbitrary. The 
commenter noted that some critical habitat was added in comparison to 
the critical habitat identified based on essential habitat designation 
in the Recovery Plan, and much habitat was deleted. The commenter 
inquired if there is a difference in the PCEs of these two groups 
(i.e., areas added and areas deleted).
    Our Response: In our responses to Comments 5, 12, and 38 and in the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this final 
revised rule, we explain how we delineated critical habitat for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. In response to the commenter's inquiry if 
PCEs were different for areas added than for those deleted from 
critical habitat, the same set of PCEs for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
were used in the process of determining areas to include and not 
include as critical habitat in this designation.
    Comment 44: One commenter believes the PCEs set forth an almost 
unlimited area, confined only by certain upper-level altitudes.
    Our Response: Some PCEs may extend beyond the boundary of critical 
habitat; however, we used ewe group delineations, occurrence data, and 
habitat features, in addition to the PCEs, to delineate the boundary of 
critical habitat. We believe that this process has resulted in critical 
habitat units that contain the PCEs laid out in the appropriate 
quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of the 
DPS. See the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of 
this final rule for further discussion of the use of PCEs to delineate 
critical habitat.
Comments Related to DPS Biological Information
    Comment 45: Two commenters believe the proposed rule gives a false 
impression that this population is a unique species or subspecies 
through weak use of nomenclature and erroneous information. The 
commenters also stated that in numerous places, the proposed rule 
refers to this DPS as if it were a subspecies or species. The 
commenters believe that the proposed rule incorrectly refers to this 
DPS as ``Peninsular bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni)'' in the 
title and body of the text; however, Ovis canadensis nelsoni is the 
Latin trinomial for ``desert bighorn sheep'' and the term ``Peninsular 
bighorn sheep'' was the common name for the now synonymized subspecies; 
Ovis canadensis cremnobates. The commenters believe this is a matter of 
peer-reviewed scientific literature and the proposed rule should use 
correct terminology and refer to this DPS as desert bighorn sheep (Ovis 
canadensis nelsoni) in the Peninsular Ranges of California (Wehausen 
and Ramey 1993; Ramey 1995).
    Our Response: See our response to Comment 22 above. We are updating 
the listed entity to a DPS of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis 
nelsoni). However, we believe it is appropriate to continue to refer to 
these sheep with the common name Peninsular bighorn sheep within this 
rule. Additionally, we revised our discussion of the taxonomy of the 
listed entity in the ``Background'' section of this final rule.
    Comment 46: Two commenters believe the proposed critical habitat 
rule includes overstatements that have little or no basis in fact about 
the negative impacts of human disturbance on bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: Please see our response to Comment 30 above. We do 
not believe that the discussion in the proposed rule overstates 
impacts, and we based our discussion on a variety of widely discussed 
and debated impacts.
    Comment 47: Two commenters stated that while it is important to 
minimize the effects or impacts of any construction project on bighorn 
sheep habitat, they believe the assertions in the proposed rule about 
power lines degrading and fragmenting habitat are without factual 
substantiation. The commenters also stated that once constructed, power 
lines and support structures are inanimate objects in the environment, 
and they believe there is no empirical evidence that power lines 
fragment bighorn sheep habitat or preclude movements under the power 
line.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenters that it is important to 
minimize the effects or impacts of any construction project on bighorn 
sheep habitat. Our discussion of power lines in the proposed rule in 
relation to the threat of disturbance to Peninsular bighorn sheep and 
their habitat was limited to disturbance that would occur during power 
line construction. Once constructed, power lines become part of the 
inanimate landscape and may not impede sheep movement. Contrary to the 
commenters' assertions, we did not suggest or state in the proposed 
rule that sheep movement is precluded by power lines once constructed.
    Comment 48: Two commenters noted the discussion in the proposed 
rule of roads fragmenting bighorn sheep habitat in which Epps et al. 
(2005) is cited as ``showing that nuclear genetic diversity of desert 
bighorn sheep populations was negatively correlated with the presence 
of human-made barriers (highways), which essentially eliminated 
dispersal.'' The commenters believe this is incorrect, stating that the 
study found there was a negative effect with fenced highways (e.g., 
Interstates 10, 15, and 40; and State Highway 62), not roads in 
general.
    Our Response: In light of the above comment, we revised our 
discussion of

[[Page 17304]]

the effects of roads on Peninsular bighorn sheep and revised our 
citation of Epps et al. (2005) to reflect that the study was of fenced 
highways, not roads in general. Please see the ``Special Management 
Considerations or Protection'' section of this final rule.
    Comment 49: One commenter believes the proposed critical habitat 
designation does not take into consideration the effects of either 
natural or anthropogenic environmental variations and perturbations on 
the habitat requirements and utilization of Peninsular bighorn sheep, 
including changes due to development, fire and fire management, exotic 
species infestations, and climate change. The commenter asserted that 
the Service should revise and re-analyze the proposed critical habitat 
designation, taking into account these factors and ensuring that any 
new designation includes sufficient critical habitat to allow for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep recovery in light of the changes brought by 
climate change and other natural and anthropogenic alterations to sheep 
habitat across its range.
    Our Response: As discussed in the ``Special Management 
Considerations or Protection'' section of this rule, when designating 
critical habitat, we assessed whether the geographical area occupied at 
the time of listing contains features that are essential to the 
conservation of the DPS and that may require special management 
considerations or protection. We considered the effects of 
anthropogenic factors (i.e., development and expansion of urban areas, 
human disturbance related to recreation, construction of roadways and 
power lines, and mineral extraction and mining operations) on the 
essential features in the delineation of critical habitat. 
Additionally, we discussed the issue of climate change in our response 
to Comment 21 above. At this time, the available scientific evidence 
regarding potential effects of climate change on Peninsular bighorn 
sheep habitat does not warrant modification of this critical habitat 
delineation. We recognize that the threats faced by Peninsular bighorn 
sheep (including climate change and anthropogenic effects) may change 
in the future; however, we base our critical habitat designations on 
the best scientific information available at the time of the 
designation and do not speculate as to what areas may be found 
essential if better information becomes available or what areas may 
become essential over time.
    Conservation (i.e., recovery) is achieved when a five-factor 
analysis performed pursuant to section 4(a)(1) of the Act indicates 
that current and future threats have been minimized to an extent that 
the species is no longer threatened with extinction in the foreseeable 
future. Recovery is a dynamic process requiring adaptive management of 
threats, and there are many paths to accomplishing recovery of a 
species. We recognize that recovery efforts will occur both within and 
outside the boundaries of this final critical habitat designation. 
However, we believe that conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep would 
be achieved if threats to this DPS, as described in the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this rule, were 
reduced or removed due to management and protection of those areas.
    Comment 50: One commenter stated that in recent years, climate 
science has advanced considerably, and the Service should take into 
account the current predictions for impacts to Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat based on global climate change, which includes dramatic 
vegetation shifts, significantly altered fire regimes, and effects on 
precipitation (California Climate Change Center 2006). The commenter 
believes that each of these climate change elements may adversely 
impact Peninsular bighorn sheep and its existing habitat. The commenter 
cited a study by Kelly and Goulden (2008) showing that the average 
elevation of the dominant plant species increased by 65 meters between 
the surveys of 1977 and 2006-2007 (a 30-year interval) in the Santa 
Rosa Mountains; this elevational shift in vegetation is attributable to 
global climate change. The commenter believes that this significant 
distributional movement of plant species in a relatively short time 
period indicates that a very dynamic change is occurring in Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat. The commenter also cited a study by Seeger et 
al. (2007) that concluded a broad consensus among climate models 
indicates that southwestern North America will become more arid in the 
21st century due to global climate change. The commenter believes that 
as a result of these data, the Service should require additional areas 
and a robust critical habitat designation to provide refuge for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep during these changing times.
    According to the commenter, a study on the effects of climate 
change on desert bighorn sheep in California by Epps et al. (2004, p. 
110) concluded that ``global warming could have serious consequences 
for desert bighorn sheep, particularly if coupled with decreases in 
precipitation.'' The commenter further stated that the Epps et al. 
(2004) study found that an average increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit 
combined with a 12 percent decrease in precipitation increased the 
likelihood of extinction in desert sheep from 20 percent to 30 percent 
over the next 60 years. Therefore, the commenter believes that the 
Service should revise and re-analyze the proposed critical habitat 
designation, while taking into account these climate change factors, to 
ensure that any new designation includes sufficient critical habitat 
that provides for bighorn recovery.
    Our Response: We acknowledge that recent data indicate that plant 
distributional changes may be occurring in the Peninsular Ranges; 
however, we are unaware of data indicating a shift in the resource use 
and distribution of sheep in the Peninsular Ranges that would correlate 
with the change in plant distribution. By considering sheep occurrence 
data over the past 20 years, we are likely capturing recent shifts in 
sheep distribution that may have resulted from changes in plant 
distribution in the Peninsular Ranges. Additionally, we acknowledge 
that recent climate studies indicate that the Southwestern United 
States may experience decreases in precipitation and increases in 
temperature in the coming years. If in the future, data reveal that 
sheep are experiencing a shift in distribution to areas outside of the 
critical habitat designation, in association with changing plant 
distribution resulting from climate change, we may revise the critical 
habitat designation at that time, subject to available funding and 
other conservation priorities.
    With regard to the citation of Epps et al. (2004), we agree that 
the study concluded that global warming could have serious consequences 
for desert bighorn sheep populations. Here, we would like to expand on 
the commenter's shortened description of Epps et al. (2004). The 
modeled 2.0 degree Celsius temperature increase, combined with a 12 
percent precipitation decrease, resulted in an average increased 
extinction risk of 0.21 to 0.30 for desert bighorn sheep across 
California; however, the modeled climate scenario did not appear to 
markedly change the extinction probability for sheep occupying the 
Peninsular Ranges. Epps et al. (2004, p. 111) reported a 0-0.2 
extinction probability for sheep in the Peninsular Ranges over the next 
60 years under two scenarios, one being no further climate change and 
the other being the 2 degree temperature increase combined with the 12 
percent precipitation decrease (see also our response to Comment 21

[[Page 17305]]

above). We cannot conclude from Epps et al. (2004) that the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep population will be under a greater risk of extinction 
from the modeled climate change scenario, and we do not believe it 
appropriate to revise and reanalyze our critical habitat designation at 
this time. Critical habitat designations do not signal that habitat 
outside of the designation is unimportant or may not contribute to 
recovery in the future. Should additional data become available, we may 
revise this critical habitat designation, subject to available funding 
and other conservation priorities.
    Comment 51: A number of commenters believe that the proposed 
revision of critical habitat will have a negative impact on sheep 
recovery because it excludes habitat that supports processes essential 
to metapopulation survival. One commenter believes that maintaining and 
reestablishing habitat connectivity to provide long-term genetic and 
demographic connection between ewe groups is crucial to recovering the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and notes that it is a Priority 1 strategy in 
the Recovery Plan (Service 2000, p. 113). Several commenters noted that 
connectivity of habitat, as well as the resulting facilitation of 
animal movements and gene flow among metapopulations, are recognized as 
crucial elements for recovery by the Service. Several commenters 
further stated that they believe the proposed rule fails to identify 
critical habitat in regions that are confirmed linkages between 
metapopulation subsegments, based on data and materials provided to the 
Service by the Bighorn Institute and by bighorn sheep researchers, such 
as Dr. Esther Rubin. Several commenters believe that the proposal would 
eliminate critical habitat crucial for maintaining connectivity between 
Unit 1 and Unit 2A (thereby isolating the Peninsular bighorn sheep 
population in the San Jacinto Mountains) and between Units 2B and 3 
(thereby isolating the Carrizo Canyon population).
    One commenter believes that connectivity between bighorn population 
sub-segments in the Peninsular Ranges has been predicted from 
preliminary genetic studies and verified by both radio tracking and GPS 
collar data. The commenter also stated that failure to identify 
critical habitat between the Northern Santa Rosa Mountains (Unit 2A) 
and the San Jacinto Mountains (Unit 1) and between the Fish Creek 
Mountains (Unit 2B) and Coyote Mountains (Unit 3) would result in a 
failure to apply the protections that the Service is required to afford 
to a recovering endangered species through the designation of essential 
habitat and critical habitat. The commenter further believes that such 
a failure would be especially pronounced in the case of the bighorn 
sheep, when the Recovery Plan and the best available science indicate 
that the protection of Peninsular bighorn sheep critical habitat 
connectivity is a crucial element for recovery to allow for its 
downlisting or delisting. Another commenter believes that failing to 
maintain critical habitat in these areas is a serious flaw of the 
proposed revised critical habitat designation and could jeopardize the 
persistence of isolated herds and preclude recovery of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenters that habitat 
connectivity is important to allow for movement between ewe groups and 
to maintain genetic variation; however, we do not have occurrence data 
suggesting specific travel corridors connecting the units discussed by 
the commenters, and we are unable to identify specific areas containing 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
DPS. Please see our responses to Comments 1, 5, and 7 and the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this final 
rule for further discussion.
    Comment 52: One commenter indicated that the population of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep dropped from possibly two million in 1800 to 
about 1,200 in the 1970s, and then to about 300 at the time of listing 
in 1998. The commenter believes that limiting Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat to 420,487 ac (170,166 ha) (as stated in the proposed rule) 
would not protect the entire range of the species.
    Our Response: Our understanding is that the commenter may be 
confusing a possible estimate of all bighorn sheep in North America in 
1800 with the Peninsular bighorn sheep DPS. As we stated in our 
response to Comment 8 above, when rangewide estimates were made in the 
1970's, the population was estimated as high as 1,171 in 1974 (Weaver 
1974, p. 5). At no point in history was the population of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep near two million. In this rulemaking, we are designating 
critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep and not the entire 
population of bighorn sheep that exists in various parts of North 
America. We believe the acreage we are designating in this final rule 
(376,938 ac (152,542 ha)) is adequate to provide for the conservation 
of the Peninsular bighorn sheep DPS.
Comments Related to Proposed Exclusions Under Section 4(B)(2) of the 
Act
    Comment 53: One commenter stated that conservation groups disagree 
with the Service's assertion that it is appropriate to exclude some 
habitats from critical habitat designation because those areas are 
encompassed by the Coachella Valley MSHCP and draft Agua Caliente Band 
of Cahuilla Indians Tribal HCP. The commenter also believes that tribal 
lands should be retained in critical habitat for many reasons, 
including that the Tribal HCP is in draft form and not yet approved, 
nor is it found to adequately conserve the DPS. The commenter asserted 
that critical habitat should be designated even in areas where these 
plans may overlap to some degree in order to provide a safety net for 
habitat conservation for this endangered DPS. Several additional 
commenters also questioned the proposed exclusion of lands owned by the 
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribe.
    One commenter noted that the proposed rule states (as reason for 
excluding critical habitat encompassed by the Agua Caliente HCP), ``The 
designation of critical habitat would be expected to adversely impact 
our working relationship with the Tribe and we believe that Federal 
regulation through critical habitat designation would be viewed as an 
unwarranted intrusion into tribal natural resource programs (October 
10, 2007, 72 FR 57750).'' The commenter believes this argument is not 
acceptable because it fails to take the conservation and recovery goals 
of the Act adequately into account.
    Our Response: We believe the exclusion of lands under the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP and Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' lands is 
appropriate based on the potential impacts associated with designating 
these areas as critical habitat (see ``Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act'' section of this final rule for a detailed discussion). 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act allows the Secretary to exclude areas from 
critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion 
outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of critical 
habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific data 
available, that the failure to designate such area as critical habitat 
will result in the extinction of the species. We believe that critical 
habitat designation could negatively impact the working relationships 
and conservation partnerships we have formed with the

[[Page 17306]]

Coachella Valley MSHCP permittees, the Tribe, and other private 
landowners.
    This belief is supported by the following statement from the Tribe 
received during the comment period for the proposed rule, ``Contrary to 
the requirements of the ESA, Executive Order 13175, and the Secretarial 
Order, the proposed rule fails to defer to the tribe's own established 
standards, it discourages the Tribe from developing its own policies, 
and it intrudes on tribal management of its lands. Designation of 
critical habitat could delay approval of the 2007 draft Tribal HCP, 
thus adding to the costs of preparing the Tribal HCP and undermining 
significant protections for the bighorn sheep. Designation of critical 
habitat also can be expected to increase the amount of time and 
financial resources necessary to undertake covered activities described 
in the Tribal HCP, yet it is unlikely to yield material benefits for 
the bighorn sheep.''
    Additionally, as explained in detail in the ``Application of 
Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' 
section of this final rule, we believe these conservation partnerships 
through the Coachella Valley MSHCP and tribal conservation programs 
will provide as much or more benefit than consultation under section 
7(a)(2) related to the critical habitat designation (the primary 
benefit of a designation). See our response to Comment 2 above for 
additional discussion. With regard to the commenter's assertion that 
this argument is not acceptable because it fails to take the 
conservation and recovery goals of the Act adequately into account, we 
take conservation into account when determining areas that meet the 
definition of critical habitat and in considering the benefits of 
specifying any particular area as critical habitat. After weighing the 
benefits of excluding a particular area against the benefits of 
including such area as critical habitat, the Secretary may exclude the 
area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and that the failure to 
designate such area as critical habitat will not result in the 
extinction of the species concerned. Thus, at the end of the analysis 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether an exclusion will 
result in extinction of the species, not whether the exclusion could 
impact recovery goals.
    Comment 54: One commenter stated opposition to the Service's policy 
of relying on section 4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude habitat that may be 
covered by management plans or conservation plans under the logic that 
these areas do not need ``special management'' pursuant to section 
3(5)(A) of the Act. The commenter referred to this approach as ``belt 
and suspenders'' and reminded the Service that the district court of 
Arizona struck down this approach in Center for Biological Diversity, 
et al. v. Norton (D. Ariz. 2003). The commenter believes that all 
Peninsular bighorn sheep essential habitat needs special management 
because of the variety of impacts to its habitat (e.g., impacts from 
development, grazing, fire management activities, and off-road vehicle 
use). The commenter believes that current or future management actions 
provided for the Peninsular bighorn sheep or its habitat by management 
plans or conservation plans are not a reasonable justification for 
excluding these areas from the protection that a designation of 
critical habitat provides. The commenter further stated that the Act 
defines critical habitat as an area that may need special management, 
and therefore areas that are receiving management under a management 
plan or conservation plan meet the definition of critical habitat and 
should not be excluded if the necessary management is being provided 
under a plan. The commenter concluded that the Service should include 
in the final critical habitat designation all areas within the 
boundaries of conservation or management plans for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep because these areas meet the definition of critical habitat by 
nature of their need for special management.
    Our Response: The commenter appears to be confusing the purposes of 
sections 3(5)(A) and 4(b)(2) of the Act. Section 3(5)(A) provides the 
requirements for identifying critical habitat, while section 4(b)(2) 
directs the Secretary to consider the impacts of designating such areas 
as critical habitat and provides the Secretary with discretion to 
exclude particular areas if the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of inclusion. In this final revised rule, we did not state 
that areas do not meet the definition of critical habitat under 3(5)(A) 
of the Act because they are being adequately managed. However, we 
consider the management of particular areas that do meet the definition 
of critical habitat in our analyses under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    We explain our criteria for designating critical habitat in our 
response to Comment 6 above, as well as the ``Criteria Used To 
Designate Critical Habitat'' section below. We believe our criteria 
captures all areas that meet the definition of critical habitat under 
section 3(5)(A) of the Act, in particular those areas that were 
occupied at the time of listing, and contain the physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of the DPS that may 
require special management considerations or protection. We will focus 
our response to this comment on our exclusion of lands under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act that we determined met the definition of critical 
habitat under section 3(5)(A) of the Act.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall 
designate critical habitat, and make revisions thereto, under 
subsection (a)(3) on the basis of the best scientific data available 
and after taking into consideration the economic impact, the impact to 
national security, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any 
particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude any area 
from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the 
critical habitat, unless he determines, 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 
concerned. Therefore, consistent with the Act, we must consider the 
relevant impacts of designating areas that meet the definition of 
critical habitat using the best available scientific data prior to 
finalizing a critical habitat designation.
    After determining the areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat under section 3(5)(A) of the Act as described above, we took 
into consideration the economic impact, the impact on national 
security, and other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area 
as critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. In this final revised 
designation, we recognize that designating critical habitat in areas 
where we have partnerships with landowners that have led to 
conservation or management of listed species on non-Federal lands has a 
relevant perceived impact to landowners and a relevant impact to future 
partnerships and conservation efforts on non-Federal lands. These 
impacts are described in detail in the ``Conservation Partnerships on 
Non-Federal Lands'' section below. Based on these relevant impacts, we 
weighed the benefits of designating areas as critical habitat against 
the benefits of excluding these areas from the critical habitat 
designation. Please see the ``Application of Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act'' and ``Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the

[[Page 17307]]

Act'' sections of this final revised rule for a detailed discussion of 
the benefits of excluding lands covered by management plans versus the 
benefits of including these areas in a critical habitat designation.
    Upon weighing the specific benefits of inclusion against specific 
benefits of exclusion, we determined that the benefits of excluding a 
portion of Units 1 and 2A outweigh the benefits of including these 
areas in the final critical habitat designation. When weighing the 
benefits of including an area in the critical habitat designation, we 
fully consider the regulatory benefits provided to the species under 
section 7(a)(2) of the Act based on the statutory difference between a 
jeopardy analysis and an adverse modification analysis. In this 
analysis, we consider the recovery standards and the benefits 
associated with designation. Further, we determined that the exclusion 
of these areas will not result in extinction of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. This determination to exclude areas where the benefits of 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and where we determined 
that the exclusion will not result in the extinction of the DPS, is 
consistent with the statutory obligations of the Act. Therefore, we 
believe these exclusions are in full compliance with the Act.
    Comment 55: One commenter stated that the exclusion of areas 
covered under the Coachella Valley MSHCP has some merit, but notes that 
the conservation areas in that plan are based on the 2001 critical 
habitat designation for bighorn sheep, which the commenter asserts 
incorporated the 0.5-mi. (0.8-km) buffer zone from areas of 20 percent 
slope as described in the 2000 Recovery Plan. The commenter asserted 
that this presents a potential inconsistency of conservation boundaries 
and recommends that the Service take steps to assure that the 
inappropriate buffer zone is removed from the Coachella Valley MSHCP.
    Our Response: It is inappropriate to compare the boundaries of HCP 
conservation areas to the boundaries of a critical habitat designation. 
These two areas serve two different functions with regard to the 
conservation of species and should not be synonymized. Furthermore, 
critical habitat designations do not signal that habitat outside of the 
designation is unimportant or may not contribute to recovery. This 
includes habitat outside of the critical habitat designation but inside 
Coachella Valley MSHCP modeled Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat.
    Comment 56: One commenter supported the exclusion of lands covered 
by HCPs under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and suggested that the Service 
exclude from critical habitat lands covered under the East County MHCP.
    Our Response: At this time, the HCP for east San Diego County (East 
County MHCP) is being developed, and a draft plan is not available for 
public review. We understand the commenters' concern that a designation 
of critical habitat in areas that may be addressed in the future by the 
East County MHCP may have a negative effect on entities pursuing the 
HCP and deter its completion. This concern is consistent with our 
discussion of conservation partnerships in the ``Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this final rule. However, we 
also recognize that there is a regulatory and recovery benefit to 
designating critical habitat in areas that are not protected through 
existing management or conservation plans. Exclusions under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Because 
a draft of the East County MHCP has not been released for public 
comment or formally evaluated by the Service, it is not clear that this 
framework plan will adequately address the conservation needs of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. Additionally, it is unclear to us at this 
time which areas will actively develop subarea plans under the East 
County MHCP. Therefore, we cannot determine that the regulatory and 
recovery benefits of a critical habitat designation in these areas 
would be minimized by the measures provided under this future plan, and 
as such, we did not exclude these lands from critical habitat (portions 
of Units 2B and 3 in San Diego County). However, if this designation is 
revised in the future, we will re-evaluate these areas for potential 
exclusion at that time. We are committed to continue working with all 
East County MHCP partners to minimize any additional regulatory burden 
attributable to this critical habitat designation.
    Comment 57: One commenter supported the exclusion of lands within 
the boundaries of the Coachella Valley MSHCP. The commenter suggested 
that all lands, including lands owned by such entities as the 
California Department of Fish and Game and the BLM, should be excluded 
from critical habitat. The commenter further stated that the Service 
agreed, in signing the Implementing Agreement, that all lands within 
the boundary of the Coachella Valley MSHCP would be excluded from 
critical habitat designation. The commenter indicated that failure to 
exclude these lands will violate the Service's agreement with the 
cities and signatories to the Implementing Agreement. Another commenter 
stated that Federal lands within the Coachella Valley MSHCP area owned 
by the BLM and Forest Service should be excluded from critical habitat 
designation, and failure to do so could result in unnecessary 
duplication of regulatory requirements. The commenter further stated 
that the BLM and Forest Service are participating in the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP as partners and that each of these agencies will 
participate in cooperative management and coordination of habitat 
conservation for covered species.
    Our Response: Contrary to the commenter's assertion, Section 14.9 
of the Implementing Agreement does not absolutely preclude critical 
habitat designation, and we disagree with the assertion that the 
failure to exclude all lands within the Coachella Valley MSHCP boundary 
will violate the Service's agreement with the signatories to the 
Implementing Agreement.
    Consistent with the Implementing Agreement, we excluded lands under 
the jurisdiction of the permittees addressed by the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP in Unit 1 and Unit 2A from this final revised critical habitat 
designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the minimal 
benefits of inclusion. See our responses to Comments 53 and 55 above, 
and ``Application of Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--
Conservation Partnerships'' section below for more information 
regarding why we excluded 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) in Unit 1 and Unit 2A.
    Finally, regarding the commenter's concern that Federal lands 
(owned by the BLM and the Forest Service) within the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP area should also be excluded from critical habitat designation, 
we acknowledge that these Federal landowners are Cooperating Agencies 
of the Coachella Valley MSHCP, and as such, are providing Complementary 
Conservation according to section 7.3 of the Implementing Agreement. We 
appreciate and commend the efforts of the BLM and the Forest Service to 
work with the Coachella Valley MSHCP permittees and to conserve 
federally listed species on their lands.
    The Secretary has the discretion to exclude an area from critical 
habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act after taking into 
consideration the economic impact, the impact on national security, and 
any other relevant impact if he determines that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of

[[Page 17308]]

designating such area as critical habitat, unless he determines that 
the exclusion would result in the extinction of the species concerned. 
Based on the record before us, we have elected not to exclude the BLM 
and Forest Service lands and are designating these lands as critical 
habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Consistent with the ``No Surprises'' assurances provided to the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP permittees under section 10 of the Act, we do 
not expect that additional regulatory actions or measures will be 
required by the BLM or Forest Service due to designation of these lands 
as critical habitat.
Comments on Lands Designated as Critical Habitat
    Comment 58: One commenter believes that if both the area north of 
Chino Canyon and near Interstate 8 are to be included in the final 
designation, then the observations used in support of these 
``expansions'' should be presented in a table and copies of the 
original field notes used in support of this observation should be 
available for public inspection. Two commenters stated that if critical 
habitat is to be ``expanded,'' the raw data used to make such decisions 
should be made publicly available and open to inspection and 
independent validation.
    Our Response: All occurrence data and other information used in the 
delineation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep were 
available to the public during the comment periods and are on file at 
the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office and available for public 
inspection (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this rule).
    Comment 59: Several commenters believe that the proposed critical 
habitat designation fails to protect habitat essential for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep recovery. One commenter stated the proposed rule excludes 
significant areas of habitat essential for the DPS and fails to support 
the goals called for in the Recovery Plan to promote population growth 
and protect, acquire, enhance, and restore habitat. Several commenters 
believe the proposal is contrary to the Recovery Plan as well as 
inconsistent with promoting the survival and recovery of the DPS. One 
commenter asserted that if Peninsular bighorn sheep were recovered 
within the newly proposed critical habitat, it would still be 
threatened or endangered in a significant portion of its range. The 
same commenter indicated that for critical habitat to facilitate 
recovery as it was designed to do, the designation should maintain all 
current critical habitat and be expanded to include reaches in all 
other areas identified as having recovery value as identified in the 
Recovery Plan. The commenter further stated that by proposing to 
exclude currently designated critical habitat, they believe the Service 
is failing in its obligation to provide for the recovery of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep because the value of the critical habitat to the recovery 
of the DPS will be diminished by these omissions. Finally, another 
commenter believes the Service should designate as critical habitat 
sufficient areas to allow for full recovery of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep.
    Our Response: It is important to note that the designation of 
critical habitat is a different process than the development of a 
recovery plan. A critical habitat designation is a specific regulatory 
action that defines specific areas within the geographical area 
occupied by the species at the time of listing containing physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of a species, and 
areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
of listing that are essential for the conservation of the species. In 
contrast, a recovery plan is a guidance document developed in 
cooperation with partners and provides a roadmap with detailed site-
specific management actions to help conserve listed species and their 
ecosystems.
    Conservation (i.e., recovery) is defined in section 3 of the Act as 
the ``use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring 
any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the 
measures provided pursuant to this Act are no longer necessary.'' In 
accordance with section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we determine if any species 
is an endangered or threatened species (or revise its listed status) 
because of any of the five threat factors identified in the Act. 
Therefore, conservation, or recovery, is achieved when a five-factor 
analysis indicates that current and future threats are minimized to an 
extent that the species is no longer in danger of extinction or likely 
to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Recovery is a dynamic 
process requiring adaptive management of threats, and there are many 
paths to accomplishing recovery of a species. We believe that the lands 
identified in this rule as meeting the definition of critical habitat 
are adequate to ensure the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep 
throughout their extant range based on the best available scientific 
information at this time.
    Additionally, we recognize that the designation of critical habitat 
may not include all of the habitat that may be determined to be 
necessary for the recovery of Peninsular bighorn sheep, and critical 
habitat designations do not signal that habitat outside of the 
designation is unimportant or may not contribute to recovery. Areas 
outside the final critical habitat designations will continue to be 
subject to conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of 
the Act, as well as regulatory protections afforded by the section 
7(a)(2) jeopardy standard and the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act 
if actions occurring in these areas may affect sheep. See the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat,'' ``Summary of Changes 
From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation To the 2007 Proposed Rule To 
Revise Critical Habitat,'' and ``Summary of Changes From the 2007 
Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat To This Final Rule To Revise 
Critical Habitat'' sections of this final rule for more information. 
Please also see additional discussion regarding recovery plans and 
conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep in our responses to Comments 
1, 5, 6, 7, and 53 above.
    Comment 60: Several commenters stated that the proposed rule calls 
for eliminating large swaths of essential habitat, including a large 
area of low-elevation habitat along the eastern slopes of the bighorn's 
range that is considered by scientists familiar with Peninsular bighorn 
sheep to be essential habitat for the DPS and requisite for their 
recovery. Several commenters stated that the proposed critical habitat 
designation would eliminate alluvial-fan habitat (about 249,000 ac 
(100,767 ha), as noted by several commenters), much of which is the 
most important Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat in need of protection 
due to threats of housing and golf course projects. One commenter 
believes that not including these areas stands in stark contrast to the 
discussion in the proposed rule itself which acknowledges that: 
``Special management considerations or protection may be needed to 
alleviate the effects of development on Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat, especially lower elevation habitat, alluvial fans, and areas 
of possible ewe group connectivity near urban areas (October 10, 2007, 
72 FR 57746).'' The same commenter believes that this retraction of 
habitat ignores management actions currently in place (e.g., 
restrictions on trails, prohibitions on dogs) to limit disturbance in 
habitat so that this DPS could re-colonize historically used areas. 
Several commenters indicated that it is

[[Page 17309]]

important to the sheep's recovery that low-elevation alluvial areas 
remain critical habitat.
    Our Response: We agree that low-elevation habitat is important for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep, and where occurrence data indicated sheep 
use, we revised our proposed revision of critical habitat to include 
additional areas, including habitat along the eastern edge of the Santa 
Rosa Mountains (August 26, 2008, 73 FR 50498). We included low-
elevation, low-slope, and alluvial-fan habitat in the designation of 
critical habitat where the available data support a determination that 
those areas contain the physical and biological features essential to 
the conservation of the DPS. See our response to Comment 3 and the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' and ``Summary of Changes 
From the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat To This Final 
Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this final rule for 
further discussion of this topic.
    Comment 61: One commenter believes that the Service eliminated from 
critical habitat a number of important water sources for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. The commenter asserted that most of the 20 springs and 
seeps documented by the South Coast Regional Water Quality Control 
Board within existing Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat in the Santa 
Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument would not be in the proposed 
critical habitat designation. These springs include Agua Alta Spring, 
Cottonwood Spring, Potrero Spring, Agua Bonita Spring, Mesquite Flats 
Spring, Mad Women Spring, Dos Palmas Spring, Indian Spring, East Fork 
Spring, Palm Canyon Spring, Palm Canyon Hot Spring, West Fork Creek, 
Engbacha Spring, Trading Post Spring, and Murray Canyon Spring. The 
commenter further stated that important perennial streams such as 
Andreas Creek, West Fork Palm Canyon Creek, Cedar Creek, and Snow Creek 
have also been eliminated in the proposed designation. Finally, the 
commenter believes that these water sources should remain in critical 
habitat due to their present value to bighorn sheep recovery and 
because they will become increasingly important as climate change 
alters bighorn habitat and likely reduces available water.
    Our Response: During the process of delineating critical habitat, 
we used water source information from U.S. Geological Survey's National 
Hydrography Dataset geodatabase (downloaded January 2007). When 
delineating boundaries of critical habitat, we made sure to include 
water sources within critical habitat (see ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section of this rule). We believe we included 
sufficient water sources within the designation to account for the 
water needs of Peninsular bighorn sheep. Additionally, the commenter 
failed to provide: (1) Supporting information that the specific water 
sources identified in the comment are essential to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep; (2) data that sheep have been observed and documented to use 
these water sources; or (3) data indicating that climate change will 
lead to a reduction in water availability in the Peninsular Ranges. At 
this point in time, the available scientific evidence does not suggest 
that the scenario described above by the commenter will result from 
climate change in the Peninsular Ranges (see our response to Comment 21 
above).
    Comment 62: One commenter believes that the Service made an 
erroneous determination that all land in Unit 2A is currently occupied 
by the DPS. The commenter stated that the proposed critical habitat 
rule is flawed because it does not justify the inclusion of unoccupied 
areas, in contravention of both the Act and its implementing 
regulations. The commenter asserted that the criteria used to identify 
critical habitat clearly included criteria that leads to the inclusion 
of unoccupied habitat within the critical habitat delineation. The 
commenter added that the Service's effort to justify inclusion of 
unoccupied areas also crosses the line of reasonableness, as identified 
in Home Builders v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 268 F. Supp. 1197, 
1214 (E.D. Cal. 200).
    The same commenter opposed the delineation of critical habitat on 
private property in Riverside County, stating that property-specific 
surveys and reports by experts reflect that the property neither 
contains necessary PCEs nor exhibits characteristics consistent with 
critical habitat. The commenter provided biological reports in support 
of their assertion that the property is not occupied by Peninsular 
bighorn sheep, does not contain features essential to the conservation 
of the species, and does not require special management considerations. 
Finally, the commenter believes that as unoccupied territory, the 
property is not essential for the conservation of the DPS, and that the 
Service erroneously determined that the property contains resources 
essential to the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: All of the critical habitat units (including Unit 2A) 
are occupied; however, bighorn sheep have large home ranges, and not 
all areas within their range (or the critical habitat units) will be 
occupied at all times of the day, season, or year. Additionally, all 
critical habitat units contain the PCEs in a continuous patch of 
habitat that allows the population distribution of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep within the units to shift and move based on the resource needs of 
the DPS. Consequently, individual survey results for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep within the critical habitat units may be negative in any given 
year, even though surveyed areas still contain habitat required for the 
long-term conservation of the DPS.
    With regard to the property specific claims from the commenter, we 
agree that portions of the property in question do not contain the PCEs 
for Peninsular bighorn sheep. We also recognize that the majority of 
occurrence data considered in the delineation of critical habitat 
(local to the property in question) lies to the west of the property in 
the Santa Rosa Mountains. For reasons discussed in the above paragraph, 
negative survey results do not automatically indicate an area is not 
essential to the DPS. We determined that a portion of the property 
(approximately 46 ac (19 ha) in the southwest corner of section 7) does 
meet the definition of critical habitat; however, those 46 ac (19 ha) 
fall within the Coachella Valley MSHCP area and are excluded from this 
final designation (see ``Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' 
section of this final rule for a detailed discussion). Other areas in 
the property, including some areas previously designated as critical 
habitat in 2001, do not meet the definition of critical habitat and are 
not included in this designation.
    Comment 63: One commenter stated that the revision of critical 
habitat is justified and overdue. The commenter added that the 2001 
designation included areas that did not have documentation of use by 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and the commenter further suggested that the 
revision is more definitive of the actual critical habitat needs than 
was the previous designation.
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter that some areas in the 
2001 critical habitat designation did not have documented sheep use. 
Further, we believe the criteria we used to identify critical habitat 
in this final rule yields a more precise identification of the areas 
within the geographical area occupied by Peninsular bighorn sheep 
containing the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of this DPS. Please see the ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat,'' ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat

[[Page 17310]]

Designation To the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat,'' and 
``Summary of Changes From the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical 
Habitat To This Final Rule To Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of 
this rule for more detailed discussions.
    Comment 64: Two commenters believe that property owned by Cornishe 
of Bighorn is not Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat, does not meet the 
definition of critical habitat, and any benefits associated with 
designating the property as critical habitat are outweighed by the 
benefits of exclusion. The commenters indicated the property lies 
within the approved Coachella Valley MSHCP area and should be excluded 
from designation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    Our Response: Although we disagree with the commenter's assertion 
that the area in question does not meet the definition of critical 
habitat, we acknowledge that the property falls within the boundaries 
of the Coachella Valley MSHCP from which we are excluding all private 
lands and permittee-owned or controlled lands. As a result, the 
property in question is excluded from the designation of critical 
habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. Please see the ``Application of 
Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' 
section of this final rule for additional discussion of the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP and the benefits provided to Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Comment 65: In response to our addition of critical habitat to Unit 
3 near Interstate 8 in the August 26, 2008, NOA, one commenter stated, 
``In the October 2007 Proposed Rule, the USFWS made an appropriate 
proposal for critical habitat near [Interstate 8] based on currently 
occupied habitat rather than transiently used areas or potential 
habitat, both of which were not essential to the recovery of this 
DPS.'' The commenter believes that there are no data to suggest more 
than transient use by a handful of bighorn sheep in Unit 3 near 
Interstate 8 based on his review of information provided by us under 
the Freedom of Information Act, the historic record, and the 
commenter's fieldwork in this area. The commenter further stated that 
there is no evidence that there was ever a permanent bighorn sheep 
population of 20 to 30 individuals between Interstate 8 and the U.S.-
Mexico border. The commenter wrote, ``During my on-the-ground surveys 
for bighorn sheep in the [Interstate 8] Island and south of it, no 
bighorn sheep were observed. That the USFWS has only produced 
speculative `evidence' of potential bighorn sheep fecal pellets (which 
could also be from deer) from this relatively small area clearly shows 
that it is not permanently occupied by bighorn sheep or that more than 
a few individuals occasionally visit it.'' To illustrate the 
``transient'' nature of bighorn sheep use of the Interstate 8 island 
area, the commenter described finding ungulate tracks and pellet groups 
(a preliminary DNA test yielded the ND5 sequence, presumably a positive 
test for bighorn sheep) concentrated around a sand hill with numerous 
brittlebush (Encilia farinosa) plants; six months later the forage was 
consumed or desiccated, and no additional ungulate sign was present.
    Our Response: We determined that the area of concern near 
Interstate 8 to the U.S.-Mexico border meets the definition of critical 
habitat and is used more than ``transiently'' by Peninsular bighorn 
sheep (Botta 2008b, pp. 1-3; Botta 2008c, p. 1; Botta 2009, pp. 1-4; 
Davenport 2009, pp. 6-7; James 2007, pp. 1-4; Kim 2008, p. 2; Roblek 
2008a, p. 1-12; Roblek 2008b, p. 1; Wagner 2007, p. 1; Wagner 2008, pp. 
1-3). According to data in our files, there are numerous and repeated 
sightings of bighorn sheep over several years in the Jacumba Mountains 
around the area known as Mountain Springs. A recent aerial survey 
(conducted on November 17, 2008) counted 14 bighorn sheep, including 
ewes, lambs, yearlings, and rams in the approximately 3,000-acre area 
of habitat existing between the east- and west-bound lanes of 
Interstate 8 (Botta 2009, p. 1). An additional 36 bighorn sheep were 
counted within less than a mile of the area. Bighorn sheep were also 
counted in the area during the aerial census conducted in 2006 (Botta 
2008b, p. 1). Finally, there are multiple sightings in the area 
reported by other agencies and individuals, some of which have occurred 
south of Interstate 8 (Davenport 2009, p. 5). The commenter furnishes 
no objective, repeatable method for deciding that sheep use of the area 
is ``transient,'' nor does he explain how he quantified the number of 
sheep in the area.
    Approximately 50 bighorn sheep were visually detected in the 
Interstate 8 island area during the last aerial survey. Additionally, 
the 2006 aerial survey recorded bighorn sheep in the area, and data 
have been repeatedly obtained from other agencies and individuals 
(Davenport 2009, p. 5; James 2007, p. 1; Kim 2007, p. 2). The commenter 
implies that occasional observations of mule deer in the area justifies 
concluding that the area ``is not permanently occupied by bighorn 
sheep.'' However, the commenter furnishes no objective method that is 
accepted by the scientific community for determining ``permanent'' 
occupancy. Given that aerial surveys and other site visits have 
repeatedly recorded bighorn sheep in the area, we consider the area 
occupied by bighorn sheep, and sightings of mule deer do not confound 
these direct observations of bighorn.
    In regard to the commenter's assertions based on the ground surveys 
of the Interstate 8 island area, we believe that this type of survey is 
an unreliable method for estimating bighorn sheep population levels or 
distribution in the Peninsular Ranges. Although it may be a viable 
methodology for some locations, the conditions needed for such surveys 
to be effective do not exist in the Peninsular Ranges. The topography 
is rugged and vast, and the animals blend with their habitat extremely 
well, making it easy for an observer to miss bighorn sheep. A group of 
animals can easily be hidden within the vegetation and topography, and 
a human (on foot) can only view a small fraction of the area. 
Furthermore, bighorn sheep are capable of detecting hikers and quickly 
moving out-of-view before being seen.
    The brittlebush scenario described above by the commenter in 
support of ``transient'' sheep use illustrates how Peninsular bighorn 
sheep, a relatively large mammal, exist in one of the harshest deserts 
in North America. They move across the landscape in response to 
changing resource conditions and need large intact blocks of habitat to 
recover and persist through time. Although brittlebush is a Peninsular 
bighorn sheep forage species, it is not the only one present in the 
area. The scenario described by the commenter actually lends support to 
the designation of the area as critical habitat.
    Comment 66: One commenter stated that the supposed connectivity 
between the U.S. bighorn sheep population and those in northern Baja 
has no basis in fact. The commenter added that south of the U.S.-Mexico 
border, there are only a handful of bighorn sheep sightings within 25 
mi (40 km) of the border within the mountains of northern Baja (Sierra 
Cucapa and Sierra de Juarez), and the commenter believes there is no 
evidence that these areas constitute more than transient use.
    Our Response: Bighorn sheep populations are found along the eastern 
escarpment of the Peninsular Ranges extending most of the length of the 
Baja Peninsula. An examination of the topography on both sides of the 
border reveals the type of steep, rugged topography and vegetation 
typical of bighorn sheep habitat. We find no

