[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 27 (Wednesday, February 10, 2010)]
[Pages 6696-6697]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-2279]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2009-N237; 80221-1113-0000-C2]

Draft Recovery Plan for Tidal Marsh Ecosystems of Northern and 
Central California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: We, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft recovery plan for Tidal Marsh Ecosystems of 
Northern and Central California for public review and comment. This 
draft recovery plan is an expansion and revision of our 1984 California 
Clapper Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Recovery Plan. The plan also 
addresses several federally endangered plant species: Cirsium 
hydrophilum var. hydrophilum (Suisun thistle), Cordylanthus mollis ssp. 
mollis (soft bird's-beak), Suaeda californica (California sea-blite), 
and the Morro Bay portion of Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. maritimus 
(salt marsh bird's-beak).

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
June 10, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available by request 
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Rm. W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825 (telephone: 
916-414-6600). An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is also 
available at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Hull, Recovery Branch Chief, at 
the above address or telephone number.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a 
primary goal of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) and our endangered species program. Recovery means improvement of 
the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer 
required under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for implementing 
the measures needed for recovery. The Draft Recovery Plan for Tidal 
Marsh Ecosystems of Northern and Central California features five 
endangered species. The biology of these species is at the core of the 
draft recovery plan, but the goal of this recovery planning effort is 
the comprehensive restoration and management of tidal marsh ecosystems.
    This draft recovery plan is an expansion and revision of The 
California Clapper Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Recovery Plan 
(Service 1984). Since that time a great deal of effort has been 
dedicated to recovery and conservation activities, and additional 
information has been obtained through research and observation that 
allows us to better focus our recovery strategy. The historic 
distribution of the California clapper rail encompasses major tidal 
salt marshes between Humboldt Bay and, arguably, Morro Bay. This 
distribution defines the approximate geographic scope of this draft 
recovery plan.
    The plan also covers three federally endangered plant species and 
the northernmost population of an additional federally endangered plant 
species. Two of the species, Cirsium hydrophilum var. hydrophilum 
(Suisun thistle) and Cordylanthus mollis ssp. mollis (soft bird's-
beak), are restricted to the northern reaches of the San Francisco Bay 
Estuary. The other endangered tidal marsh plant, Suaeda californica 
(California sea-blite), historically occurred in both San Francisco Bay 
and Morro Bay; however, except for three reintroductions to San 
Francisco Bay, it is now restricted to Morro Bay. Another federally 
listed plant, Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. maritimus (salt marsh bird's-
beak), has its northern range limit in Morro Bay. Morro Bay was omitted 
from the Salt Marsh Bird's Beak Recovery Plan (Service 1985a) because 
the taxonomic interpretation at the time classified this population in 
another subspecies that is not federally listed. The current taxonomy 
includes the Morro Bay population as Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. 
maritimus. It is included in this draft recovery plan due to its 
colocation with Suaeda californica in Morro Bay. Recovery strategies 
and actions are provided for the Morro Bay population of Cordylanthus 
maritimus ssp. maritimus. However, because we do not consider the 
entire range of the species in this document, recovery criteria have 
not been included. This draft recovery plan also addresses 11 species 
of concern: The salt marsh wandering shrew (Sorex vagrans halicoetes), 
Suisun shrew (Sorex ornatus sinuosus), San Pablo vole (Microtus 
californicus sanpabloensis), California black rail (Laterallus 
jamaicensis coturniculus),

[[Page 6697]]

three song sparrow subspecies of the San Francisco Bay Estuary 
(Melospiza melodia spp.), saltmarsh common yellowthroat (Geothlypis 
trichas sinuosa), old man tiger beetle (Cicindela senilis senilis), 
Lathryrus jepsonii ssp. jepsonii (delta tule pea), and Spartina foliosa 
(Pacific cordgrass).
    Species included in this draft recovery plan occur in a variety of 
tidal marsh habitats, where they are limited by the requirements of 
moisture, salinity, topography, soil types, and climatic conditions. 
Adjacent uplands and ecotone areas are also crucial habitats for many 
of these species. Primary threats to all the listed species include:
    (1) Historical and current habitat loss and fragmentation due to 
urban development, agriculture, and diking related to duck hunting;
    (2) Altered hydrology and salinity;
    (3) Nonnative invasive species;
    (4) Inadequate regulatory mechanisms;
    (5) Disturbance;
    (6) Contamination;
    (7) Sea-level rise due to climate change; and
    (8) Risk of extinction due to vulnerability of small populations in 
the face of random naturally occurring events.
    We expect that the following species recovery objectives will be 
    (1) Secure self-sustaining wild populations of each covered species 
throughout their full ecological, geographical, and genetic ranges;
    (2) Ameliorate or eliminate the threats, to the extent possible, 
that caused the species to be listed or of concern and any future 
threats; and
    (3) Restore and conserve a healthy ecosystem function supportive of 
tidal marsh species.
    These objectives will be accomplished through implementation of a 
variety of recovery measures, including habitat acquisition, 
protection, management and restoration; species status surveys/
monitoring; research; and stakeholder coordination, public 
participation, and outreach.

Request for Public Comments

    We request written comments on the draft recovery plan. All 
comments received by the date specified in DATES will be considered 
prior to approval of this plan. If you wish to comment, you may submit 
your comments and materials concerning this recovery plan by one of 
these methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information by mail or 
facsimile or in person to the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office at 
the above address (see ADDRESSES).
    2. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: [email protected]. If you submit comments by e-mail, please submit them as an 
ASCII file and avoid the use of special characters and any form of 
encryption. Please also include your name and return address in your e-
mail message.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the recovery plan, will be 
available for inspection, during normal business hours at the above 
Sacramento address (see ADDRESSES).
    We specifically seek comments on the following:
    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to the species;
    (2) Feedback on the durability of the science regarding climate 
change and its treatment presented in the draft recovery plan and 
comments on how best to ameliorate threats to the species in that 
    (3) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, and 
population size of these species, including the location of any 
additional populations;
    (4) Current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on these species; and
    (5) The suitability and feasibility of the recovery criteria, 
strategies, or actions described in the Draft Plan.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

Alexandra Pitts,
Regional Director, Region 8, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-2279 Filed 2-9-10; 8:45 am]