[[Page 17311]]

reason to believe that prior to European settlement bighorn sheep 
failed to move across what is now the international boundary. To our 
knowledge, the mountainous areas south of the border have not been 
surveyed since the mid 1990's, and the commenter is correct in pointing 
out our lack of recent information concerning bighorn sheep 
distribution and abundance in Baja Norte, Mexico. The mid 1990's 
corresponded with the low point of bighorn sheep population levels in 
the United States and bighorn sheep were not regularly observed in some 
areas where they are currently present. Bighorn sheep in Mexico may 
have experienced similar population fluctuations and changes in 
distribution over time.
    It has been hypothesized that the bighorn sheep we are seeing 
around Interstate 8 and south are originating from Carrizo Gorge to the 
north. Although plausible, none of the observed Peninsular bighorn 
sheep have been radio-collared or ear-marked, as some are in Carrizo 
Gorge. Therefore, we cannot be certain of the origin of the sheep 
observed in the U.S. Jacumba Mountains. Interaction with bighorn sheep 
in the Peninsular Ranges of Mexico is the only possible route for a 
natural connection with other bighorn sheep populations for the DPS in 
the United States. All other routes are precluded in the United States 
by human developments.
    Comment 67: One commenter states that the area south of Interstate 
8 is not essential to the recovery of this DPS because the Carrizo 
subpopulation has already exceeded the minimum population number needed 
for recovery (approximately fourfold based on California Department of 
Fish and Game census data).
    Our Response: The Recovery Plan for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
establishes downlisting and delisting criteria that go beyond just 
attaining a minimum population number, including maintaining at least 
25 ewes for 6 and 12 consecutive years, respectively, in each of 9 
recovery regions. The goal of maintaining 25 ewes for 6 and 12 years is 
a minimum, not an upper limit. The designation of critical habitat in 
the Jacumba Mountains will also contribute to the preservation of 
habitat connectivity and the ability of Peninsular bighorn sheep to 
move freely throughout the Peninsular Ranges.
    Comment 68: Upon examination of our data used in the delineation 
process obtained by a commenter through the Freedom of Information Act 
process, the commenter stated the Service and others assume that tracks 
and pellets found in the Interstate 8 area are from bighorn sheep 
rather than mule deer and that ``tracks and pellets of bighorn sheep 
and mule deer are not reliably distinguishable.''
    Our Response: We agree with the commenter that it is not possible 
to reliably distinguish bighorn sheep and mule deer fecal pellets (by 
themselves) because there is too much variation. However, in the 
context of a field situation there is frequently other information 
present. Most biologists with extensive field experience believe they 
can identify the respective tracks reliably when there are several sets 
or the substrate allows for a distinct impression. Additionally, the 
physical characteristics of the hooves differ; therefore, the tracks 
are distinguishable by a trained biologist. As previously mentioned, 
the elevation, topography, and vegetation also provide a context for 
identification. Given that the vast majority of animal sightings in 
typical bighorn sheep habitat are Peninsular bighorn sheep, it would be 
reasonable to conclude that the majority of sign was left by Peninsular 
bighorn sheep (Botta 2008b, pp. 1-3; Botta 2008c, p. 1; Botta 2009, pp. 
1-4; Davenport 2009, pp. 6-7; James 2007, pp. 1-4; Kim 2008, p. 2; 
Roblek 2008a, pp. 1-12; Roblek 2008b, p. 1; Wagner 2007, p. 1; Wagner 
2008, pp. 1-3). As mentioned previously, just because deer are observed 
near water or at higher elevations in bighorn habitat does preclude the 
occurrence of Peninsular bighorn sheep in the area.
    Comment 69: One commenter stated that the proposed critical habitat 
near Interstate 8 lacks permanent sources of water (one of the PCEs 
necessary for bighorn sheep survival). The commenter stated that the 
area south of Interstate 8 proposed for critical habitat does not have 
any sources of permanent water that would allow for year-round 
occupancy by bighorn sheep, referencing correspondence from U.S. Border 
Patrol Supervisor Palmer as evidence.
    The commenter also wrote, ``The area proposed for critical habitat 
south of [Interstate 8] lacks adequate escape terrain for permanent 
bighorn sheep occupancy. My preliminary GIS analysis shows that the 
escape terrain falls far short of the necessary contiguous 15 square 
kilometers as defined by McKinney et al. (2003) that are needed to 
sustain a bighorn sheep population. The suggestion in the proposed rule 
that slopes greater than 20 percent somehow qualify as bighorn sheep 
escape terrain is erroneous.''
    Our Response: Upon examination of the correspondence with the 
Border Patrol that was supplied with the commenter's letter, the 
correspondence mentions a possible permanent water source south of 
Interstate 8, approximately one mile from Mountain Springs. 
Additionally, the correspondence notes that free-standing water was 
observed in this area from a helicopter on November 17, 2008, and that 
the surrounding range appears quite dry, which would indicate the water 
source may be ``permanent.'' Supervisor Palmer confirms that under 
drought conditions the springs listed by the commenter are typically 
dry. The Service's surveys throughout the Peninsular Ranges have shown 
that many water sources that have historically been considered 
``permanent'' are now frequently dry. As Supervisor Palmer mentions in 
his correspondence, many of these water sources fill or flow following 
rains. After a rain event the duration of time that free-standing water 
continues to be available is highly variable, and sheep distribution 
may reflect variations in water persistence. Currently, many water 
sources throughout the Peninsular Ranges, including those listed in the 
Jacumba Mountains, are overgrown with salt cedar (Tamarix sp.), and in 
areas where managers have removed this exotic species, free-standing 
water has often returned.
    Regarding the commenter's assertions about escape terrain, our GIS 
analysis shows there are 3.5 square mi (9 square km) of 40 to 60 
percent terrain and 1.4 square mi (3.6 square km) of greater than or 
equal to 60 percent terrain south of Interstate 8, for a total of 4.9 
square mi (12.6 square km). Bighorn sheep in the area use the 
Interstate 8 island and the area to the north of the west-bound lanes. 
If these areas are also included, there are 6.2 square mi (16.2 square 
km) of 40 to 60 percent terrain and 2.3 square mi (6.1 square km) of 
terrain greater than or equal to 60 percent for a total of 8.6 square 
mi (22.3 km). McKinney et al. (2003, p. 1233) reported that 12 of 14 
populations of desert bighorn sheep persisted, and 8 of the 12 
persisting populations occupied areas with greater than 5 square mi (13 
km) of escape terrain. Therefore, 4 populations (or a third) persisted 
with greater than 5 square mi (13 km) of escape terrain. Consequently, 
we question the commenter's use of the word ``necessary.'' McKinney et 
al. (2003, p. 1235) offered the 5.8 square mi (15 km) figure as a 
general guideline for planning translocations and management 
interventions. Such a recommendation highlights the importance of 
escape terrain to bighorn sheep, but the number does not

[[Page 17312]]

represent an absolute requirement. McKinney et al. (2003, p. 1235) 
showed that bighorn sheep populations with access to larger areas of 
escape terrain experienced less variability in population metrics and a 
greater probability of persistence. In summary, we believe there is 
adequate escape terrain in the area to support bighorn sheep, as 
evidenced by their present occurrence and re-colonization of the area, 
our GIS analysis, and historical accounts.
    We were unable to locate anywhere in the proposed rule where areas 
of 20 percent slope were described as escape terrain for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. Therefore, we assume the commenter was confused by the 
general description of bighorn sheep habitat, which did contain the 20 
percent figure. Bighorn regularly use areas of 20 percent slope (and 
less) to access important resources. Escape terrain is one essential 
component of Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat, but there are other 
essential components, as listed in the proposed revised critical 
habitat designation. In the Peninsular Ranges, Peninsular bighorn sheep 
have frequented areas far from classically defined escape terrain for 
extended periods of time. Therefore, only conserving the very steepest 
areas is not a viable strategy for ensuring the recovery and 
persistence of bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges.
Comments From Tribes
    Comment 70: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians stated that 
the Service should not have designated any of their lands as critical 
habitat in the proposed rule in light of the relationship between the 
United States and the Tribe as set forth, inter alia, in Executive 
Order 13175 and Secretarial Order 3206 and because (1) The reservation 
falls within the Tribe's sovereign jurisdiction, and (2) the land 
within the reservation does not require special management 
considerations or protection since it has been and will continue to be 
conserved pursuant to the Tribal HCP. The Tribe also believes that the 
benefits of excluding all tribal lands within the Tribal HCP Plan Area 
from Units 1 and 2A outweigh the benefits of including these lands as 
critical habitat for the bighorn sheep based on the balancing 
requirement of section 4(b)(2) of the Act. 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(2).
    Our Response: In the proposed rule, we did not finalize any 
designation of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribal lands as 
critical habitat, but proposed them as critical habitat, as required by 
our regulations at 50 CFR 424.19, and concurrently proposed those lands 
for exclusion from critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. 
We believe the conservation benefits for Peninsular bighorn sheep that 
would occur as a result of designating the 4,790 ac (1,938 ha) in Units 
1 and 2A as critical habitat (e.g., protection afforded through the 
section 7(a)(2) consultation process) are minimal compared to the 
overall conservation benefits for the DPS that have been realized 
through the implementation of the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy and 
that will continue to be realized through the Tribe's ongoing 
commitment to conserve Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat.
    Furthermore, the benefits to recovery of inclusion of these lands 
primarily have already been met through the identification of those 
areas most important to the DPS. By excluding these lands from the 
designation, we are honoring our responsibility to work with the Tribe 
on a government-to-government basis and acknowledging the Tribe's 
management of its resources, and helping to preserve our ongoing 
partnerships with the Tribe and to encourage new partnerships with 
other Tribes, landowners, and jurisdictions. Those partnerships (and 
the landscape-level, multiple-species conservation planning efforts 
they promote) are critical for the conservation of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. Designating critical habitat on non-Federal lands within the 
Tribe's 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP 
boundary could have a detrimental effect on our partnership and could 
be a significant disincentive to the establishment of future 
partnerships and HCPs with other Tribes and landowners. Therefore, we 
are excluding all Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribal lands 
from the final designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. See our response to Comment 2 above and the ``Application of 
Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' 
section of this final rule.
    Comment 71: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians believes 
that the proposed rule fails to exclude from designation all tribal 
lands lying inside portions of proposed Unit 2A (North Santa Rosa 
Mountains). The Tribe stated these off-reservation tribal lands fall 
within the geographic region covered by the Tribal HCP, and the Tribal 
HCP includes conservation measures and actions that will be of greater 
benefit to the bighorn sheep than designation and piecemeal section 7 
consultations. The Tribe suggested that the benefits of excluding these 
off-reservation tribal lands from designation in Unit 2A outweigh the 
benefits of designation, thus satisfying the requirements for exclusion 
pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act. The Tribe also believes that 
contrary to the requirements of the Act, Executive Order 13175, and the 
Secretarial Order, the proposed rule fails to defer to the Tribe's own 
established standards, thus discouraging the Tribe from developing its 
own policies and intruding on tribal management of its lands. 
Additionally, the Tribe believes that designation of critical habitat 
could delay approval of the Tribal HCP, thus adding to the costs of 
preparing the Tribal HCP and undermining significant protections for 
the bighorn sheep. Finally, the Tribe believes that designation of 
critical habitat can be expected to increase the amount of time and 
financial resources necessary to undertake covered activities described 
in the Tribal HCP, yet it is unlikely to yield material benefits for 
the bighorn sheep.
    Our Response: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is correct 
in that we did not propose their lands within Unit 2A for exclusion. At 
the time of the proposed rule, we were not aware of tribal ownership in 
this unit. In light of the above comment, we re-analyzed our ownership 
data for Unit 2A and found that tribal land exists within that unit. In 
the NOA published in the Federal Register on August 26, 2008 (73 FR 
50498), we revised our proposed exclusion to include approximately 467 
ac (189 ha) of tribal land in Unit 2A. Furthermore, we are excluding 
all tribal lands from the final revised designation of critical habitat 
for Peninsular bighorn sheep as stated above in our responses to 
Comments 2 and 70, and the ``Application of Section 4(b)(2)--Other 
Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' section of this final 
rule.
    Comment 72: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians agrees with 
the Service insofar as we state that ``fish, wildlife, and other 
natural resources on Tribal lands are better managed under Tribal 
authorities, policies, and programs than through Federal regulation * * 
*.'' But the Tribe does not believe that it is appropriate to limit the 
preceding statement by adding the final phrase ``wherever possible and 
practicable.'' The Tribe stated that tribal sovereignty goes further 
than precluding Federal regulation of reservation lands ``wherever 
possible and practicable.''
    Our Response: We believe our position is consistent with the Act 
and all applicable policies and guidance (i.e., Secretarial Order 3206, 
``American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, 
and the

[[Page 17313]]

Endangered Species Act'' (June 5, 1997); 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 relevant provision of the Departmental Manual of the Department of 
the Interior (512 DM 2)). There were situations in the past, and there 
will continue to be situations in the future, where it is necessary to 
designate critical habitat on tribal lands. The Service is not 
prohibited from designating critical habitat on tribal lands and can 
only exclude lands meeting the definition of critical habitat from 
designation when we can demonstrate that the benefits of exclusion 
outweigh the benefits of inclusion of such lands and that the exclusion 
will not result in the extinction of the species concerned. By 
caveating our position with the statement ``wherever possible and 
practicable,'' we recognize that there may be situations where we must 
designate critical habitat on tribal lands. We believe that, in most 
cases, designation of tribal lands as critical habitat provides very 
little additional benefit to threatened and endangered species. 
Conversely, such designation is often viewed by tribes as unwarranted 
and an unwanted intrusion into tribal self governance, thus 
compromising the government-to-government relationship essential to 
achieving our mutual goals of managing for healthy ecosystems upon 
which the viability of threatened and endangered species populations 
depend.
Comments Related to Critical Habitat Designation Process
    Comment 73: One commenter believes the public hearing was not 
adequately publicized, as there was no notice in a local newspaper.
    Our Response: Public involvement in the activities and proposals of 
the Service is very important to us. We made every effort to ensure 
that the public was adequately apprised of Peninsular bighorn sheep 
hearings at least 15 days prior to the hearings occurring. First, in 
our Federal Register notice published on August 26, 2008 (73 FR 50498), 
we provided information about the date, time, and location of the 
public hearings for the Peninsular bighorn sheep proposed revision of 
critical habitat. Second, we issued a press release on August 25, 2008, 
which was distributed to more than 100 stakeholders, including elected 
officials, local governments, species experts, interested members of 
the public, and all local media outlets. Third, we posted the press 
release and other information about the Peninsular bighorn sheep on the 
Service's Region 8 Web site. Fourth, a copy of the August 26, 2008, 
Federal Register notice was posted on the http://www.regulations.gov 
Web site. Finally, announcements of the public hearings on September 
10, 2008, were carried in news stories that published in the Riverside 
Press-Enterprise on August 28, 2008, the San Diego Union-Tribune on 
August 29, 2008, and the Los Angeles Times on September 2, 2008. 
Although legal notices were not specifically published in local 
newspapers, such notices are not required and we believe that adequate 
notice of the hearings was provided to the public in a timely manner 
through a variety of conduits.
Comments From Other Federal Agencies
    Comment 74: The California Desert District of the BLM stated that 
the proposed changes to critical habitat affect BLM management of 
public lands within the jurisdiction of their El Centro and Palm 
Springs/South Coast Field Offices. The BLM stated they have no 
objections to the revised boundaries of critical habitat in the Palm 
Springs/South Coast Field Office and added that they support the use of 
the best available scientific information when designating regulatory 
boundaries such as for critical habitat pursuant to the Act. The BLM 
stated that in the El Centro Field Office jurisdiction, they agree that 
the revised boundaries near the Coyote Mountains that exclude the 
Ocotillo aggregate mining operations better reflect the actual use 
areas for bighorn sheep. Additionally, the BLM stated that in the Fish 
Creek Mountains the boundary appears to be drawn through the existing 
mining pit of U.S. Gypsum Corporation, which is partially permitted by 
BLM. The BLM requested that revisions be made at this location to 
exclude the mine.
    Our Response: We determined that BLM lands in the Fish Creek 
Mountains contain physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep, and therefore, meet the 
definition of critical habitat (see ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section below). Occurrence data used in the 
delineation of critical habitat indicates that areas adjacent to the 
mining pit are utilized by Peninsular bighorn sheep. However, we 
recognize that lands within active mining pits do not generally provide 
suitable habitat or suitable conditions for this DPS. Thus, we are not 
designating lands in the Fish Creek Mountains within the existing 
active mining pit of U.S. Gypsum Corporation. When determining the 
critical habitat boundaries within this final revised rule, we made 
every effort to avoid including developed areas such as lands covered 
by buildings, pavement, active mining pits, and other structures 
because such lands lack essential features for the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. The scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for 
publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the 
exclusion of such developed lands. Any such structures and the land 
under them inadvertently left inside critical habitat boundaries shown 
on the maps of this final revised critical habitat are excluded by text 
in this final rule. Therefore, a Federal action involving these lands 
would not trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical 
habitat and the requirement of no adverse modification unless the 
specific action may affect adjacent critical habitat.
Comments From State Agencies
    Comment 75: Two commenters from the California Department of Parks 
and Recreation stated that the proposed critical habitat does not 
include approximately 249,000 ac (100,767 ha) of alluvial-fan habitat 
previously designated as critical habitat, much of which is the most 
important sheep habitat in the range in need of protection due to 
threats of housing development and golf course projects.
    Our Response: As discussed in our responses to Comments 3 and 60 
above, we agree that low-elevation habitat is important for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. We acknowledge there are some low-elevation areas 
included in the 2001 designation of critical habitat that are not 
included this final designation. Although we received limited new 
information during the public comment period indicating sheep use of 
low-elevation and low-slope habitat, the available data do not indicate 
that the areas of low-elevation and low-slope habitat not included in 
this designation meet the definition of critical habitat. Please see 
the ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat,'' the ``Summary of 
Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation to the 2007 Proposed 
Rule To Revise Critical Habitat,'' and the ``Summary of Changes From 
the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat to This Final Rule To 
Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this final rule for further 
discussion of this topic.
    Comment 76: Two commenters from the California Department of Parks 
and Recreation indicated that the proposed critical habitat delineation 
proposes to create two areas of metapopulation fragmentation: one 
isolating the San

[[Page 17314]]

Jacinto Mountains (Unit 1) and the other isolating the Carrizo Canyon 
(Unit 3) population in the south end of the range.
    Our Response: As discussed in our responses to Comments 1, 6, and 
51, the best scientific data currently available do not support a 
determination that specific areas containing the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep 
connect Units 1 and 3 to the remainder of the range. Please see the 
``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' and ``Summary of Changes 
From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation to the 2007 Proposed Rule To 
Revise Critical Habitat'' sections of this final rule for further 
discussion.
    Comment 77: Two commenters from the California Department of Parks 
and Recreation expressed concern that the proposed revision to critical 
habitat was completed without the consultation and support of the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep recovery team or any other group of biologists 
with in-depth knowledge of bighorn sheep or Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat.
    Our Response: We followed the appropriate guidance and regulations 
regarding inclusion of expert biologists and others during development 
of this critical habitat designation. In accordance with our policy on 
peer review, published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited 
expert opinions from five knowledgeable individuals (some of which were 
on the recovery team) with scientific expertise that included 
familiarity with the DPS, the geographic region in which it occurs, and 
conservation biology principles. Furthermore, on May 14, 2007, 
representatives from the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office and the 
Regional Office, including the Regional Director, met with recovery 
team members in part to inform members that we were initiating work to 
propose revisions to designated critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. At that meeting, we requested that recovery team members submit 
any data they wanted us to consider in our proposed revision. For 
further discussion of this topic, see our responses to Comments 11 and 
39 above.
Comments Related to the Draft Economic Analysis
    Comment 78: One commenter asserts that in assessing the costs of 
the designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep the 
Service must look only at the incremental cost of the proposed 
designation and must not consider the costs attributable to listing 
alone when considering exclusion of habitat areas.
    Our Response: The U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) 
guidelines for conducting economic analysis of regulations direct 
Federal agencies to measure the costs of a regulatory action against a 
baseline, which it defines as the ``best assessment of the way the 
world would look absent the proposed action.'' In other words, the 
baseline includes the existing regulatory and socio-economic burden 
imposed on landowners, managers, or other resource users potentially 
affected by the designation of critical habitat. Impacts that are 
incremental to that baseline (i.e., occurring over and above existing 
constraints) are attributable to the proposed regulation. Significant 
debate has occurred regarding whether assessing the impacts of the 
Service's proposed regulations using this baseline approach is 
appropriate in the context of critical habitat designations.
    In order to address the divergent opinions of the courts and to 
provide the most complete information to decision-makers, the economic 
analysis reports both: (a) The baseline impacts of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep conservation from protections afforded the DPS absent critical 
habitat designation; and (b) the estimated incremental impacts 
precipitated specifically by the designation of critical habitat for 
the species. Summed, these two types of impacts comprise the fully co-
extensive impacts of Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation in areas 
considered for critical habitat designation. When considering the 
economic impacts of a designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we 
consider only the incremental economic impacts of the proposed 
designation.
    Incremental effects of critical habitat designation are determined 
using the Service's December 9, 2004, interim guidance on ``Application 
of the `Destruction or Adverse Modification' Standard Under Section 
7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act'' and information regarding what 
potential consultations and project modifications may potentially occur 
as a result of critical habitat designation over and above those 
associated with the listing. In Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. United 
States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ninth Circuit invalidated the 
Service's regulation defining destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat, and the Service no longer relies on this regulatory 
definition when analyzing whether an action is likely to destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat. Under the statutory provisions of 
the Act, the Service determines destruction or adverse modification on 
the basis of whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal 
action, the affected critical habitat would remain functional to serve 
its intended conservation role for the species. A detailed description 
of the methodology used to define baseline and incremental impacts is 
provided in the ``Economic Analysis'' section of this final rule and 
the DEA.
    Comment 79: One commenter stated that the Service should consider 
both the revised designation of critical habitat and possible economic 
exclusions together. Additionally, the commenter asserted that it is 
very difficult to comment on the impact of the critical habitat 
designation, either individually or globally, without an understanding 
of which properties will ultimately be included in critical habitat. 
The commenter requested that the Service provide an adequate comment 
period for review of the economic exclusions.
    Our Response: We are not excluding any areas from this final 
critical habitat rule based on economics. Furthermore, we fully 
articulated our proposed critical habitat designation and presented 
this proposal to the public in the October 10, 2007, proposed rule (73 
FR 57740) and the August 26, 2008 NOA (73 FR 50498). We opened two 
comment periods to allow the public an adequate opportunity to review 
and comment on the proposed critical habitat designation and the DEA. 
The first comment period opened October 10, 2007 (72 FR 57740), and 
closed December 10, 2007, and was associated with the publication of 
the proposed revised rule. The second comment period opened August 26, 
2008 (73 FR 50498), and closed October 27, 2008, and was associated 
with the notice of availability of the DEA, announcement of revisions 
to the proposed critical habitat, and a notice of public hearings that 
were held September 10, 2008.
    Comment 80: Several commenters suggested that if economics are 
considered in the critical habitat designation, then the Service should 
consider the economic impact to desert tourism if the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep become extinct. Another commenter suggested that the 
economic impacts of potential extinction or reduction in population 
size be considered as they relate to the tourism industry.
    Our Response: The commenters' suggestions are outside the realm of 
what we are required to consider when evaluating the economic effects 
of a critical habitat designation. The economic analysis for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep calculates baseline costs associated with listing and the

[[Page 17315]]

incremental costs of critical habitat designation, not the economic 
effects of a potential population decrease or extinction.

Summary of Changes From the 2001 Critical Habitat Designation to the 
2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat

    The areas identified in the October 10, 2007 (72 FR 57740), 
proposed revision constitute a revision of the areas designated as 
critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep on February 1, 2001 (66 
FR 8650). The main differences in areas we designated as critical 
habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep in 2001 and areas we proposed 
as critical habitat in the 2007 proposed revision include the 
following:
    (1) We re-evaluated and revised the PCEs in light of the Alameda 
whipsnake court case (Homebuilder's Ass'n of Northern Cal. v. U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 268 F. Supp.2d 1197 (E.D. Cal. 2003)) and other 
relevant case law, and followed current Service guidelines and 
policies. The PCEs differ from those in the 2001 critical habitat rule 
in that they are reorganized into five separate PCEs for clarity. 
Furthermore, we added specific information on elevational range, plant 
species used for foraging, and range of slopes required by the DPS. 
This additional specificity was gained by evaluating the Recovery Plan 
and examining all recent sheep information, including data from radio 
collars and GPS collars providing precision to the identification of 
habitats used and preferred by Peninsular bighorn sheep. Applying the 
more precise PCEs to the mountain ranges inhabited by Peninsular 
bighorn sheep allowed us to fine tune the proposed revision to those 
areas containing preferred habitat for sheep use and remove those areas 
that we have determined, based on the best scientific data currently 
available, do not meet the definition of critical habitat for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. For example, the 2001 final rule included 
high elevation (above 4,600 ft (1,402 m)), densely vegetated, and 
forested habitat that we now believe to be inappropriate for sheep use 
in the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, and Vallecito Mountains, based on the 
new information.
    (2) The 2001 final rule used a generalized methodology for 
delineating critical habitat that resulted in the designation of one 
critical habitat unit for Peninsular bighorn sheep totaling 844,897 ac 
(341,919 ha) (February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650). The proposed revision was 
based on a more specific methodology utilizing more current and robust 
data that resulted in three critical habitat units including 
approximately 384,410 ac (155,564 ha) of land in Riverside, San Diego, 
and Imperial Counties, California, a reduction of 460,487 ac (186,355 
ha) from the 2001 final rule (February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650). The areas 
included in the proposed revised critical habitat were almost entirely 
within the boundaries of the existing (2001) critical habitat. 
Approximately 72 ac (29 ha) of BLM land in Unit 3 were outside the 
boundary of the 2001 critical habitat.
    The reduction in total area from the 2001 final critical habitat 
designation was primarily the result of using the revised criteria to 
delineate critical habitat. In our 2001 final critical habitat 
designation, we delineated critical habitat based on the methodology 
used in the Recovery Plan for Bighorn Sheep in the Peninsular Ranges, 
California (Service 2000). In developing the 2007 proposed revision, we 
reexamined the methodology outlined in the 2000 Recovery Plan and the 
2001 critical habitat designation, and updated that methodology based 
on the best available information (including more specific habitat 
information and additional occurrence data) to identify areas that meet 
the definition of critical habitat (see ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section). Upon reevaluation of the data available at 
the time of the 2001 critical habitat designation, data obtained since, 
and our revised methodology for delineating critical habitat, we have 
determined that some areas (e.g., potential connectivity areas and low-
elevation areas, and other expanses described below) included in the 
2001 designation do not meet the definition of critical habitat because 
the available data we have for these specific areas do not support such 
a determination.
    Potential connectivity areas were included in the 2001 designation 
because they were thought to allow sheep movement between ewe 
subpopulations and maintain genetic diversity in the metapopulation; 
however, the 2001 designation was overly broad and generalized, and the 
current available data do not support a determination that specific 
areas between Units 1 and 2A and Units 2B and 3 contain the physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the DPS. We have 
radio collar data of two individual rams indicating the rams spent time 
in both Unit 1 and Unit 2A and that both animals must have traveled 
through intervening habitat between these units. One ram traveled 
between the units multiple times between 1993-1996, while the other ram 
traveled between the units once in 2003. However, we do not have radio 
collar data of these rams in the intervening habitat. These data 
suggest that when traveling, the rams travel quickly and likely do not 
spend much time in the intervening habitat, otherwise animals likely 
would have been detected in those areas. The available data showing 
rams traveling in the intervening habitat between Unit 1 and Unit 2A do 
not support the delineation of a migratory route between these units. 
Likewise, the available data do not support the accurate identification 
of specific areas used by the Peninsular bighorn sheep as potential 
corridors connecting Unit 3 to the remainder of the range.
    Based on the current available scientific data, we have determined 
that some areas of low-elevation habitat, including alluvial fans and 
washes, that were included in the 2001 designation because of the 
seasonal abundance of potential resources in those areas do not meet 
the definition of critical habitat. Based on our evaluation of the 
available information indicating a lack of current or historical 
Peninsular bighorn sheep use in these areas, we have determined that 
these specific areas are not essential for the conservation of the DPS 
(see ``Criteria Used to Identify Critical Habitat'' section). 
Additionally, like our methodology for the 2007 proposed revision, the 
2001 methodology used a minimum slope criterion of 20 percent to 
delineate essential habitat; however, a 0.5 mi (0.8 km) buffer was 
included around slopes of greater than or equal to 20 percent (Service 
2000, p. 158). This contributed to the inclusion of expanses of 
unoccupied low-elevation habitat in the 2001 designation that we have 
determined are not essential for the conservation of the DPS (see 
``Criteria Used to Identify Critical Habitat'' section). The 2007 
proposed rule did not include a buffer zone area around habitat 
determined to be essential to the DPS.
    Little consideration was given to the distribution of occurrence 
data and specific ewe group distributions in the methodology used to 
delineate the 2001 critical habitat boundary. This resulted in expanses 
of critical habitat (in addition to the potential connectivity areas 
and low-elevation habitat) in the 2001 designation in which we had 
little to no occurrence records that would indicate sheep use those 
areas. For example, we had occupancy data dating back to 1940, yet 
extensive areas along the length of the Peninsular Ranges within the 
boundary of the 2001 designation contained little to no data that would 
support those areas as meeting the definition of critical habitat.

[[Page 17316]]

In general, some of the main areas previously designated as critical 
habitat that we have now determined are not essential for the 
conservation of the DPS include the following: The northern and western 
most portions of the San Jacinto Mountains; the western and eastern 
most portions of the Santa Rosa Mountains; and portions of the Pinyon, 
Sawtooth, In-Ko-Pah, Fish Creek, and Coyote mountains.
    The Recovery Plan generally used two criteria, the presence of 
escape terrain and unobstructed view, as key habitat requirements when 
delineating boundaries of the areas essential to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep with little consideration of the presence of the PCEs required by 
this DPS. In the 2007 proposed revision, we considered all five of the 
revised PCEs in delineating proposed revised critical habitat 
boundaries, which results in a more precise determination of essential 
habitat (see ``Primary Constituent Elements for the Peninsular Bighorn 
Sheep'' and ``Criteria Used to Identify Critical Habitat'' sections). 
Because a detailed vegetation map was not available at the time of the 
Recovery Plan, a team of biologists flew the entire western boundary in 
a helicopter and visually assessed vegetation associations (Service 
2000, p. 159). The western boundary was determined by consensus and 
recorded by GPS from the helicopter position every ten seconds (Service 
2000, p. 159). A 0.5 mi (0.8 km) buffer was added to this line to 
account for the advent of fire suppression (Service 2000, p. 160). This 
method delineated a general approximation of Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat and resulted in an overbroad designation of critical habitat in 
these areas. In determining the western boundary of essential habitat 
in the 2007 proposed revision, we used recent vegetation maps that 
cover the entire range of the Peninsular bighorn sheep, along with 
detailed recent aerial photography, expert opinion, and sheep use data 
to delineate boundaries, which we determined more precisely captures 
the areas on which are found the physical or biological features 
essential to the DPS.
    In summary, the recent data and methodology considered and used in 
the 2007 proposed revision and this final rule more accurately 
delineates the specific areas of Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat that 
meet the definition of critical habitat. The methods used in the 2000 
Recovery Plan and the 2001 critical habitat designation resulted in a 
more inclusive delineation of essential habitat due to limited data. 
Application of the revised methodology, based on the best available 
information, identified 460,487 ac (186,355 ha) of previously 
designated critical habitat that do not meet the definition of critical 
habitat, and therefore we are not including these areas in this final 
revised critical habitat designation.
    (3) Approximately 29,924 ac (12,110 ha) of designated critical 
habitat were vacated in the July 31, 2006, consent decree. A portion of 
those acres were within the 2007 proposed revised critical habitat. Of 
the 13,213 ac (5,347 ha) of vacated Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla 
Indians tribal lands, approximately 4,512 ac (1,826 ha) were included 
in the 2007 proposed revision. However, in our proposed revision we 
proposed to exclude all tribal lands from the final designation. 
Approximately 16,691 ac (6,756 ha) of mining lands at Ocotillo Mineral 
Material Sites and Fish Canyon Quarry property were also vacated. In 
the 2007 proposed revision to critical habitat, we included roughly 50 
percent of those vacated lands; specifically, we included lands along 
the northernmost portion of the Ocotillo Mineral Material Sites 
property and the middle to southern portion of the Fish Canyon Quarry 
property. Both of these mining properties contained actively mined 
lands, but also contained areas in which we have recent documented use 
by Peninsular bighorn sheep and areas that meet the criteria used to 
identify critical habitat. The Desert Riders lands vacated in the 
consent decree (approximately 20 ac (8 ha)) were not included in the 
proposed revision.
    Our 2001 final critical habitat rule included the statement that 
``* * * we are not aware of any information suggesting that particular 
areas within designated critical habitat are currently unsuitable or 
unused over the generational timeframe needed for the long-term 
conservation of bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges'' (February 1, 
2001, 66 FR 8655). However, we reconsidered the information that was 
available to us at the time of the 2001 designation in light of 
additional information currently available to us. We determined that 
the methodology used in the 2007 proposed revision (and this final 
rule), which utilized the best available information, provides a more 
accurate delineation of the specific areas that meet the definition of 
critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep than that relied upon 
in the 2001 critical habitat designation (see ``Criteria Used to 
Identify Critical Habitat'' section).
    Table 1 below outlines the changes in areas in each unit between 
the 2001 final critical habitat rule, the 2007 proposed revised 
critical habitat rule, and this 2009 final revised critical habitat 
rule for Peninsular bighorn sheep. Table 2 provides the approximate 
area determined to meet the definition of critical habitat for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep in the 2007 proposed rule, areas added to the 
proposed rule announced in the NOA published in the Federal Register on 
August 26, 2008, areas excluded from the final revised critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (please see ``Exclusions 
Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' for a detailed discussion), and 
areas being designated as final revised critical habitat.

 TABLE 1--Changes Between the February 1, 2001 (66 FR 8650), Critical Habitat Designation, the October 10, 2007
                    (72 FR 57740), Proposed Designation, and This Final Revised Designation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          2007 Proposed
                                                 2001 designation of     revision to the     2009 Final revised
  Critical habitat unit in         County       critical habitat (66    critical habitat      critical habitat
       this final rule                          FR 8650) and ac (ha)   designation (72 FR    designation and ac
                                                                       57740) and ac (ha)           (ha)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. San Jacinto Mts..........  Riverside.......  Included as part of   Included as Unit 1;   Included as Unit 1;
                                                 one large unit;       15,273 ac (6,180      4,597 ac (1,860
                                                 844,897 ac (341,919   ha).                  ha).
                                                 ha).
2A. N. Santa Rosa Mts.......  Riverside.......  ......do............  Included as Unit 2A;  Included as Unit 2A;
                                                                       74,998 ac (30,350     45,100 ac (18,251
                                                                       ha).                  ha).
2B. S. Santa Rosa Mts. south  Riverside, San    ......do............  Included as Unit 2B;  Included as Unit 2B;
 to Vallecito Mts..            Diego, Imperial.                        226,211 ac (91,545    248,021 ac (100,371
                                                                       ha).                  ha).

[[Page 17317]]

 
3. Carrizo Canyon...........  San Diego,        ......do............  Included as Unit 3;   Included as Unit 3;
                               Imperial.                               67,928 ac (27,489     79,220 ac (32,059
                                                                       ha).                  ha).
                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Totals..................  ................  844,897 ac..........  384,410 ac..........  376,938 ac.
                                                (341,919 ha)........  (155,564 ha)........  (152,542 ha).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary of Changes From the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise Critical 
Habitat to This Final Rule To Revise Critical Habitat

    The areas identified in this final revised rule constitute a 
revision of the areas we proposed to designate as critical habitat for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep on October 10, 2007 (72 FR 57740). In light of 
substantial public comments and a revision of our criteria used to 
identify critical habitat, we reevaluated and included in this final 
rule three general areas that were not included in the 2007 proposed 
rule. These additions (described below) were announced in the NOA 
published in the Federal Register on August 26, 2008, (73 FR 50498), 
and include the following: Areas along the eastern edge of the Santa 
Rosa Mountains in Units 2A and 2B; parts of the San Ysidro, Pinyon, and 
Vallecito Mountains in Unit 2B; and a portion of the Jacumba Mountains 
in Unit 3 (approximately 36,240 ac (14,666 ha)). The reduction in total 
area from the 2007 proposed critical habitat designation is primarily 
the result of habitat exclusions under section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
(described below). The main differences between the 2007 proposed 
critical habitat rule and this final rule include the following:
    (1) During the first and second comment periods for the proposed 
rule, we received significant comments from the public, including 
biologists familiar with Peninsular bighorn sheep, which led us to 
reevaluate and revise our criteria used to identify critical habitat. 
Please see the ``Changes to Proposed Revised Critical Habitat'' section 
of the August 26, 2008, NOA (73 FR 50498), and the ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat'' section of this final rule for more 
information on our revised criteria.
    (2) During the first and second comment periods for the proposed 
rule, we received significant comments from the public, including 
biologists familiar with Peninsular bighorn sheep, on areas essential 
to the DPS that should be included in the designation. As a result of 
these comments, new information received, and revision of the criteria 
used to identify critical habitat, we reevaluated the following: Areas 
along the eastern edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Units 2A and 2B; 
parts of the San Ysidro, Pinyon, and Vallecito Mountains in Unit 2B; 
and a portion of the Jacumba Mountains in Unit 3. Over 98 percent of 
these areas are currently designated as critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep (see 50 CFR 17.95(a); February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650); 
however, we did not propose these areas as critical habitat in the 
October 10, 2007, proposed revision to critical habitat (72 FR 57740). 
Below we describe each area we reevaluated, explain why we did not 
include the areas in the 2007 proposed rule, and explain why we are 
including these areas in the final revised critical habitat 
designation.

Eastern Edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains

    The eastern edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains stretches along 
developed and agricultural areas of the Coachella Valley from Palm 
Desert southeast to the Salton Sea. Along this interface, sheep 
currently exist near areas of high human activity where habitat is 
threatened by spreading development. We delineated proposed revised 
critical habitat along the eastern slope of the Santa Rosa Mountains 
where occurrence data supported a determination that these areas 
contained the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the DPS, in some cases immediately adjacent to the edge 
of development and the existing critical habitat boundary (66 FR 8650, 
February 1, 2001). The eastern edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains 
contains low-elevation alluvial-fan habitat that may be important to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. Therefore, we included low-elevation 
alluvial-fan habitat in the proposed revised designation in cases where 
occurrence data indicated sheep are using these areas. However, large 
expanses of currently designated critical habitat (2001) lack 
occurrence data to indicate current or historical use by sheep of those 
areas, including some low-elevation alluvial habitat. As such, we did 
not include all currently designated critical habitat along the eastern 
edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains in the proposed revised critical 
habitat designation.
    During the first public comment period, we received a number of 
comments from biologists familiar with Peninsular bighorn sheep that 
included additional information regarding the importance of low-
elevation and alluvial-fan habitat along the eastern edge of the Santa 
Rosa Mountains. We also received a limited amount of recently collected 
occurrence data in wash areas along the eastern edge of the south Santa 
Rosa Mountains. Additionally, we received comments from Peninsular 
bighorn sheep biologists indicating that our consideration of data 
since the time of listing (1998 to present) was inadequate. We then 
revised our criteria used to identify critical habitat to include 
occurrence data since 1988 (an additional 10 years of data from what we 
considered in the proposed rule).
    In light of the additional information received and the revision of 
our criteria used to identify critical habitat, we reevaluated and 
revised our proposed revised critical habitat boundary along the 
eastern edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains. We believe that low-elevation 
habitat is important for Peninsular bighorn sheep because these areas 
can provide seasonal abundance of forage vegetation and water 
resources. Where occurrence data indicated sheep use, we revised our 
proposed revision of critical habitat to include four additional areas 
along the eastern edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains. These areas include 
approximately 32 ac (13 ha) in two parcels along the urban interface 
between the cities of Cathedral City and Palm Desert in Unit 2A; 3,009 
ac (1,218 ha) on and around Indio Mountain in Unit 2A; and 7,477 ac

[[Page 17318]]

(3,026 ha) of low-elevation and wash habitat to the east of the 
southernmost portion of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Unit 2B.
    Approximately 99 percent of these areas are currently designated as 
critical habitat (66 FR 8650, February 1, 2001); an approximately 77-ac 
(31-ha) parcel and a 3-ac (1-ha) parcel located near Palm Desert are 
outside of the area currently designated as critical habitat. Because 
we determined that these areas contain the features essential to the 
conservation of the DPS, providing seasonal abundance of forage 
vegetation and water resources, we are including approximately 10,518 
ac (4,257 ha) along the eastern edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains in the 
final revised critical habitat designation for Units 2A and 2B.

San Ysidro, Pinyon, and Vallecito Mountains

    The San Ysidro, Pinyon, and Vallecito Mountains roughly comprise 
the middle portion of the Peninsular bighorn sheep range in the United 
States. We included the majority of these mountains in the October 2007 
proposed rule to revise critical habitat (October 10, 2007, 72 FR 
57740). Although the areas were included in the existing critical 
habitat designation, we did not include some extreme western portions 
of the San Ysidro and Pinyon Mountains and the northeastern edge of the 
Vallecito Mountains in the proposed rule to revise critical habitat 
because we determined those areas did not meet the definition of 
critical habitat.
    During the first public comment period, we received comments from 
several species experts who are currently studying the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep indicating that we did not consider a number of areas 
along the western San Ysidro and Pinyon Mountains and the northeastern 
edge of the Vallecito Mountains that are known to be occupied. The 
commenters indicated that we were provided occurrence data that 
indicated occupancy of these areas by bighorn sheep prior to 
publication of the October 10, 2007, proposed rule (72 FR 57740). Upon 
receiving these comments, we examined the occurrence data used to 
delineate the proposed revised critical habitat boundary and found that 
a set of data was missing from our GIS database. We have since included 
that occurrence data into our GIS database.
    In light of this data and our revised criteria used to identify 
critical habitat to include data since 1988, we reevaluated the western 
San Ysidro and Pinyon Mountains and the northeastern edge of the 
Vallecito Mountains and determined that certain areas do meet the 
definition of critical habitat. We revised our proposed designation of 
critical habitat to include approximately 6,503 ac (2,632 ha) in five 
areas along the western San Ysidro Mountains, 5,176 ac (2,095 ha) in 
the western Pinyon Mountains, and 2,751 ac (1,113 ha) along the 
northeastern edge of the Vallecito Mountains (all in Unit 2B). 
Approximately 97 percent of these areas are currently designated as 
critical habitat (February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650). An approximately 53 ac 
(21 ha) parcel located near Parks Canyon and an approximately 360 ac 
(146 ha) parcel located in the San Ysidro Mountains west of Borrego 
Springs are outside of the area currently designated as critical 
habitat. We are including the approximately 14,430 ac (5,840 ha) along 
the San Ysidro, Pinyon, and Vallecito Mountains in the final revised 
critical habitat designation for Unit 2B.

Jacumba Mountains

    The Jacumba Mountains represent the southernmost portion of the 
Peninsular Ranges in the United States, and the southernmost extent of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep's extant range in the United States. Part of 
the Jacumba Mountains were included in the 2007 proposed revised 
critical habitat designation, including an area known as the Interstate 
8 ``island'' where there were multiple sheep sightings from 2008. 
However, we had limited data at the time of the proposed critical 
habitat rule indicating occupancy or sheep use in the rest of the 
southeast Jacumba Mountains and the rugged terrain extending east and 
south to the U.S.-Mexico border. Therefore, we included a small amount 
of the currently designated critical habitat just north of the U.S.-
Mexico border in Imperial County in the October 10, 2007, proposed 
revision to critical habitat (72 FR 57740).
    Since the proposed revised critical habitat designation was 
published, there have been additional sightings and reports of sheep 
activity around and within the Interstate 8 island, including suitable 
habitat areas that extend south to the U.S.-Mexico border. Data 
recently collected by Service biologists and other biologists familiar 
with the DPS include actual sightings of multiple sheep and reports of 
sheep scat and tracks throughout the area, indicating that this area is 
currently occupied by a group of Peninsular bighorn sheep. This area 
contains rugged habitat with the features essential to Peninsular 
bighorn sheep conservation and is contiguous with habitat in Mexico. 
Additionally, the Jacumba Mountains represent the only area of habitat 
connecting the DPS listed in the United States with other bighorn sheep 
populations that occupy the Peninsular Ranges in Mexico. Therefore, we 
revised our proposed designation of critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep to include approximately 11,292 ac (4,570 ha) of habitat 
in the Jacumba Mountains (Unit 3), which is currently designated as 
critical habitat (February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650). This revision was 
based on recent occurrence data and the need to be consistent with the 
critical habitat delineation process we used that includes areas of 
repeated sheep use.
    In total, we added approximately 36,240 ac (14,666 ha) of private, 
Federal, and State land to the October 10, 2007, proposed revised 
critical habitat designation (72 FR 57740) for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
(Table 1).
    (3) While reevaluating the boundaries of the proposed revised 
critical habitat designation as described above, we noticed three areas 
of high-elevation habitat above 4,600 ft (1,400 m) that did not 
accurately follow the boundaries of the essential features and do not 
contain suitable habitat. Therefore, we removed approximately 66 ac (28 
ha) in proposed Unit 1 and two parcels totaling approximately 97 ac (39 
ha) in proposed Unit 2B from the October 10, 2007, proposed revision to 
critical habitat (72 FR 57740) for the Peninsular bighorn sheep (Table 
1) and are not including these areas in the final revised critical 
habitat designation.
    (4) Based on revised ownership data, we announced changes in the 
August 26, 2008, NOA (73 FR 50498) to the areas considered for 
exclusion from that which we stated in the 2007 proposed critical 
habitat rule. With the changes announced in the NOA, the proposed 
exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act for Agua Caliente Band of 
Cahuilla Indians lands totaled approximately 4,790 ac (1,938 ha). We 
determined that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of 
inclusion on these lands; therefore, we excluded approximately 4,790 ac 
(1,938 ha) of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribal lands in 
Units 1 and 2 under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see ``Exclusions Under 
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this final rule for a detailed 
discussion).
    (5) In the proposed rule, we announced that we were considering the 
exclusion of lands covered under the then-draft Coachella Valley MSHCP 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. The Coachella Valley MSHCP has since 
been finalized, and we determined that the benefits of exclusion 
outweigh the benefits of inclusion on these lands; therefore, we 
excluded approximately 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of private and

[[Page 17319]]

permittee-owned or controlled lands within the Coachella Valley MSHCP 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see ``Exclusions Under Section 
4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this final rule for a detailed 
discussion).
    As a result of the above additions to the 2007 proposed revised 
critical habitat designation, removal of areas included in the 2007 
proposed revised critical habitat designation, and exclusions under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we are designating approximately 376,938 ac 
(152,542 ha) of land in Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties as 
critical habitat in this final rule.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (i) The specific areas within the geographical 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
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (ii) specific areas outside the geographical 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, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means the use 
of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring any 
endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided under the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, transplantation, and in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot otherwise be 
relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the prohibition against Federal agencies carrying out, funding, 
or authorizing the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires consultation on Federal 
actions that may affect 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 the government or public to access private 
lands. Such designation does not require implementation of restoration, 
recovery, or enhancement measures by private landowners. Where a 
landowner requests Federal agency funding or authorization for an 
action that may affect a listed species or critical habitat, the 
consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) would apply, but even in 
the event of a destruction or adverse modification finding, the 
landowner's obligation is not to restore or recover the species, but to 
implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat.
    For inclusion in a critical habitat designation, habitat within the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed 
must contain the physical and biological features that are essential to 
the conservation of a species, and be included only if those features 
may require special management considerations or protection. Critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific data available, habitat areas that provide essential life-
cycle needs of the species (i.e., areas on which are found the primary 
constituent elements laid out in the appropriate quantity and spatial 
arrangement essential to the conservation of the species).
    Under the Act, we can designate an area outside the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time of listing as critical habitat 
only when we determine that the best available scientific data 
demonstrate that the designation of that area is essential for the 
conservation of the species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on 
Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in 
the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information 
Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), 
and our associated Information Quality Guidelines provide criteria, 
establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions 
are based on the best scientific data available. They require our 
biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources 
of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical 
habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may 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.
    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 we may 
eventually determine, based on scientific data not now available to the 
Service, are necessary for the recovery of the species. For these 
reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that habitat 
outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be required for 
recovery of the species.
    Areas that support populations, but are outside the critical 
habitat designations, will continue to be subject to conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act. They are also 
subject to the regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) 
jeopardy standard, as determined on the basis of the best available 
scientific information at the time of the Federal agency 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 (HCPs), or other species 
conservation planning efforts if information available at the time of 
these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.

Primary Constituent Elements (PCEs)

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act and the 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing to 
designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species that may require 
special management considerations or protection to be the PCEs laid out 
in the appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the 
conservation of the species. These include, but are not limited to:

[[Page 17320]]

    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historic, geographical, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derived the specific PCEs required for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
from its biological needs as described below and in the proposed rule 
to revise critical habitat published in the Federal Register on October 
10, 2007 (72 FR 57740). Additionally, information can be found in the 
final listing rule published in the Federal Register on March 18, 1998 
(63 FR 13134), and in the original final critical habitat rule 
published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2001 (66 FR 8650).

Space for Individual and Population Growth and Normal Behavior

    Peninsular bighorn sheep occur on moderately steep to very steep 
open slopes, canyons, and washes in hot and dry desert regions where 
the land is rough and rocky, and sparsely vegetated (February 1, 2001, 
66 FR 8650). This DPS is primarily restricted to the east-facing lower 
elevation slopes (generally below 4,600 ft (1,400 m)) of the Peninsular 
Ranges along the northwestern edge of the Sonoran Desert (Jorgensen and 
Turner 1975, p. 51; DeForge et al. 1997, p. 11; Rubin et al. 1998, p. 
541; Ernest et al. 2002, p. 76). A wide range of topography provides a 
diversity of habitats and plant communities across the mountainous 
slopes, canyons, washes, and alluvial fans within the home range of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep (Service 2000, p. 156). This diverse 
topography is necessary to provide shelter from the elements and 
predators, areas for rearing, areas used to meet thermal requirements, 
seasonal water and forage sources, and space for mating and movement of 
this DPS.
    Diverse topographic features are especially important because of 
the extreme temperatures Peninsular bighorn sheep must cope with in 
this desert region. During hot weather, desert bighorn sheep seek shade 
under boulders and cliffs, or move to north-facing slopes (Merritt 
1974, p. 14; Andrew 1994, p. 52). In the event of inclement weather 
they may seek protected caves or overhangs, move to sunny, south-facing 
slopes (Andrew 1994, p. 52), or move to slopes that are protected from 
strong winds. Desert bighorn sheep are frequently found on, and show a 
preference for slopes greater than 20 percent (Elenowitz 1983, p. 87; 
Andrew 1994, p. 53; Dunn 1996, p. 5; Andrew and Bleich 1999, p. 13), 
and our GIS data and occurrence records confirm this observation for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. According to GIS data and occurrence records, 
Peninsular bighorn sheep largely utilize habitat with 20 to 60 percent 
slopes, broken by canyons and washes. Nighttime bedding areas are 
chosen carefully according to the topography of the habitat and may be 
considered a limiting factor in bighorn sheep distribution (Hansen 
1980, p. 78). These bedding areas are usually located along ridges and 
spurs with long distance visibility where bighorn sheep can escape, if 
necessary, in a matter of seconds (Hansen 1980, p. 78).
    Bighorn sheep primarily rely on their sense of sight to detect 
predators. They prefer the lower elevations of the Peninsular Ranges 
where the vegetation associations are less dense and provide better 
visibility than those at higher elevations. Research shows that bighorn 
sheep will avoid habitat where dense vegetation reduces visibility and 
instead prefer to use habitat with vegetative canopy cover less than or 
equal to 30 percent (Risenhoover and Bailey 1985, p. 799; Etchberger et 
al. 1989, p. 906; Dunn 1996, p. 1). Bighorn sheep in the Peninsular 
Ranges avoid higher elevations (above 4,600 ft (1,400 m)), likely due 
to decreased visibility (and therefore increased predation risk) 
associated with denser vegetation (i.e., chaparral and conifer 
woodland) found at higher elevations (Service 2000, p. 10).
    Along with occupying open habitat, bighorn sheep use steep, rugged 
terrain for predator evasion (Service 2000, p. 6). Bighorn sheep use 
their climbing abilities rather than speed to escape from predators, 
and mountainous slopes of greater than or equal to 60 percent (i.e., 
escape habitat) are steep enough to provide this function (Andrew 1994, 
p. 57; Dunn 1996, p. 1; Service 2000, p. 6; McKinney et al. 2003, p. 
1231).
    Steep escape habitat is also used for lambing (Service 2000, p. 6). 
As parturition approaches, ewes seek isolated sites (escape terrain 
with slopes 60 percent or greater) with shelter and unobstructed views 
(Turner and Hansen 1980, p. 148), and seclude themselves from other 
females while finding sites to give birth (Geist 1971, p. 239; 
Etchberger and Krausman 1999, p. 358). Ewes usually give birth to one 
lamb born after an approximately 6-month gestation period (Geist 1971, 
p. 239; Turner and Hansen 1980, p. 146). These areas of steep terrain 
are vital to Peninsular bighorn sheep because lambs have increased 
vulnerability to predation, and these protective slopes are rarely 
visited by predators (Geist 1971, p. 239). Ewe groups with lambs 
usually stay close to escape terrain while feeding on lower gradient 
slopes. Berger (1991, p. 72) reported that when feeding on bajadas or 
away from escape terrain, ewes and lambs were greater than three times 
more vulnerable to predation. Predators of Peninsular bighorn sheep 
include mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, and domestic dogs (Hayes et al. 
2000, p. 954; February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650).

Metapopulation Structure

    Within desert mountain ranges like the Peninsular Ranges, bighorn 
sheep habitat is patchy, and the population structure is naturally 
fragmented (Bleich et al. 1990, p. 384). This fragmentation leads to 
the application of a broad landscape approach to their population 
ecology, grouping geographically distinct herds into metapopulations, 
which are networks of interacting ewe groups or subpopulations 
(Schwartz et al. 1986, pp. 182-183; Bleich et al. 1990, p. 386). This 
broad approach considers long-term viability not of individual 
subpopulations, but rather of entire metapopulations; thus, both 
genetic and demographic factors are considered. Decreasing population 
sizes can lead to decreasing levels of heterozygosity that may have 
negative demographic effects through inbreeding depression (Lande 1988, 
p. 1,456) and loss of adaptability. A small amount of genetic exchange 
among herds by movements of males can counteract inbreeding and 
associated increases in homozygosity that might otherwise develop 
within small, isolated populations (Schwartz et al. 1986, p. 185). 
Males have larger home ranges and a much greater tendency than females 
to explore new areas, which they may do in search of females during the 
mating season. Movement by males occurs readily if no insurmountable 
barriers exist and geographic distances between female groups within 
metapopulations are not extreme (greater than 31 mi 50 km (Witham and 
Smith 1979, p. 24). If movement is precluded by human-constructed 
obstacles, populations will become isolated and the metapopulation 
structure dismantled.
    A study of Peninsular bighorn sheep distribution and abundance by 
Rubin et al. (1998, p. 545) concludes that ewes exhibit a fragmented 
distribution within the Peninsular Ranges, making up at least eight ewe 
groups or

[[Page 17321]]

subpopulations. Although the distribution of these ewe groups could be 
considered naturally fragmented, construction and use of roads through 
bighorn sheep habitat may have increased fragmentation within the 
Peninsular Ranges because ewes avoid crossing highways (Rubin et al. 
1998, p. 547). Ewes show strong gregarious and philopatric behavior 
(i.e., faithful to natal home range), which limits their dispersal 
abilities (Boyce et al. 1999, p. 99; Service 2000, p. 10). Movement of 
ewes between ewe groups is infrequent, but direct observation and 
aerial-telemetry locations and genetic analysis reveal ram movement 
among at least six ewe groups (Boyce et al. 1999, p. 99; Rubin et al. 
1998, pp. 543-544). Additionally, substructuring can occur within 
single herds (i.e., ewe groups) of bighorn sheep (Festa-Bianchet 1986, 
pp. 327-330; Andrew et al. 1997, pp. 74-75; Rubin et al. 1998, pp. 543-
548). Such substructuring is defined by separate home range patterns. 
Although demonstrated more with females, it can occur in both sexes.
    Another important long-term process in metapopulation dynamics is 
the balance between rates of natural extinction and colonization among 
subpopulations. Colonization rates must exceed extinction rates for a 
metapopulation to persist (Hanski and Gilpin 1991, pp. 8-9). In past 
decades this balance has not occurred for Peninsular bighorn sheep due 
to fragmentation, disease, predation, and low recruitment (Rubin et al. 
1998, pp. 545-547; Rubin et al. 2002, p. 803-805). The remaining 
fragmented subpopulations consist of small, isolated groups of bighorn 
sheep that are more vulnerable to extirpation due to random naturally 
occurring events, disease, or predation because of their small 
population size. Local extinction of small subpopulations can be 
prevented by occasional immigrants from neighboring subpopulations 
(i.e., the rescue effect) (Brown and Kodric-Brown 1977, p. 445).
    Because of the metapopulation structure of the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep population, it is important for genetic exchange and the 
conservation of the DPS to ensure space for movement and connectivity 
between ewe groups. Furthermore, maintaining connectivity within the 
metapopulation could help safeguard against local extinctions of the 
remaining subpopulations.

Food

    A wide range of forage resources and vegetation associations are 
required by Peninsular bighorn sheep to meet annual and drought-related 
variations in forage quality and availability (Hansen 1980, p. 76). 
Valley floors, rolling hills, and alluvial fans and washes with 
productive soils provide seasonal vegetation and water resources 
important to Peninsular bighorn sheep. In a mountainous environment 
like the Peninsular Ranges, temperature and soil moisture vary widely 
with slope and elevation. This causes seasonal variation in plant 
growth throughout this DPS' habitat. Peninsular bighorn sheep must have 
access to the seasonal abundance of plant life at various elevations to 
maximize resources and survive in the desert environment.
    Berger (1991, p. 70) found that bighorn sheep adjust their feeding 
ranges to exploit more nutritive portions of their home ranges, such as 
within bajadas, early in the season when high-protein grasses emerge. 
Due to high energetic costs of pregnancy and lactation, ewes are 
especially dependent on areas with nutritious forage to increase 
success of rearing offspring (Service 2000, p. 8). Berbach (1987, p. 
97) reports that, when ewes are confined to an enclosure and prevented 
from using all vegetation associations during late gestation and early 
lactation, they and their lambs die of malnutrition. During the 
reproductive season for Peninsular bighorn sheep, nutritious forages 
are typically concentrated on specific sites (e.g., alluvial fans, 
bajadas, washes) where more productive, wetter soils support greater 
herbaceous growth than steeper, drier, rockier soils (Service 2000, p. 
8). There is a tendency for plants that dry out during summer months on 
the mountain-sides to remain green longer (and thus more nutritious, 
higher in protein, and more easily digested) in the washes, because 
groundwater is generally closer to the surface and in greater quantity. 
Furthermore, the greater soil moisture supports a suite of nutritious 
plants that do not grow on the dry mountain sides. Therefore, washes 
and alluvial fans play an important role in providing desert bighorn 
sheep quality forage during the heat of summer months and through times 
of drought.
    Scott (1986, p. 21) found that Peninsular bighorn sheep diets are 
dominated by shrub species (64 to 76 percent), with grasses and forbs 
species making up a smaller portion of the diet (19 to 30 percent and 2 
to 6 percent, respectively). In the following section, plant 
nomenclature is updated to conform to treatments in Hickman (1993). 
Common names generally conform with those given in Hickman (1993) or 
Abrams (1993-1960). Cited scientific names are retained in brackets for 
ease of reference. Foraging studies by Scott (1986, p. 21) and 
Cunningham (1982, p. 31) note that Peninsular bighorn sheep 
preferentially feed on different plants seasonally. Shrubs such as 
Ambrosia dumosa (burro bush), Caesalpinia virgata [Hoffmannseggia 
microphylla] (small-leaved Hoffmannseggia), Hyptis emoryi (desert 
lavender), Sphaeralcea spp. (globemallow), and Simmondsia chinensis 
(joboba) are primary food sources year round; grasses such as Aristida 
adscensionis (sixweeks threeawn) and Bromus rubens (red brome) along 
with cacti Opuntia spp. (cholla) are primary food sources in the fall; 
forbs such as Plantago spp. (woolly plantain), Plantago ovata 
[insularis] var. fastigiata (woolly plantain), and Ditaxis neomexicana 
(common ditaxis) are primary food sources in the spring.
    However, Peninsular bighorn sheep are generalist foragers, browsing 
on a wide variety of plant species depending on seasonal availability. 
Other plants reportedly consumed by Peninsular bighorn sheep include 
Encelia farinose (brittlebush), Parkinsonia spp. (Palo verde), Ephedra 
spp. (Mormon tea), Agave deserti (desert agave), Quercus spp. (scrub 
oak), Phoradendron californicum (desert mistletoe), Eriogonum 
fasciculatum (California buckwheat), Prunus fremontii (desert apricot), 
Acacia greggii (catclaw), Prosopis juliflora (mesquite), Krameria grayi 
(ratany), and Malosma laurina (laurel-leaf sumac) (Browning and Monson 
1980, p. 88).

Water

    In the Peninsular Ranges, the presence of perennial water is known 
to be a limiting factor only during prolonged droughts or summers 
without significant thunderstorm activity (Service 2000, p. 156). Water 
sources are most valuable to bighorn sheep if they occur in proximity 
to escape terrain with good visibility (Service 2000, p. 9). However, 
according to historical Peninsular bighorn sheep occurrence data, sheep 
are known to travel at least 10 mi (16 km) from sources of perennial 
water (Service 2000, p. 156). According to Service biologists familiar 
with the DPS, bighorn sheep usually visit a water source every 2 to 3 
days, but it is not unusual for them to drink more often. During hot 
summer months, desert bighorn sheep typically stay close to reliable 
sources of water and drink large quantities at each visit. Some 
research has suggested that desert bighorn sheep can survive without a 
permanent water source (Krausman et al. 1985), although this view is 
not widely accepted (Turner and Weaver 1980, p. 104). In desert

[[Page 17322]]

ranges like the Peninsular Ranges, rainwater can accumulate in natural 
collection tanks and potholes in the rock and provide seasonal or 
perennial water sources. Additionally, natural springs provide a 
reliable source of water for Peninsular bighorn sheep. Desert bighorn 
sheep also rely on consuming vegetation, including cacti, to meet water 
requirements when standing water sources are scarce (Turner and Weaver 
1980, p. 102). Water sources contribute greatly to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep's ability to survive the hot and dry summer months.

Primary Constituent Elements for Peninsular Bighorn Sheep

    Within the geographical area occupied by Peninsular bighorn sheep 
at the time of listing, we must identify the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the DPS that may require 
special management considerations or protection. Based on the above 
needs and our current knowledge of the life-history, biology, and 
ecology of Peninsular bighorn sheep, we determined the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep PCEs are:
    (1) Moderate to steep, open slopes (20 to 60 percent) and canyons, 
with canopy cover of 30 percent or less (below 4,600 ft (1,402 m) 
elevation in Peninsular Ranges) that provide space for sheltering, 
predator detection, rearing of young, foraging and watering, mating, 
and movement within and between ewe groups;
    (2) Presence of a variety of forage plants, indicated by the 
presence of shrubs (e.g., Ambrosia spp., Caesalpinia spp., Hyptis spp., 
Sphaeralcea spp., Simmondsia spp.), that provide a primary food source 
year round, grasses (e.g., Aristida spp., Bromus spp.) and cacti (e.g., 
Opuntia spp.) that provide a source of forage in the fall, and forbs 
(e.g., Plantago spp., Ditaxis spp.) that provide a source of forage in 
the spring;
    (3) Steep, rugged, slopes (60 percent slope or greater) (below 
4,600 ft (1,402 m) elevation in Peninsular Ranges) that provide 
secluded space for lambing and terrain for predator evasion;
    (4) Alluvial fans, washes, and valley bottoms that provide 
important foraging areas where nutritious and digestible plants can be 
more readily found during times of drought and lactation, and that 
provide and maintain habitat connectivity by serving as travel routes 
between and within ewe groups, adjacent mountain ranges, and important 
resource areas (e.g., foraging areas and escape terrain); and
    (5) Intermittent and permanent water sources that are available 
during extended dry periods and provide relatively nutritious plants 
and drinking water.
    This final revised critical habitat designation encompasses those 
areas containing the PCEs necessary to support one or more of the 
species' life history functions and laid out in the appropriate 
quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of the 
species. All units in this designation contain the PCEs and support 
multiple life processes. As stated in the ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' section of this rule, we believe that we can 
conserve Peninsular bighorn sheep within its extant range and are not 
including any areas outside of the geographical area occupied by the 
species.

Special Management Considerations or Protection

    When designating critical habitat within the geographical area that 
is occupied at the time of listing, we identify the features that are 
essential to the conservation of the DPS and assess whether those 
features may require special management considerations or protection.
    Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat and the features essential to 
their conservation are threatened by the direct and indirect effects 
of: development and expansion of urban areas; human disturbance related 
to recreation; construction of roadways and power lines; and mineral 
extraction and mining operations.
    Habitat loss (especially in canyon bottoms), degradation, and 
fragmentation associated with the proliferation of residential and 
commercial development, roads and highways, water projects, and 
vehicular and pedestrian recreational uses threaten Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and its habitat throughout its range (March 18, 1998, 63 FR 
13134). Cities that occur along the eastern boundary of proposed 
revised critical habitat, from the base of the San Jacinto and Santa 
Rosa Mountains to the Salton Sea area (Units 1 and 2A), continue to 
grow. Development adjacent to and within Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat affects the quality and quantity of lower elevation habitat and 
associated vegetation, alluvial fans, and water sources (PCEs 1, 2, 4, 
and 5). By 2000, at least 18,500 ac (7,490 ha) of suitable Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat had been lost to urbanization and agriculture 
along the urban interface between the cities of Palm Springs and La 
Quinta (Service 2000, p. 38). Much of the lost habitat consisted of 
low-elevation alluvial fans and washes that provided important sources 
of nutrients to ewes when they were rearing their lambs (PCE 2 and 4) 
(February 1, 2001, 66 FR 8650). Moreover, in the northern Santa Rosa 
Mountains, from 1991 to 1996, 34 percent of Peninsular bighorn sheep 
adult mortalities were directly caused by urbanization (February 1, 
2001, 66 FR 8650): five were killed by cars; five died from feeding on 
toxic, nonnative ornamental plants; and one was strangled in a wire 
fence (DeForge and Ostermann 1997, p. 1).
    Continued urban and commercial development within the range of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep could fragment the metapopulation into 
isolated groups too small to maintain long-term viability. Maintenance 
of genetic diversity allows small ewe groups like those in the 
Peninsular Ranges to persist. The inability of rams and occasional ewes 
to move between groups erodes the genetic fitness of isolated groups 
(PCE 1 and 4) (March 18, 1998, 63 FR 13134). Special management 
considerations or protection may be needed to maintain the physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and alleviate the effects of development on Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat, especially lower elevation habitat, alluvial 
fans, and areas of ewe group connectivity near urban areas. This 
management or protection could be accomplished by controlling the 
expansion of urban, industrial, and agricultural development into these 
areas.
    In the Peninsular Ranges (Units 1, 2 and 3), increased human 
activity and disturbance adjacent to, and within Peninsular bighorn 
sheep habitat may threaten bighorn sheep by altering their normal 
behavior. This altered behavior can lead to bighorn sheep abandoning 
their habitat and preventing use of preferred habitat, including 
lambing areas, water sources, and foraging areas, and cause negative 
physiological effects (PCE 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) (February 1, 2001, 66 FR 
8650; March 18, 1998, 63 FR 13134). A variety of human activities 
(e.g., hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hunting, 
livestock grazing, use of aircraft and off-road vehicles) have the 
potential to disrupt normal bighorn sheep social behaviors. Special 
management considerations or protection of the physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the DPS may be needed to 
alleviate the effects of human activity and disturbance to Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and ensure that the essential features remain available 
for use by Peninsular bighorn

[[Page 17323]]

sheep. Restricting human use of trail systems and natural areas during 
lambing season, re-routing trails, and establishing exclusionary 
fencing around urban areas may reduce human effects on Peninsular 
bighorn sheep behavior.
    Roads and highways may permanently fragment bighorn sheep habitat 
or impede the movement of bighorns across the landscape, thus isolating 
subpopulations and disrupting the metapopulation structure of the DPS. 
Two major highways run through the Peninsular Ranges and fragment 
bighorn sheep habitat. In the northern portion of the Peninsular 
Ranges, State Route 74 runs through the Santa Rosa Mountains (Unit 2A). 
Further south, State Route 78 cuts through habitat between the San 
Ysidro Mountains and Pinyon Mountains (Unit 2B). These roadways have 
degraded habitat and generally impeded the movement of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep (especially ewes) between ewe groups in the surrounding 
areas (PCE 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) (Rubin et al. 1998, p. 547), which can 
erode the genetic fitness of isolated groups (March 18, 1998, 63 FR 
13134). However, some movement has been documented across State Route 
74 (Service 2004, pp. 1-2).
    Epps et al. (2005, p. 1035) showed that genetic diversity of desert 
bighorn sheep populations was negatively correlated with the presence 
of human-made barriers (in this case fenced highways), and suggested 
that anthropogenic barriers constitute a severe threat to the 
persistence of naturally fragmented populations (such as Peninsular 
bighorn sheep). Additionally, roads and highways represent an unnatural 
source of mortality. Collisions with automobiles can be a significant 
cause of Peninsular bighorn sheep mortality within portions of the DPS 
range (DeForge and Ostermann 1997, p. 1). Future construction of 
roadways should be avoided in critical habitat, and if unavoidable, 
should be constructed to minimize habitat effects and allow continued 
connectivity among ewe groups.
    Degradation and fragmentation of bighorn sheep habitat may occur 
during the construction phase of power lines and their associated 
structures. Currently, a large power line (Sunrise Powerlink) is 
approved for construction through Peninsular bighorn sheep critical 
habitat. Special management considerations and protection of the 
physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the 
DPS will be implemented to alleviate the effects of power line 
structures and their construction on Peninsular bighorn sheep and their 
habitat. Future construction of major infrastructure, such as power 
lines, should be avoided in critical habitat, and if unavoidable, 
should be constructed to minimize habitat effects and allow continued 
connectivity among ewe groups.
    Mining operations occur within southern portions of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat in Units 2B and 3. Mining activities and 
associated facilities negatively impact Peninsular bighorn sheep by 
causing the loss of vegetation structure required for foraging 
activities and destroying habitats used for escape, bedding, lambing, 
or connectivity between ranges (PCE 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Disturbance 
could modify the sheep's behavior or cause bighorn sheep to flee an 
area. Special management considerations or protection of the physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the DPS may be 
needed to alleviate the effects of mining operations on Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat. Further mining operations should avoid (to the 
maximum extent possible) areas identified as meeting the definition of 
critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available in determining within the geographical area 
occupied at the time of listing the specific areas on which are found 
the features essential to the conservation of the DPS which may require 
special management considerations or protection, as well as in 
determining if any specific areas outside the geographical area 
occupied by the DPS are essential for the conservation of the DPS. We 
only designate areas outside the geographical area occupied by a 
species when a designation limited to its present range would be 
inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species (50 CFR 
424.12(e)). We are designating critical habitat for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep within areas that we determined were occupied at the time 
of listing and that contain the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of the DPS. Lands are designated based on 
sufficient essential features being present to support the life 
processes.
    Based on the criteria used to identify critical habitat for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep, we believe those areas designated as critical 
habitat within the geographical area occupied by the DPS at the time of 
listing are sufficient to conserve Peninsular bighorn sheep. The most 
recent estimate from 2006 puts the population at approximately 800 
individuals (Torres 2007, p. 1). Delisting criterion 2 in the Recovery 
Plan for this DPS states that the rangewide population must average 750 
individuals (adults and yearlings) with a stable or increasing 
population trend over 12 consecutive years (Service 2000, p. 66). The 
occupied areas identified as containing the features essential to the 
conservation of the DPS in this designation accurately represent the 
areas inhabited by the current population which is at a size 
approaching recovery levels. We believe that conservation of Peninsular 
bighorn sheep would be achieved if threats to this DPS, as described in 
the ``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this 
rule, were reduced or removed due to management and protection of areas 
delineated as critical habitat in this rule. Although the current 
population trend is promising, it should be noted that the time horizon 
for the delisting criterion mentioned above has not been met and other 
downlisting and delisting criteria described in the Recovery Plan (such 
as the minimum number of ewes (25) present in each recovery region for 
six consecutive years) are yet to be achieved.
    For areas outside the geographical area occupied by the DPS at the 
time of listing, there are no data on file to suggest any such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the DPS. We recognize this 
finding is different than what is outlined as essential habitat in the 
2000 Recovery Plan and what was designated as critical habitat in the 
2001 designation (which largely adopted the boundary delineated in the 
Recovery Plan). The Recovery Plan and 2001 critical habitat rule note 
that allowing for ram movement between ewe groups is important for 
maintaining genetic variation in the Peninsular bighorn sheep 
metapopulation, and alluvial fans can provide important resources for 
sheep. While we believe connectivity areas and additional low-elevation 
areas (alluvial-fan habitat) are important for the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep's recovery, we have significantly more data available today than 
when the Recovery Plan and 2001 critical habitat were finalized. We 
have utilized the currently available data to more precisely identify 
areas meeting the definition of critical habitat; in particular, areas 
related to connectivity and low-elevation habitat. Such areas are 
included in this designation where the data support the determination 
that such areas contain the physical and biological features

[[Page 17324]]

essential to the conservation of the DPS. For other potential 
connectivity and low-elevation areas that were included in the 2001 
designation, the available movement and occurrence data we have for 
those areas do not support the identification of specific areas that 
provide a movement corridor, or a determination that the broad expanse 
of low-elevation areas with no evidence of current or historical sheep 
use are essential for the conservation of the DPS.
    We believe it is important to note that critical habitat 
designation is a different process than development of a recovery plan. 
A critical habitat designation is a specific regulatory action that 
defines specific areas as critical habitat in accordance with the 
statutory definition. A recovery plan is a guidance document developed 
in cooperation with partners, which provides a roadmap with detailed 
site-specific management actions to help conserve listed species and 
their ecosystems. The term ``essential,'' as used in the recovery plan, 
is not necessarily used in the same manner as it is used in the 
definition of critical habitat. The recovery plan provides important 
information about the species and the actions that are needed to bring 
about its recovery, while critical habitat identifies specific areas 
that are essential for the species' conservation.
    The deviation from the Recovery Plan boundary and the 2001 final 
critical habitat designation is primarily the result of using a revised 
methodology to delineate critical habitat. Our revised methodology 
incorporates new information to best identify areas that meet the 
definition of critical habitat (see ``Summary of Changes From the 2001 
Critical Habitat Designation To the 2007 Proposed Rule To Revise 
Critical Habitat'' section for more discussion). As a result, the final 
revised critical habitat boundary does not include areas the Recovery 
Plan identified as necessary for the conservation of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep that we since determined (based on the best available 
data at this time) are not essential for the conservation of this DPS. 
Therefore, we believe the final revised critical habitat boundary more 
precisely maps the physical and biological features that occur within 
the geographical area occupied by the Peninsular bighorn sheep at the 
time of listing, which includes those areas containing preferred 
habitat for sheep use.
    There are likely additional areas outside of the final revised 
critical habitat boundary that contain some of the PCEs, including 
areas identified in the Recovery Plan and 2001 critical habitat. We 
recognize that areas outside of the critical habitat boundary are 
likely utilized by Peninsular bighorn sheep (primarily for movement of 
rams between ewe groups). However, as stated above, the data available 
at this time do not support the identification of specific areas 
containing the essential features that provide a movement corridor 
between Units 1 and 2A or between Units 2B and 3. Additionally, Unit 2A 
is continuous with Unit 2B and these units contain a large contiguous 
portion of the Peninsular Ranges allowing for movement between six ewe 
groups with these units. Furthermore, although we do not have 
information to identify specific movement corridors, the areas between 
Units 1 and 2A or between Units 2B and 3 are steep, rugged, and remote 
and there are no perceived threats in these areas. Therefore, we are 
confident that these areas will still be available for any natural 
sheep movements between units allowing for genetic connectivity. We 
also recognize that some areas below 20 percent slope (low-elevation 
areas such as alluvial fans, washes, and valley bottoms) may be used by 
sheep; however, available data do not support a determination that the 
broad expanse of low-elevation areas with no evidence of current or 
historical sheep use are essential for the conservation of the DPS 
(low-elevation areas on which are found features essential to the 
conservation of the DPS are included in this designation). Areas 
outside the final revised critical habitat designation will continue to 
be subject to conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of 
the Act and regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) 
jeopardy standard and the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if 
actions occurring in these areas may affect sheep; these protections 
and conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of the 
DPS.
    We utilize the best scientific and commercial data available to 
develop criteria that (at this point in time) identifies the PCEs laid 
out in the appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement essential to 
the conservation of the DPS. The PCEs incorporate those features needed 
by the Peninsular bighorn sheep as outlined in the Recovery Plan, 
including (1) Open slopes and canyons with minimal canopy cover; (2) 
presence of forage plants; (3) steep, rugged slopes; (4) foraging areas 
within alluvial fans, washes, and valley bottoms; and (5) intermittent 
and permanent water sources.
    We used the following data to delineate critical habitat: (1) Areas 
that contain the PCEs required by the DPS as determined from aerial 
imagery and Geographic Information System (GIS) data on vegetation, 
elevation, and slope; (2) areas within the ewe group distribution 
(i.e., subpopulations) boundaries identified by Rubin et al. (1998); 
(3) areas with occupancy data indicating they are currently occupied or 
areas with occupancy data indicating they were occupied at some point 
between 1988 (i.e., the time of listing (1998) less 10 years, which is 
the average lifespan of Peninsular bighorn sheep) and 2008 (present 
time); and (4) areas where occupancy data points indicate repeated 
Peninsular bighorn sheep use, but which were not captured within the 
ewe group distribution boundaries identified by Rubin et al. (1998). 
Additionally, we gathered information from our files, staff biologists, 
the California Department of Fish and Game, the Bighorn Institute, 
known bighorn sheep experts, and the public. Our revision to critical 
habitat is designed to capture ewe groups; lambing areas; foraging 
areas, including alluvial fans; water sources; and areas used for 
natural sheep movements.
    To determine the criteria used to identify critical habitat in this 
critical habitat designation, we identified areas we believe contain 
the PCEs essential to the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep and 
coupled this information with Peninsular bighorn sheep ewe group 
distribution and occurrence data that have been available since the 
time of listing. We believe this is the most appropriate way to 
accurately delineate the areas containing the PCEs laid out in the 
appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the 
conservation of the DPS. The broad-based methodology used to delineate 
critical habitat in the 2001 critical habitat rule (and 2000 Recovery 
Plan) included large expanses (hundreds of thousands of acres) of 
habitat (including very general connectivity areas and low-elevation 
habitat) which were determined to be essential at that time. However, 
upon reevaluation of the data available at that time, data obtained 
since, and our revised methodology for delineating critical habitat, we 
find that areas were included in the 2001 designation that do not meet 
the definition of critical habitat. Given the more detailed nature of 
the currently available scientific information, it is not appropriate 
to continue to use the broad-based methodology used in the 2001 
designation. Incorporating the available updated occupancy data allowed 
us to examine sheep use during a period documented to exhibit large

[[Page 17325]]

fluctuations in the DPS population levels. As a result, we identified 
those areas that exhibit substantial sheep activity at a broad spatial 
distribution. In other words, the availability of sheep occurrence data 
provided us the opportunity to use this information as a proxy to 
better define and capture in the final revised critical habitat 
boundary those areas containing the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    We delineated critical habitat boundaries using the following 
steps:
    (1) We mapped areas that contain the PCEs required by the DPS as 
determined from aerial imagery and Geographic Information System (GIS) 
data on vegetation, elevation, and slope, and delineated our revised 
units to ensure that they capture the PCEs. Where appropriate, we 
expanded the boundaries to capture the extent of an alluvial fan or 
water source (PCE 4 or 5, respectively). We also removed areas that we 
determined do not contain PCEs or otherwise do not contain suitable 
Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat, such as areas above 4,600 ft (1,400 
m) elevation (PCE 1), areas containing conifer woodland with canopy 
cover greater than 30 percent (PCE 1), and slopes less than 20 percent 
(PCE 1), unless those areas overlapped specifically with Rubin et al.'s 
(1998, pp. 539-561) ewe group distributions and had documented use by 
Peninsular bighorn sheep as evidenced by occurrence data, as further 
described in the following steps.
    (2) We mapped ewe group areas from Rubin et al. (1998) over GIS 
imagery of the Peninsular Ranges to delineate the distribution of ewe 
groups in the proposed revised critical habitat. We consider Rubin et 
al. (1998) to be the best available data on Peninsular bighorn sheep 
ewe group distribution. The ewe group delineations presented in Rubin 
et al. (1998) were based on data collected during 1993 to 1996, when 
the population of Peninsular bighorn sheep was at historically low 
levels. Therefore, the ewe group delineations present a minimum 
distribution of bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges. This is the 
only data we are aware of that identifies the distribution of ewe 
groups and subgroups within the Peninsular Ranges. Furthermore, we 
believe that the ewe groups presented in Rubin et al. (1998) accurately 
depict the general locations of the known ewe groups in these ranges, 
providing a logical proxy to help identify those areas containing the 
physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    (3) We compared the ewe group delineation from Rubin et al. (1998, 
pp. 539-561) with all occupancy data collected since 1988 on GIS 
imagery maps to: (1) Ensure that Rubin et al. (1998, pp. 539-561) 
accurately represents the boundaries of the ewe groups at larger 
population levels; (2) capture possible ram movement; and (3) capture 
other areas used by bighorn sheep in recent years. Subsequently, we 
expanded the delineated ewe group areas to include areas where 
occupancy data points indicate repeated Peninsular bighorn sheep use 
and sheep movements (pre- and post-Rubin et al. 1998, pp. 539-561), and 
to include areas that contain the PCEs for Peninsular bighorn sheep. We 
delineated the critical habitat boundaries at these locations to 
capture the majority of occurrence points while still following the 
boundaries of the PCEs, such as elevations below 4,600 ft (1,400 m) 
(PCE 1), areas with 30 percent canopy cover or less (PCE 1), escape 
terrain (PCE 3), slopes of 20 percent or greater (PCE 1), alluvial fans 
(PCE 4), washes (PCE 4), and water sources (PCE 5) immediately adjacent 
to the identified ewe groups. When it was not possible to follow 
boundaries of the PCEs, we delineated the border around occurrence 
points to follow natural breaks in the terrain such as ridgelines, 
canyon bottoms, and toe of slope.
    Specifically, we expanded the area representing the northernmost 
ewe group delineation (i.e., San Jacinto Mountains) to include the area 
north of Chino Canyon where (1) We have evidence of recent ewe and ram 
movements; and (2) the Bighorn Institute has released, and continues to 
release, captive-born sheep to help recover this DPS. We also expanded 
the area representing the southernmost ewe group delineation (i.e., 
Carizzo Canyon area) to the southeast to capture water sources (PCE 5), 
including habitat near the Interstate 8 island southwest of Ocotillo, 
California, south towards the U.S.-Mexico border where there are 
consistent, recent sightings of uncollared Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
Finally, we expanded ewe group delineations to include areas of 
occupied habitat between the ewe groups in the Santa Rosa Mountains 
continuing south along the Peninsular Ranges to the Vallecito Mountains 
ewe group. Documented Peninsular bighorn sheep use of these intervening 
habitat areas is consistent with the Rubin et al. (1998, pp. 539-561) 
demographic study, which indicated possible connectivity between ewe 
groups through this area.
    (4) We examined all pre-listing occurrence data in our files to 
determine if our revised critical habitat missed any areas of 
historical repeated Peninsular bighorn sheep use. As a result, we 
identified an area of historical repeated use that was occupied at the 
time of listing between two ewe subgroups documented in Rubin et al. 
(1998, pp. 539-561) as (1) Santa Rosa Mountains east of State Route 74 
(Martinez Canyon); and (2) Santa Rosa Mountains east of State Route 74 
(south)). Documented Peninsular bighorn sheep use of these intervening 
habitat areas is consistent with the Rubin et al. (1998, pp. 539-561) 
demographic study, which indicated possible connectivity between these 
subgroups through this area. This area is important in light of genetic 
findings by Boyce et al. (1999, pp. 99-106) that indicate ewe groups 
within these ranges maintain genetic connectivity, probably through 
male-mediated nuclear gene flow. Based on the importance of this area 
for connectivity between subgroups, we expanded the critical habitat 
boundaries to include areas where occupancy data points indicate 
historically occupied habitat. Since the number of occurrence data 
points in historically occupied areas is relatively small, likely due 
to minimal survey effort in those remote areas, we delineated the unit 
boundaries in these areas to follow the boundaries of the PCEs, such as 
elevations below 4,600 ft (1,400 m) (PCE 1), areas with 30 percent 
canopy cover or less (PCE 1), escape terrain (PCE 3), alluvial fans 
(PCE 4), washes (PCE 4), and water sources (PCE 5) immediately adjacent 
to the identified ewe groups.
    When determining the critical habitat boundaries within this final 
revised rule, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas 
such as lands covered by buildings, pavement, mining pits, and other 
structures because such lands lack essential features for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. The scale of the maps we prepared under the 
parameters for publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may 
not reflect the exclusion of such developed lands. Any such structures 
and the land under them inadvertently left inside critical habitat 
boundaries shown on the maps of this final revised critical habitat are 
excluded by text in this final rule. Therefore, a Federal action 
involving these lands would not trigger section 7 consultation with 
respect to critical habitat and the requirement of no destruction or 
adverse modification unless the specific action may affect adjacent 
critical habitat.

[[Page 17326]]

Final Critical Habitat Designation

    We are designating approximately 376,938 ac (152,542 ha) of 
critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep in four units that were 
proposed as revised critical habitat. Table 2 provides the approximate 
area determined to meet the definition of critical habitat for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep in the 2007 proposed rule, areas added to the 
proposed rule announced in the NOA published in the Federal Register on 
August 26, 2008, areas excluded from the final revised critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (please see ``Exclusions 
Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' for a detailed discussion), and 
areas being designated as final revised critical habitat.

Table 2--Critical Habitat Units for Peninsular Bighorn Sheep in Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties, California; Land Ownership and Evolution of
                                                             Final Size in Acres (Hectares)
                                   [Area estimates reflect all land within proposed critical habitat unit boundaries]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Critical habitat unit                 Land ownership........      2007 Proposed
                                                               critical habitat (72
                                                                  FR 57740) \10\
                                         2008 NOA changes to proposed
                                         critical habitat (73 FR 50498)
                                                      \11\
                                         Areas excluded under section
                                               4(b)(2) of the Act
                                            Final critical habitat
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. San Jacinto Mts..................  Tribal \1\............      4,323     (1,749)          0   .........      4,323     (1,749)          0   .........
                                      BLM \2\...............      3,135     (1,269)          0   .........          0   .........      3,135     (1,269)
                                      USFS \3\..............      1,237       (501)        -66        (27)          0   .........      1,171       (474)
                                      State \4\.............        276       (112)          0   .........        276       (112)          0   .........
                                      Private \5\...........      6,302     (2,322)          0   .........      6,011     (2,433)        291       (118)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subtotal................................................     15,273     (6,181)        -66        (27)     10,610     (4,294)      4,597     (1,860)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2A. N. Santa Rosa Mts...............  Tribal \1\............        467       (189)          0   .........        467       (189)          0   .........
                                      BLM...................     44,485    (18,003)        613       (248)          0   .........     45,098    (18,251)
                                      State \6\.............     17,547     (7,101)      1,490       (603)     19,037     (7,704)          0   .........
                                      Private \5\...........     12,499     (5,058)        938       (380)     13,435     (5,437)          2         (1)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subtotal................................................     74,998    (30,350)      3,041     (1,231)     32,939    (13,330)     45,100    (18,251)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2B. S. Santa Rosa Mts...............
    south to Vallecito Mts..........  BLM...................     16,266     (6,583)          0   .........          0   .........     16,266     (6,583)
                                      State \7\.............    197,509    (79,929)     19,697    (7,971);          0   .........    217,206    (87,901)
                                      ......................  ..........  .........        -97        (39)
                                      Private...............     12,436     (5,033)      2,113       (855)          0   .........     14,549     (5,888)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subtotal................................................    226,211    (91,545)     21,810     (8,826)          0   .........    248,021   (100,371)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3. Carrizo Canyon...................  BLM...................     27,762    (11,235)      9,985     (4,041)          0   .........     37,747    (15,276)
                                      State \8\.............     35,475    (14,356)         58        (23)          0   .........     35,533    (14,380)
                                      Private...............      4,177     (1,690)      1,249       (505)          0   .........      5,426     (2,196)
                                      Local \9\.............        514       (208)          0   .........          0   .........        514       (208)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subtotal................................................     67,928    (27,489)     11,292     (4,570)          0   .........     79,220    (32,059)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...............................................    384,410   (155,564)     36,077    (14,600)     43,549    (17,624)    376,938   (152,542)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Tribal = Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation and tribal lands.
\2\ BLM = Bureau of Land Management.
\3\ USFS = United States Forest Service.
\4\ State = Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy (CVMC), California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and California State Lands Commission (CSLC).
\5\ Private = Private or Coachella Valley MSHCP permittee.
\6\ State = University of California Natural Reserve System, CVMC, Wildlife Conservation Board, and State unpermitted.
\7\ State = CDFG, CSLC, and California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR).
\8\ State = CDPR.
\9\ Local = City/County Park.
\10\ Proposed critical habitat acreages for ownership types reported in this column do not match those reported in the October 10, 2007, proposed rule
  (72 FR 57740) because they are revised to reflect updated ownership information obtained since the proposed rule published.
\11\ Minus (-) symbols in this column indicate areas removed from proposed revised critical habitat.

    Below, we present brief descriptions of the units designated as 
critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. For more information 
about the areas excluded from critical habitat, please see the 
``Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this final 
rule.

Unit 1: San Jacinto Mountains

    Unit 1 consists of approximately 4,597 ac (1,860 ha) in the San 
Jacinto Mountains, Riverside County. Unit 1 is generally located within 
an area bounded on the east by the city of Palm Springs, bounded on the 
north by Windy Point and Snow Canyon, and extends south to the northern 
Palm Canyon area. Land ownership within the unit includes approximately 
3,135 ac (1,269 ha) of BLM land; 1,171 ac (474 ha) of USFS land; and 
291 ac (118 ha) of Desert Water Authority (DWA) land (Table 2).
    Unit 1 begins at a low-elevation of about 450 ft (137 m) on the 
eastern slope and rises to about 4,600 ft (1,400 m) to the west. It is 
the northernmost unit of revised critical habitat for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. Unit 1 contains the physical and biological 
features essential to the

[[Page 17327]]

conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep including a range of 
vegetation types (PCE 2), foraging and watering areas including 
alluvial fans (PCE 4 and 5), and steep rocky terrain with elevations 
and slopes that provide for sheltering, lambing, mating, movement among 
and between ewe groups (PCE 1), and predator evasion (PCE 3).
    The physical and biological features essential to the conservation 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep in Unit 1 may require special management 
considerations or protection to ameliorate the threats of urban and 
industrial development (particularly in lower elevation areas) due to 
the proximity of this unit to the Palm Springs area, and to decrease 
the direct and indirect effects of human disturbance to Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and its habitat. Please see the ``Special Management 
Considerations or Protection'' section of this final rule for a 
detailed discussion of the threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat 
and potential management considerations.
    We excluded approximately 4,323 ac (1,749 ha) of tribal land that 
meets the definition of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
from the final revised designation. We believe the designation of 
critical habitat would adversely impact our working relationship with 
the Tribe, and that Federal regulation through critical habitat 
designation would be viewed as an unwarranted and unwanted intrusion 
into tribal natural resource programs. Furthermore, the approximately 
4,323 ac (1,749 ha) of tribal land within critical habitat are 
currently managed in a manner that provides conservation benefits to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep through implementation of a Tribal Council-
approved management plan currently being implemented (2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy; MBA, 2001). The Tribe is also implementing a 
number of smaller scale habitat- and activity-specific plans that 
provide some benefit to Peninsular bighorn sheep: Indian Canyons Master 
Plan, 2002; Tahquitz Canyon Wetland Conservation Plan, 2000; Trail 
Plan, 2000; and the draft Tribal Fire Management Plan. Furthermore, the 
4,323 ac (1,749 ha) of tribal land are within the plan area of the 2007 
draft Tribal HCP (Helix Environmental Planning, 2007) that will 
incorporate additional conservation measures once finalized. See the 
``Application of Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation 
Partnerships'' section of this final rule for a detailed discussion of 
the tribal management plans.
    We also excluded lands within the plan area for the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP from Unit 1. In both the 2007 proposed revised rule and 
NOA published in the Federal Register on August 26, 2008, we stated we 
would consider the possible exclusion of approximately 6,287 ac (2,544 
ha) of private land and Coachella Valley MSHCP permittee-owned land 
from the final critical habitat designation in Unit 1. We are excluding 
these areas from this final revised designation based on partnerships 
developed during the development of the Coachella Valley MSHCP that was 
finalized on October 1, 2008 (see the ``Application of Section 
4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' section 
for a detailed discussion).

Unit 2A: North Santa Rosa Mountains

    Unit 2A consists of approximately 45,100 ac (18,251 ha) in the 
northern Santa Rosa Mountains, Riverside County. Unit 2A is generally 
located on the east-facing slopes of the northern Santa Rosa Mountains, 
and extends from near the City of Rancho Mirage in the north to 
Martinez Canyon in the south, limited to the east by the communities of 
the northern Coachella Valley. Land ownership within the unit includes 
approximately 45,098 ac (18,251 ha) of BLM land and 2 ac (1 ha) of DWA 
land (Table 2).
    Unit 2A begins at a low-elevation of about 50 ft (15 m) on the 
eastern slope and rises to about 4,600 ft (1,400 m) to the west. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and remains occupied. Unit 2A 
contains the physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep including a range of 
vegetation types (PCE 2), foraging and watering areas including 
alluvial fans (PCE 4 and 5), and steep to very steep, rocky terrain 
with elevations and slopes that provide for sheltering, lambing, 
mating, movement among and between ewe groups (PCE 1), and predator 
evasion (PCE 3).
    The physical and biological features essential to the conservation 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep in Unit 2A may require special management 
considerations or protection to ameliorate the threats of urban, 
industrial, and agricultural development, and to decrease the direct 
and indirect effects of human disturbance to Peninsular bighorn sheep 
and its habitat, due to the proximity of this unit to the highly 
developed northern Coachella Valley. In particular, the essential 
features in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protection to alleviate threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep and its 
habitat associated with roadways, such as State Route 74 that cuts 
through the midsection of this unit and may impede movement between ewe 
groups. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or 
Protection'' section of this final rule for a detailed discussion of 
the threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat and potential 
management considerations.
    We excluded approximately 467 ac (189 ha) of Agua Caliente Band of 
Cahuilla Indians tribal lands meeting the definition of critical 
habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep from the final revised 
designation. As stated above under the description of Unit 1, the 
designation of critical habitat would likely adversely impact our 
working relationship with the Tribe, and we believe that Federal 
regulation through critical habitat designation would be viewed as an 
unwarranted and unwanted intrusion into tribal natural resource 
programs. Furthermore, these approximately 467 ac (189 ha) of tribal 
land within critical habitat are currently managed in a manner that 
provides conservation benefits to Peninsular bighorn sheep through 
implementation of a Tribal Council-approved management plan currently 
being implemented (2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy; MBA, 2001). The 
467 ac (189 ha) of tribal land are within the plan area of the 2007 
draft Tribal HCP (Helix Environmental Planning, 2007) that will 
incorporate additional conservation measures once finalized. See the 
``Application of Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation 
Partnerships'' section of this final revised rule for a detailed 
discussion of the tribal management plans.
    We also excluded lands within the plan area for the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP from Unit 2A. In the 2007 proposed revised rule and the 
NOA published in the Federal Register on August 26, 2008, we stated we 
would consider the possible exclusion of approximately 32,472 ac 
(13,141 ha) of private land and Coachella Valley MSHCP permittee-owned 
land from the final critical habitat designation in Unit 2A. We are 
excluding these areas from this final revised designation based on 
partnerships developed during the development of the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP that was finalized on October 1, 2008 (see the ``Application of 
Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation Partnerships'' 
section for a detailed discussion).

Unit 2B: South Santa Rosa Mountains South to Vallecito Mountains

    Unit 2B consists of approximately 248,021 ac (100,371 ha) in the 
southern Santa Rosa Mountains, Coyote Canyon,

[[Page 17328]]

San Ysidro Mountains, Pinyon Mountains, and Vallecito Mountains, in 
Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties. Unit 2B is generally 
located on the east-facing slopes of the above ranges, loosely bounded 
on the east by the Coachella Valley floor, and extends from the 
southern Santa Rosa Mountains in the north to the Fish Creek Mountains 
in the south. Land ownership within the unit includes approximately 
16,266 ac (6,583 ha) of BLM land; 217,206 ac (87,901 ha) of land owned 
by the State of California (including portions of Anza-Borrego Desert 
State Park); and 14,549 ac (5,888 ha) of private land (Table 2).
    Unit 2B begins at a low-elevation of about 150 ft (45 m) on the 
eastern slope and rises to about 4,600 ft (1,400 m) to the west. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and remains occupied. This 
unit contains the physical and biological features that are essential 
to the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep including a range of 
vegetation types (PCE 2), foraging and watering areas including 
alluvial fans (PCE 4 and 5), and steep to very steep, rocky terrain 
with elevations and slopes that provide for sheltering, lambing, 
mating, movement among and between ewe groups (PCE 1), and predator 
evasion (PCE 3).
    The physical and biological features essential to the conservation 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep in Unit 2B may require special management 
considerations or protection to: (1) Ameliorate threats of urban, 
industrial, and agricultural development due to the proximity of this 
unit to the Coachella Valley, especially the lower elevation areas in 
the northeastern portions of this unit; (2) decrease the direct and 
indirect effects of human disturbance to Peninsular bighorn sheep and 
its habitat due to recreational activity, since most of this unit 
includes lands within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is open to 
recreational activities; (3) alleviate threats to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and its habitat associated with State Route 78, which cuts 
through the southern portion of this unit and may impede movement 
between ewe groups; and (4) alleviate threats to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and its habitat associated with mining operations at Fish Canyon 
Quarry and various mining claims in the unit. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this final rule 
for a detailed discussion of the threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat and potential management considerations.

Unit 3: Carrizo Canyon

    Unit 3 consists of approximately 79,220 ac (32,059 ha) in the 
Carrizo Canyon area of San Diego and Imperial Counties, extending south 
to the U.S.-Mexico border. Unit 3 is generally located in Carrizo 
Canyon and the surrounding In-Ko-Pah Mountains, Jacumba Mountains, 
Coyote Mountains, and Tierra Blanca Mountains; it is loosely bounded on 
the north, east, and west by the Coachella Valley floor. Land ownership 
within the unit includes approximately 37,747 ac (15,276 ha) of BLM 
land; 35,533 ac (14,380 ha) of land owned by the State of California 
(including portions of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park); 5,426 ac (2,196 
ha) of private land; and 514 ac (208 ha) of local park land (Table 2).
    Unit 3 begins at a low-elevation of about 400 ft (122 m) on the 
eastern slope and rises to about 4,600 ft (1,400 m) to the west. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit contains the physical and biological features that are 
essential to the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep including a 
range of vegetation types (PCE 2), foraging and watering areas 
including alluvial fans (PCE 4 and 5), and steep to very steep, rocky 
terrain with elevations and slopes that provide for sheltering, 
lambing, mating, movement among and between ewe groups (PCE 1), and 
predator evasion (PCE 3).
    The physical and biological features essential to the conservation 
of Peninsular bighorn sheep in Unit 3 may require special management 
considerations or protection to: (1) Decrease the direct and indirect 
effects of human disturbance to Peninsular bighorn sheep and its 
habitat due to recreational activity, since most of this unit includes 
lands within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is open to 
recreational activities; (2) alleviate threats to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and its habitat associated with Interstate 8, which cuts through 
the southern portion of this unit and may impede movement between ewe 
groups; and (3) alleviate threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep and its 
habitat associated with mining operations at Ocotillo Mineral Material 
Site and other mining claims that may occur in the unit. Please see the 
``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this 
final rule for a detailed discussion of the threats to Peninsular 
bighorn sheep habitat and potential management considerations.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are 
not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or 
destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. Decisions by 
the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have invalidated our 
definition of ``destruction or adverse modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) 
(see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 
F. 3d 1059 (9th Cir 2004) and Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service et al., 245 F.3d 434, 442F (5th Cir 2001)), and we do not rely 
on this regulatory definition when analyzing whether an action is 
likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Under the 
statutory provisions of the Act, we determine destruction or adverse 
modification on the basis of whether, with implementation of the 
proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would remain 
functional to serve its intended conservation role for the species.
    Under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, 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. As a result of 
this consultation, we document compliance with the requirements of 
section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that are likely to 
adversely affect listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we also provide 
reasonable and prudent alternatives to the project, if any are 
identifiable. We define ``Reasonable and prudent alternatives'' at 50 
CFR 402.02 as alternative actions identified during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action;
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction;
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible; and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid jeopardizing the 
continued existence of the listed species or

[[Page 17329]]

destroying or adversely modifying 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 a new 
species is listed or critical habitat is subsequently designated that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action or such discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law. Consequently, Federal 
agencies may need to request reinitiation of consultation with us on 
actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if those 
actions may affect subsequently listed species or designated critical 
habitat.
    Federal activities that may affect Peninsular bighorn sheep or its 
designated critical habitat will require section 7(a)(2) consultation 
under the Act. Activities on State, tribal, local or private lands 
requiring a Federal permit (such as a permit from the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 
et seq.) or a permit from us under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act) or 
involving some other Federal action (such as funding from the Federal 
Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency) are examples of agency actions that may be 
subject to the section 7(a)(2) consultation process. Federal actions 
not affecting listed species or critical habitat, and actions on State, 
tribal, local, or private lands that are not federally funded, 
authorized, or permitted, do not require section 7(a)(2) consultations.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would remain functional to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical and 
biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
Generally, the conservation role of Peninsular bighorn sheep critical 
habitat units is to support viable core area populations.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that, when carried out, funded, or authorized by a 
Federal agency, may affect critical habitat and therefore should result 
in consultation for Peninsular bighorn sheep include, but are not 
limited to:
    (1) Actions that would significantly reduce ongoing management and 
conservation efforts that benefit Peninsular bighorn sheep on public 
lands. Such activities could include, but are not limited to, the sale, 
exchange, or lease of lands managed by BLM or other Federal agencies, 
and the State of California. These activities could reduce the amount 
of space that is available for individual and population growth and 
normal behavior, as well as reduce or eliminate the number and extent 
of sites for foraging, watering, breeding, reproduction, and rearing of 
offspring. These activities could also reduce the opportunities 
available to Federal agencies to exercise their section 7(a)(1) of the 
Act responsibilities to carry out programs to conserve listed species.
    (2) Actions that would significantly reduce the availability of or 
accessibility to seasonal ranges. Such activities could include, but 
are not limited to, grazing, mining, and power line and road 
construction activities. These activities could degrade, reduce, 
fragment, or eliminate available foraging resources or alter current 
foraging activities of Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    (3) Actions that would result in the significant expansion of dense 
vegetation communities within Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat. Such 
activities could include, but are not limited to, fire suppression. 
These activities could allow expansion of vegetation cover such that 
movement patterns of bighorn sheep are altered by avoidance of these 
areas. Tall, dense vegetation decreases visibility for bighorn sheep 
and provides cover for predators such as the mountain lion, a common 
predator of Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    (4) Actions that would create significant barriers to movement. 
Such activities could include, but are not limited to, road 
construction, residential development, and resort or campground 
facility development or expansion. These activities could interfere 
with movement within and between habitats, thereby reducing the 
availability of habitat for foraging, watering, breeding, reproduction, 
sheltering, and rearing of offspring. These activities could also 
reduce opportunities for movement between existing populations, 
dispersal, and genetic interchange between ewe groups.
    (5) Actions that would significantly degrade habitat or cause a 
disturbance to Peninsular bighorn sheep. Such activities could include, 
but are not limited to, recreational activities, such as off-road 
vehicle use, hiking, camping, rock climbing, horseback riding, and 
outfitter guided activities. These activities could displace animals 
from foraging areas, water sources, and escape terrain, and could 
impact the quality and quantity of forage.

Exemptions

Application of Section 4(a)(3) of the Act

    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) 
required each military installation that includes land and water 
suitable for the conservation and management of natural resources to 
complete an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) by 
November 17, 2001. An INRMP integrates implementation of the military 
mission of the installation with stewardship of the natural resources 
found on the base. Each INRMP includes:
     An assessment of the ecological needs on the installation, 
including the need to provide for the conservation of 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.
    Among other things, each INRMP must, to the extent appropriate and 
applicable, provide for fish and wildlife management; fish and wildlife 
habitat enhancement or modification; wetland protection, enhancement, 
and restoration where necessary to support fish and wildlife; and 
enforcement of applicable natural resource laws.
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) amended the Act to limit areas eligible for designation as 
critical habitat. Specifically, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) now provides: ``The Secretary shall not 
designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographical areas 
owned or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its 
use, that

[[Page 17330]]

are subject to an integrated natural resources management plan prepared 
under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary 
determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species 
for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.''
    There are no Department of Defense lands with a completed INRMP 
within the critical habitat designation.

Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

Application of Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary must designate 
and revise critical habitat on the basis of the best available 
scientific data after taking into consideration the economic impact, 
national security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying 
any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an 
area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the 
critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific 
data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical 
habitat will result in the extinction of the species. In making that 
determination, the legislative history is clear that the Secretary has 
broad discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight 
to give to any factor. In the following sections, we address a number 
of general issues that are relevant to our analysis under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act.

Economic Analysis

    Following the publication of the proposed revised critical habitat 
designation, we conducted an economic analysis to estimate the 
potential economic effect of the designation. The draft economic 
analysis (DEA; dated June 9, 2008) was made available for public review 
and comment from August 26, 2008, to October 27, 2008 (73 FR 50498). 
Substantive comments and information received on the DEA are summarized 
above in the ``Public Comment'' section and are incorporated into the 
final analysis, as appropriate. Taking any relevant new information 
into consideration, the Service completed a final economic analysis 
(FEA) (dated November 25, 2008) of the designation that updates the DEA 
by removing impacts that were not considered probable or likely to 
occur.
    The primary purpose of the economic analysis is to estimate the 
potential incremental economic impacts associated with the designation 
of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep. This information is 
intended to assist the Secretary in making decisions about whether the 
benefits of excluding particular areas from the designation outweigh 
the benefits of including those areas in the designation. The economic 
analysis considers the economic efficiency effects that may result from 
the designation. In the case of habitat conservation, efficiency 
effects generally reflect the ``opportunity costs'' associated with the 
commitment of resources to comply with habitat protection measures 
(such as lost economic opportunities associated with restrictions on 
land use).
    The economic analysis also addresses how potential economic impacts 
are likely to be distributed, including an assessment of any local or 
regional impacts of habitat conservation and the potential effects of 
conservation activities on government agencies, private businesses, and 
individuals. The economic analysis measures lost economic efficiency 
associated with residential and commercial development and public 
projects and activities, such as economic impacts on water management 
and transportation projects, Federal lands, 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. Finally, the economic analysis 
looks retrospectively at costs that have been incurred since the date 
we listed the Peninsular bighorn sheep as endangered (March 18, 1998, 
63 FR 13134), and considers those costs that may occur in the years 
following the revised designation of critical habitat, with the 
timeframes for this analysis varying by activity.
    The economic 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.
    The economic analysis examines activities taking place both within 
and adjacent to the designation. It estimates impacts based on 
activities that are ``reasonably foreseeable'' including, but not 
limited to, activities that are currently authorized, permitted, or 
funded, or for which proposed plans are currently available to the 
public. Accordingly, the analysis bases estimates on activities that 
are likely to occur within a 20-year timeframe, from when the proposed 
rule became available to the public (October 10, 2007, 72 FR 57740). 
The 20-year timeframe was chosen for the analysis because, as the time 
horizon for an economic analysis is expanded, the assumptions on which 
the projected number of projects and cost impacts associated with those 
projects are based become increasingly speculative.
    The economic analysis is intended to quantify the baseline and 
incremental economic impacts of all potential conservation efforts for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep associated with the following activities: (1) 
Habitat management; (2) development; (3) mining; (4) recreation; (5) 
transportation; and (6) utility construction. Baseline impacts include 
the potential economic impacts of all actions relating to the 
conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep, including costs 
associated with sections 7, 9, and 10 of the Act. Baseline impacts also 
include the economic impacts of protective measures taken as a result 
of other Federal, State, and local laws that aid habitat conservation 
in the area evaluated in the DEA. In other words, those impacts 
associated with the listing of the species and not associated with 
critical habitat. Incremental impacts are those potential future 
economic impacts of conservation actions relating to the designation of 
critical habitat; these impacts would not be expected to occur without 
the designation of critical habitat.
    Baseline economic impacts are those impacts that result from 
listing and other conservation efforts for Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
Conservation efforts related to development activities constitute the 
majority of total baseline costs to areas proposed for critical habitat 
(more than 70 percent). Mining-related impacts comprise 20 percent of 
the impacts; these impacts result from potential conservation effort 
costs associated with mine operations. Recreation and habitat 
management related impacts comprise about 9 percent of the impacts. 
Post-designation baseline impacts are estimated to be approximately 
$92.5 million in present value terms using a 3 percent discount rate 
($6.22 million annualized) over the next 20 years (2008 to 2027) in 
areas proposed as critical habitat (not including areas proposed or 
considered for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act). Stated in 
other terms, these post-designation baseline impacts are estimated to 
be approximately $67.4 million ($6.36 million annualized) in

[[Page 17331]]

present value terms using a 7 percent discount rate.
    Post-designation baseline impacts for areas proposed for exclusion 
are calculated separately from areas proposed as critical habitat. 
These impacts are related to continued habitat management practices 
within areas managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians 
Tribe and are estimated to be approximately $499,000 ($33,500 
annualized) using a 3 percent discount rate. Stated in present value 
terms using a 7 percent discount rate, these impacts are estimated at 
$369,000 ($34,800 annualized). Additionally, post-designation baseline 
impacts for areas considered for exclusion were calculated separately 
from areas proposed as critical habitat. These impacts are related to 
habitat management, development, and transportation, and are estimated 
to be approximately $86.3 million ($4.95 million annualized) using a 3 
percent discount rate. Assuming a 7 percent discount rate, post-
designation baseline impacts are estimated at $59.7 million ($5.15 
million annualized).
    The majority of potential incremental impacts attributed to the 
proposed revised critical habitat designation are related to habitat 
management conservation efforts. The economic analysis estimates 
potential incremental economic impacts in areas proposed as revised 
critical habitat over the next 20 years to be $411,000 ($27,600 
annualized) assuming a 3 percent discount rate (not including areas 
proposed or considered for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act). 
Assuming a 7 percent discount rate, these impacts were estimated to be 
approximately $306,000 ($28,900 annualized).
    Incremental impacts for the tribal lands proposed for exclusion in 
the proposed revised critical habitat rule were calculated separately 
from other areas proposed as critical habitat. These impacts are 
related to habitat management and development and were estimated to be 
approximately $11.3 million ($758,000 annualized) assuming a 3 percent 
discount rate. Assuming a 7 percent discount rate, incremental impacts 
for areas proposed for exclusion are estimated at $8.31 million 
($785,000 annualized). Additionally, incremental impacts for areas 
considered for exclusion (Coachella Valley MSHCP) in the proposed 
revised critical habitat rule were also calculated separately from 
areas proposed as critical habitat. These impacts are related to 
forecast section 7 consultations and were estimated to be approximately 
$8,850 ($595 annualized) assuming a 3 percent discount rate. Assuming a 
7 percent discount rate, incremental impacts for areas considered for 
exclusion were estimated at $7,920 ($747 annualized).
    The economic analysis considers both economic efficiency and 
distributional effects. In the case of habitat conservation, efficiency 
effects generally reflect the ``opportunity costs'' associated with the 
commitment of resources to comply with habitat protection measures 
(such as lost economic opportunities associated with restrictions on 
land use). The economic analysis also addresses how potential economic 
impacts are likely to be distributed, including an assessment of any 
local or regional impacts of habitat conservation and the potential 
effects of conservation activities on government agencies, private 
businesses, and individuals. The analysis measures lost economic 
efficiency associated with residential and commercial development and 
public projects and activities, such as economic impacts on water 
management and transportation projects, Federal lands, small entities, 
and the energy industry. This information can be used by decision-
makers to assess whether the effects of the revised designation might 
unduly burden a particular group or economic sector.
    The Service completed a final economic analysis (FEA) (November 25, 
2008) of the proposed designation that updates the DEA by removing 
impacts that were not considered probable or likely to occur. The FEA 
estimates that the potential economic effects of actions relating to 
the conservation of this DPS, including costs associated with sections 
4, 7, and 10 of the Act (baseline costs, not attributable to critical 
habitat), over the next 20 years will be $92.5 million applying a 3 
percent discount rate, or $67.4 million using a discount rate of 7 
percent. The FEA also estimates total costs attributable solely to the 
designation of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
(incremental costs) to be $411,000 (present value at a 3 percent 
discount rate). After consideration of the impacts under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act, we have not excluded any areas from the final 
critical habitat designations based on the identified economic impacts.
    The final economic analysis is available at http://www.regulations.gov or upon request from the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see ADDRESSES section).

Benefits of Designating Critical Habitat

    The process of designating critical habitat as described in the Act 
requires that the Service identify those lands within the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time of listing on which are found 
the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
the species that may require special management considerations or 
protection, and those areas outside the geographical area occupied by 
the species at the time of listing that are essential for the 
conservation of the species. In identifying those lands, the Service 
must consider the recovery needs of the species, such that, on the 
basis of the best scientific data available at the time of designation, 
the habitat that is identified, if protected or managed appropriately, 
could provide for the survival and recovery of the species.
    The identification of areas that contain features essential to the 
conservation of the species that can, if managed or protected, provide 
for the recovery of a species, is beneficial. The process of proposing 
and finalizing a critical habitat rule provides the Service with the 
opportunity to determine the physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species within the geographical area 
occupied by the species at the time of listing, as well as to determine 
other areas essential for the conservation of the species. The 
designation process includes peer review and public comment on the 
identified physical and biological features and areas. This process is 
valuable to land owners and managers in developing conservation 
management plans for identified areas, as well as any other occupied 
habitat or suitable habitat that may not be included in the areas the 
Service identifies as meeting the definition of critical habitat.
    The consultation provisions under section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
constitute the regulatory benefits of critical habitat. As discussed 
above, Federal agencies must consult with the Service on actions that 
may affect critical habitat and must avoid destroying or adversely 
modifying critical habitat. Federal agencies must also consult with us 
on actions that may affect a listed species and refrain from 
undertaking actions that are likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of such species. The analysis of effects to critical habitat 
is a separate and different analysis from that of the effects to the 
species. Therefore, the difference in outcomes of these two analyses 
represents the regulatory benefit of critical habitat. For some 
species, and in some locations, the outcome of these analyses will be 
similar, because effects to habitat will often result in effects to the 
species. However, the regulatory standard is different, as the jeopardy

[[Page 17332]]

analysis investigates the action's impact on survival and recovery of 
the species, while the adverse modification analysis investigates the 
action's effects to the designated habitat's contribution to 
conservation. This will, in many instances, lead to different results 
and different regulatory requirements. Thus, critical habitat 
designations may provide greater benefits to the recovery of a species 
than would listing alone.
    There are two limitations to the regulatory effect of critical 
habitat. First, a consultation is only required where there is a 
Federal nexus (an action authorized, funded, or carried out by any 
Federal agency)--if there is no Federal nexus, the critical habitat 
designation of private lands itself does not restrict any actions that 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Second, the designation 
only limits destruction or adverse modification. By its nature, the 
prohibition on adverse modification is designed to ensure that the 
conservation role and function of those areas that contain the physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the species or 
of unoccupied areas that are essential for the conservation of the 
species are not appreciably reduced. Critical habitat designation 
alone, however, does not require private property owners to undertake 
specific steps toward recovery of the species.
    Once an agency determines that consultation under section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act is necessary, the process may conclude informally when the 
Service concurs in writing that the proposed Federal action is not 
likely to adversely affect critical habitat. However, if we determine 
through informal consultation that adverse impacts are likely to occur, 
then formal consultation is initiated. Formal consultation concludes 
with a biological opinion issued by the Service on whether the proposed 
Federal action is likely to result in destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat.
    For critical habitat, a biological opinion that concludes in a 
determination of no destruction or adverse modification may contain 
discretionary conservation recommendations to minimize adverse effects 
to primary constituent elements, but it would not suggest the 
implementation of any reasonable and prudent alternative. We suggest 
reasonable and prudent alternatives to the proposed Federal action only 
when our biological opinion results in an adverse modification 
conclusion.
    As stated above, the designation of critical habitat does not 
require that any management or recovery actions take place on the lands 
included in the designation. Even in cases where consultation is 
initiated under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, the end result of 
consultation is to avoid jeopardy to the species and adverse 
modification of its critical habitat, but not necessarily to manage 
critical habitat or institute recovery actions on critical habitat. 
Conversely, voluntary conservation efforts implemented through 
management plans institute proactive actions over the lands they 
encompass and are put in place to remove or reduce known threats to a 
species or its habitat and, therefore, implement recovery actions.
    We believe that in many instances the regulatory benefit of 
critical habitat is minimal when compared to the conservation benefit 
that can be achieved through implementing Habitat Conservation Plans 
(HCPs) under section 10 of the Act or other habitat management plans. 
The conservation achieved through such plans is typically greater than 
what we achieve through multiple site-by-site, project-by-project, 
section 7(a)(2) consultations involving consideration of critical 
habitat. Management plans commit resources to implement long-term 
management and protection to particular habitat for at least one and 
possibly other listed or sensitive species. Section 7(a)(2) 
consultations only commit Federal agencies to preventing adverse 
modification of critical habitat caused by the particular project, and 
they are not committed to provide conservation or long-term benefits to 
areas not affected by the proposed action. Thus, implementation of an 
HCP or management plan that incorporates enhancement or recovery as the 
management standard may often provide as much or more benefit than a 
consultation for critical habitat designation.
    Another benefit of including lands in critical habitat is that 
designation of critical habitat serves to educate landowners, State and 
local governments, and the public regarding the potential conservation 
value of an area. This helps focus and promote conservation efforts by 
other parties by clearly delineating areas of high conservation value 
for Peninsular bighorn sheep. In general, critical habitat designation 
always has educational benefits; however, in some cases, they may be 
redundant with other educational effects. For example, HCPs have 
significant public input and may largely duplicate the educational 
benefits of a critical habitat designation. Including lands in critical 
habitat also would inform State agencies and local governments about 
areas that could be conserved under State laws or local ordinances.

Conservation Partnerships on Non-Federal Lands

    Most federally listed species in the United States will not recover 
without cooperation of non-Federal landowners. More than 60 percent of 
the United States is privately owned (National Wilderness Institute 
1995), and at least 80 percent of endangered or threatened species 
occur either partially or solely on private lands (Crouse et al. 2002, 
p. 720). Stein et al. (1995, p. 400) found that only about 12 percent 
of listed species were found almost exclusively on Federal lands (90 to 
100 percent of their known occurrences restricted to Federal lands) and 
that 50 percent of federally listed species are not known to occur on 
Federal lands at all.
    Given the distribution of listed species with respect to land 
ownership, conservation of listed species in many parts of the United 
States is dependent upon working partnerships with a wide variety of 
entities and the voluntary cooperation of many non-Federal landowners 
(Wilcove and Chen 1998, p. 1407; Crouse et al. 2002, p. 720; James 
2002, p. 271). Building partnerships and promoting voluntary 
cooperation of landowners are essential to understanding the status of 
species on non-Federal lands, and are necessary to implement recovery 
actions such as reintroducing listed species, habitat restoration, and 
habitat protection.
    Many non-Federal landowners derive satisfaction from contributing 
to endangered species recovery. We promote these private-sector efforts 
through the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation 
philosophy. Conservation agreements with non-Federal landowners (HCPs, 
safe harbor agreements, other conservation agreements, easements, and 
State and local regulations) enhance species conservation by extending 
species protections beyond those available through section 7 
consultations. In the past decade, we encouraged non-Federal landowners 
to enter into conservation agreements, based on a view that we can 
achieve greater species conservation on non-Federal land through such 
partnerships than we can through regulatory methods (December 2, 1996, 
61 FR 63854).
    Many private landowners, however, are wary of the possible 
consequences of encouraging endangered species to their property, and 
there is mounting evidence that some regulatory actions by the Federal 
Government, while well-intentioned and required by law, can

[[Page 17333]]

(under certain circumstances) have unintended negative consequences for 
the conservation of species on private lands (Wilcove et al. 1996, pp. 
5-6; Bean 2002, pp. 2-3; Conner and Mathews 2002, pp. 1-2; James 2002, 
pp. 270-271; Koch 2002, pp. 2-3; Brook et al. 2003, pp. 1639-1643). 
Many landowners fear a decline in their property value due to real or 
perceived restrictions on land-use options where threatened or 
endangered species are found. Consequently, harboring endangered 
species is viewed by many landowners as a liability. This perception 
results in anti-conservation incentives because maintaining habitats 
that harbor endangered species represents a risk to future economic 
opportunities (Main et al. 1999, pp. 1264-1265; Brook et al. 2003, pp. 
1644-1648).
    According to some researchers, the designation of critical habitat 
on private lands significantly reduces the likelihood that landowners 
will support and carry out conservation actions (Main et al. 1999, p. 
1263; Bean 2002, p. 2; Brook et al. 2003, pp. 1644-1648). The magnitude 
of this negative outcome is greatly amplified in situations where 
active management measures (such as reintroduction, fire management, 
and control of invasive species) are necessary for species conservation 
(Bean 2002, pp. 3-4). We believe that the judicious exclusion of 
specific areas of non-federally owned lands from critical habitat 
designations can contribute to species recovery and provide a superior 
level of conservation than critical habitat alone.
    The purpose of designating critical habitat is to contribute to the 
conservation of threatened and endangered species and the ecosystems 
upon which they depend. The outcome of the designation, triggering 
regulatory requirements for actions funded, authorized, or carried out 
by Federal agencies under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, can sometimes be 
counterproductive to its intended purpose on non-Federal lands. Thus 
the benefits of excluding areas that are covered by partnerships or 
voluntary conservation efforts can often be high.

Benefits of Excluding Lands With HCPs or Other Approved Management 
Plans

    The benefits of excluding lands with HCPs or other approved long-
term management plans from critical habitat designation include 
relieving landowners, communities, and counties of any additional 
regulatory burden that might be imposed as a result of the critical 
habitat designation. Most HCPs and other conservation plans take many 
years to develop, and upon completion, are consistent with the recovery 
objectives for listed species that are covered within the plan area. 
Many also provide conservation benefits to unlisted sensitive species. 
Imposing an additional regulatory review as a result of the designation 
of critical habitat may undermine our efforts and partnerships as well. 
Our experience in implementing the Act has found that designation of 
critical habitat within the boundaries of management plans that provide 
conservation measures for a species is a disincentive to many entities 
which are either currently developing such plans, or contemplating 
doing so in the future, because one of the incentives for undertaking 
conservation is greater ease of permitting where listed species are 
affected. Addition of a new regulatory requirement would remove a 
significant incentive for undertaking the time and expense of 
management planning.
    A related benefit of excluding lands covered by approved HCPs and 
management plans that cover listed species from critical habitat 
designation is the unhindered, continued ability it gives us to seek 
new partnerships with future plan 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. Designating lands within 
approved management plan areas as critical habitat would likely have a 
negative effect on our ability to establish new partnerships to develop 
these plans, particularly plans that 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.
    Both HCPs and Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP)-HCP 
applications require consultation, which would review the effects of 
all HCP-covered activities that might adversely impact the species 
under a jeopardy standard, including possibly significant habitat 
modification, even without the critical habitat designation. 
Additionally, all other Federal actions that may affect the listed 
species still require consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, 
and we review these actions for possibly significant habitat 
modification in accordance with the jeopardy standard under section 
7(a)(2) of the Act.
    Information provided in the previous sections applies to all the 
following discussions of benefits of inclusion or exclusion of critical 
habitat.

Application of Section 4(b)(2)--Other Relevant Impacts--Conservation 
Partnerships

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act allows the Secretary to exclude areas 
from critical habitat for other relevant impacts if he determines that 
the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such 
area as part of critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the 
best scientific data available, that the failure to designate such area 
as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species. As 
discussed above in the ``Conservation Partnerships on Non-Federal 
Lands'' section, we believe that designation can negatively impact the 
working relationships and conservation partnerships we have formed with 
private landowners. The Service recognizes that 80 percent of 
endangered or threatened species occur either partially or solely on 
private lands (Crouse et al. 2002) and we will only achieve recovery of 
federally listed species with the cooperation of private landowners.
    In making the following exclusions, we evaluated the benefits of 
designating these non-Federal lands that may not have a Federal nexus 
for consultation while considering if our existing partnerships have 
resulted, or will result, in greater conservation benefits to the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and the physical or biological features 
essential to its conservation than a critical habitat designation. As 
discussed in the ``Benefits of Designating Critical Habitat'' section 
above, conservation partnerships that result in implementation of an 
HCP or other management plan that considers enhancement or recovery as 
the management standard often provide as much or more benefit than 
consultation for critical habitat designation (the primary benefit of a 
designation).
    In considering the benefits of including lands in a designation 
that are covered by a current HCP or other management plan, we evaluate 
a number of factors to help us determine if the plan provides 
equivalent or greater conservation benefit than would likely result 
from consultation on a designation:
    (1) Whether the plan is complete and provides protection from 
destruction or adverse modification;
    (2) Whether there is a reasonable expectation the conservation 
management strategies and actions will be implemented for the 
foreseeable future, based on past practices, written guidance, or 
regulations; and
    (3) Whether the plan provides conservation strategies and measures

[[Page 17334]]

consistent with currently accepted principles of conservation biology.
    We balance the benefits of inclusion against the benefits of 
exclusion by considering the benefits of preserving partnerships and 
encouraging development of additional HCPs and other conservation plans 
in the future.

Exclusion of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Lands

    The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian's Reservation encompasses 
over 31,400 acres (12,707 ha) of land in the Coachella Valley, 
Riverside County, California (MBA 2001, p. 1-6). The Reservation 
contains tribal trust land, allotted trust land, and both tribal and 
non-Indian fee land, which is in a checkerboard pattern and 
interspersed among public lands owned or under the control of various 
Federal and state agencies, and privately owned land under the 
jurisdiction of the County of Riverside or one of three municipalities 
(the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Rancho Mirage) (MBA 
2001, p. 1-6). The reservation includes 19,200 ac (7,770 ha), or 15 
percent, of modeled Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat within the 
Coachella Valley (MBA 2001, p. 4-4). The Tribe regularly coordinates 
and works with the Service to ensure maximum protection of tribal trust 
resources, managing activities in such a way as to ensure compliance 
with the Act (MBA 2001, p. ES-2). This cooperative relationship 
provides the Tribe an opportunity to acknowledge the Service's duty and 
authority while preserving tribal sovereignty and honoring traditional 
tribal land management practices.
    The Tribe identified 16 sensitive wildlife species (including 
Peninsular bighorn sheep) and two sensitive plant species that are 
covered by the conservation recommendations included in the 2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy (MBA 2001, p. ES-4). This conservation strategy 
includes: (1) Establishment of two Conservation Areas from which a 
Habitat Preserve shall either be created or funded; and (2) 
conservation measures for covered species (MBA 2001, p. ES-4). One of 
the conservation areas is the Mountains and Canyons Conservation Area 
(MCCA) from which a multiple species Habitat Preserve will be created, 
the main component of the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy (MBA 2001, 
p. 5-1). The MCCA includes core habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep in 
the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains, including undeveloped canyon 
mouths and alluvial fans (MBA 2001, p. 5-2). The other conservation 
area is the Valley Floor Conservation Area, which applies a development 
mitigation fee program to fund acquisition of a Habitat Preserve 
benefitting species known to exist on the valley floor (MBA 2001, p. 5-
1). The conservation measures include avoidance and minimization 
measures, assurances for establishment of the Habitat Preserve, 
adaptive management and monitoring, implementation and funding, 
amendment procedures, and conditions for changed and unforeseen 
circumstances (MBA 2001, p. ES-4).
    Habitat conservation within the MCCA has, to some extent, already 
been established by the Tribe with the creation of the Indian Canyons 
Heritage Park and controlled access to Tahquitz Canyon (MBA 2001, p. 5-
2). Existing tribal conservation programs for Indian Canyons Heritage 
Park and Tahquitz Canyon (the Indian Canyons Master Plan and Tahquitz 
Canyon Wetland Conservation Plan, respectively) reflect the importance 
of natural resources to the Tribe and the Tribe's intent and ability to 
manage these resources (MBA 2001, p. 5-2). The Tribe will continue to 
manage these areas for their habitat values, including protection of 
covered species (MBA 2001, p. 5-2). Peninsular bighorn sheep, several 
of the covered species, and natural communities protected within the 
2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy are known to occur in these canyon 
areas (MBA 2001, p. 5-2). Together these protected canyon areas provide 
over 2,600 ac (1,052 ha) of habitat to covered species (MBA 2001, p. 5-
2).
    The primary goal of the Indian Canyons Heritage Park is to provide 
for long-term preservation of major natural and cultural resources (MBA 
2001, p. 5-9). Secondary objectives are to preserve the ecological 
setting for the unique palm oases, and to preclude any development in 
the park that could have negative impacts (MBA 2001, p. 5-9). Other 
objectives are to restore the oases to their pristine ecological 
condition; provide adequate interpretation of the cultural resources; 
and provide adequate vehicular, foot, and equestrian access to the area 
(MBA 2001, p. 5-9). The management plan developed for the Indian 
Canyons Heritage Park (Dangermond Group, 2002) emphasizes the 
preservation of the following key habitats: wetland and riparian 
habitats found in canyons; desert scrub communities at the mouth of the 
Palm Canyon in the northern reaches of the Indian Canyons Heritage Park 
boundaries; and the Peninsular bighorn sheep migration corridor that 
runs east-west between the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains (MBA 
2001, p. 5-9).
    Tahquitz Canyon is located in the San Jacinto Mountains north of 
Indian Canyon Heritage Park (MBA 2001, p. 5-10). The Tribe owns 
approximately 500 ac (202 ha) that includes Tahquitz Canyon and the 
alluvial fan at the mouth of the canyon (MBA 2001, p. 5-11). In the 
1990's, the Tribe commissioned a program aimed at the restoration of 
Tahquitz Creek (MBA 2001, p. 5-10). Litter and other debris were 
removed, the effects of vandalism were mitigated, and human access to 
the area was controlled by gating the entrance to the canyon and 
implementing regular patrols by Tribal Rangers (MBA 2001, p. 5-10). To 
ensure the continued protection and restoration of the Tahquitz Canyon 
area, the Tribe prepared a Wetlands Conservation Plan (Connolly and 
Associates, 2000). With the plan's adoption, the Tribe formalized its 
goals toward the maintenance and preservation of Tahquitz Canyon, 
including utilizing various measures to control the influx of exotic 
plant species (MBA 2001, p. 5-10).
    The 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy provides adequate certainty 
that the Habitat Preserve will provide sufficient mitigation for 
species impacts and provide for conservation of the covered species and 
their habitat by meeting the following objectives: (1) Protecting a 
minimum of 90 percent of the habitat in the MCCA for each of the 
covered species and natural communities addressed in the 2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy; (2) maintaining the viability of essential 
ecological processes; and (3) maintaining the viability of linkages 
within conservation areas (MBA 2001, p. 5-13). Species specific 
avoidance and minimization measures for Peninsular bighorn sheep 
include the following:
    (1) Construct fences for projects adjacent to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep habitat to exclude sheep from urban areas where they might 
otherwise use urban sources of food and water;
    (2) Avoid the use of non-native vegetation along unfenced habitat 
interfaces where it may attract or concentrate bighorn sheep;
    (3) Promote the use of locally native vegetation and limit the 
planting of exotic species to areas not accessible by bighorn sheep;
    (4) Discourage the use of plants known to invade and degrade 
Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat;
    (5) Prohibit the use of any known toxic plants where they may be 
accessible to sheep or may potentially invade bighorn sheep habitat;
    (6) Prohibit illumination of mountain slopes with artificial 
lighting; and

[[Page 17335]]

    (7) Eliminate bluetongue and other vector-carried diseases by 
complying with the University of California guidelines for water 
features in new projects (MBA 2001, p. 5-28 and 5-29). Additionally, 
the Tribe commits to cooperating with State and Federal land management 
agencies to develop and implement a trails management program that 
reduces or eliminates trail-related activities that are detrimental to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat (MBA 2001, p. 5-28 and 5-29).
    The Draft Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Trail Plan (Trails 
Management Plan), dated October 1, 2000, is currently being implemented 
and was developed by the Tribe to provide trails use throughout the 
Reservation, including Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat. The Trails 
Management Plan is compatible with bighorn sheep conservation goals as 
well as affording a reasonable level of access to the public (MBA 2001, 
p. 4-4). Management of trails on tribal lands may include trail re-
routings, limitations on trail use, and seasonal closures for some 
areas to benefit Peninsular bighorn sheep and other wildlife by 
decreasing human impact on habitat and disturbance to wildlife (MBA 
2001, p. 4-4).
    The Tribe is currently cooperating with the Service to finalize the 
2007 draft Tribal HCP, which encompasses and updates the existing 2001 
Tribal Conservation Strategy, as well as includes all of the other 
existing management plans described above that provide conservation to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and their habitat. The 2007 draft Tribal HCP 
covers approximately 36,720 ac (14,860 ha) of tribal lands (compared to 
31,400 acres (12,707 ha) in the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy, an 
increase of 5,320 acres (2,153 ha)), and includes conservation for 23 
sensitive and federally listed species (``covered species'') (Helix 
Environmental Planning 2007, p. ES-4). The primary conservation 
mechanism provided by the 2007 draft Tribal HCP is the protection of 
significant areas of covered species habitat through creation of a 
habitat preserve and adoption of new development standards (Helix 
Environmental Planning 2007, p. ES-1).
    The Tribe's purposes in adopting the 2007 draft Tribal HCP are to: 
(1) Continue to exercise its long-standing tradition as a land use 
manager and steward of the natural resources in and around the 
Reservation by assuming a role as the primary manager of such resources 
and the land uses that impact them; and (2) establish consistency and 
streamline permitting requirements with respect to protected species by 
establishing one process that the Tribe oversees and implements (Helix 
Environmental Planning 2007, p. ES-1). In summary, the 2007 draft 
Tribal HCP will streamline the conservation for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and other covered species by incorporating and updating the 
conservation and management practices identified in the existing 
management plans that have been implemented throughout the reservation 
to date.
    We are currently processing the Tribe's application for a section 
10(a)(1)(B) permit based on the 2007 draft Tribal HCP. We published a 
Notice of Availability for public review and comment in the Federal 
Register on October 12, 2007, with the public comment period closing 
January 10, 2008. The approximately 4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of tribal lands 
in critical habitat Units 1 (4,323 ac (1,749 ha)) and 2A (467 ac (189 
ha)) fall within the 2007 draft Tribal HCP area. The Tribe's goals for 
conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep are: (1) Conserving habitat 
within the 2007 draft Tribal HCP plan area (PCEs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5); 
(2) maintaining connectivity, preventing fragmentation, and allowing 
movement within key linkage areas (PCEs 1 and 4); and (3) adaptively 
managing habitat quality and subpopulations/ewe groups to alleviate 
threats in the 2007 draft Tribal HCP plan area (Helix Environmental 
Planning 2007, p. 4-8).
    The 2007 draft Tribal HCP and associated implementing agreement, 
when finalized, will impose minimization and mitigation requirements in 
order to facilitate assembly of the habitat preserve and assure 
minimization and mitigation for impacts to covered species, including 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. This will provide for significant 
preservation and management of the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep and will help 
reach the recovery goals for this DPS. The 2007 draft Tribal HCP is 
comprehensive and addresses a broad range of management needs at the 
preserve and species levels that are intended to reduce the threats to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    Peninsular bighorn sheep are primarily threatened by the direct and 
indirect effects of development and expansion of urban areas; human 
disturbance related to recreation; construction of roadways and power 
lines; and mineral extraction and mining operations. In order to remove 
or reduce threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep and the physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of this DPS, 
conservation objectives of the 2007 Draft Tribal HCP for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep include the following:
    (1) Ensure implementation of the 2007 draft Tribal HCP is 
consistent with the recovery plan (Service 2000);
    (2) Conserve a minimum of 17,692 ac (7,160 ha) of habitat within 
the plan area;
    (3) Conserve 100 percent of Use Areas (areas defined by the 2007 
draft Tribal HCP to have high functional value);
    (4) Conserve land necessary to maintain linkages/connectivity;
    (5) Minimize direct and indirect impacts from covered activities by 
ensuring implementation of development standards, including avoidance 
and minimization measures;
    (6) Minimize impacts from recreational activities;
    (7) Alleviate threat of disease transfer from livestock or 
nonnative wildlife;
    (8) Monitor population size and mortality rates;
    (9) Fund or undertake additional studies regarding this DPS;
    (10) Ensure that management action thresholds are routinely 
assessed;
    (11) Implement adaptive management; and
    (12) Conserve habitat quality through plan implementation (Helix 
Environmental Planning 2007, p. 4-9).
    The Tribe continues to work with the Service in a coordinated 
fashion in the context of government-to-government consultation, in 
part due to the development and finalization of the 2007 draft Tribal 
HCP. This cooperation will ensure maximum protection of the trust 
resources of the Tribe and its members, allowing for an approach that 
acknowledges the duty and authority of the Service with respect to the 
Act while preserving tribal sovereignty and honoring traditional tribal 
land management practices (Helix Environmental Planning 2007, p. ES-2). 
The Tribe has provided assurances that adequate funding is available 
for implementation of the 2007 draft Tribal HCP throughout the duration 
of the proposed Section 10(a)(1)(B) permit and that conservation, 
mitigation, and management measures will be carried out as proposed 
(Helix Environmental Planning 2007, p. ES-11). The Tribe will provide 
administrative support to accomplish management responsibilities as 
well as funding to support the Tribe's baseline assessment, inventory, 
and monitoring efforts defined in the plan (Helix Environmental 
Planning 2007, p. ES-11). Acquisition and management of the habitat 
preserve will be funded primarily through obligations of covered 
projects, with an endowment fund

[[Page 17336]]

established that provides funding for the Tribe's ongoing costs to 
administer, manage, and monitor the habitat preserve in perpetuity 
(Helix Environmental Planning 2007, p. ES-11).
    The 1998 final listing rule for Peninsular bighorn sheep identified 
habitat loss (especially in canyon bottoms), degradation, and 
fragmentation associated with the proliferation of residential and 
commercial development, roads and highways, water projects, and 
vehicular and pedestrian recreational uses as primary threats to the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. As described above, the Tribe's ongoing 
management and conservation efforts provide enhancement of habitat by 
removing or reducing threats to this DPS and the physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of the DPS. The 
tribal preserve encompasses habitat that supports identified core 
populations of this DPS and therefore provides for recovery. Based on 
the reasoning provided below, we excluded from Unit 1 and Unit 2A 
approximately 4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla 
Indians tribally-owned or controlled lands from the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep final revised critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act.

Benefits of Inclusion--Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal 
Lands

    The inclusion of the approximately 4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of tribally-
owned or controlled lands in the final designation could be beneficial 
because it identifies lands that require management for conservation of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep. The process of proposing and finalizing the 
revised critical habitat rule provided the Service with the opportunity 
to evaluate and refine the features essential to the conservation of 
the DPS within the geographical area occupied by the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep at the time of listing, as well as to evaluate whether there are 
other areas essential for the conservation of the DPS. The designation 
process included peer review and public comment on the identified 
features and areas. This process is valuable to land owners and 
managers in developing conservation management plans for identified 
areas, as well as any other occupied habitat or suitable habitat that 
may not have been included in the Service's determination of essential 
habitat.
    The educational benefits of designation are small and largely 
redundant to those derived through conservation efforts currently being 
implemented on tribal lands under the 2001 Tribal Conservation 
Strategy, as well as those being planned and implemented in the 
approximately 4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of tribally-owned or controlled lands 
within the 2007 draft Tribal HCP. The educational benefits of critical 
habitat designation derived through informing our tribal partners and 
other members of the public of areas important for the long-term 
conservation of the Peninsular bighorn sheep have already been and 
continue to be achieved through: (1) Development of the 2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP; (2) the original 
critical habitat designation process in 2001; and (3) publication of 
the proposed revisions to critical habitat in 2007 and 2008, along with 
notices of public comment periods, and the public hearing.
    The consultation provisions under section 7(a) of the Act 
constitute the regulatory benefits of inclusion for critical habitat. 
As discussed above, Federal agencies must consult with us on actions 
that may affect critical habitat and must avoid destroying or adversely 
modifying critical habitat. There is the potential for future 
activities within the lands being excluded having a Federal nexus for 
the Peninsular bighorn sheep as a result of actions by the BLM (i.e., 
land exchange) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Therefore, 
including this area may provide some regulatory benefits under section 
7(a) of the Act.
    However, the habitat management provided by the Agua Caliente Band 
of Cahuilla Indians through the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy and 
the management measures it has memorialized in the 2007 draft Tribal 
HCP address conservation issues from a coordinated, integrated 
perspective rather than a piecemeal, project-by-project approach and 
will achieve more Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation on these tribal 
lands than we would likely achieve through section 7 consultations 
involving consideration of critical habitat. The PCEs required by the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep benefit from the conservation measures 
implemented by the Tribe and outlined in the 2001 Tribal Conservation 
Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP. In summary (and as identified 
above), the conservation measures currently being implemented by the 
Tribe through the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy, and consistent 
with management actions memorialized in the draft 2007 Tribal HCP, 
include:
    (1) Ensure management measures are consistent with the recovery 
plan (Service 2000);
    (2) Conserve a minimum of 17,692 ac (7,160 ha) of habitat on tribal 
lands;
    (3) Conserve 100 percent of Use Areas (areas defined by the 2007 
draft Tribal HCP to have high functional value);
    (4) Conserve land necessary to maintain linkages/connectivity;
    (5) Minimize direct and indirect impacts from covered activities by 
ensuring implementation of development standards, including avoidance 
and minimization measures;
    (6) Minimize impacts from recreational activities;
    (7) Alleviate threat of disease transfer from livestock or 
nonnative wildlife;
    (8) Monitor population size and mortality rates;
    (9) Fund or undertake additional studies regarding this DPS;
    (10) Ensure management action thresholds are routinely assessed;
    (11) Implement adaptive management; and
    (12) Conserve habitat quality (Helix Environmental Planning 2007, 
p. 4-9).
    Such measures will remove or reduce known threats to Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and its PCEs in Units 1 and 2A. The Tribe is committed to 
implementing conservation and management actions that would not 
generally result from the critical habitat designation (see ``Benefits 
of Designating Critical Habitat'' section above). For example, critical 
habitat designation does not ensure: Habitat enhancement and 
restoration; functional connections to adjoining habitat; or monitoring 
of the Peninsular bighorn sheep (see discussion above).
    The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians highly values its 
wildlife and natural resources, and is charged to preserve and protect 
these resources under the Tribal Constitution. Consequently, the Tribe 
historically has been committed to managing the habitat of wildlife on 
its lands, including the habitat of endangered and threatened species. 
In light of the demonstrated commitment by the Tribe to manage 
Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat to provide for the conservation of the 
DPS, the preferable regional scale of conservation planning utilized in 
the development of the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy and 2007 draft 
Tribal HCP, and the conservation that has been achieved through 
implementation of the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy and will occur 
through implementation of the 2007 draft Tribal HCP, we conclude that 
the potential regulatory benefit of designating these areas in Units 1 
and 2A as critical habitat is minimal.

[[Page 17337]]

Benefits of Exclusion--Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal 
Lands

    In accordance with the Secretarial Order 3206, ``American Indian 
Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the 
Endangered Species Act'' (June 5, 1997); 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 relevant provision of the Departmental Manual of the Department of 
the Interior (512 DM 2), we believe that fish, wildlife, and other 
natural resources on tribal lands are better managed under tribal 
authorities, policies, and programs than through Federal regulation 
wherever possible and practicable. Based on this philosophy, we believe 
that, in most cases, designation of tribal lands as critical habitat 
provides very little additional benefit to threatened and endangered 
species. Conversely, such designation is often viewed by tribes as 
unwarranted and an unwanted intrusion into tribal self governance, thus 
compromising the government-to-government relationship essential to 
achieving our mutual goals of managing for healthy ecosystems upon 
which the viability of threatened and endangered species populations 
depend.
    This is supported by the following statement from the Tribe 
received during the comment period for the proposed rule: ``Contrary to 
the requirements of the ESA, Executive Order 13,175, and the 
Secretarial Order, the proposed rule fails to defer to the Tribe's own 
established standards, it discourages the Tribe from developing its own 
policies, and it intrudes on tribal management of its lands. 
Designation of critical habitat could delay approval of the [2007 
draft] Tribal HCP, thus adding to the costs of preparing the Tribal HCP 
and undermining significant protections for the bighorn sheep. 
Designation of critical habitat also can be expected to increase the 
amount of time and financial resources necessary to undertake covered 
activities described in the [2007 draft] Tribal HCP, yet it is unlikely 
to yield material benefits for the bighorn sheep.''
    We developed a close partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of 
Cahuilla Indians through the development of the 2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP, which incorporate 
appropriate protections and management for Peninsular bighorn sheep, 
its habitat, and the features essential to the conservation of this 
DPS. These protections are consistent with statutory mandates under 
section 7 of the Act to avoid destroying or adversely modifying 
critical habitat, and go beyond that prohibition by including active 
management and protection of connected habitat areas. By excluding 
4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of lands in Units 1 and 2A from designation, we 
would (1) Eliminate an essentially redundant layer of regulatory review 
for projects covered by the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy and 2007 
draft Tribal HCP; (2) help preserve our ongoing partnership with the 
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; (3) demonstrate our commitment 
and responsibilities 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 
Secretarial Order 3206; and (4) encourage new partnerships with other 
tribes, landowners, and jurisdictions. These partnerships with HCP 
participants are critical for the conservation of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep.

The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion--Agua 
Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Lands

    In accordance with the Secretarial Order 3206, ``American Indian 
Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the 
Endangered Species Act'' (June 5, 1997); 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 relevant provision of the Departmental Manual of the Department of 
the Interior (512 DM 2), we recognize the importance of tribal self-
governance and the fundamental rights of tribes to set their own 
priorities and make decisions affecting their resources and distinctive 
ways of life. Because of the unique government-to-government 
relationship between Indian tribes and the United States, it is 
important for us to establish and maintain an effective working 
relationship and mutual partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of 
Cahuilla Indians to promote the conservation of the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and other sensitive species. As stated above, we believe that 
fish, wildlife, and other natural resources on tribal lands are better 
managed under tribal authorities, policies, and programs than through 
Federal regulation wherever possible and practicable. Based on this 
philosophy, we believe that, in most cases, designation of tribal lands 
as critical habitat provides very little additional benefit to 
threatened and endangered species.
    Furthermore, as discussed in the ``Benefits of Inclusion'' section 
above, we believe the regulatory benefit of designating critical 
habitat on tribally-owned or controlled lands would be low. The 
management plans that were developed by the Tribe in cooperation with 
the Service currently implement the Tribe's conservation strategies and 
address conservation issues from a coordinated, integrated perspective 
rather than a piecemeal project-by-project approach. As a result, 
current management efforts and future management (as demonstrated 
through coordination to finalize the 2007 draft Tribal HCP) will 
achieve more Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation than we would 
achieve through multiple site-by-site, project-by-project, section 7 
consultations involving consideration of critical habitat.
    Conservation and management of Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat is 
essential to the survival and recovery of this DPS. Such conservation 
needs are typically not addressed through the application of the 
statutory prohibition on destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The specific conservation actions, avoidance and 
minimization measures, and management for Peninsular bighorn sheep and 
the features essential to its conservation provided by the Tribe's 
management actions, and outlined in the 2001 Tribal Conservation 
Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP, exceed any conservation value 
provided as a result of regulatory protections that may be afforded 
through a critical habitat designation.
    The Tribe's conservation strategies provide as much or more benefit 
than a consultation for critical habitat designation conducted under 
the standards required by the Ninth Circuit in the Gifford Pinchot 
decision. The benefits for the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep 
that would occur as a result of designating critical habitat (e.g., 
protection afforded through the section 7(a)(2) consultation process) 
are minimal compared to the overall conservation benefits for the DPS 
that have been realized through the implementation of the 2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy and will be realized through implementation of 
the 2007 draft Tribal HCP. Furthermore, educational benefits that may 
be derived from a critical habitat designation are minimal and largely 
redundant to the educational benefits achieved through significant 
public, State, and local government input during the development of the 
tribal plans.

[[Page 17338]]

    While it is likely that at least some future activities occurring 
on the lands being excluded would have a Federal nexus as a result of 
actions by the BLM (i.e., land exchange) and the BIA, we believe the 
benefits of including these lands in the designation are small. The 
Tribe currently implements the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy that 
requires conservation of at least 85 percent of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep habitat and 100 percent of bighorn sheep use areas and habitat 
linkages identified on tribal lands. Specifically, 85 percent of the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat is proposed for conservation, with 100 
percent of the bighorn sheep use areas and habitat linkages proposed 
for conservation. Furthermore, the Tribe has demonstrated considerable 
efforts to work cooperatively with the Service to develop both the 2001 
Tribal Conservation Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP, implementation 
of which is to be consistent with the recovery strategy delineated in 
the Recovery Plan for Peninsular bighorn sheep.
    At least 17,692 ac (7,160 ha) of existing Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat in the plan area are to be conserved. Development projects that 
may occur in areas not identified for conservation within the 
boundaries of the 2007 draft Tribal HCP must still avoid impacts to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep to the maximum extent practicable. 
Additionally, educational benefits of critical habitat designation are 
already in place as a result of material provided on our Web site, and 
through the public notice-and-comment procedures required to establish 
the 2007 draft Tribal HCP, and by our inclusion of these lands in the 
proposed rule to revise critical habitat.
    In contrast, the benefits of excluding these areas from critical 
habitat are more significant. The exclusion of these lands from 
critical habitat will help preserve the partnership we developed with 
the Tribe through the development of the 2001 Tribal Conservation 
Strategy and 2007 draft Tribal HCP that incorporate protections and 
management of this DPS's essential physical and biological features, 
and promote tribal self-governance. The habitat protections provided by 
the Tribe's management of its resources are consistent with the 
mandates under section 7 of the Act to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat and go beyond that prohibition by 
including active management and protection of essential habitat areas. 
Designation of critical habitat alone does not achieve recovery or 
require management of those lands identified in the critical habitat 
rule.
    Additionally, this established partnership demonstrates a continued 
commitment to conservation by the Tribe and aids in fostering 
additional partnerships for the benefit of all sensitive species on 
both tribally-owned or controlled lands and other private lands. 
Furthermore, we believe the exclusion of these tribal lands is 
consistent with the Act and all applicable policies and guidance 
(Secretarial Order 3206, ``American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-
Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act'' (June 
5, 1997); 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 relevant provision of the 
Departmental Manual of the Department of the Interior (512 DM 2).
    In summary, in making our final decision with regard to these 
approximately 4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of tribal lands, we considered 
several factors including (1) The importance of our government-to-
government relationship with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla 
Indians; (2) our effective, ongoing conservation partnership with the 
Tribe; (3) the sustained commitment by the Tribe to manage its lands in 
a manner consistent with the conservation of the DPS, as evidenced by 
the Tribe's ongoing management of Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat (as 
set forth in the 2001 Tribal Conservation Strategy (MBA 2001), formally 
adopted by the Tribe through its Tribal Council on November 12, 2002); 
and (4) the Tribe's continued commitment and cooperation with us in the 
finalization of the first tribal multiple-species HCP in the United 
States (i.e., 2007 draft Tribal HCP).
    The importance of tribal self-governance and the fundamental rights 
of tribes to set their own priorities and make decisions affecting 
their resources and distinctive ways of life weighs heavily in favor of 
excluding these tribal lands from the final designation of critical 
habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep. We believe the benefits of 
including these lands in the final critical habitat designation are 
minimal because the Tribe's management of these lands provides 
substantial conservation benefits for the DPS, and we believe existing 
and future management will continue to provide preservation and 
management for, and features essential to, the conservation of 
Peninsular bighorn sheep, which will collectively help reach the 
recovery goals for this DPS. Additionally, the educational benefits of 
designation are small and largely redundant to those derived through 
the process of working with the Tribe to develop its conservation 
management plans and the identification of those areas most important 
to the DPS. By excluding these lands from designation, we would 
eliminate a largely redundant layer of regulatory review for a limited 
set of projects, and help preserve our ongoing, critical partnership 
with the Tribe while encouraging new partnerships with other tribes, 
landowners, and jurisdictions. Therefore, pursuant to section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act, we are excluding from Unit 1 and Unit 2A approximately 
4,790 ac (1,938 ha) of tribally-owned or controlled lands that meet the 
definition of critical habitat from this final revised critical habitat 
designation.

Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species--Agua Caliente 
Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Lands

    The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has demonstrated its 
commitment to manage Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat in a manner 
consistent with the conservation of the DPS. The 2001 Tribal 
Conservation Strategy, other ongoing tribal resource management, and 
2007 draft Tribal HCP, when final, have provided and will provide 
protection and management, in perpetuity, of lands that meet the 
definition of critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep in Units 1 
and 2A. Additionally, the jeopardy standard of section 7 of the Act and 
routine implementation of conservation measures through the section 7 
process provide assurances that the DPS will not go extinct as a result 
of this exclusion. Therefore, we determined that the exclusion of 4,790 
ac (1,938 ha) of tribally-owned or controlled lands from the final 
designation of critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep will 
not result in extinction of the DPS.

Exclusion of Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation 
Plan (Coachella Valley MSHCP) Lands

    The Coachella Valley MSHCP is a large-scale, multi-jurisdictional 
habitat conservation plan encompassing about 1.1 million ac (445,156 
ha) in the Coachella Valley of Riverside County (Units 1 and 2A). The 
Coachella Valley MSHCP addresses 27 listed and unlisted ``covered 
species,'' including Peninsular bighorn sheep. Participants in the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP include eight cities (Cathedral City, Coachella, 
Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho 
Mirage); the County of Riverside, including the

[[Page 17339]]

Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 
Riverside County Parks and Open Space District, Riverside County Waste 
Management District; the Coachella Valley Association of Governments; 
Coachella Valley Water District; Imperial Irrigation District; 
California Department of Transportation; California Department of Parks 
and Recreation; Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy; and the 
Coachella Valley Conservation Commission (the created joint powers 
regional authority). The Coachella Valley MSHCP was designed to 
establish a multiple species habitat conservation program that 
minimizes and mitigates the expected loss of habitat and the incidental 
take of covered species. On October 1, 2008, the Service issued a 
single incidental take permit (TE-104604-0) under section 10(a)(1)(B) 
of the Act to 19 permittees under the Coachella Valley MSHCP for a 
period of 75 years.
    Implementation of the Coachella Valley MSHCP will establish an 
approximately 721,457 ac (291,964 ha) Reserve System comprised of 
557,100 ac (225,451 ha) of Existing Conservation Lands, up to 29,990 ac 
(12,137 ha) of Complementary Conservation, and up to 8,777 ac (3,552 
ha) of Public and Quasi-Public lands. The permittees will mitigate for 
the impacts of the incidental take of covered species by conserving 
96,400 ac (39,012 ha) [7,500 ac (3,035 ha) of existing local permittee 
lands and 88,900 ac (35,977 ha) of new conservation] of habitat and 
perpetually managing 125,590 ac (50,825 ha) within the Reserve System. 
The location and configuration of the 88,900 ac (35,977 ha) of new 
local permittee mitigation lands and the 21,390 ac (8,656 ha) that will 
be acquired through State and Federal contributions are not precisely 
mapped, but will be assembled from the 21 conservation areas identified 
in the Coachella Valley MSHCP. Within each conservation area, 90 
percent of each natural community within each jurisdiction will be 
conserved and no more than 10 percent of the habitat will be lost.
    In general, the design of the overall Reserve System was intended 
to capture core habitats, ecological processes, and biological 
corridors/linkages. The permittees collection and use of development 
mitigation fees, landfill tipping fees, and other funding specified in 
the Coachella Valley MSHCP and related documents will be used to 
acquire, protect, and manage the Reserve System in perpetuity. The 
permittees, the State, and Service will work cooperatively to enter 
into a Memorandum of Understanding or other appropriate agreements with 
Federal, State, and non-governmental-organization land managers to 
cooperatively manage the Existing Conservation Lands in conformance 
with the MSHCP. Additionally, the Coachella Valley MSHCP includes 
measures to avoid and minimize impacts on covered species resulting 
from covered activities.
    The Coachella Valley MSHCP Reserve System includes about 165,856 ac 
(67,120 ha) of Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat of which 38,759 ac 
(15,685 ha) meet the definition of critical habitat. Approximately 
135,630 ac (54,888 ha) of the Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat in the 
Reserve System are Existing Conservation Lands that are expected to be 
managed consistent with the Coachella Valley MSHCP, of this 
approximately 38,477 ac (15,571 ha) meet the definition of critical 
habitat. Specific conservation goals, conservation objectives, and 
required measures for Peninsular bighorn sheep in the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP include providing a total of 18,619 ac (7,535 ha) of occupied or 
suitable habitat within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, Snow 
Creek/Windy Point, and Cabazon Conservation Areas. This acreage goal is 
proposed to be attained through the conservation of private lands in 
the three conservation areas within the Coachella Valley MSHCP Plan 
Area boundary. When completed, the proposed Coachella Valley MSHCP 
Reserve System will protect core habitat areas and provide critical 
linkages for Peninsular bighorn sheep in perpetuity.
    The Coachella Valley MSHCP contains conservation goals, 
conservation objectives, and required measures that will ameliorate the 
negative effects of development on Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat. 
The required measures include criteria for locating development, 
conditional provisions regarding unauthorized trails, areas where 10 
percent of the private land may be developed, special provision areas, 
parcels subject to the Habitat Evaluation and Acquisition Negotiation 
Strategy (HANS), Major Amendment areas, and special disturbance areas 
relating to water and flood control agencies. Collectively, these 
measures provide a basis for evaluating, restricting, and configuring 
development and related activities to ensure that such projects are 
consistent with the Coachella Valley MSHCP.
    The Coachella Valley MSHCP also contains a number of avoidance, 
minimization, and mitigation measures as follows: (1) Proposed covered 
activities in Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat will be prohibited 
during the lambing season (January 1 though June 30) unless otherwise 
authorized through a Minor Amendment with concurrence from the State 
and Service; (2) landscaping with toxic plants will be prohibited in 
Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat, and existing facilities with toxic 
plants must complete a plan and schedule for removing or preventing 
access to toxic plants within one year of permit issuance; and (3) all 
water tank construction and operation and maintenance will require 1:1 
mitigation by acreage, no public access, native landscaping, and 
location away from sensitive areas. Additionally, the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP also provides for the implementation of land use agency 
guidelines to avoid and minimize the direct and indirect effects 
associated with development.
    The Coachella Valley MSHCP (Section 7.3.3.2) addressed the Public 
Use and Trails Management on Reserve Lands within the Santa Rosa and 
San Jacinto Mountains Conservation Area. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto 
Mountains Conservation Area includes trails that cross both Federal and 
non-Federal land. The Coachella Valley MSHCP addresses impacts to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep for the construction of specified trails and 
for the use of identified trails on non-Federal land. The BLM is 
pursuing a section 7 consultation for the components of the coordinated 
Plan on Federal lands within the Reserve System. The U.S. Forest 
Service will determine whether public use and trails management will 
require consultation with the Service pursuant to section 7 of the Act. 
Impacts to Peninsular bighorn sheep associated with the public use and 
trails management plan are addressed in the Coachella Valley MSHCP. The 
Coachella Valley MSHCP describes the implementation of a focused 
research program to evaluate the effects of recreational trail use on 
Peninsular bighorn sheep health, behavior, habitat selection, and long-
term population dynamics.
    The Desert Water Authority is not a permittee and its lands are not 
subject to the conservation requirements of the Coachella Valley MSHCP 
through any discretionary authority of the permittees. Therefore, 293 
ac (119 ha) of lands within Unit 1 and Unit 2A owned by DWA have not 
been excluded from the final revised critical habitat designation under 
the Coachella Valley MSHCP.
    The 1998 final listing rule for Peninsular bighorn sheep identified 
habitat loss (especially in canyon bottoms), degradation, and 
fragmentation associated with the

[[Page 17340]]

proliferation of residential and commercial development, roads and 
highways, water projects, and vehicular and pedestrian recreational 
uses as primary threats to Peninsular bighorn sheep. As described 
above, the Coachella Valley MSHCP management and conservation efforts 
provide enhancement of habitat by removing or reducing threats to 
Peninsular bighorn sheep and the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of this DPS. The Coachella Valley MSHCP 
Plan Area encompasses habitat that supports identified core populations 
of this DPS and therefore provides for recovery. The implementation of 
the conservation goals, conservation objectives, and required measures; 
avoidance and minimization measures; and management for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep provided for in the Coachella Valley MSHCP exceed any 
conservation value provided as a result of regulatory protections that 
have been or may be afforded through critical habitat designation.
    Based on the reasoning provided below, we excluded from Unit 1 and 
Unit 2A approximately 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of private and permittee-
owned or controlled lands or lands under the jurisdiction of the 
permittees within the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, Snow Creek/
Windy Point, and Cabazon Conservation Areas within Coachella Valley 
MSHCP Plan Area boundary (see Coachella Valley MSHCP, Volume 1, 
Sections 4.3.1, 4.3.3, and 4.3.21) from the Peninsular bighorn sheep 
final revised critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act. Covered activities conducted or approved by the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP permittees are subject to the conservation requirements of the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP. Of the 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) excluded under the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP, approximately 38,477 ac (15,571 ha) are 
anticipated to be conserved under the plan. Approximately 282 ac (114 
ha) or 0.7 percent of the acres excluded under the Coachella Valley 
MSHCP are permitted for development consistent with the MSHCP.
Benefits of Inclusion--Coachella Valley MSHCP
    The inclusion of approximately 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of private and 
permittee-owned or controlled lands within the Coachella Valley MSHCP 
could be beneficial because it identifies lands that require management 
for conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep. The process of proposing 
and finalizing the revised critical habitat rule provided the Service 
with the opportunity to evaluate and refine the features essential to 
the conservation of the DPS within the geographical area occupied by 
Peninsular bighorn sheep at the time of listing, as well as to evaluate 
whether there are other areas essential for the conservation of the 
DPS. The designation process included peer review and public comment on 
the identified features and areas. This process is valuable to land 
owners and managers in developing conservation management plans for 
identified areas, as well as any other occupied habitat or suitable 
habitat that may not have been included in the Service's determination 
of essential habitat.
    The educational benefits of designation are small and largely 
redundant to those derived through conservation efforts currently being 
planned and implemented in the approximately 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of 
private and permittee-owned or controlled lands within the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP. As described above, the process of developing the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP has involved several partners including (but not 
limited to) the eight participating local jurisdictions, Riverside 
County, California Department of Fish and Game, and Federal agencies. 
The educational benefits of critical habitat designation derived 
through informing Coachella Valley MSHCP partners and other members of 
the public of areas important for the long-term conservation of this 
DPS have already been and continue to be achieved through: (1) 
Development and implementation of the Coachella Valley MSHCP; (2) the 
original designation process in 2001; and (3) publication of the 
proposed revisions to critical habitat in 2007 and 2008, including 
notices of public comment periods, and the public hearings.
    The consultation provisions under section 7 of the Act constitute 
the regulatory benefits of inclusion for critical habitat. As discussed 
above, Federal agencies must consult with us on actions that may affect 
critical habitat and must avoid destroying or adversely modifying 
critical habitat. There is the potential for future activities within 
the lands being excluded having a Federal nexus for Peninsular bighorn 
sheep as a result of actions by Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, 
BLM, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Highway Administration. 
Therefore, including this area may provide some regulatory benefits 
under section 7 of the Act.
    However, the Coachella Valley MSHCP addresses conservation issues 
from a coordinated, integrated perspective rather than a piecemeal, 
project-by-project approach (as would occur on these lands under 
sections 7 and 10 of the Act absent this regional plan) and will 
arguably achieve more Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation within the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP Plan Area than through section 7 consultations 
involving consideration of critical habitat. The PCEs required by 
Peninsular bighorn sheep will benefit by the conservation objectives 
and required measures outlined in the Coachella Valley MSHCP.
    In summary, these conservation measures include but are not limited 
to: preservation and protection of core Peninsular bighorn sheep 
habitat in perpetuity, maintenance of water sources, criteria for 
locating development to minimize effects to Peninsular bighorn sheep, 
implementation of minimization and mitigation measures and land use 
agency guidelines, conditional provisions regarding unauthorized 
trails, and monitoring the effects of trails and population monitoring. 
Such measures will remove or reduce known threats to Peninsular bighorn 
sheep and its PCEs in Unit 1 and Unit 2A. The Coachella Valley MSHCP 
will ensure that conservation and management actions take place that 
are not required by critical habitat designation (see ``Benefits Of 
Designating Critical Habitat'' section above). For example, critical 
habitat designation does not ensure habitat protection; enhancement and 
restoration; maintenance of water sources; functional linkages to 
adjoining habitat; or monitoring of Peninsular bighorn sheep (see 
discussion above).
    In light of the preferable regional scale of conservation planning 
used in the development of the Coachella Valley MSHCP and the 
conservation that will occur under the Coachella Valley MSHCP, we 
conclude that the potential regulatory benefit of designating these 
areas in Unit 1 and Unit 2A as critical habitat is minimal. We 
acknowledge that a very small portion of the area we are excluding from 
critical habitat is not anticipated to be conserved under the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP, approximately 282 ac (114 ha) or 0.7 percent of the area 
excluded. Therefore, the benefits of inclusion of these lands within 
designated critical habitat are higher than for those lands anticipated 
for conservation under the Coachella Valley MSHCP.
Benefits of Exclusion--Coachella Valley MSHCP
    Regional and subregional HCPs foster an ecosystem-based approach to 
habitat conservation planning, and once

[[Page 17341]]

developed, conservation issues are addressed through a coordinated 
approach. However, these large and often costly regional plans are 
voluntary for the local jurisdiction(s) that pursue this approach, in 
the sense that they could require landowners (e.g., homeowners, 
developers) to consult with the Service individually for a section 10 
permit. As a result, the local jurisdiction would incur no costs 
associated with the landowner's need for a section 10 permit, requiring 
the landowner to obtain this permit prior to issuance of a building 
permit. However, this approach would result in uncoordinated, 
``patchy'' conservation that would likely not further the recovery of 
federally listed species. Rather, by voluntarily developing these 
regional plans (versus individual landowner HCPs), the coordinated 
landscape-scale conservation results in preservation of interconnected 
linkage areas and populations that support recovery of listed species.
    We recognize that once an HCP is permitted, implementation of the 
conservation measures is not voluntary in order for permittees to 
receive incidental take coverage. However, the benefits of excluding 
lands under the scenario described above are: (1) Retaining and 
fostering the existing partnership and working relationship with all 
stakeholders; and (2) encouraging future regional HCP development or 
development of other species/habitat conservation plans. Additionally, 
exclusion of an HCP (such as the Coachella Valley MSHCP) demonstrates 
our good faith effort and working relationships, which should encourage 
initiation and completion of other HCPs.
    We developed close partnerships with all participating entities 
through the development of the Coachella Valley MSHCP, which 
incorporates appropriate protections and management for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep, its habitat, and the features essential to the 
conservation of this DPS. By excluding 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of lands 
in Unit 1 and Unit 2A from designation, we are eliminating an 
essentially redundant layer of regulatory review for projects covered 
by the Coachella Valley MSHCP, helping to preserve our ongoing 
partnership with the plan participants, and encouraging new 
partnerships with other landowners and jurisdictions. These 
partnerships with the Coachella Valley MSHCP participants are critical 
for the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep.
Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion--Coachella 
Valley MSHCP
    As discussed in the ``Benefits of Inclusion--Coachella Valley 
MSHCP'' section above, we believe the regulatory benefit of designating 
critical habitat on private lands, permittee-owned or controlled lands 
covered by the Coachella Valley MSHCP would be low. The Coachella 
Valley MSHCP addresses conservation issues from a coordinated, 
integrated perspective rather than a piecemeal project-by-project 
approach and will achieve more Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation 
than we would achieve through multiple site-by-site, project-by-
project, section 7 consultations involving consideration of critical 
habitat.
    Conservation and management of Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat is 
essential to the survival and recovery of this DPS. Such conservation 
needs are typically not addressed through the application of the 
statutory prohibition on destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. Even considering the small percentage of lands 
meeting the definition of critical habitat that may be developed in the 
future, the specific conservation actions (conservation goal, 
conservation objectives, and required measures); avoidance and 
minimization measures; and monitoring and management for Peninsular 
bighorn sheep and the features essential to its conservation provided 
by the Coachella Valley MSHCP exceed any conservation value provided as 
a result of regulatory protections that may be afforded through a 
critical habitat designation. The Coachella Valley MSHCP provides as 
much or more conservation benefit than a consultation for critical 
habitat designation conducted under the standards required by the Ninth 
Circuit in the Gifford Pinchot decision. The benefits for the 
conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep that would occur as a result 
of designating these lands as critical habitat (e.g., protection 
afforded through the section 7(a)(2) consultation process) are minimal 
compared to the overall conservation benefits for the DPS that will be 
realized through the implementation of the Coachella Valley MSHCP. 
Furthermore, educational benefits that may be derived from a critical 
habitat designation are minimal and largely redundant to the 
educational benefits achieved through significant public, State, and 
local government input during the development and implementation of the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP.
    We developed close partnerships with the 19 Coachella Valley MSHCP 
permittees through the development of this regional HCP that 
incorporates appropriate protections and management of this DPS's 
essential physical and biological features. Those protections are 
consistent with the mandates under section 7 of the Act to avoid 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat and go beyond 
that prohibition by including active management and protection of 
essential habitat areas. Designation of critical habitat alone does not 
achieve recovery or require management of those lands identified in the 
critical habitat rule. We believe the conservation benefits for 
Peninsular bighorn sheep that would occur as a result of designating 
those 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) in Unit 1 and Unit 2A as critical habitat 
(e.g., protection afforded through the section 7(a)(2) consultation 
process) is minimal compared to the overall conservation benefits for 
the DPS that will be realized through the implementation of the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP.
    Furthermore, the benefits to recovery of inclusion primarily have 
already been met through the identification of those areas most 
important to the DPS. By excluding these lands from critical habitat, 
we are eliminating a largely redundant layer of regulatory review for a 
limited set of projects on non-Federal lands that are addressed by the 
MSHCP and we are helping to preserve our ongoing partnerships with the 
permittees and to encourage new partnerships with other landowners and 
jurisdictions. Those partnerships, and the landscape-level, multiple-
species conservation planning efforts they promote, are critical for 
the conservation of Peninsular bighorn sheep. Designating critical 
habitat on non-Federal lands within the Coachella Valley MSHCP could 
have a detrimental effect to our partnerships with the 19 Coachella 
Valley MSHCP permittees and could be a significant disincentive to the 
establishment of future partnerships and HCPs with other landowners.
    We reviewed and evaluated the exclusion of 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of 
private and permittee-owned or controlled lands within the Coachella 
Valley MSHCP plan area from the final revised critical habitat 
designation for Peninsular bighorn sheep and determined that the 
benefits of excluding these lands in Unit 1 and Unit 2A outweigh the 
benefits of including them. As discussed above, the MSHCP will provide 
for significant preservation and management of habitat for and features 
essential to the conservation of Peninsular bighorn

[[Page 17342]]

sheep and will help reach the recovery goals for this DPS.
Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Subspecies--Coachella 
Valley MSHCP
    In keeping with our analysis and conclusion detailed in our 
biological opinion for the Coachella Valley MSHCP (Service 2008, pp. 
643-644), we determined that the exclusion of 38,759 ac (15,685 ha) of 
private lands and permittee-owned or controlled lands within the 
Coachella Valley MSHCP Plan Area from the final designation of critical 
habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep will not result in the extinction 
of the DPS. The Coachella Valley MSHCP provides protection and 
management, in perpetuity, of lands that meet the definition of 
critical habitat for the DPS in Unit 1 and Unit 2A. We acknowledge that 
some lands excluded within the Coachella Valley MSHCP are permitted for 
development (approximately 0.7 percent); however, the potential loss of 
this habitat will not result in the extinction of Peninsular bighorn 
sheep. Additionally, the jeopardy standard of section 7 of the Act and 
routine implementation of conservation measures through the section 7 
process provide assurances that the DPS will not go extinct as a result 
of this exclusion.

Required Determinations

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with E.O. 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), we have analyzed the potential takings implications of 
designating critical habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep in a takings 
implications assessment. Critical habitat designation does not affect 
landowner actions that do not require Federal funding or permits, nor 
does it preclude development of habitat conservation programs or 
issuance of incidental take permits to permit actions that do require 
Federal funding or permits to go forward. The takings implications 
assessment concludes that this final revised designation of critical 
habitat for Peninsular bighorn sheep does not pose significant takings 
implications.

Regulatory Planning and Review--Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
rule is not significant under E.O. 12866. OMB bases its determination 
upon the following four criteria:
    (1) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.
    (2) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions.
    (3) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients.
    (4) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), the Office of 
the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of the Order. We are designating critical habitat in accordance 
with the provisions of the Act. This final rule uses standard property 
descriptions and identifies the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of the DPS within the designated areas to 
assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with E.O. 13132 (Federalism), this final rule does 
not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and Department of 
Commerce policy, we requested information from, and coordinated 
development of, these final critical habitat designations with 
appropriate State resource agencies in California. During the public 
comment periods, we contacted appropriate State and local agencies and 
jurisdictions, and invited them to comment on the proposed revised 
critical habitat designation for the Peninsular bighorn sheep. In 
total, we responded to 3 letters received during these comment periods 
from local governments (see ``Summary of Comments and Recommendations'' 
section). The designations may have some benefit to these governments 
in that the areas that contain the features essential to the 
conservation of the species are more clearly defined, and the primary 
constituent elements of the habitat essential to the conservation of 
the species are specifically identified. This information does not 
alter where and what federally sponsored activities may occur. However, 
it may assist local governments in long-range planning (rather than 
having them wait for case-by-case section 7 consultations to occur).

Energy Supply, Distribution, Or Use--Executive Order 13211

    E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy 
Effects when undertaking certain actions. This revision to critical 
habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep is not considered a 
significant regulatory action under E.O. 12866. OMB has provided 
guidance for implementing this Order that outlines nine outcomes that 
may constitute ``a significant adverse effect'' when compared without 
the regulatory action under consideration. The economic analysis finds 
that none of these criteria are relevant to this analysis. Thus, based 
on information in the economic analysis (Appendix A), energy-related 
impacts associated with Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation 
activities within the areas included in the final designation of 
critical habitat are not expected.
    Sunrise Powerlink is the only entity involved in the production of 
energy. Although Sunrise Powerlink is likely to incur incremental 
Peninsular bighorn sheep conservation costs, these costs are not 
expected to be sufficient to be noted as a ``significant adverse 
effect.'' Over the next 20 years, Sunrise Powerlink is forecast to 
incur total expenses of $4,030, discounted at seven percent. These 
impacts are not sufficient to reduce electricity production 
appreciably, or to increase the cost of energy production or delivery 
by more than one percent. Thus, the incremental impacts associated with 
critical habitat designation for Peninsular bighorn sheep are unlikely 
to be of sufficient magnitude to affect energy production or delivery. 
As such, the final designation of critical habitat is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use, and a 
Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

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

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the Service 
makes the following findings:
    (1) This rule does 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, or 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

[[Page 17343]]

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; Aid to Families with Dependent 
Children 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.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal government entities or private parties. 
Under section 7 of the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal 
agencies must ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely 
modify critical habitat. Non-Federal entities that 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. However, 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 on to State governments.
    (2) We do not believe that this rule would significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments because it would not produce a 
Federal mandate of $100 million or greater in any year; that is, it is 
not a ``significant regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act. The FEA concludes that there are no incremental impacts 
resulting from this rulemaking that may be borne by small entities. 
Potential incremental impacts stemming from the Sunrise Powerlink 
project will be borne by San Diego Gas and Electric and a mine owned by 
Creole Corporation, a subsidiary of Texas Industries, Inc.; however, 
both of these entities are also not small governments.

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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 
U.S.C. 802(2)), 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 effect 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 
an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act amended the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act to require Federal agencies to provide a certification statement of 
the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
In this final rule, we are certifying that the critical habitat 
designation for Peninsular bighorn sheep will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
following discussion explains our rationale.
    According to the Small Business Administration, 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; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). 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 considered the 
types of activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this 
designation as well as 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 revised designation of critical habitat for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep would affect a substantial number of small 
entities, we considered the number of small entities affected within 
particular types of economic activities, such as residential and 
commercial development. 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 
thus 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 areas where the DPS 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 Peninsular bighorn 
sheep (see ``Section 7 Consultation'' section) or their critical 
habitat. Future consultations to avoid the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat would be incorporated into the 
existing consultation process. In the case of completed consultations 
for ongoing Federal activities, however, the Federal agency may be 
required to reinitiate consultation (see ``Application of the `Adverse 
Modification' Standard'' section). Designation of critical habitat, in 
that case, could result in an additional economic impact on small 
entities.
    In our DEA of the proposed revision of critical habitat, we 
evaluated the potential economic effects on small business entities 
resulting from conservation actions related to the proposed revision of 
critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep. The analysis is 
based on the estimated incremental impacts associated with the 
rulemaking as described in section 2 of the analysis. In the DEA, we 
evaluated the potential economic effects on small business entities 
resulting from implementation of conservation actions related to the 
proposed revision to critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep. 
The economic analysis identifies the estimated incremental impacts 
associated with the proposed rulemaking as described in chapters 2 
through 7, and evaluates the potential

[[Page 17344]]

for economic impacts related to activity categories including species 
management, development, mining, recreation, transportation, and 
utilities construction and management. The analysis concludes that 
there are no incremental impacts resulting from this rulemaking that 
may be borne by small entities. The FEA confirms this conclusion.
    In summary, we considered whether the final rule to revise critical 
habitat would result in a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. For the above reasons and based on currently 
available information, we certify that this rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C 801 et 
seq.)

    Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, 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 believe 
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 (see ADDRESSES for information on 
obtaining a copy of the final economic analysis).

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the Circuit 
Court of the United States for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to 
prepare environmental analyses as defined by 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 Court of Appeals (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 
F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1042 (1996)).

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 of 1995. 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.

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 the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with federally recognized 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes. We have identified tribal lands that 
meet the definition of critical habitat for the Peninsular bighorn 
sheep, and we are excluding all tribal lands from the final revised 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see 
``Exclusion of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Lands'' 
section for a detailed discussion).

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and http://www.fws.gov/carlsbad/.

Author(s)

    The primary authors of this rulemaking are staff at the Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California.

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.  17.11(h), revise the entry for ``Sheep, bighorn'' under 
``MAMMALS'' in the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife to read 
as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                    Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Mammals
 
                                                           * * * * [emsp x ]* * *
Sheep, Peninsular bighorn........  Ovis canadensis       U.S.A. (western      U.S.A. (CA)          E                       634     17.95(a)           NA
                                    nelsoni.              conterminous         Peninsular Ranges.
                                                          States), Canada
                                                          (southwestern),
                                                          Mexico (northern).
 
                                                           * * * * [emsp x ]* * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 17345]]


0
3. In Sec.  17.95(a), revise the entry for ``Bighorn Sheep (Peninsular 
Ranges) (Ovis canadensis)'' to read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

    (a) Mammals.
* * * * *
    Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, a Distinct Population Segment of Desert 
Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Riverside, San Diego, 
and Imperial Counties, California, on the maps below.
    (2) The primary constituent elements of critical habitat for the 
Peninsular bighorn sheep are:
    (i) Moderate to steep, open slopes (20 to 60 percent) and canyons, 
with canopy cover of 30 percent or less (below 4,600 ft (1,402 m) 
elevation in Peninsular Ranges) that provide space for sheltering, 
predator detection, rearing of young, foraging and watering, mating, 
and movement within and between ewe groups;
    (ii) Presence of a variety of forage plants, indicated by the 
presence of shrubs (e.g., Ambrosia spp., Caesalpinia spp., Hyptis spp., 
Sphaeralcea spp., Simmondsia spp.), that provide a primary food source 
year round, grasses (e.g., Aristida spp., Bromus spp.) and cacti (e.g., 
Opuntia spp.) that provide a source of forage in the fall, and forbs 
(e.g., Plantago spp., Ditaxis spp.) that provide a source of forage in 
the spring;
    (iii) Steep, rugged slopes (60 percent slope or greater) (below 
4,600 ft (1,402 m) elevation in Peninsular Ranges) that provide 
secluded space for lambing and terrain for predator evasion;
    (iv) Alluvial fans, washes, and valley bottoms that provide 
important foraging areas where nutritious and digestible plants can be 
more readily found during times of drought and lactation, and that 
provide and maintain habitat connectivity by serving as travel routes 
between and within ewe groups, adjacent mountain ranges, and important 
resource areas (e.g., foraging areas and escape terrain); and
    (v) Intermittent and permanent water sources that are available 
during extended dry periods and provide relatively nutritious plants 
and drinking water.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, roads, and other paved areas) and the land on 
which they are located existing within the legal boundaries on the 
effective date of this rule.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of USGS 1:24,000 maps, and critical habitat units 
were then mapped using Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates.
    (5) Note: Index map of critical habitat units for the Peninsular 
bighorn sheep follows:
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[[Page 17347]]

    (6) Unit 1: San Jacinto Mountains, Riverside County, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangles Desert Hot Springs, Palm 
Springs, and San Jacinto Peak, and White Water. Land bounded by the 
following Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) North American Datum of 
1927 (NAD27) coordinates (E, N): 534134, 3750021; 534465, 3749681; 
534495, 3749651; 534495, 3749651; 534495, 3749651; 534495, 3749651; 
534572, 3749621; 534997, 3749456; 534792, 3749102; 534885, 3748934; 
535128, 3748785; 535310, 3748807; 535426, 3748822; 535471, 3748798; 
535663, 3748697; 535706, 3748674; 535706, 3748652; 535713, 3748654; 
535739, 3748650; 535777, 3748637; 535816, 3748627; 535834, 3748623; 
535944, 3748624; 535999, 3748624; 536000, 3748624; 536000, 3748624; 
536056, 3748624; 536056, 3748656; 536499, 3748909; 536927, 3749153; 
537308, 3748794; 538009, 3748134; 538064, 3748082; 538535, 3747726; 
538535, 3747703; 538566, 3747702; 538901, 3747449; 539106, 3747293; 
539235, 3746550; 539240, 3746463; 539240, 3746455; 539254, 3746181; 
539088, 3745848; 539244, 3745133; 539265, 3745144; 539562, 3745200; 
539802, 3745192; 540194, 3745168; 540512, 3745097; 540512, 3744900; 
540511, 3744851; 540512, 3744847; 540521, 3744847; 540607, 3744847; 
540817, 3744847; 540900, 3744846; 540900, 3744846; 540900, 3744800; 
540900, 3744700; 540900, 3744600; 540900, 3744500; 540900, 3744400; 
540800, 3744400; 540800, 3744300; 540700, 3744300; 540600, 3744300; 
540600, 3744200; 540511, 3744200; 540504, 3744200; 540500, 3744200; 
540500, 3744100; 540503, 3744100; 540511, 3744100; 540600, 3744100; 
540600, 3744000; 540600, 3743900; 540700, 3743900; 540700, 3743800; 
540700, 3743700; 540800, 3743700; 540800, 3743600; 540800, 3743500; 
540885, 3743501; 540883, 3743342; 540906, 3743287; 541006, 3743322; 
541083, 3743355; 541120, 3743355; 541171, 3743337; 541299, 3743351; 
541300, 3743300; 541300, 3743238; 541300, 3743231; 541300, 3743200; 
541321, 3743200; 541321, 3743196; 541330, 3743175; 541340, 3743160; 
541342, 3743145; 541344, 3743138; 541348, 3743132; 541353, 3743127; 
541356, 3743122; 541362, 3743116; 541368, 3743111; 541371, 3743107; 
541376, 3743098; 541377, 3743095; 541379, 3743089; 541378, 3743082; 
541380, 3743075; 541381, 3743070; 541384, 3743064; 541388, 3743060; 
541395, 3743053; 541403, 3743047; 541413, 3743043; 541417, 3743039; 
541425, 3743032; 541431, 3743027; 541436, 3743021; 541441, 3743015; 
541446, 3743006; 541451, 3742997; 541455, 3742984; 541464, 3742970; 
541466, 3742965; 541471, 3742960; 541477, 3742957; 541484, 3742953; 
541494, 3742952; 541501, 3742951; 541508, 3742951; 541523, 3742951; 
541527, 3742951; 541532, 3742952; 541539, 3742952; 541547, 3742951; 
541555, 3742952; 541559, 3742952; 541562, 3742951; 541571, 3742947; 
541581, 3742942; 541589, 3742939; 541594, 3742933; 541600, 3742929; 
541607, 3742925; 541616, 3742918; 541624, 3742914; 541633, 3742910; 
541640, 3742907; 541651, 3742905; 541659, 3742905; 541659, 3742904; 
541653, 3742806; 541679, 3742804; 541670, 3742734; 541637, 3742740; 
541625, 3742693; 541648, 3742693; 541662, 3742659; 541682, 3742612; 
541683, 3742557; 541683, 3742510; 541683, 3742508; 541670, 3742508; 
541661, 3742507; 541661, 3742507; 541661, 3742554; 541615, 3742554; 
541616, 3742507; 541598, 3742507; 541598, 3742517; 541517, 3742516; 
541476, 3742516; 541436, 3742516; 541411, 3742516; 541400, 3742516; 
541395, 3742516; 541377, 3742516; 541376, 3742507; 541385, 3742432; 
541375, 3742432; 541375, 3742390; 541374, 3742350; 541368, 3742344; 
541374, 3742328; 541354, 3742228; 541329, 3742228; 541330, 3742217; 
541331, 3742061; 541331, 3742036; 541331, 3742016; 541332, 3741932; 
541340, 3741932; 541369, 3741932; 541369, 3741922; 541370, 3741805; 
541370, 3741803; 541370, 3741745; 541357, 3741745; 541334, 3741730; 
541294, 3741729; 541261, 3741729; 541261, 3741677; 541271, 3741677; 
541271, 3741641; 541271, 3741640; 541271, 3741640; 541271, 3741632; 
541126, 3741630; 541100, 3741630; 541100, 3741600; 541100, 3741500; 
541100, 3741400; 541100, 3741281; 541176, 3741283; 541189, 3741189; 
541192, 3741167; 541203, 3741100; 541300, 3741100; 541400, 3741100; 
541500, 3741100; 541600, 3741100; 541600, 3741000; 541600, 3740900; 
541600, 3740800; 541600, 3740700; 541600, 3740600; 541653, 3740533; 
541700, 3740495; 541700, 3740400; 541800, 3740400; 541900, 3740400; 
541934, 3740399; 541935, 3740284; 542001, 3740285; 542000, 3740200; 
542000, 3740135; 541936, 3740129; 541942, 3740080; 541965, 3740053; 
541966, 3740025; 541939, 3740025; 541815, 3740026; 541744, 3740027; 
541718, 3740027; 541660, 3740028; 541660, 3740023; 541656, 3739951; 
541628, 3739931; 541607, 3739915; 541605, 3739900; 541600, 3739900; 
541600, 3739876; 541596, 3739853; 541587, 3739805; 541586, 3739800; 
541584, 3739767; 541582, 3739736; 541584, 3739712; 541586, 3739702; 
541584, 3739694; 541585, 3739694; 541586, 3739694; 541586, 3739694; 
541587, 3739693; 541587, 3739693; 541587, 3739693; 541588, 3739693; 
541588, 3739692; 541588, 3739692; 541589, 3739692; 541589, 3739692; 
541589, 3739691; 541589, 3739691; 541590, 3739691; 541590, 3739690; 
541590, 3739690; 541590, 3739689; 541590, 3739689; 541591, 3739689; 
541591, 3739688; 541591, 3739688; 541591, 3739687; 541591, 3739687; 
541591, 3739686; 541591, 3739686; 541590, 3739675; 541587, 3739630; 
541587, 3739629; 541587, 3739629; 541587, 3739628; 541587, 3739628; 
541587, 3739627; 541587, 3739627; 541587, 3739626; 541587, 3739626; 
541587, 3739625; 541587, 3739625; 541587, 3739624; 541588, 3739624; 
541588, 3739623; 541588, 3739623; 541588, 3739623; 541588, 3739622; 
541589, 3739622; 541589, 3739621; 541589, 3739621; 541589, 3739621; 
541590, 3739620; 541590, 3739620; 541590, 3739620; 541591, 3739619; 
541591, 3739619; 541591, 3739619; 541592, 3739618; 541592, 3739618; 
541592, 3739618; 541593, 3739618; 541593, 3739618; 541593, 3739617; 
541594, 3739617; 541594, 3739617; 541595, 3739617; 541595, 3739616; 
541596, 3739616; 541596, 3739616; 541596, 3739616; 541597, 3739616; 
541597, 3739616; 541598, 3739616; 541598, 3739616; 541600, 3739615; 
541600, 3739613; 541563, 3739614; 541552, 3739562; 541589, 3739529; 
541590, 3739528; 541608, 3739475; 541612, 3739464; 541663, 3739439; 
541692, 3739425; 541695, 3739423; 541700, 3739418; 541700, 3739400; 
541716, 3739400; 541731, 3739383; 541733, 3739381; 541755, 3739364; 
541790, 3739336; 541792, 3739334; 541800, 3739324; 541800, 3739300; 
541700, 3739300; 541700, 3739296; 541644, 3739296; 541644, 3739061; 
541644, 3738884; 541866, 3738884; 541933, 3738882; 541933, 3738883; 
541952, 3738884; 541952, 3738835; 541969, 3738835; 541969, 3738764; 
541969, 3738731; 541969, 3738713; 541969, 3738680; 541976, 3738680; 
541951, 3738614; 541948, 3738608; 541944, 3738600; 541900, 3738600; 
541900, 3738500; 541900, 3738419; 541900, 3738415; 541900, 3738400; 
542000, 3738400; 542000, 3738300; 542000, 3738200; 542000, 3738100; 
541900, 3738100; 541900, 3738000; 541900, 3737900; 541900, 3737800; 
541800, 3737800; 541800, 3737700; 541800, 3737600; 541800, 3737500; 
541800,

[[Page 17348]]

3737400; 541800, 3737300; 541800, 3737200; 541800, 3737100; 541800, 
3737000; 541654, 3736803; 541356, 3736400; 540393, 3735196; 540363, 
3735192; 540248, 3735176; 540154, 3735163; 539396, 3735059; 539294, 
3735160; 539283, 3735171; 539017, 3735437; 538757, 3735957; 538752, 
3735967; 538746, 3735980; 538742, 3735987; 538295, 3736400; 538230, 
3736767; 538230, 3736770; 538226, 3736793; 538192, 3736985; 538020, 
3738154; 538050, 3738381; 538054, 3738413; 538089, 3738670; 538554, 
3740001; 538562, 3740021; 538570, 3740046; 538536, 3741559; 538504, 
3741614; 538492, 3741634; 538054, 3742384; 537372, 3743203; 537372, 
3743212; 537364, 3743212; 537345, 3743236; 537276, 3743318; 537194, 
3743416; 536728, 3743936; 536656, 3744024; 536634, 3744087; 536100, 
3744346; 535828, 3744823; 535817, 3744844; 535732, 3744992; 535666, 
3745108; 535665, 3745109; 535413, 3745553; 535253, 3746458; 535247, 
3746495; 534970, 3746845; 534866, 3746975; 534865, 3746975; 534176, 
3746882; 534115, 3746840; 534063, 3746805; 533524, 3746435; 531977, 
3746795; 531267, 3747050; 530862, 3747228; 530502, 3747386; 530397, 
3748001; 530372, 3748150; 530502, 3749549; 530595, 3749599; 530839, 
3749730; 531024, 3749829; 531605, 3749724; 531646, 3749716; 531687, 
3749709; 531689, 3749708; 531720, 3749703; 531721, 3749703; 531721, 
3749703; 531733, 3749728; 531811, 3749890; 532087, 3750462; 532854, 
3750401; 533216, 3750372; 533936, 3750224; 534059, 3750098; thence 
returning to 534134, 3750021.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 1, San Jacinto Mountains (Map 2) follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

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[[Page 17350]]

    (7) Unit 2A: North Santa Rosa Mountains, Riverside County, 
California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangles Cathedral City, Clark Lake NE, 
La Quinta, Martinez Mountain, Palm Springs, Palm View Peak, Rabbit 
Peak, Rancho Mirage, Toro Peak, and Valerie. Land bounded by the 
following Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) North American Datum of 
1927 (NAD27) coordinates (E, N): 548200, 3735505; 548200, 3735500; 
548211, 3735500; 548229, 3735493; 548242, 3735488; 548253, 3735483; 
548278, 3735474; 548285, 3735471; 548300, 3735465; 548300, 3735400; 
548400, 3735400; 548500, 3735400; 548500, 3735480; 548515, 3735478; 
548523, 3735478; 548560, 3735481; 548580, 3735488; 548591, 3735491; 
548607, 3735496; 548608, 3735496; 548608, 3735496; 548644, 3735490; 
548659, 3735497; 548673, 3735503; 548690, 3735520; 548716, 3735546; 
548720, 3735550; 548736, 3735569; 548768, 3735606; 548773, 3735615; 
548783, 3735631; 548778, 3735657; 548778, 3735659; 548799, 3735678; 
548821, 3735687; 548825, 3735689; 548844, 3735682; 548868, 3735674; 
548874, 3735672; 548890, 3735664; 548892, 3735663; 548909, 3735654; 
548955, 3735628; 549021, 3735590; 549038, 3735580; 549075, 3735551; 
549085, 3735544; 549101, 3735534; 549131, 3735513; 549131, 3735526; 
549125, 3735553; 549111, 3735581; 549105, 3735594; 549077, 3735654; 
549074, 3735660; 549074, 3735680; 549089, 3735687; 549102, 3735682; 
549097, 3735720; 549094, 3735745; 549093, 3735749; 549102, 3735757; 
549132, 3735749; 549145, 3735755; 549157, 3735754; 549169, 3735738; 
549180, 3735744; 549175, 3735804; 549186, 3735810; 549195, 3735817; 
549205, 3735819; 549238, 3735827; 549245, 3735846; 549250, 3735853; 
549251, 3735854; 549278, 3735863; 549285, 3735868; 549280, 3735880; 
549283, 3735883; 549285, 3735886; 549307, 3735894; 549331, 3735897; 
549350, 3735888; 549369, 3735874; 549387, 3735876; 549392, 3735881; 
549418, 3735882; 549440, 3735896; 549472, 3735885; 549482, 3735882; 
549484, 3735894; 549462, 3735909; 549457, 3735936; 549469, 3735963; 
549475, 3735976; 549488, 3735971; 549491, 3735983; 549476, 3736004; 
549481, 3736011; 549496, 3736013; 549480, 3736033; 549471, 3736057; 
549476, 3736063; 549495, 3736054; 549524, 3736058; 549532, 3736058; 
549543, 3736072; 549566, 3736077; 549559, 3736095; 549544, 3736095; 
549536, 3736099; 549533, 3736119; 549533, 3736122; 549534, 3736122; 
549535, 3736125; 549536, 3736127; 549538, 3736129; 549540, 3736131; 
549542, 3736134; 549544, 3736136; 549545, 3736138; 549545, 3736139; 
549545, 3736142; 549545, 3736143; 549543, 3736147; 549540, 3736154; 
549532, 3736170; 549540, 3736182; 549548, 3736181; 549550, 3736180; 
549552, 3736180; 549554, 3736181; 549556, 3736181; 549558, 3736182; 
549560, 3736183; 549562, 3736184; 549563, 3736186; 549564, 3736187; 
549565, 3736189; 549566, 3736190; 549566, 3736193; 549566, 3736194; 
549566, 3736195; 549566, 3736198; 549566, 3736208; 549565, 3736223; 
549565, 3736226; 549565, 3736230; 549567, 3736233; 549568, 3736235; 
549571, 3736237; 549573, 3736239; 549579, 3736240; 549587, 3736243; 
549612, 3736250; 549636, 3736257; 549656, 3736252; 549662, 3736252; 
549670, 3736252; 549686, 3736237; 549699, 3736225; 549708, 3736216; 
549711, 3736214; 549715, 3736211; 549718, 3736209; 549722, 3736208; 
549725, 3736207; 549729, 3736207; 549733, 3736208; 549738, 3736209; 
549742, 3736211; 549761, 3736197; 549759, 3736139; 549767, 3736122; 
549786, 3736105; 549767, 3736083; 549769, 3736079; 549756, 3736075; 
549727, 3736047; 549720, 3736025; 549719, 3736021; 549712, 3736002; 
549700, 3735923; 549700, 3735922; 549700, 3735920; 549700, 3735919; 
549700, 3735918; 549700, 3735917; 549700, 3735916; 549700, 3735915; 
549700, 3735914; 549701, 3735913; 549701, 3735912; 549701, 3735911; 
549701, 3735910; 549702, 3735909; 549702, 3735908; 549702, 3735907; 
549703, 3735906; 549703, 3735905; 549704, 3735904; 549704, 3735903; 
549705, 3735902; 549705, 3735901; 549706, 3735900; 549707, 3735900; 
549707, 3735899; 549708, 3735898; 549709, 3735897; 549709, 3735896; 
549710, 3735896; 549711, 3735895; 549712, 3735894; 549713, 3735894; 
549714, 3735893; 549714, 3735893; 549715, 3735892; 549743, 3735876; 
549745, 3735880; 549781, 3735853; 549789, 3735826; 549791, 3735825; 
549791, 3735824; 549791, 3735824; 549791, 3735823; 549791, 3735822; 
549791, 3735821; 549791, 3735821; 549791, 3735820; 549791, 3735819; 
549791, 3735818; 549791, 3735818; 549791, 3735817; 549792, 3735816; 
549792, 3735815; 549792, 3735815; 549793, 3735814; 549793, 3735813; 
549794, 3735812; 549795, 3735812; 549795, 3735811; 549796, 3735811; 
549796, 3735810; 549797, 3735810; 549798, 3735809; 549799, 3735809; 
549800, 3735808; 549800, 3735800; 549800, 3735800; 549796, 3735781; 
549806, 3735744; 549822, 3735720; 549826, 3735715; 549829, 3735715; 
549829, 3735714; 549829, 3735713; 549829, 3735712; 549829, 3735712; 
549829, 3735711; 549829, 3735710; 549830, 3735709; 549830, 3735709; 
549830, 3735708; 549831, 3735707; 549831, 3735706; 549832, 3735706; 
549832, 3735705; 549833, 3735704; 549834, 3735704; 549834, 3735703; 
549835, 3735703; 549836, 3735702; 549837, 3735702; 549837, 3735701; 
549824, 3735668; 549838, 3735639; 549839, 3735612; 549849, 3735609; 
549848, 3735608; 549848, 3735608; 549848, 3735607; 549848, 3735606; 
549848, 3735605; 549848, 3735605; 549848, 3735604; 549848, 3735603; 
549848, 3735602; 549849, 3735602; 549849, 3735601; 549849, 3735600; 
549849, 3735599; 549850, 3735599; 549850, 3735598; 549851, 3735597; 
549851, 3735596; 549823, 3735574; 549824, 3735562; 549827, 3735533; 
549826, 3735518; 549825, 3735502; 549830, 3735469; 549808, 3735401; 
549818, 3735395; 549817, 3735395; 549817, 3735394; 549817, 3735393; 
549817, 3735392; 549816, 3735392; 549816, 3735391; 549816, 3735390; 
549816, 3735389; 549816, 3735389; 549816, 3735388; 549816, 3735387; 
549816, 3735386; 549816, 3735386; 549816, 3735385; 549817, 3735384; 
549817, 3735383; 549817, 3735383; 549818, 3735382; 549818, 3735381; 
549818, 3735380; 549819, 3735380; 549820, 3735379; 549820, 3735378; 
549821, 3735378; 549821, 3735377; 549822, 3735377; 549953, 3735297; 
549954, 3735296; 549954, 3735296; 549955, 3735296; 549956, 3735295; 
549957, 3735295; 549958, 3735295; 549959, 3735295; 549960, 3735295; 
549961, 3735295; 549962, 3735295; 549963, 3735295; 549964, 3735295; 
549965, 3735296; 549967, 3735296; 549967, 3735297; 549968, 3735297; 
549969, 3735298; 549969, 3735298; 549970, 3735299; 549971, 3735300; 
549971, 3735301; 549972, 3735301; 549978, 3735298; 549990, 3735306; 
550026, 3735349; 550020, 3735384; 550027, 3735388; 550056, 3735480; 
550056, 3735481; 550057, 3735483; 550056, 3735589; 550057, 3735589; 
550103, 3735589; 550104, 3735589; 550105, 3735590; 550106, 3735591; 
550106, 3735592; 550107, 3735594; 550108, 3735595; 550109, 3735596; 
550110, 3735597; 550111, 3735598; 550111, 3735598; 550127, 3735614; 
550129, 3735617; 550135, 3735612; 550136, 3735614; 550137, 3735616; 
550139, 3735617; 550140, 3735619; 550141, 3735621; 550142, 3735622; 
550142, 3735624; 550143, 3735626; 550144,

[[Page 17351]]

3735628; 550145, 3735630; 550146, 3735631; 550147, 3735633; 550147, 
3735635; 550148, 3735637; 550149, 3735639; 550150, 3735641; 550150, 
3735642; 550151, 3735644; 550151, 3735646; 550152, 3735648; 550152, 
3735650; 550153, 3735652; 550153, 3735654; 550154, 3735656; 550154, 
3735658; 550154, 3735660; 550155, 3735662; 550155, 3735664; 550155, 
3735666; 550155, 3735668; 550155, 3735670; 550155, 3735672; 550156, 
3735675; 550156, 3735675; 550157, 3735675; 550158, 3735675; 550159, 
3735676; 550160, 3735676; 550161, 3735677; 550161, 3735678; 550162, 
3735678; 550163, 3735679; 550163, 3735680; 550163, 3735681; 550163, 
3735681; 550164, 3735682; 550164, 3735683; 550165, 3735684; 550165, 
3735684; 550166, 3735685; 550167, 3735686; 550167, 3735686; 550168, 
3735687; 550172, 3735689; 550173, 3735690; 550174, 3735690; 550175, 
3735690; 550176, 3735690; 550177, 3735690; 550178, 3735690; 550179, 
3735690; 550179, 3735690; 550180, 3735689; 550181, 3735689; 550182, 
3735689; 550182, 3735688; 550183, 3735688; 550184, 3735688; 550185, 
3735687; 550186, 3735687; 550186, 3735687; 550187, 3735687; 550188, 
3735687; 550189, 3735688; 550190, 3735688; 550191, 3735688; 550192, 
3735689; 550193, 3735689; 550196, 3735684; 550266, 3735736; 550288, 
3735753; 550283, 3735771; 550307, 3735790; 550308, 3735790; 550309, 
3735791; 550310, 3735792; 550311, 3735792; 550312, 3735793; 550313, 
3735793; 550347, 3735814; 550364, 3735827; 550365, 3735828; 550366, 
3735829; 550366, 3735829; 550367, 3735830; 550367, 3735830; 550368, 
3735831; 550368, 3735831; 550369, 3735832; 550370, 3735833; 550371, 
3735834; 550372, 3735835; 550373, 3735837; 550373, 3735837; 550374, 
3735839; 550375, 3735839; 550375, 3735841; 550376, 3735841; 550376, 
3735842; 550377, 3735843; 550377, 3735844; 550378, 3735845; 550378, 
3735846; 550379, 3735847; 550380, 3735848; 550380, 3735849; 550381, 
3735850; 550381, 3735851; 550382, 3735852; 550383, 3735853; 550384, 
3735854; 550384, 3735855; 550385, 3735856; 550386, 3735856; 550386, 
3735857; 550387, 3735858; 550388, 3735859; 550389, 3735860; 550390, 
3735860; 550391, 3735861; 550391, 3735862; 550392, 3735863; 550393, 
3735864; 550394, 3735864; 550394, 3735865; 550394, 3735866; 550395, 
3735867; 550395, 3735868; 550395, 3735868; 550396, 3735869; 550396, 
3735870; 550396, 3735871; 550397, 3735871; 550397, 3735872; 550398, 
3735873; 550398, 3735874; 550399, 3735875; 550399, 3735876; 550400, 
3735876; 550401, 3735877; 550401, 3735878; 550402, 3735878; 550402, 
3735879; 550403, 3735879; 550404, 3735880; 550405, 3735880; 550405, 
3735881; 550406, 3735881; 550407, 3735882; 550408, 3735882; 550409, 
3735883; 550409, 3735883; 550410, 3735883; 550411, 3735883; 550412, 
3735884; 550413, 3735884; 550414, 3735884; 550415, 3735884; 550415, 
3735884; 550417, 3735884; 550418, 3735885; 550419, 3735885; 550420, 
3735886; 550420, 3735886; 550421, 3735887; 550421, 3735887; 550422, 
3735888; 550422, 3735889; 550423, 3735890; 550423, 3735890; 550423, 
3735891; 550423, 3735892; 550423, 3735893; 550423, 3735894; 550423, 
3735895; 550423, 3735896; 550424, 3735896; 550424, 3735897; 550424, 
3735898; 550425, 3735899; 550425, 3735900; 550425, 3735901; 550426, 
3735902; 550426, 3735903; 550427, 3735903; 550427, 3735904; 550428, 
3735905; 550428, 3735906; 550429, 3735906; 550429, 3735907; 550430, 
3735908; 550431, 3735909; 550431, 3735909; 550432, 3735910; 550446, 
3735922; 550449, 3735924; 550450, 3735926; 550452, 3735927; 550453, 
3735928; 550455, 3735929; 550456, 3735930; 550457, 3735931; 550458, 
3735931; 550459, 3735932; 550460, 3735932; 550461, 3735933; 550462, 
3735933; 550463, 3735934; 550465, 3735934; 550466, 3735934; 550466, 
3735935; 550467, 3735935; 550469, 3735935; 550470, 3735935; 550472, 
3735935; 550473, 3735935; 550474, 3735935; 550476, 3735935; 550478, 
3735935; 550479, 3735935; 550480, 3735936; 550481, 3735936; 550482, 
3735937; 550484, 3735937; 550484, 3735938; 550485, 3735938; 550486, 
3735939; 550487, 3735940; 550488, 3735940; 550488, 3735941; 550489, 
3735942; 550490, 3735942; 550491, 3735943; 550491, 3735943; 550492, 
3735944; 550493, 3735944; 550494, 3735945; 550494, 3735945; 550495, 
3735946; 550496, 3735946; 550497, 3735947; 550498, 3735947; 550498, 
3735948; 550499, 3735948; 550500, 3735948; 550501, 3735949; 550502, 
3735949; 550503, 3735950; 550504, 3735950; 550505, 3735950; 550505, 
3735951; 550506, 3735951; 550507, 3735951; 550508, 3735951; 550509, 
3735952; 550510, 3735952; 550511, 3735952; 550512, 3735953; 550513, 
3735953; 550514, 3735954; 550515, 3735954; 550515, 3735955; 550516, 
3735955; 550517, 3735956; 550517, 3735956; 550518, 3735957; 550518, 
3735957; 550519, 3735958; 550520, 3735959; 550520, 3735960; 550521, 
3735960; 550529, 3735973; 550530, 3735973; 550542, 3735983; 550544, 
3735984; 550545, 3735984; 550546, 3735984; 550547, 3735984; 550548, 
3735985; 550549, 3735985; 550550, 3735985; 550551, 3735985; 550552, 
3735985; 550553, 3735986; 550554, 3735986; 550555, 3735987; 550556, 
3735987; 550556, 3735988; 550557, 3735989; 550567, 3736004; 550568, 
3736005; 550568, 3736006; 550569, 3736007; 550570, 3736008; 550570, 
3736009; 550571, 3736010; 550572, 3736011; 550572, 3736012; 550573, 
3736013; 550574, 3736013; 550575, 3736014; 550575, 3736015; 550576, 
3736016; 550577, 3736017; 550578, 3736017; 550579, 3736018; 550580, 
3736019; 550581, 3736020; 550581, 3736020; 550582, 3736021; 550583, 
3736022; 550584, 3736022; 550585, 3736023; 550586, 3736024; 550587, 
3736024; 550588, 3736025; 550589, 3736025; 550590, 3736026; 550591, 
3736026; 550592, 3736027; 550593, 3736028; 550594, 3736028; 550595, 
3736028; 550596, 3736029; 550597, 3736029; 550599, 3736030; 550600, 
3736031; 550601, 3736031; 550601, 3736032; 550602, 3736032; 550602, 
3736033; 550610, 3736042; 550610, 3736042; 550611, 3736043; 550611, 
3736044; 550612, 3736045; 550612, 3736045; 550612, 3736046; 550612, 
3736047; 550612, 3736048; 550612, 3736049; 550612, 3736049; 550612, 
3736050; 550612, 3736051; 550612, 3736052; 550612, 3736053; 550612, 
3736054; 550612, 3736054; 550612, 3736055; 550612, 3736056; 550613, 
3736057; 550613, 3736058; 550613, 3736058; 550613, 3736059; 550613, 
3736060; 550614, 3736061; 550614, 3736061; 550614, 3736062; 550615, 
3736063; 550615, 3736064; 550616, 3736065; 550617, 3736066; 550617, 
3736067; 550618, 3736068; 550618, 3736068; 550619, 3736069; 550619, 
3736069; 550620, 3736070; 550621, 3736070; 550621, 3736071; 550622, 
3736071; 550623, 3736072; 550624, 3736072; 550624, 3736073; 550626, 
3736073; 550627, 3736074; 550627, 3736074; 550629, 3736075; 550629, 
3736075; 550630, 3736075; 550631, 3736075; 550632, 3736076; 550633, 
3736076; 550633, 3736077; 550660, 3736090; 550661, 3736090; 550662, 
3736090; 550663, 3736091; 550664, 3736091; 550665, 3736092; 550666, 
3736092; 550667, 3736092; 550668, 3736093; 550669, 3736093; 550670, 
3736093; 550671, 3736094; 550672, 3736094; 550673, 3736094; 550674, 
3736094; 550709, 3736105; 550736, 3736113; 550737, 3736113; 550738, 
3736114; 550739, 3736114; 550741, 3736115; 550742, 3736115; 550743,

[[Page 17352]]

3736115; 550744, 3736115; 550765, 3736119; 550789, 3736125; 550790, 
3736125; 550791, 3736125; 550792, 3736126; 550792, 3736126; 550793, 
3736127; 550794, 3736127; 550796, 3736128; 550796, 3736128; 550797, 
3736129; 550798, 3736129; 550799, 3736129; 550800, 3736129; 550801, 
3736130; 550802, 3736130; 550802, 3736130; 550803, 3736131; 550804, 
3736131; 550805, 3736131; 550806, 3736131; 550807, 3736131; 550808, 
3736131; 550809, 3736132; 550810, 3736132; 550811, 3736132; 550812, 
3736132; 550812, 3736132; 550813, 3736132; 550814, 3736132; 550815, 
3736132; 550816, 3736132; 550821, 3736132; 550824, 3736132; 550827, 
3736132; 550831, 3736132; 550834, 3736131; 550837, 3736131; 550841, 
3736131; 550844, 3736130; 550847, 3736130; 550850, 3736129; 550854, 
3736129; 550857, 3736128; 550860, 3736127; 550863, 3736126; 550864, 
3736126; 550865, 3736126; 550866, 3736126; 550867, 3736126; 550868, 
3736126; 550868, 3736125; 550869, 3736125; 550870, 3736125; 550871, 
3736125; 550872, 3736125; 550873, 3736125; 550874, 3736125; 550875, 
3736125; 550901, 3736125; 550902, 3736125; 550903, 3736125; 550904, 
3736125; 550905, 3736125; 550906, 3736125; 550907, 3736124; 550908, 
3736124; 550909, 3736124; 550910, 3736124; 550911, 3736125; 550912, 
3736125; 550913, 3736125; 550915, 3736126; 550917, 3736126; 550918, 
3736127; 550918, 3736127; 550919, 3736128; 550920, 3736128; 550967, 
3736165; 550968, 3736166; 550969, 3736167; 550970, 3736168; 550971, 
3736169; 550972, 3736170; 550973, 3736171; 550974, 3736172; 550975, 
3736173; 550975, 3736174; 550976, 3736175; 550977, 3736176; 550977, 
3736176; 550978, 3736177; 550978, 3736178; 550980, 3736180; 550989, 
3736173; 551157, 3736197; 551241, 3736173; 551268, 3736187; 551319, 
3736092; 551324, 3736042; 551317, 3736031; 551311, 3736021; 551310, 
3736020; 551307, 3736011; 551303, 3735998; 551303, 3735997; 551294, 
3735983; 551293, 3735983; 551285, 3735979; 551264, 3735969; 551264, 
3735967; 551264, 3735960; 551264, 3735960; 551244, 3735943; 551190, 
3735896; 551189, 3735895; 551187, 3735886; 551171, 3735873; 551165, 
3735873; 551154, 3735873; 551150, 3735865; 551115, 3735830; 551102, 
3735816; 551102, 3735815; 551098, 3735805; 551091, 3735791; 551072, 
3735779; 551076, 3735764; 551063, 3735753; 551050, 3735741; 551041, 
3735722; 551043, 3735708; 551049, 3735682; 551057, 3735667; 551060, 
3735659; 551065, 3735644; 551065, 3735641; 551073, 3735648; 551077, 
3735648; 551101, 3735619; 551116, 3735585; 551133, 3735573; 551160, 
3735560; 551186, 3735546; 551205, 3735511; 551228, 3735497; 551233, 
3735494; 551304, 3735476; 551311, 3735469; 551381, 3735436; 551411, 
3735419; 551435, 3735404; 551468, 3735383; 551536, 3735343; 551572, 
3735315; 551594, 3735296; 551617, 3735278; 551634, 3735258; 551670, 
3735214; 551675, 3735190; 551679, 3735168; 551674, 3735152; 551671, 
3735135; 551674, 3735122; 551674, 3735100; 551675, 3735046; 551674, 
3735025; 551672, 3735012; 551662, 3734991; 551653, 3734968; 551652, 
3734954; 551651, 3734935; 551653, 3734918; 551652, 3734900; 551655, 
3734883; 551658, 3734863; 551659, 3734854; 551660, 3734840; 551659, 
3734832; 551654, 3734815; 551650, 3734802; 551638, 3734790; 551632, 
3734783; 551625, 3734774; 551625, 3734773; 551622, 3734768; 551616, 
3734755; 551619, 3734741; 551627, 3734719; 551640, 3734696; 551648, 
3734679; 551658, 3734666; 551663, 3734656; 551671, 3734648; 551676, 
3734638; 551676, 3734621; 551675, 3734604; 551673, 3734581; 551672, 
3734567; 551669, 3734541; 551667, 3734521; 551667, 3734506; 551671, 
3734496; 551670, 3734466; 551676, 3734459; 551687, 3734445; 551692, 
3734430; 551692, 3734419; 551692, 3734404; 551689, 3734390; 551682, 
3734375; 551673, 3734362; 551669, 3734353; 551663, 3734334; 551658, 
3734324; 551648, 3734316; 551654, 3734312; 551660, 3734312; 551666, 
3734306; 551700, 3734301; 551700, 3734300; 551700, 3734297; 551679, 
3734251; 551673, 3734237; 551670, 3734230; 551664, 3734220; 551643, 
3734193; 551640, 3734187; 551634, 3734168; 551630, 3734153; 551631, 
3734133; 551630, 3734122; 551628, 3734112; 551637, 3734102; 551646, 
3734106; 551650, 3734105; 551650, 3734096; 551653, 3734090; 551653, 
3734075; 551657, 3734063; 551677, 3734010; 551680, 3734004; 551711, 
3734004; 551715, 3734004; 551737, 3734004; 551805, 3734027; 551809, 
3734042; 551810, 3734043; 551816, 3734047; 551825, 3734048; 551836, 
3734048; 551839, 3734048; 551881, 3734101; 551889, 3734112; 551904, 
3734125; 551945, 3734158; 551979, 3734170; 552082, 3734080; 552090, 
3734061; 552137, 3734072; 552160, 3734053; 552187, 3734097; 552187, 
3734109; 552184, 3734126; 552185, 3734139; 552193, 3734173; 552186, 
3734186; 552185, 3734198; 552181, 3734210; 552188, 3734225; 552190, 
3734240; 552195, 3734278; 552198, 3734300; 552200, 3734300; 552200, 
3734311; 552201, 3734320; 552206, 3734342; 552209, 3734353; 552215, 
3734369; 552219, 3734382; 552228, 3734400; 552240, 3734412; 552251, 
3734427; 552255, 3734430; 552266, 3734440; 552290, 3734453; 552300, 
3734460; 552323, 3734473; 552352, 3734482; 552373, 3734483; 552390, 
3734479; 552404, 3734471; 552423, 3734463; 552437, 3734454; 552449, 
3734445; 552456, 3734437; 552463, 3734429; 552464, 3734429; 552478, 
3734419; 552499, 3734405; 552500, 3734405; 552500, 3734400; 552512, 
3734400; 552530, 3734395; 552545, 3734391; 552561, 3734387; 552562, 
3734386; 552576, 3734336; 552585, 3734300; 552588, 3734278; 552594, 
3734268; 552595, 3734255; 552599, 3734243; 552612, 3734239; 552620, 
3734223; 552624, 3734212; 552635, 3734201; 552648, 3734193; 552652, 
3734182; 552657, 3734170; 552665, 3734162; 552669, 3734155; 552673, 
3734116; 552673, 3734111; 552676, 3734099; 552679, 3734087; 552684, 
3734076; 552687, 3734065; 552687, 3734051; 552691, 3734031; 552721, 
3734010; 552735, 3733982; 552739, 3733974; 552742, 3733967; 552746, 
3733960; 552751, 3733951; 552754, 3733942; 552758, 3733934; 552763, 
3733930; 552768, 3733929; 552776, 3733926; 552783, 3733923; 552795, 
3733920; 552803, 3733920; 552811, 3733922; 552820, 3733923; 552835, 
3733924; 552845, 3733925; 552853, 3733926; 552862, 3733928; 552875, 
3733930; 552883, 3733934; 552892, 3733938; 552903, 3733940; 552914, 
3733944; 552960, 3733965; 552972, 3733975; 552987, 3733986; 553031, 
3734027; 553078, 3734057; 553095, 3734078; 553101, 3734109; 553111, 
3734152; 553098, 3734180; 553091, 3734204; 553077, 3734242; 553050, 
3734295; 553047, 3734301; 553054, 3734339; 553061, 3734356; 553070, 
3734363; 553077, 3734368; 553083, 3734373; 553085, 3734375; 553086, 
3734382; 553090, 3734386; 553094, 3734384; 553098, 3734391; 553111, 
3734399; 553113, 3734400; 553200, 3734400; 553223, 3734400; 553229, 
3734398; 553245, 3734392; 553258, 3734384; 553273, 3734376; 553286, 
3734370; 553286, 3734370; 553288, 3734369; 553305, 3734357; 553327, 
3734344; 553341, 3734334; 553348, 3734327; 553354, 3734324; 553352, 
3734318; 553352, 3734310; 553354, 3734302; 553356, 3734293; 553355, 
3734284; 553351, 3734275; 553351, 3734275; 553345, 3734268; 553343, 
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[[Page 17353]]

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3734172; 553390, 3734162; 553390, 3734151; 553391, 3734140; 553394, 
3734132; 553400, 3734124; 553404, 3734115; 553408, 3734104; 553408, 
3734097; 553415, 3734087; 553427, 3734080; 553443, 3734064; 553452, 
3734060; 553468, 3734052; 553473, 3734043; 553476, 3734033; 553484, 
3734028; 553492, 3734022; 553498, 3734016; 553500, 3734015; 553502, 
3734011; 553510, 3734003; 553519, 3733988; 553525, 3733981; 553533, 
3733977; 553546, 3733969; 553548, 3733960; 553554, 3733947; 553566, 
3733938; 553576, 3733942; 553608, 3733921; 553618, 3733926; 553630, 
3733936; 553634, 3733939; 553637, 3733934; 553642, 3733928; 553652, 
3733919; 553654, 3733918; 553667, 3733915; 553670, 3733840; 553672, 
3733783; 553675, 3733743; 553682, 3733693; 553685, 3733673; 553690, 
3733628; 553698, 3733560; 553640, 3733444; 553565, 3733353; 553564, 
3733352; 553549, 3733377; 553473, 3733275; 553350, 3733112; 553321, 
3733073; 553304, 3733037; 553301, 3733029; 553293, 3733010; 553218, 
3732821; 553124, 3732581; 553005, 3732465; 552984, 3732425; 552896, 
3732424; 552891, 3732422; 552879, 3732417; 552870, 3732413; 552888, 
3732400; 553005, 3732318; 553037, 3732269; 553039, 3732265; 553039, 
3732265; 553071, 3732232; 553084, 3732224; 553103, 3732215; 553125, 
3732202; 553140, 3732194; 553159, 3732187; 553179, 3732187; 553284, 
3732144; 553284, 3732142; 553286, 3732136; 553294, 3732133; 553299, 
3732136; 553300, 3732137; 553304, 3732150; 553310, 3732161; 553322, 
3732172; 553327, 3732179; 553337, 3732179; 553344, 3732185; 553348, 
3732196; 553361, 3732200; 553383, 3732200; 553391, 3732204; 553395, 
3732224; 553404, 3732245; 553408, 3732262; 553404, 3732290; 553402, 
3732310; 553383, 3732340; 553374, 3732345; 553374, 3732358; 553382, 
3732367; 553391, 3732365; 553408, 3732365; 553423, 3732370; 553434, 
3732372; 553456, 3732333; 553466, 3732314; 553479, 3732295; 553492, 
3732277; 553511, 3732265; 553524, 3732262; 553537, 3732265; 553546, 
3732260; 553544, 3732250; 553544, 3732234; 553554, 3732230; 553563, 
3732224; 553576, 3732217; 553589, 3732204; 553597, 3732202; 553610, 
3732202; 553625, 3732200; 553636, 3732196; 553658, 3732189; 553675, 
3732194; 553683, 3732183; 553698, 3732200; 553715, 3732237; 553733, 
3732239; 553756, 3732239; 553772, 3732233; 553788, 3732248; 553799, 
3732247; 553810, 3732260; 553813, 3732271; 553826, 3732281; 553838, 
3732282; 553847, 3732289; 553860, 3732291; 553877, 3732286; 553894, 
3732280; 553911, 3732275; 553939, 3732234; 553954, 3732217; 553962, 
3732202; 553969, 3732176; 553976, 3732165; 554016, 3732149; 553999, 
3732116; 553998, 3732115; 553996, 3732100; 554041, 3732073; 554057, 
3732063; 554077, 3732092; 554080, 3732092; 554092, 3732091; 554102, 
3732099; 554105, 3732116; 554109, 3732150; 554368, 3730690; 554245, 
3729777; 554239, 3729775; 554201, 3729779; 554164, 3729784; 554133, 
3729781; 554095, 3729767; 554079, 3729754; 554055, 3729695; 554035, 
3729675; 554023, 3729667; 554005, 3729655; 553984, 3729646; 553966, 
3729644; 553948, 3729653; 553922, 3729659; 553887, 3729667; 553858, 
3729674; 553841, 3729677; 553820, 3729671; 553811, 3729653; 553804, 
3729633; 553803, 3729622; 553807, 3729592; 553815, 3729576; 553823, 
3729561; 553834, 3729536; 553850, 3729507; 553853, 3729480; 553859, 
3729446; 553861, 3729423; 553852, 3729387; 553847, 3729361; 553832, 
3729318; 553816, 3729275; 553806, 3729250; 553806, 3729249; 553805, 
3729247; 553805, 3729246; 553804, 3729244; 553804, 3729243; 553803, 
3729242; 553802, 3729240; 553802, 3729239; 553801, 3729237; 553800, 
3729236; 553800, 3729235; 553799, 3729233; 553798, 3729232; 553797, 
3729231; 553797, 3729229; 553796, 3729228; 553795, 3729227; 553794, 
3729226; 553793, 3729224; 553792, 3729223; 553791, 3729222; 553790, 
3729221; 553789, 3729220; 553788, 3729218; 553787, 3729217; 553786, 
3729216; 553785, 3729215; 553784, 3729214; 553783, 3729213; 553782, 
3729212; 553781, 3729211; 553780, 3729210; 553779, 3729209; 553777, 
3729208; 553776, 3729207; 553775, 3729206; 553774, 3729205; 553772, 
3729204; 553771, 3729203; 553770, 3729202; 553769, 3729202; 553768, 
3729201; 553766, 3729201; 553765, 3729200; 553764, 3729200; 553763, 
3729199; 553762, 3729199; 553760, 3729198; 553759, 3729198; 553758, 
3729197; 553757, 3729196; 553756, 3729196; 553755, 3729195; 553754, 
3729194; 553752, 3729194; 553751, 3729193; 553750, 3729192; 553749, 
3729192; 553748, 3729191; 553747, 3729190; 553746, 3729189; 553745, 
3729188; 553744, 3729188; 553743, 3729187; 553742, 3729186; 553741, 
3729185; 553740, 3729184; 553739, 3729183; 553738, 3729182; 553738, 
3729181; 553737, 3729180; 553736, 3729179; 553735, 3729178; 553734, 
3729177; 553733, 3729176; 553733, 3729175; 553732, 3729174; 553731, 
3729173; 553730, 3729172; 553730, 3729171; 553729, 3729170; 553728, 
3729169; 553728, 3729168; 553727, 3729166; 553726, 3729165; 553726, 
3729164; 553725, 3729163; 553725, 3729162; 553724, 3729161; 553724, 
3729159; 553723, 3729158; 553723, 3729157; 553722, 3729156; 553722, 
3729155; 553721, 3729153; 553721, 3729152; 553721, 3729151; 553720, 
3729150; 553720, 3729148; 553720, 3729147; 553719, 3729146; 553719, 
3729144; 553719, 3729143; 553719, 3729142; 553719, 3729141; 553718, 
3729139; 553718, 3729138; 553718, 3729137; 553718, 3729135; 553718, 
3729134; 553718, 3729133; 553718, 3729132; 553718, 3729130; 553718, 
3729129; 553718, 3729128; 553718, 3729126; 553718, 3729125; 553718, 
3729124; 553718, 3729122; 553718, 3729121; 553719, 3729120; 553719, 
3729119; 553719, 3729117; 553719, 3729116; 553720, 3729115; 553720, 
3729113; 553720, 3729112; 553721, 3729111; 553721, 3729110; 553721, 
3729108; 553722, 3729107; 553722, 3729106; 553723, 3729105; 553723, 
3729104; 553723, 3729102; 553724, 3729101; 553725, 3729100; 553725, 
3729099; 553726, 3729098; 553726, 3729096; 553727, 3729095; 553727, 
3729094; 553728, 3729093; 553729, 3729092; 553729, 3729091; 553730, 
3729090; 553731, 3729089; 553732, 3729088; 553732, 3729087; 553733, 
3729086; 553734, 3729084; 553735, 3729083; 553736, 3729082; 553736, 
3729081; 553737, 3729081; 553738, 3729080; 553739, 3729079; 553740, 
3729078; 553741, 3729077; 553742, 3729076; 553743, 3729075; 553743, 
3729075; 553744, 3729074; 553746, 3729073; 553747, 3729072; 553748, 
3729071; 553749, 3729071; 553750, 3729070; 553751, 3729069; 553753, 
3729069; 553754, 3729068; 553755, 3729067; 553756, 3729067; 553758, 
3729066; 553759, 3729065; 553760, 3729065; 553762, 3729064; 553763, 
3729064; 553764, 3729063; 553766, 3729063; 553767, 3729062; 553768, 
3729062; 553770, 3729061; 553771, 3729061; 553772, 3729061; 553774, 
3729060; 553775, 3729060; 553776, 3729060; 553778, 3729060; 553779, 
3729059; 553781, 3729059; 553782, 3729059; 553783, 3729059; 553785, 
3729059; 553786, 3729058; 553788, 3729058; 553791, 3729058; 553792, 
3729058; 553793, 3729058; 553795, 3729058; 553796, 3729058; 553802, 
3729059; 553808, 3729059; 553814, 3729059; 553819, 3729059; 553825, 
3729058; 553831, 3729058; 553837, 3729058; 553843, 3729057; 553849,

[[Page 17354]]

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3729052; 553879, 3729051; 553882, 3729050; 553885, 3729050; 553887, 
3729049; 553890, 3729048; 553892, 3729047; 553895, 3729046; 553898, 
3729045; 553900, 3729044; 553903, 3729043; 553905, 3729042; 553908, 
3729041; 553910, 3729039; 553913, 3729038; 553915, 3729037; 553918, 
3729036; 553920, 3729034; 553922, 3729033; 553925, 3729031; 553927, 
3729030; 553929, 3729028; 553931, 3729027; 553933, 3729025; 553935, 
3729024; 553937, 3729022; 553939, 3729021; 553941, 3729020; 553943, 
3729018; 553946, 3729017; 553948, 3729016; 553950, 3729015; 553952, 
3729013; 553955, 3729012; 553957, 3729011; 553959, 3729010; 553961, 
3729009; 553964, 3729008; 553966, 3729007; 553968, 3729006; 553971, 
3729005; 553973, 3729004; 553976, 3729004; 553978, 3729003; 553980, 
3729002; 553983, 3729002; 553985, 3729001; 553988, 3729000; 553990, 
3729000; 553993, 3728999; 553995, 3728999; 553998, 3728999; 554000, 
3728998; 554003, 3728998; 554005, 3728998; 554007, 3728997; 554008, 
3728997; 554010, 3728997; 554011, 3728997; 554013, 3728997; 554014, 
3728996; 554015, 3728996; 554017, 3728996; 554018, 3728996; 554020, 
3728995; 554021, 3728995; 554023, 3728995; 554024, 3728994; 554025, 
3728994; 554027, 3728993; 554028, 3728993; 554030, 3728992; 554031, 
3728992; 554032, 3728991; 554034, 3728990; 554035, 3728990; 554036, 
3728989; 554038, 3728989; 554039, 3728988; 554040, 3728987; 554042, 
3728986; 554043, 3728986; 554044, 3728985; 554045, 3728984; 554047, 
3728983; 554048, 3728982; 554049, 3728982; 554050, 3728981; 554051, 
3728980; 554053, 3728979; 554054, 3728978; 554055, 3728977; 554056, 
3728976; 554057, 3728975; 554058, 3728974; 554059, 3728973; 554060, 
3728972; 554061, 3728971; 554062, 3728970; 554063, 3728969; 554064, 
3728968; 554065, 3728966; 554066, 3728965; 554067, 3728964; 554069, 
3728962; 554071, 3728960; 554072, 3728957; 554074, 3728955; 554076, 
3728953; 554079, 3728950; 554081, 3728948; 554083, 3728946; 554085, 
3728944; 554087, 3728942; 554089, 3728940; 554092, 3728938; 554094, 
3728936; 554095, 3728935; 554097, 3728934; 554098, 3728933; 554100, 
3728931; 554102, 3728930; 554103, 3728929; 554105, 3728928; 554107, 
3728927; 554109, 3728926; 554110, 3728925; 554112, 3728924; 554114, 
3728923; 554116, 3728922; 554118, 3728921; 554119, 3728920; 554121, 
3728919; 554123, 3728918; 554125, 3728917; 554127, 3728916; 554129, 
3728916; 554113, 3728802; 554092, 3728802; 554032, 3728802; 553931, 
3728801; 553728, 3728800; 553627, 3728799; 553526, 3728799; 553426, 
3728798; 553426, 3728726; 553427, 3728678; 553427, 3728598; 553326, 
3728597; 553327, 3728496; 553328, 3728395; 553328, 3728294; 553329, 
3728192; 553329, 3728091; 553330, 3727992; 553331, 3727895; 553331, 
3727792; 553332, 3727689; 553333, 3727590; 553333, 3727489; 553334, 
3727388; 553334, 3727287; 553335, 3727187; 553486, 3727188; 553488, 
3727145; 553491, 3727087; 553492, 3727080; 553500, 3726986; 553518, 
3726879; 553591, 3726724; 553600, 3726707; 553600, 3726700; 553600, 
3726600; 553600, 3726500; 553600, 3726400; 553700, 3726400; 553748, 
3726400; 553749, 3726399; 553747, 3726395; 553758, 3726342; 553758, 
3726341; 553945, 3726216; 554135, 3726156; 554149, 3726142; 554187, 
3726105; 554178, 3726042; 554182, 3726038; 554187, 3726031; 554187, 
3726030; 554186, 3726026; 554186, 3726025; 554186, 3726022; 554186, 
3726018; 554187, 3726015; 554188, 3726013; 554188, 3726011; 554190, 
3726008; 554192, 3726005; 554212, 3725983; 554215, 3725979; 554217, 
3725977; 554217, 3725976; 554237, 3725975; 554251, 3725960; 554333, 
3725946; 554367, 3725967; 554380, 3725976; 554393, 3725984; 554474, 
3725956; 554551, 3725915; 554600, 3725889; 554600, 3725800; 554620, 
3725800; 554619, 3725760; 554611, 3725760; 554610, 3725760; 554610, 
3725760; 554609, 3725760; 554608, 3725760; 554608, 3725760; 554608, 
3725760; 554607, 3725760; 554607, 3725760; 554606, 3725760; 554606, 
3725760; 554605, 3725760; 554605, 3725759; 554605, 3725759; 554604, 
3725759; 554604, 3725759; 554604, 3725759; 554603, 3725759; 554603, 
3725759; 554602, 3725759; 554602, 3725758; 554601, 3725758; 554601, 
3725758; 554600, 3725758; 554600, 3725757; 554600, 3725757; 554599, 
3725757; 554599, 3725757; 554598, 3725756; 554598, 3725756; 554598, 
3725756; 554597, 3725756; 554597, 3725755; 554597, 3725755; 554597, 
3725755; 554596, 3725755; 554596, 3725755; 554596, 3725754; 554596, 
3725754; 554595, 3725754; 554595, 3725753; 554595, 3725753; 554595, 
3725753; 554595, 3725753; 554594, 3725752; 554594, 3725752; 554594, 
3725751; 554593, 3725751; 554593, 3725751; 554593, 3725750; 554593, 
3725750; 554592, 3725750; 554592, 3725749; 554592, 3725749; 554592, 
3725749; 554592, 3725748; 554592, 3725748; 554591, 3725748; 554591, 
3725747; 554591, 3725747; 554591, 3725747; 554591, 3725746; 554590, 
3725746; 554590, 3725746; 554590, 3725745; 554590, 3725745; 554590, 
3725744; 554590, 3725744; 554590, 3725744; 554589, 3725743; 554589, 
3725743; 554589, 3725743; 554589, 3725742; 554589, 3725742; 554589, 
3725741; 554589, 3725741; 554589, 3725741; 554589, 3725740; 554588, 
3725740; 554588, 3725740; 554588, 3725739; 554588, 3725739; 554588, 
3725739; 554588, 3725738; 554588, 3725738; 554588, 3725738; 554588, 
3725737; 554588, 3725737; 554588, 3725736; 554588, 3725736; 554588, 
3725735; 554588, 3725735; 554588, 3725735; 554588, 3725734; 554588, 
3725734; 554588, 3725733; 554588, 3725733; 554588, 3725732; 554588, 
3725732; 554588, 3725730; 554588, 3725729; 554588, 3725729; 554588, 
3725728; 554588, 3725728; 554588, 3725727; 554588, 3725727; 554588, 
3725726; 554588, 3725726; 554589, 3725725; 554589, 3725725; 554589, 
3725724; 554589, 3725724; 554589, 3725723; 554589, 3725723; 554589, 
3725723; 554589, 3725722; 554590, 3725722; 554590, 3725721; 554590, 
3725721; 554590, 3725721; 554590, 3725720; 554590, 3725720; 554590, 
3725719; 554591, 3725719; 554591, 3725719; 554591, 3725718; 554591, 
3725718; 554591, 3725717; 554592, 3725717; 554592, 3725717; 554592, 
3725716; 554592, 3725716; 554593, 3725715; 554593, 3725715; 554593, 
3725715; 554593, 3725714; 554594, 3725714; 554594, 3725714; 554594, 
3725713; 554595, 3725713; 554595, 3725713; 554595, 3725712; 554595, 
3725712; 554596, 3725712; 554596, 3725711; 554596, 3725711; 554597, 
3725711; 554597, 3725710; 554597, 3725710; 554598, 3725710; 554598, 
3725709; 554598, 3725709; 554599, 3725709; 554599, 3725708; 554599, 
3725708; 554600, 3725708; 554600, 3725708; 554601, 3725707; 554601, 
3725707; 554601, 3725707; 554602, 3725707; 554602, 3725706; 554602, 
3725706; 554603, 3725706; 554603, 3725706; 554603, 3725706; 554604, 
3725706; 554604, 3725705; 554604, 3725705; 554605, 3725705; 554605, 
3725705; 554605, 3725705; 554606, 3725705; 554606, 3725704; 554607, 
3725704; 554607, 3725704; 554607, 3725704; 554608, 3725704; 554608, 
3725704; 554609, 3725704; 554609, 3725703; 554609, 3725703; 554610, 
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[[Page 17355]]

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3725423; 554994, 3725457; 555049, 3725501; 555038, 3725534; 555037, 
3725534; 554953, 3725581; 554954, 3725584; 556747, 3725031; 557936, 
3724088; 558510, 3724252; 559822, 3725688; 560478, 3727041; 561094, 
3727369; 561750, 3727082; 562570, 3725442; 562693, 3724006; 562980, 
3722489; 563513, 3721997; 564088, 3722418; 564089, 3722418; 564122, 
3722411; 564155, 3722405; 564169, 3722414; 564188, 3722426; 564188, 
3722427; 564189, 3722427; 564189, 3722427; 564189, 3722428; 564190, 
3722428; 564190, 3722428; 564190, 3722428; 564191, 3722429; 564191, 
3722429; 564191, 3722429; 564191, 3722429; 564191, 3722430; 564192, 
3722430; 564192, 3722431; 564192, 3722431; 564193, 3722431; 564193, 
3722432; 564193, 3722432; 564193, 3722432; 564194, 3722433; 564194, 
3722433; 564194, 3722434; 564194, 3722434; 564194, 3722435; 564194, 
3722435; 564195, 3722435; 564195, 3722435; 564195, 3722436; 564195, 
3722436; 564195, 3722437; 564195, 3722437; 564195, 3722438; 564195, 
3722438; 564195, 3722438; 564196, 3722439; 564196, 3722439; 564196, 
3722440; 564196, 3722440; 564196, 3722441; 564196, 3722441; 564196, 
3722442; 564196, 3722442; 564196, 3722442; 564196, 3722443; 564196, 
3722443; 564196, 3722444; 564196, 3722444; 564196, 3722444; 564196, 
3722445; 564209, 3722445; 564209, 3722447; 564208, 3722593; 564207, 
3722807; 564206, 3722886; 564204, 3723251; 564211, 3723251; 564211, 
3723251; 564210, 3723363; 564243, 3723406; 564268, 3723438; 564398, 
3723605; 564418, 3723631; 564418, 3723632; 564419, 3723632; 564419, 
3723632; 564419, 3723633; 564419, 3723633; 564420, 3723633; 564420, 
3723634; 564420, 3723634; 564421, 3723635; 564421, 3723635; 564421, 
3723635; 564422, 3723636; 564422, 3723637; 564422, 3723637; 564423, 
3723637; 564423, 3723638; 564423, 3723638; 564423, 3723638; 564423, 
3723638; 564423, 3723639; 564424, 3723639; 564424, 3723639; 564424, 
3723640; 564424, 3723640; 564425, 3723641; 564425, 3723641; 564425, 
3723641; 564425, 3723642; 564426, 3723642; 564426, 3723643; 564426, 
3723644; 564427, 3723644; 564427, 3723645; 564427, 3723645; 564428, 
3723646; 564428, 3723646; 564428, 3723647; 564428, 3723647; 564429, 
3723648; 564429, 3723648; 564429, 3723649; 564430, 3723649; 564430, 
3723650; 564430, 3723650; 564430, 3723650; 564430, 3723651; 564431, 
3723652; 564431, 3723652; 564431, 3723652; 564431, 3723653; 564432, 
3723653; 564432, 3723654; 564432, 3723654; 564432, 3723655; 564432, 
3723655; 564433, 3723656; 564433, 3723656; 564438, 3723663; 564442, 
3723714; 564442, 3723714; 564435, 3723789; 564440, 3723798; 564463, 
3723846; 564481, 3723875; 564488, 3723896; 564506, 3723919; 564509, 
3723922; 564514, 3723928; 564568, 3723964; 564581, 3723968; 564581, 
3723969; 564582, 3723969; 564582, 3723969; 564583, 3723969; 564640, 
3723990; 564641, 3723991; 564641, 3723991; 564642, 3723991; 564642, 
3723991; 564653, 3723995; 564653, 3724000; 564700, 3724000; 564700, 
3724073; 564917, 3724081; 564924, 3724081; 565084, 3724082; 565162, 
3724083; 565138, 3724144; 565147, 3724163; 565165, 3724200; 565176, 
3724200; 565187, 3724196; 565216, 3724186; 565378, 3724172; 565428, 
3724264; 565296, 3724353; 565282, 3724363; 565257, 3724379; 565257, 
3724421; 565274, 3724448; 565290, 3724441; 565310, 3724432; 565317, 
3724438; 565346, 3724460; 565355, 3724622; 565348, 3724812; 565307, 
3724890; 565266, 3724966; 565240, 3725013; 565289, 3725063; 565312, 
3725087; 565341, 3725165; 565422, 3725156; 565464, 3725152; 565490, 
3725149; 565493, 3725149; 565522, 3725145; 565556, 3725116; 565619, 
3725062; 565757, 3725065; 565842, 3725067; 565907, 3725026; 565944, 
3725002; 565945, 3725002; 565945, 3725002; 565945, 3725002; 565946, 
3725001; 565946, 3725001; 565946, 3725001; 565947, 3725001; 565947, 
3725001; 565947, 3725001; 565948, 3725000; 565948, 3725000; 565948, 
3725000; 565948, 3725000; 565949, 3725000; 565949, 3725000; 565949, 
3725000; 565950, 3725000; 565950, 3725000; 565950, 3725000; 565951, 
3725000; 565951, 3724999; 565952, 3724999; 565952, 3724999; 565953, 
3724999; 565953, 3724999; 565954, 3724999; 565954, 3724999; 565955, 
3724999; 565955, 3724999; 565956, 3724999; 565956, 3724999; 565956, 
3724999; 565957, 3724999; 565957, 3725000; 565958, 3725000; 565958, 
3725000; 565959, 3725000; 565959, 3725000; 565959, 3725000; 565960, 
3725000; 565960, 3725000; 565960, 3725000; 565961, 3725000; 565961, 
3725001; 565961, 3725001; 565962, 3725001; 565962, 3725001; 565962, 
3725001; 565962, 3725001; 565963, 3725001; 565963, 3725002; 565964, 
3725002; 565964, 3725002; 565964, 3725002; 565965, 3725003; 565965, 
3725003; 565965, 3725003; 565966, 3725003; 565966, 3725004; 565966, 
3725004; 565967, 3725004; 565967, 3725005; 565967, 3725005; 565968, 
3725005; 565968, 3725006; 565968, 3725006; 565969, 3725006; 565969, 
3725007; 565969, 3725007; 565969, 3725007; 565970, 3725008; 565970, 
3725008; 565970, 3725009; 565970, 3725009; 565971, 3725009; 565971, 
3725010; 565971, 3725010; 565971, 3725011; 565971, 3725011; 565971, 
3725011; 565971, 3725011; 565972, 3725012; 565972, 3725012; 565972, 
3725013; 565972, 3725013; 565972, 3725013; 565972, 3725014; 565972, 
3725014; 565972, 3725015; 565972, 3725015; 565972, 3725015; 565972, 
3725016; 565972, 3725016; 565972, 3725016; 565972, 3725017; 565972, 
3725017; 565972, 3725018; 565972, 3725018; 565972, 3725019; 565972, 
3725019; 565972, 3725019; 565972, 3725020; 565972, 3725020; 565972, 
3725020; 565972, 3725021; 565972, 3725021; 565972, 3725022; 565972, 
3725022; 565972, 3725023; 565972, 3725023; 565971, 3725024; 565971, 
3725024; 565971, 3725025; 565903, 3725182; 565900, 3725220; 565900, 
3725300; 565892, 3725300; 565888, 3725336; 565867, 3725351; 565866, 
3725352; 565800, 3725398; 565800, 3725400; 565800, 3725424; 565845, 
3725432; 565848, 3725480; 565865, 3725483; 565865, 3725483; 565883, 
3725486; 565899, 3725489; 565909, 3725521; 565910, 3725530; 565910, 
3725531; 565910, 3725532; 565913, 3725559; 565900, 3725588; 565900, 
3725600; 565900, 3725669; 565900, 3725670; 565900, 3725670; 565900, 
3725700; 565888, 3725700; 565864, 3725716; 565856, 3725765; 565849, 
3725813; 565849, 3725814; 565849, 3725814; 565849, 3725815; 565849, 
3725815; 565849, 3725816; 565849, 3725817; 565849, 3725817; 565849, 
3725818; 565849, 3725818; 565849, 3725819; 565849, 3725819; 565849, 
3725820; 565849, 3725821; 565849, 3725822; 565849, 3725822; 565849, 
3725823; 565849, 3725824; 565849, 3725825; 565849, 3725825; 565849, 
3725826; 565849, 3725826; 565849, 3725827; 565849, 3725827; 565849, 
3725828; 565850, 3725829; 565850, 3725830; 565850, 3725831; 565850, 
3725831; 565850, 3725832; 565851, 3725833; 565851, 3725834; 565851, 
3725834; 565851, 3725835; 565852, 3725836; 565852, 3725837; 565852, 
3725837; 565852, 3725838; 565853, 3725838; 565853, 3725839; 565853, 
3725839; 565853, 3725840; 565854, 3725841; 565854, 3725842; 565855, 
3725842; 565855, 3725843; 565856, 3725844; 565856, 3725845; 565857,

[[Page 17356]]

3725846; 565858, 3725848; 565859, 3725849; 565860, 3725850; 565861, 
3725851; 565861, 3725851; 565862, 3725852; 565862, 3725852; 565862, 
3725852; 565863, 3725853; 565863, 3725854; 565864, 3725854; 565865, 
3725855; 565865, 3725855; 565866, 3725856; 565867, 3725856; 565867, 
3725857; 565868, 3725857; 565869, 3725858; 565870, 3725858; 565871, 
3725859; 565872, 3725860; 565873, 3725860; 565875, 3725861; 565876, 
3725862; 565876, 3725862; 565877, 3725862; 565877, 3725862; 565878, 
3725862; 565878, 3725863; 565879, 3725863; 565879, 3725863; 565880, 
3725863; 565881, 3725863; 565881, 3725864; 565882, 3725864; 565882, 
3725864; 565883, 3725864; 565884, 3725864; 565884, 3725864; 565885, 
3725865; 565885, 3725865; 565886, 3725865; 565887, 3725865; 565888, 
3725865; 565888, 3725865; 565889, 3725865; 565890, 3725865; 565891, 
3725865; 565892, 3725865; 565892, 3725866; 565893, 3725866; 565894, 
3725866; 565895, 3725866; 565896, 3725866; 565896, 3725866; 565897, 
3725866; 565898, 3725865; 565899, 3725865; 565899, 3725865; 565900, 
3725865; 565901, 3725865; 565902, 3725865; 565903, 3725865; 565904, 
3725865; 565904, 3725865; 565905, 3725864; 565906, 3725864; 565907, 
3725864; 565907, 3725864; 565907, 3725864; 565908, 3725863; 565909, 
3725863; 565910, 3725863; 565910, 3725863; 565911, 3725863; 565911, 
3725862; 565912, 3725862; 565912, 3725862; 565913, 3725862; 565913, 
3725862; 565914, 3725861; 565916, 3725860; 565917, 3725860; 565918, 
3725859; 565919, 3725858; 565920, 3725858; 565921, 3725857; 565922, 
3725857; 565922, 3725856; 565923, 3725856; 565924, 3725855; 565939, 
3725842; 566014, 3725778; 566029, 3725765; 566057, 3725765; 566059, 
3725761; 566071, 3725742; 566082, 3725731; 566094, 3725726; 566108, 
3725722; 566115, 3725717; 566125, 3725710; 566130, 3725706; 566131, 
3725705; 566137, 3725700; 566142, 3725694; 566145, 3725691; 566149, 
3725684; 566153, 3725676; 566159, 3725672; 566165, 3725666; 566168, 
3725659; 566168, 3725650; 566168, 3725642; 566166, 3725633; 566165, 
3725623; 566164, 3725616; 566165, 3725610; 566167, 3725601; 566172, 
3725597; 566177, 3725585; 566179, 3725577; 566176, 3725567; 566173, 
3725557; 566168, 3725546; 566167, 3725538; 566165, 3725530; 566163, 
3725523; 566161, 3725517; 566161, 3725508; 566165, 3725500; 566171, 
3725495; 566175, 3725490; 566182, 3725484; 566190, 3725478; 566194, 
3725470; 566199, 3725462; 566206, 3725451; 566210, 3725444; 566219, 
3725437; 566229, 3725432; 566240, 3725430; 566253, 3725428; 566260, 
3725428; 566261, 3725428; 566272, 3725422; 566278, 3725422; 566283, 
3725422; 566293, 3725425; 566302, 3725425; 566313, 3725422; 566315, 
3725410; 566313, 3725407; 566314, 3725394; 566318, 3725382; 566322, 
3725373; 566329, 3725363; 566336, 3725359; 566348, 3725352; 566355, 
3725352; 566368, 3725343; 566372, 3725337; 566376, 3725330; 566388, 
3725326; 566396, 3725323; 566407, 3725320; 566417, 3725320; 566426, 
3725319; 566439, 3725318; 566449, 3725323; 566461, 3725327; 566468, 
3725336; 566476, 3725344; 566481, 3725346; 566493, 3725350; 566501, 
3725350; 566510, 3725350; 566515, 3725350; 566525, 3725346; 566537, 
3725338; 566546, 3725332; 566555, 3725328; 566566, 3725321; 566575, 
3725317; 566581, 3725314; 566591, 3725305; 566593, 3725302; 566597, 
3725297; 566602, 3725292; 566608, 3725283; 566615, 3725272; 566620, 
3725257; 566623, 3725246; 566623, 3725233; 566623, 3725228; 566595, 
3725205; 566576, 3725168; 566573, 3725134; 566569, 3725089; 566569, 
3725063; 566576, 3725025; 566599, 3724984; 566610, 3724954; 566629, 
3724932; 566644, 3724920; 566670, 3724913; 566672, 3724913; 566693, 
3724920; 566715, 3724924; 566749, 3724920; 566771, 3724905; 566773, 
3724904; 566798, 3724890; 566820, 3724860; 566846, 3724853; 566906, 
3724838; 566910, 3724834; 566924, 3724825; 566940, 3724819; 566951, 
3724811; 566963, 3724802; 566967, 3724791; 567005, 3724744; 567014, 
3724733; 567023, 3724718; 567031, 3724710; 567045, 3724692; 567054, 
3724680; 567063, 3724664; 567072, 3724655; 567113, 3724636; 567119, 
3724630; 567136, 3724576; 567136, 3724575; 567136, 3724575; 567136, 
3724573; 567137, 3724572; 567137, 3724572; 567137, 3724570; 567137, 
3724569; 567137, 3724568; 567137, 3724567; 567137, 3724566; 567137, 
3724565; 567137, 3724564; 567137, 3724563; 567138, 3724562; 567138, 
3724561; 567138, 3724560; 567138, 3724559; 567138, 3724558; 567138, 
3724556; 567138, 3724555; 567138, 3724554; 567138, 3724553; 567138, 
3724552; 567138, 3724551; 567138, 3724550; 567138, 3724549; 567138, 
3724548; 567138, 3724547; 567138, 3724545; 567138, 3724544; 567138, 
3724544; 567138, 3724542; 567138, 3724541; 567138, 3724540; 567138, 
3724539; 567138, 3724538; 567138, 3724537; 567138, 3724536; 567138, 
3724535; 567137, 3724534; 567137, 3724533; 567137, 3724532; 567137, 
3724531; 567137, 3724530; 567137, 3724528; 567137, 3724527; 567137, 
3724527; 567137, 3724525; 567137, 3724524; 567136, 3724523; 567136, 
3724522; 567136, 3724521; 567136, 3724520; 567136, 3724519; 567136, 
3724518; 567135, 3724517; 567135, 3724516; 567135, 3724515; 567135, 
3724514; 567135, 3724513; 567135, 3724512; 567134, 3724511; 567134, 
3724510; 567134, 3724509; 567134, 3724508; 567134, 3724507; 567133, 
3724506; 567133, 3724505; 567133, 3724504; 567133, 3724503; 567133, 
3724502; 567132, 3724501; 567132, 3724500; 567132, 3724500; 567132, 
3724499; 567131, 3724498; 567131, 3724497; 567131, 3724496; 567131, 
3724495; 567130, 3724494; 567130, 3724493; 567130, 3724492; 567130, 
3724491; 567129, 3724490; 567129, 3724490; 567129, 3724489; 567129, 
3724488; 567128, 3724487; 567128, 3724486; 567128, 3724485; 567127, 
3724484; 567127, 3724483; 567127, 3724482; 567126, 3724481; 567126, 
3724480; 567126, 3724479; 567125, 3724479; 567125, 3724478; 567125, 
3724476; 567124, 3724475; 567124, 3724474; 567123, 3724473; 567123, 
3724472; 567122, 3724471; 567122, 3724470; 567121, 3724469; 567121, 
3724467; 567120, 3724466; 567120, 3724465; 567119, 3724464; 567119, 
3724463; 567119, 3724462; 567118, 3724461; 567117, 3724460; 567117, 
3724459; 567082, 3724391; 567079, 3724385; 567078, 3724384; 567078, 
3724384; 567077, 3724383; 567077, 3724382; 567076, 3724381; 567076, 
3724381; 567076, 3724380; 567075, 3724380; 567075, 3724379; 567075, 
3724379; 567074, 3724378; 567074, 3724378; 567074, 3724377; 567073, 
3724376; 567072, 3724375; 567072, 3724374; 567071, 3724373; 567071, 
3724373; 567071, 3724372; 567070, 3724372; 567070, 3724371; 567070, 
3724371; 567069, 3724370; 567069, 3724370; 567069, 3724369; 567068, 
3724369; 567068, 3724368; 567067, 3724367; 567066, 3724366; 567066, 
3724365; 567066, 3724365; 567066, 3724364; 567065, 3724364; 567065, 
3724363; 567065, 3724363; 567064, 3724362; 567064, 3724362; 567064, 
3724361; 567063, 3724361; 567063, 3724360; 567062, 3724359; 567062, 
3724358; 567061, 3724357; 567061, 3724357; 567061, 3724356; 567060, 
3724356; 567060, 3724355; 567060, 3724355; 567059, 3724354; 567059, 
3724354; 567059, 3724354; 567059, 3724353; 567058, 3724353; 567058, 
3724352; 567057, 3724351; 567056, 3724350; 567056, 3724349; 567055,

[[Page 17357]]

3724348; 567055, 3724348; 567055, 3724347; 567054, 3724347; 567054, 
3724346; 567054, 3724345; 567039, 3724324; 566895, 3724115; 566884, 
3724097; 566839, 3724025; 566839, 3724025; 566838, 3724023; 566821, 
3723993; 566820, 3723992; 566820, 3723991; 566820, 3723991; 566820, 
3723990; 566819, 3723990; 566819, 3723990; 566819, 3723989; 566819, 
3723989; 566819, 3723988; 566818, 3723988; 566818, 3723988; 566818, 
3723987; 566818, 3723987; 566818, 3723987; 566817, 3723986; 566817, 
3723985; 566817, 3723984; 566816, 3723984; 566816, 3723983; 566816, 
3723983; 566816, 3723982; 566816, 3723982; 566816, 3723981; 566815, 
3723981; 566815, 3723980; 566815, 3723980; 566815, 3723979; 566815, 
3723979; 566815, 3723978; 566814, 3723978; 566814, 3723977; 566814, 
3723977; 566814, 3723976; 566814, 3723976; 566814, 3723975; 566814, 
3723975; 566814, 3723974; 566814, 3723974; 566813, 3723973; 566813, 
3723973; 566813, 3723972; 566813, 3723972; 566813, 3723971; 566813, 
3723971; 566813, 3723970; 566813, 3723970; 566813, 3723969; 566813, 
3723969; 566813, 3723968; 566812, 3723968; 566812, 3723967; 566812, 
3723967; 566812, 3723966; 566812, 3723966; 566812, 3723965; 566812, 
3723964; 566812, 3723964; 566812, 3723964; 566812, 3723963; 566812, 
3723962; 566812, 3723962; 566812, 3723962; 566812, 3723961; 566812, 
3723961; 566812, 3723960; 566812, 3723960; 566812, 3723960; 566812, 
3723959; 566812, 3723958; 566812, 3723958; 566812, 3723957; 566812, 
3723957; 566812, 3723956; 566812, 3723956; 566812, 3723955; 566812, 
3723955; 566812, 3723954; 566812, 3723954; 566812, 3723953; 566812, 
3723953; 566812, 3723952; 566812, 3723951; 566812, 3723951; 566812, 
3723951; 566812, 3723950; 566812, 3723950; 566813, 3723949; 566813, 
3723949; 566813, 3723948; 566813, 3723947; 566813, 3723947; 566813, 
3723946; 566813, 3723945; 566813, 3723944; 566814, 3723944; 566814, 
3723944; 566814, 3723943; 566814, 3723943; 566814, 3723942; 566814, 
3723942; 566814, 3723941; 566814, 3723941; 566814, 3723941; 566815, 
3723940; 566815, 3723940; 566815, 3723939; 566815, 3723939; 566815, 
3723938; 566815, 3723938; 566815, 3723937; 566816, 3723936; 566816, 
3723936; 566816, 3723935; 566816, 3723935; 566817, 3723934; 566817, 
3723934; 566817, 3723933; 566817, 3723932; 566818, 3723932; 566818, 
3723931; 566819, 3723930; 566819, 3723929; 566819, 3723928; 566819, 
3723928; 566819, 3723928; 566671, 3723064; 566260, 3722203; 566388, 
3720917; 566353, 3720941; 566309, 3720971; 566293, 3721009; 566274, 
3721104; 566129, 3721224; 566033, 3721260; 565979, 3721270; 565929, 
3721299; 565866, 3721304; 565805, 3721314; 565738, 3721360; 565701, 
3721350; 565674, 3721325; 565625, 3721325; 565563, 3721312; 565562, 
3721295; 565593, 3721249; 565653, 3721198; 565713, 3721195; 565711, 
3721141; 565795, 3721105; 565837, 3721053; 565887, 3721000; 565873, 
3720960; 565914, 3720923; 565964, 3720933; 566048, 3720990; 566160, 
3720977; 566281, 3720895; 566354, 3720846; 566351, 3720048; 566360, 
3720048; 566412, 3720050; 566456, 3720051; 566458, 3720048; 566457, 
3720047; 566454, 3720018; 566442, 3720000; 566437, 3719984; 566429, 
3719963; 566423, 3719950; 566417, 3719935; 566406, 3719905; 566400, 
3719883; 566395, 3719847; 566399, 3719820; 566424, 3719800; 566540, 
3719832; 566999, 3718635; 567828, 3717445; 567827, 3717445; 567829, 
3717248; 567928, 3717248; 567929, 3717165; 567939, 3717140; 567971, 
3717071; 567988, 3717040; 568014, 3717016; 568023, 3717007; 568033, 
3716998; 568041, 3716990; 568074, 3716970; 568095, 3716962; 568130, 
3716955; 568172, 3716953; 568253, 3716953; 568338, 3716956; 568383, 
3716953; 568408, 3716950; 568432, 3716940; 568731, 3716735; 568868, 
3716640; 568956, 3716595; 569647, 3716127; 569648, 3716053; 569752, 
3716056; 570607, 3715478; 572371, 3713796; 572894, 3712888; 572887, 
3712888; 572887, 3712879; 572896, 3712879; 572899, 3712879; 573765, 
3711377; 574462, 3708958; 574216, 3707153; 574298, 3706046; 575487, 
3704652; 576963, 3703504; 577258, 3703086; 577373, 3702643; 577399, 
3702239; 577935, 3700356; 578628, 3698965; 578791, 3698763; 578557, 
3698773; 577751, 3698805; 577343, 3698821; 577106, 3698831; 576945, 
3698837; 576140, 3698869; 575492, 3698895; 575417, 3698897; 575143, 
3699674; 574762, 3700457; 573744, 3701312; 573761, 3701319; 573705, 
3701330; 572330, 3701986; 568229, 3704405; 565194, 3706660; 563472, 
3709736; 563267, 3710843; 564169, 3711499; 564702, 3712729; 564333, 
3714083; 563867, 3714714; 563618, 3714947; 563515, 3715053; 563462, 
3715152; 563469, 3715251; 563434, 3715340; 563397, 3715452; 563355, 
3715541; 563245, 3715540; 563208, 3715425; 563139, 3715304; 563044, 
3715285; 561914, 3715805; 561616, 3715959; 561616, 3715994; 561549, 
3715994; 559453, 3717076; 558346, 3717568; 557485, 3717322; 554983, 
3717158; 554614, 3717404; 554573, 3718921; 554447, 3719696; 554448, 
3719696; 554445, 3719707; 554327, 3720439; 554179, 3720908; 554179, 
3720989; 554154, 3720988; 554068, 3721263; 554083, 3721362; 554090, 
3721407; 554098, 3721458; 554128, 3721481; 554148, 3721477; 554175, 
3721498; 554178, 3721519; 554219, 3721553; 554219, 3721572; 554218, 
3721660; 554218, 3721768; 554218, 3721789; 554126, 3721860; 554087, 
3721860; 554067, 3721861; 554067, 3721862; 554067, 3721863; 554067, 
3721864; 554067, 3721866; 554067, 3721867; 554067, 3721868; 554066, 
3721869; 554066, 3721870; 554066, 3721871; 554066, 3721873; 554065, 
3721874; 554065, 3721875; 554064, 3721876; 554064, 3721877; 554063, 
3721878; 554063, 3721879; 554062, 3721880; 554046, 3721903; 554046, 
3721904; 554045, 3721905; 554044, 3721906; 554044, 3721907; 554043, 
3721908; 554042, 3721909; 554041, 3721910; 554041, 3721911; 554040, 
3721912; 554040, 3721913; 554039, 3721914; 554038, 3721915; 554038, 
3721917; 554037, 3721918; 554037, 3721919; 554036, 3721920; 554035, 
3721921; 554035, 3721922; 554034, 3721923; 554034, 3721924; 554033, 
3721925; 554033, 3721926; 554032, 3721927; 554032, 3721929; 554031, 
3721930; 554031, 3721931; 554031, 3721932; 554030, 3721933; 554030, 
3721934; 554029, 3721935; 554029, 3721937; 554028, 3721938; 554028, 
3721939; 554028, 3721940; 554027, 3721941; 554027, 3721942; 554027, 
3721944; 554026, 3721945; 554026, 3721946; 554026, 3721947; 554025, 
3721948; 554025, 3721949; 554025, 3721951; 554025, 3721952; 553999, 
3721944; 553976, 3721944; 553975, 3722106; 553974, 3722219; 553974, 
3722282; 553973, 3722374; 553883, 3722373; 553766, 3722372; 553692, 
3722372; 553644, 3722371; 553488, 3722370; 553366, 3722369; 553367, 
3722268; 553367, 3722255; 553367, 3722115; 553368, 3721997; 553368, 
3721995; 553015, 3722079; 552072, 3722079; 551826, 3722325; 551621, 
3722940; 550924, 3723924; 550473, 3725155; 550719, 3725770; 551498, 
3726549; 551457, 3727574; 550596, 3728599; 549324, 3729132; 547479, 
3730649; 546905, 3731511; 546126, 3733438; 545593, 3735324; 545593, 
3736021; 546126, 3736842; 546659, 3736924; 547192, 3736637; 548109, 
3735861; 548109, 3735861; 548109, 3735860; 548109, 3735859; 548109, 
3735859; 548109, 3735858; 548109, 3735858; 548109, 3735857; 548108,

[[Page 17358]]

3735856; 548108, 3735856; 548108, 3735855; 548108, 3735855; 548108, 
3735854; 548108, 3735853; 548108, 3735853; 548099, 3735741; 548160, 
3735740; 548150, 3735603; 548130, 3735533; 548155, 3735523; 548181, 
3735513; 548190, 3735509; thence returning to 548200, 3735505.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 2A, North Santa Rosa Mountains follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 17359]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR14AP09.002

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C

[[Page 17360]]

    (8) Unit 2B: South Santa Rosa Mountains south to Vallecito 
Mountains, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties, California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangles Agua Caliente Hot Springs, 
Arroyo Tapiado, Borrego Mountain, Borrego Mountain SE, Borrego Palm 
Canyon, Borrego Sink, Bucksnort Mountain, Carrizo Mountain NE, Clark 
Lake, Clark Lake NE, Collins Valley, Earthquake Valley, Fonts Point, 
Harper Canyon, Plaster City NW, Rabbit Peak, Seventeen Palms, Tubb 
Canyon, and Whale Peak. Land bounded by the following Universal 
Transverse Mercator (UTM) North American Datum of 1927 (NAD27) 
coordinates (E, N): 552772, 3702586; 552772, 3702567; 552801, 3702567; 
552801, 3702539; 552829, 3702539; 552829, 3702511; 552914, 3702511; 
552914, 3702482; 552943, 3702482; 552943, 3702454; 552971, 3702454; 
552971, 3702426; 552999, 3702426; 552999, 3702397; 553113, 3702397; 
553113, 3702369; 553170, 3702369; 553170, 3702340; 553198, 3702340; 
553198, 3702312; 553255, 3702312; 553255, 3702284; 553311, 3702284; 
553311, 3702255; 553340, 3702255; 553340, 3702284; 553368, 3702284; 
553368, 3702312; 553453, 3702312; 553453, 3702284; 553538, 3702284; 
553538, 3702255; 553567, 3702255; 553567, 3702227; 553624, 3702227; 
553624, 3702199; 553652, 3702199; 553652, 3702227; 553709, 3702227; 
553709, 3702255; 553717, 3702255; 554616, 3702119; 556163, 3701891; 
557619, 3701709; 559531, 3701800; 560669, 3701800; 561670, 3701390; 
562899, 3700617; 564310, 3699934; 569738, 3698190; 570758, 3697602; 
570758, 3697546; 570730, 3697546; 570730, 3697433; 570702, 3697433; 
570702, 3697404; 570673, 3697404; 570673, 3697262; 570702, 3697262; 
570702, 3697206; 570730, 3697206; 570730, 3697177; 570787, 3697177; 
570787, 3697206; 570815, 3697206; 570815, 3697234; 570900, 3697234; 
570900, 3697177; 570929, 3697177; 570929, 3697149; 570957, 3697149; 
570957, 3697121; 571014, 3697121; 571014, 3697092; 571042, 3697092; 
571042, 3697064; 571014, 3697064; 571014, 3697036; 570985, 3697036; 
570985, 3696950; 570957, 3696950; 570957, 3696894; 571212, 3696894; 
571212, 3696865; 571382, 3696865; 571382, 3696752; 571411, 3696752; 
571411, 3696667; 571382, 3696667; 571382, 3696553; 571411, 3696553; 
571411, 3696525; 571468, 3696525; 571468, 3696497; 571496, 3696497; 
571496, 3696440; 571468, 3696440; 571468, 3696326; 571439, 3696326; 
571439, 3696270; 571496, 3696270; 571496, 3696241; 571524, 3696241; 
571524, 3696184; 571638, 3696184; 571638, 3696156; 571666, 3696156; 
571666, 3696128; 571694, 3696128; 571694, 3696071; 571723, 3696071; 
571723, 3696043; 571751, 3696043; 571751, 3695901; 571723, 3695901; 
571723, 3695759; 571751, 3695759; 571751, 3695731; 571780, 3695731; 
571780, 3695702; 571808, 3695702; 571808, 3695645; 571836, 3695645; 
571836, 3695589; 571808, 3695589; 571808, 3695532; 571780, 3695532; 
571780, 3695475; 571751, 3695475; 571751, 3695447; 571723, 3695447; 
571723, 3695390; 571751, 3695390; 571751, 3695362; 571723, 3695362; 
571723, 3695333; 571694, 3695333; 571694, 3695192; 571723, 3695192; 
571723, 3695163; 571751, 3695163; 571751, 3695192; 571836, 3695192; 
571836, 3695163; 571865, 3695163; 571865, 3695078; 571978, 3695078; 
571978, 3695050; 572007, 3695050; 572007, 3694993; 571978, 3694993; 
571978, 3694965; 571950, 3694965; 571950, 3694879; 571978, 3694879; 
571978, 3694851; 572007, 3694851; 572007, 3694823; 572063, 3694823; 
572063, 3694738; 572035, 3694738; 572035, 3694709; 572007, 3694709; 
572007, 3694624; 571978, 3694624; 571978, 3694596; 571921, 3694596; 
571921, 3694511; 571950, 3694511; 571950, 3694369; 572092, 3694369; 
572092, 3694340; 572177, 3694340; 572177, 3694312; 572205, 3694312; 
572205, 3694085; 572177, 3694085; 572177, 3693830; 572319, 3693830; 
572319, 3693660; 572290, 3693660; 572290, 3693546; 572319, 3693546; 
572319, 3693518; 572347, 3693518; 572347, 3693489; 572404, 3693489; 
572404, 3693461; 572432, 3693461; 572432, 3693489; 572460, 3693489; 
572460, 3693518; 572489, 3693518; 572489, 3693546; 572517, 3693546; 
572517, 3693574; 572546, 3693574; 572546, 3693603; 572602, 3693603; 
572602, 3693660; 572631, 3693660; 572631, 3693688; 572687, 3693688; 
572687, 3693716; 572744, 3693716; 572744, 3693773; 572801, 3693773; 
572801, 3693745; 572829, 3693745; 572829, 3693716; 572858, 3693716; 
572858, 3693603; 572886, 3693603; 572886, 3693575; 572914, 3693575; 
572914, 3693518; 572971, 3693518; 572971, 3693489; 572999, 3693489; 
572999, 3693404; 573028, 3693404; 573028, 3693149; 573056, 3693149; 
573056, 3693121; 573085, 3693121; 573085, 3693007; 573113, 3693007; 
573113, 3692979; 573141, 3692979; 573141, 3692950; 573170, 3692950; 
573170, 3692979; 573198, 3692979; 573198, 3692950; 573312, 3692950; 
573312, 3692894; 573340, 3692894; 573340, 3692837; 573368, 3692837; 
573368, 3692809; 573425, 3692809; 573425, 3692752; 573453, 3692752; 
573453, 3692723; 573482, 3692723; 573482, 3692667; 573510, 3692667; 
573510, 3692638; 573538, 3692638; 573538, 3692610; 573567, 3692610; 
573567, 3692582; 573595, 3692582; 573595, 3692525; 573624, 3692525; 
573624, 3692411; 573652, 3692411; 573652, 3692355; 573680, 3692355; 
573680, 3692326; 573709, 3692326; 573709, 3692270; 573737, 3692270; 
573737, 3692241; 573765, 3692241; 573765, 3692184; 573794, 3692184; 
573794, 3692128; 573822, 3692128; 573822, 3692071; 573879, 3692071; 
573879, 3692099; 573907, 3692099; 573907, 3692326; 573879, 3692326; 
573879, 3692468; 573851, 3692468; 573851, 3692610; 573822, 3692610; 
573822, 3692752; 573851, 3692752; 573851, 3692780; 573822, 3692780; 
573822, 3692979; 573851, 3692979; 574588, 3693121; 574588, 3693064; 
574560, 3693061; 574560, 3693035; 574531, 3693035; 574531, 3693007; 
574503, 3693007; 574503, 3692979; 574475, 3692979; 574475, 3692865; 
574560, 3692865; 574560, 3692837; 574645, 3692837; 574645, 3692780; 
574730, 3692780; 574730, 3692752; 574758, 3692752; 574758, 3692695; 
574730, 3692695; 574730, 3692638; 574702, 3692638; 574702, 3692582; 
574730, 3692582; 574730, 3692610; 574815, 3692610; 574815, 3692553; 
574843, 3692553; 574843, 3692525; 574872, 3692525; 574872, 3692411; 
574900, 3692411; 574900, 3692383; 574985, 3692383; 574985, 3692496; 
575014, 3692496; 575014, 3692610; 575042, 3692610; 575042, 3692667; 
575127, 3692667; 575127, 3692638; 575156, 3692638; 575156, 3692610; 
575184, 3692610; 575184, 3692582; 575212, 3692582; 575212, 3692553; 
575326, 3692553; 575326, 3692582; 575354, 3692582; 575354, 3692610; 
575382, 3692610; 575382, 3692582; 575411, 3692582; 575411, 3692525; 
575439, 3692525; 575439, 3692468; 575411, 3692468; 575411, 3692355; 
575439, 3692355; 575439, 3692326; 575468, 3692326; 575468, 3692298; 
575553, 3692298; 575553, 3692270; 575581, 3692270; 575581, 3692213; 
575553, 3692213; 575553, 3692184; 575581, 3692184; 575581, 3692128; 
575609, 3692128; 575609, 3692099; 575638, 3692099; 575638, 3692071; 
575609, 3692071; 575609, 3692014; 575581, 3692014; 575581, 3691957; 
575553, 3691957; 575553, 3691901; 575524, 3691901; 575524, 3691787; 
575581, 3691787; 575581, 3691645; 575609, 3691645; 575609, 3691589; 
575666, 3691589; 575666,

[[Page 17361]]

3691560; 575695, 3691560; 575695, 3691504; 575723, 3691504; 575723, 
3691475; 575751, 3691475; 575751, 3691447; 575780, 3691447; 575780, 
3691390; 575808, 3691390; 575808, 3691362; 575836, 3691362; 575836, 
3691277; 575893, 3691277; 575893, 3691305; 575921, 3691305; 575921, 
3691333; 575950, 3691333; 575978, 3691333; 575978, 3691447; 575950, 
3691447; 575950, 3691532; 576007, 3691532; 576007, 3691504; 576120, 
3691504; 576120, 3691475; 576148, 3691475; 576148, 3691447; 576177, 
3691447; 576177, 3691248; 576205, 3691248; 576205, 3691220; 576262, 
3691220; 576262, 3691248; 576319, 3691248; 576319, 3691532; 576347, 
3691532; 576347, 3691617; 576375, 3691617; 576375, 3691674; 576347, 
3691674; 576347, 3691759; 576404, 3691759; 576404, 3691816; 576489, 
3691816; 576489, 3691759; 576517, 3691759; 576517, 3691731; 576546, 
3691731; 576546, 3691702; 576574, 3691702; 576574, 3691504; 576744, 
3691504; 576744, 3691447; 576716, 3691447; 576716, 3691333; 576687, 
3691333; 576687, 3691305; 576659, 3691305; 576659, 3691248; 576631, 
3691248; 576631, 3691163; 576687, 3691163; 576687, 3691135; 576744, 
3691135; 576744, 3691021; 576716, 3691021; 576716, 3690879; 576744, 
3690879; 576744, 3690851; 576801, 3690851; 576801, 3690879; 576886, 
3690879; 576886, 3690851; 576943, 3690851; 576943, 3690879; 576971, 
3690879; 576971, 3690908; 576943, 3690908; 576943, 3690965; 576971, 
3690965; 576971, 3691050; 576999, 3691050; 576999, 3691106; 577028, 
3691106; 577028, 3691191; 577056, 3691191; 577056, 3691220; 577085, 
3691220; 577085, 3691248; 577170, 3691248; 577170, 3691220; 577198, 
3691220; 577198, 3691191; 577226, 3691191; 577226, 3691163; 577255, 
3691163; 577255, 3691135; 577283, 3691135; 577283, 3691163; 577312, 
3691163; 577312, 3691191; 577340, 3691191; 577340, 3691277; 577397, 
3691277; 577397, 3691248; 577453, 3691248; 577453, 3691220; 577510, 
3691220; 577510, 3691248; 577567, 3691248; 577567, 3691277; 577624, 
3691277; 577624, 3691248; 577652, 3691248; 577652, 3691220; 577680, 
3691220; 577680, 3691191; 577737, 3691191; 577737, 3691277; 577765, 
3691277; 577765, 3691305; 577794, 3691305; 577794, 3691362; 577822, 
3691362; 577822, 3691390; 577851, 3691390; 577851, 3691418; 577936, 
3691418; 577936, 3691447; 578021, 3691447; 578021, 3691475; 578049, 
3691475; 578049, 3691560; 578021, 3691560; 578021, 3691617; 577992, 
3691617; 577992, 3691731; 577964, 3691731; 577964, 3691759; 577942, 
3691813; 577944, 3691860; 577997, 3691933; 578006, 3692036; 578030, 
3692165; 578021, 3692284; 577993, 3692375; 577954, 3692414; 577905, 
3692446; 577824, 3692457; 577748, 3692443; 577660, 3692384; 577557, 
3692341; 577449, 3692316; 577381, 3692264; 577315, 3692216; 577182, 
3692146; 577141, 3692070; 577077, 3692027; 577006, 3692042; 576933, 
3691993; 576879, 3691970; 576836, 3691965; 576798, 3691978; 576773, 
3692043; 576744, 3692043; 576744, 3692383; 576659, 3692383; 576659, 
3692411; 576574, 3692411; 576574, 3692440; 576460, 3692440; 576460, 
3692468; 576404, 3692468; 576404, 3692496; 576290, 3692496; 576290, 
3692525; 576234, 3692525; 576234, 3692582; 576177, 3692582; 576177, 
3692610; 576148, 3692610; 576148, 3692638; 576092, 3692638; 576092, 
3692723; 576063, 3692723; 576063, 3692809; 576092, 3692809; 576092, 
3692837; 576063, 3692837; 576063, 3692979; 576035, 3692979; 576035, 
3693036; 576007, 3693036; 576007, 3693121; 575978, 3693121; 575978, 
3693149; 575950, 3693149; 575950, 3693177; 575921, 3693177; 575921, 
3693149; 575836, 3693149; 575836, 3693177; 575723, 3693177; 575723, 
3693262; 575751, 3693262; 575751, 3693348; 575780, 3693348; 575780, 
3693376; 575808, 3693376; 575808, 3693404; 575780, 3693404; 575780, 
3693433; 575638, 3693433; 575638, 3693404; 575524, 3693404; 575524, 
3693433; 575439, 3693433; 575439, 3693404; 575382, 3693404; 575382, 
3693433; 575241, 3693433; 575241, 3693489; 575212, 3693489; 575212, 
3693518; 575127, 3693518; 575127, 3693489; 575099, 3693489; 575099, 
3693433; 575070, 3693433; 575070, 3693461; 575014, 3693461; 575014, 
3693546; 574985, 3693546; 574985, 3693575; 575014, 3693575; 575014, 
3693603; 574985, 3693603; 574985, 3693631; 574957, 3693631; 574957, 
3693603; 574929, 3693603; 574882, 3693602; 574694, 3694053; 574529, 
3694524; 574506, 3694971; 574529, 3695794; 574647, 3696406; 574906, 
3696664; 575258, 3696758; 575280, 3696752; 575274, 3696773; 575645, 
3697220; 575513, 3698626; 575417, 3698897; 575492, 3698895; 576140, 
3698869; 576945, 3698837; 577106, 3698831; 577343, 3698821; 577751, 
3698805; 578557, 3698773; 578791, 3698763; 579475, 3697914; 580051, 
3696677; 579551, 3693708; 582948, 3690942; 583903, 3689828; 584752, 
3688448; 585283, 3687440; 585601, 3686060; 585176, 3685052; 584327, 
3684415; 583001, 3683885; 581412, 3683518; 578544, 3683407; 573769, 
3685728; 571103, 3688624; 569357, 3691796; 568621, 3693129; 566231, 
3694186; 563703, 3695151; 561175, 3695013; 558785, 3695335; 558279, 
3694324; 558279, 3693450; 559382, 3692439; 560945, 3692347; 563703, 
3692072; 564438, 3691198; 565312, 3687981; 565266, 3686326; 564209, 
3684533; 563611, 3684809; 558831, 3689222; 557452, 3689314; 556533, 
3689176; 556165, 3688256; 554924, 3681592; 554740, 3679385; 555843, 
3676536; 556900, 3673686; 559934, 3670560; 564071, 3668400; 571333, 
3665412; 576113, 3663390; 580066, 3661735; 582640, 3660448; 583515, 
3655760; 585457, 3653852; 588867, 3652806; 590732, 3652397; 592550, 
3651942; 594597, 3650441; 595642, 3648486; 595506, 3647213; 594960, 
3645894; 593824, 3644985; 591505, 3645076; 589095, 3645485; 587412, 
3646167; 583884, 3649167; 581648, 3650315; 578804, 3650497; 574811, 
3651340; 572685, 3651727; 570688, 3651276; 569658, 3650825; 568964, 
3650527; 568047, 3650310; 567279, 3650197; 566460, 3650255; 565466, 
3650948; 564605, 3651791; 564019, 3652596; 563917, 3652839; 563977, 
3653013; 564098, 3653155; 564244, 3653230; 564404, 3653262; 564518, 
3653262; 564546, 3653262; 564546, 3653205; 564575, 3653205; 564575, 
3653177; 564631, 3653177; 564631, 3653205; 564688, 3653205; 564688, 
3653233; 564716, 3653233; 564716, 3653262; 564773, 3653262; 564773, 
3653290; 564830, 3653290; 564830, 3653319; 564858, 3653319; 564858, 
3653347; 564915, 3653347; 564915, 3653319; 565057, 3653319; 565057, 
3653347; 565142, 3653347; 565142, 3653319; 565227, 3653319; 565227, 
3653290; 565539, 3653290; 565539, 3653262; 565567, 3653262; 565567, 
3653233; 565596, 3653233; 565596, 3653205; 565624, 3653205; 565624, 
3653148; 565596, 3653148; 565596, 3653092; 565709, 3653092; 565709, 
3653063; 565738, 3653063; 565738, 3653035; 565794, 3653035; 565794, 
3653006; 565823, 3653006; 565823, 3652978; 565851, 3652978; 565851, 
3652950; 565936, 3652950; 565936, 3652978; 565965, 3652978; 565965, 
3653006; 565993, 3653006; 565993, 3653035; 566021, 3653035; 566021, 
3653063; 566078, 3653063; 566078, 3653148; 566050, 3653148; 566050, 
3653177; 566021, 3653177; 566021, 3653205; 566135, 3653205; 566135, 
3653177; 566163, 3653177; 566163, 3653205; 566192, 3653205; 566192, 
3653262; 566220, 3653262; 566220, 3653290; 566277, 3653290; 566277,

[[Page 17362]]

3653319; 566305, 3653319; 566305, 3653375; 566277, 3653375; 566277, 
3653404; 566248, 3653404; 566248, 3653432; 566277, 3653432; 566277, 
3653517; 566248, 3653517; 566248, 3653574; 566305, 3653574; 566305, 
3653631; 566277, 3653631; 566277, 3653659; 566248, 3653659; 566248, 
3653687; 566192, 3653687; 566192, 3653659; 566135, 3653659; 566135, 
3653744; 566163, 3653744; 566163, 3653801; 566192, 3653801; 566192, 
3653829; 566248, 3653829; 566248, 3653801; 566277, 3653801; 566277, 
3653772; 566333, 3653772; 566333, 3653744; 566390, 3653744; 566390, 
3653716; 566560, 3653716; 566560, 3653687; 566589, 3653687; 566589, 
3653659; 566645, 3653659; 566645, 3653631; 566674, 3653631; 566674, 
3653602; 566702, 3653602; 566702, 3653574; 566731, 3653574; 566731, 
3653545; 566759, 3653545; 566759, 3653517; 566844, 3653517; 566844, 
3653489; 566816, 3653489; 566816, 3653460; 566787, 3653460; 566787, 
3653432; 566759, 3653432; 566759, 3653404; 566731, 3653404; 566731, 
3653347; 566702, 3653347; 566702, 3653319; 566674, 3653319; 566674, 
3653262; 566645, 3653262; 566645, 3653233; 566589, 3653233; 566589, 
3653205; 566560, 3653205; 566560, 3653233; 566532, 3653233; 566532, 
3653177; 566504, 3653177; 566504, 3653148; 566532, 3653148; 566532, 
3653092; 566560, 3653092; 566560, 3653063; 566589, 3653063; 566589, 
3653035; 566674, 3653035; 566674, 3653063; 566731, 3653063; 566731, 
3653092; 566759, 3653092; 566759, 3653120; 566787, 3653120; 566787, 
3653148; 566872, 3653148; 566872, 3653177; 566957, 3653177; 566957, 
3653205; 566986, 3653205; 566986, 3653233; 567014, 3653233; 567014, 
3653290; 566986, 3653290; 566986, 3653319; 566957, 3653319; 566957, 
3653347; 566901, 3653347; 566901, 3653375; 566872, 3653375; 566872, 
3653432; 566901, 3653432; 566901, 3653489; 566957, 3653489; 566957, 
3653517; 567071, 3653517; 567071, 3653489; 567241, 3653489; 567241, 
3653517; 567355, 3653517; 567355, 3653545; 567440, 3653545; 567440, 
3653517; 567468, 3653517; 567468, 3653489; 567496, 3653489; 567496, 
3653432; 567553, 3653432; 567553, 3653460; 567582, 3653460; 567582, 
3653489; 567638, 3653489; 567638, 3653517; 567667, 3653517; 567667, 
3653489; 567780, 3653489; 567780, 3653545; 567752, 3653545; 567752, 
3653602; 567723, 3653602; 567723, 3653631; 567695, 3653631; 567695, 
3653659; 567667, 3653659; 567667, 3653687; 567638, 3653687; 567638, 
3653829; 567610, 3653829; 567610, 3653943; 567468, 3653943; 567468, 
3653914; 567411, 3653914; 567411, 3653886; 567355, 3653886; 567355, 
3653858; 567298, 3653858; 567298, 3653829; 567270, 3653829; 567270, 
3653858; 567184, 3653858; 567184, 3653886; 567156, 3653886; 567156, 
3653914; 567099, 3653914; 567099, 3653943; 567071, 3653943; 567071, 
3653971; 567099, 3653971; 567099, 3654028; 567128, 3654028; 567128, 
3654056; 567156, 3654056; 567156, 3654084; 567241, 3654084; 567241, 
3654113; 567298, 3654113; 567298, 3654141; 567355, 3654141; 567355, 
3654340; 567383, 3654340; 567383, 3654397; 567298, 3654397; 567298, 
3654425; 567270, 3654425; 567270, 3654510; 567326, 3654510; 567326, 
3654595; 567270, 3654595; 567270, 3654624; 567156, 3654624; 567156, 
3654652; 567128, 3654652; 567128, 3654680; 567071, 3654680; 567071, 
3654709; 567014, 3654709; 566216, 3654880; 565299, 3655720; 564154, 
3656560; 563753, 3657028; 562755, 3657358; 562092, 3657629; 561252, 
3657782; 560641, 3658164; 558413, 3659512; 557263, 3660178; 557445, 
3662054; 557021, 3663264; 556335, 3663929; 556009, 3665045; 555823, 
3665882; 555172, 3666626; 554521, 3667556; 554196, 3668486; 554010, 
3669462; 554242, 3670113; 554661, 3670585; 554903, 3671311; 552665, 
3672703; 552483, 3673973; 551273, 3676030; 550747, 3676670; 550555, 
3677054; 550555, 3677601; 550849, 3678390; 551092, 3679540; 550870, 
3680865; 550929, 3680865; 550929, 3680893; 550957, 3680893; 550957, 
3680922; 550985, 3680922; 550985, 3680950; 551127, 3680950; 551127, 
3680922; 551156, 3680922; 551156, 3680950; 551354, 3680950; 551354, 
3680978; 551383, 3680978; 551383, 3681035; 551411, 3681035; 551411, 
3681092; 551383, 3681092; 551383, 3681120; 551354, 3681120; 551354, 
3681149; 551326, 3681149; 551326, 3681205; 551298, 3681205; 551298, 
3681262; 551269, 3681262; 551269, 3681319; 551298, 3681319; 551298, 
3681461; 551326, 3681461; 551326, 3681574; 551298, 3681574; 551298, 
3681603; 551127, 3681603; 551127, 3681631; 551099, 3681631; 551099, 
3681659; 551071, 3681659; 551071, 3681688; 551042, 3681688; 551042, 
3681716; 550985, 3681716; 550985, 3681688; 550957, 3681688; 550957, 
3681631; 550929, 3681631; 550929, 3681603; 550872, 3681603; 550872, 
3681574; 550844, 3681574; 550844, 3681546; 550702, 3681546; 550702, 
3681517; 550617, 3681517; 550617, 3681546; 550416, 3681546; 550333, 
3681652; 550333, 3681659; 550327, 3681659; 550305, 3681688; 550305, 
3681716; 550283, 3681716; 550276, 3681724; 550276, 3681744; 550261, 
3681744; 549760, 3682384; 549700, 3683291; 550486, 3684441; 551515, 
3685469; 550849, 3686679; 549518, 3689342; 548671, 3690854; 546070, 
3695090; 544980, 3695937; 544617, 3696905; 545888, 3697631; 546191, 
3698478; 545222, 3699809; 545172, 3700536; 544779, 3700891; 543838, 
3701122; 543700, 3701200; 543600, 3701200; 543600, 3701500; 543769, 
3701639; 544355, 3701901; 544740, 3702171; 545195, 3702271; 547397, 
3702286; 547571, 3702255; 547729, 3702212; 547826, 3702175; 547943, 
3702114; 548059, 3702055; 548190, 3701939; 548253, 3701863; 548253, 
3701768; 548209, 3701711; 548133, 3701673; 547949, 3701603; 547891, 
3701565; 547891, 3701476; 548006, 3701380; 548076, 3701279; 548203, 
3701234; 548317, 3701247; 548431, 3701272; 548602, 3701347; 548744, 
3701347; 548744, 3701376; 548772, 3701376; 548772, 3701461; 548801, 
3701461; 548801, 3701489; 548886, 3701489; 549375, 3701732; 549903, 
3701990; 550456, 3702236; 551046, 3702494; 551673, 3702715; 552177, 
3702794; 552296, 3702778; 552431, 3702734; 552589, 3702681; 552696, 
3702627; thence returning to 552772, 3702586.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 2B, South Santa Rosa Mountains south to 
Vallecito Mountains follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

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[[Page 17364]]


    (9) Unit 3: Carrizo Canyon, San Diego and Imperial Counties, 
California.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangles Agua Caliente Hot Springs, 
Arroyo Tapiado, Carrizo Mountain, In-Ko-Pah Gorge, Jacumba, Painted 
Gorge, Sombrero Peak, and Sweeney Pass. Land bounded by the following 
Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) North American Datum of 1927 
(NAD27) coordinates (E, N): 574159, 3634261; 574922, 3634108; 575915, 
3634261; 577290, 3634566; 578359, 3634566; 579199, 3634261; 580039, 
3633879; 581032, 3633421; 582406, 3633192; 583705, 3632810; 584697, 
3632810; 586225, 3633039; 587370, 3633497; 588134, 3633726; 588821, 
3633879; 589738, 3634795; 589508, 3635253; 589738, 3635635; 590119, 
3635941; 590959, 3635941; 591952, 3635559; 592792, 3635406; 593632, 
3634871; 594320, 3634031; 595083, 3632810; 595771, 3631511; 596000, 
3630519; 595923, 3629679; 595312, 3628915; 594702, 3628304; 594167, 
3628075; 592411, 3627998; 591189, 3627998; 590425, 3627998; 589280, 
3628228; 588058, 3628915; 587141, 3629144; 586301, 3629449; 585003, 
3629984; 583857, 3630595; 583170, 3630748; 582330, 3630671; 581566, 
3630824; 580650, 3630824; 579581, 3630671; 578664, 3629679; 578283, 
3628915; 578283, 3628151; 578206, 3626700; 578130, 3625784; 577595, 
3625631; 577290, 3625326; 577214, 3624791; 577290, 3623951; 577825, 
3623187; 578512, 3622653; 579275, 3621736; 580039, 3621126; 583136, 
3619091; 585446, 3617261; 585698, 3616826; 585744, 3615522; 585561, 
3614538; 584920, 3613898; 584193, 3613692; 583552, 3613600; 583021, 
3614241; 582399, 3615485; 581960, 3616712; 580596, 3618451; 580070, 
3618565; 579046, 3618300; 578054, 3617918; 578061, 3617609; 577347, 
3616950; 576981, 3616492; 576221, 3616085; 575763, 3615856; 574923, 
3615933; 574159, 3616238; 573548, 3616620; 573013, 3616849; 572326, 
3617154; 571562, 3617765; 570875, 3618453; 570799, 3618987; 570417, 
3619751; 570493, 3620515; 570722, 3621813; 570722, 3622500; 570722, 
3623493; 570646, 3624333; 570417, 3625097; 570417, 3625937; 570188, 
3626700; 570417, 3627846; 572249, 3630519; 572555, 3631664; 572478, 
3632657; 572020, 3633955; 571486, 3634872; 570951, 3635864; 570187, 
3637239; 569729, 3637774; 569042, 3638156; 568125, 3638308; 567209, 
3638614; 566674, 3638996; 566522, 3639606; 566216, 3640294; 565911, 
3641134; 565681, 3641668; 565376, 3642050; 564841, 3642508; 564460, 
3642890; 564536, 3643425; 565147, 3644265; 565452, 3645029; 567132, 
3644799; 568278, 3644189; 569271, 3643501; 569958, 3642508; 570111, 
3641897; 570874, 3641668; 571715, 3640676; 572249, 3639072; 572937, 
3638232; 573318, 3637086; 573318, 3635635; 573548, 3634643; thence 
returning to 574159, 3634261.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 3, Carrizo Canyon follows:

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* * * * *

    Dated: March 31, 2009.
Will Shafroth,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E9-7767 Filed 4-13-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P