[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 174 (Thursday, September 8, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 55623-55638]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-22990]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2010-0049; MO 92210-0-0008-B2]
RIN 1018-AX89

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Petition 
Finding and Proposed Listing of Arctostaphylos franciscana as 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; 12-month finding.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list Arctostaphylos franciscana 
(Franciscan manzanita), as endangered under the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (Act), and to designate critical habitat. After 
review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find 
that listing A. franciscana as an endangered species under the Act is 
warranted. Accordingly, we herein propose to list A. franciscana as an 
endangered species pursuant to the Act. This proposed rule, if made 
final, would extend the Act's protections to this species. We believe 
that critical habitat is not determinable at this time due to lack of 
knowledge of what physical and biological features are essential to the 
conservation of the species, or what other areas outside the site that 
is currently occupied, may be essential for the conservation of the 
species. The Service seeks data and comments from the public on this 
proposed listing rule and whether the designation of critical habitat 
for the species is prudent and determinable.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
November 7, 2011. We must receive requests for public hearings, in 
writing, at the address shown in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 
October 24, 2011.

ADDRESSES: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
http://www.regulations.gov. In the Keyword box, enter FWS-R8-ES-2010-
0049, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the 
Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type 
heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You 
may submit a comment by clicking on ``Send a Comment or Submission.''

[[Page 55624]]

    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2010-0049; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Information Requested 
section below for more details).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Leyse, Listing Coordinator, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, 
Sacramento, CA 95825; by telephone at 916-414-6600; or by facsimile at 
916-414-6712. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-


Information Requested

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, 
or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We 
particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Additional information concerning the historical and current 
status, range, distribution, and population size of this species, 
including the locations of any additional populations of this species.
    (2) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of 
the species, and ongoing conservation measures for the species and its 
    (3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and regulations that may 
be addressing those threats.
    (4) Current or planned activities in the areas occupied by the 
species and possible impacts of these activities on this species.
    (5) Additional information regarding the threats in the five 
listing factors:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (c) Disease or predation;
    (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
    (e) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 

We are particularly interested in information regarding threats from 
vandalism, disease (particularly transmission of Phytophthora sp.), 
climate change, collection of cuttings and seeds by the public, and 
regulations that may be addressing those threats.
    (6) What physical or biological features are essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    (7) The reasons why areas should or should not be designated as 
critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531, 
et seq.), including the possible risks or benefits of designating 
critical habitat, including vandalism, Phytophthora sp. being brought 
in by hikers and recreationists, collection of seeds and cuttings, and 
any other risks associated with publication of maps designating any 
area on which this plant may be located, now or in the future, as 
critical habitat.
    (8) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of habitat for the Arctostaphylos 
    (b) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are 
currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the 
conservation of this species, should be included in a critical habitat 
designation and why;
    (c) Special management considerations or protection that may be 
needed in critical habitat areas, including managing for the potential 
effects of climate change; and
    (d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of this species and why.
    (9) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
changing environmental conditions resulting from climate change on 
Arctostaphylos franciscana and its habitat.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit 
information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--
including any personal identifying information--will be posted on the 
Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes 
personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your 
document that we withhold this information from public review. However, 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all 
hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. Please include 
sufficient information with your comments to allow us to verify any 
scientific or commercial information you include.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office 2800 Cottage Way, 
Room W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825 (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 


    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires that, for any petition to 
revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial information 
that listing a species may be warranted, we make a finding within 12 
months of the date of receipt of the petition on whether the petitioned 
action is: (a) Not warranted; (b) warranted; or (c) warranted, but the 
immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action 
is precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether any 
species is threatened or endangered, and expeditious progress is being 
made to add or remove qualified species from the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. In this rule, we have 
determined that the petitioned action to list Arctostaphylos 
franciscana is warranted, and we are proceeding with publishing a 
proposed rule to list the species.

Previous Federal Actions

    On December 23, 2009, we received a petition dated December 14, 
2009, from the Wild Equity Institute, the Center for Biological 
Diversity, and the California Native Plant Society, requesting that 
Arctostaphylos franciscana be listed as endangered on an emergency 
basis under the Act and that critical habitat be designated. Included 
in the petition was supporting information regarding the species' 
taxonomy and ecology, historical and current distribution, present 
status, and actual and potential causes of decline. On January 26, 
2010, we acknowledged the receipt of the petition in a letter to Wild 

[[Page 55625]]

Institute. In that letter we responded that we had reviewed the 
information presented in the petition and determined that issuing an 
emergency rule temporarily listing the species as per section 4(b)(7) 
of the Act was not warranted. Our rationale for this determination was 
that, although only a single plant of this species remained in the 
wild, the individual had recently been transplanted to a new location 
on Federal land.
    The transplanted plant is considered to be the single remaining 
plant in the wild, despite having been transplanted on the Presidio of 
San Francisco (the Presidio), a unit of the National Park Service's 
system, on the San Francisco peninsula. Additionally, a conservation 
plan (Chasse et al., 2009, pp. 1-44) and associated Memorandum of 
Agreement (MOA) (referred to herein as California Department of 
Transportation (Caltrans) et al. 2009) signed by five Federal and State 
wildlife and land management agencies (conservation partners), 
successfully addressed the concerns raised by the petition to the 
extent that none of those concerns constituted an ``emergency posing a 
significant risk to the well-being of the species'' (50 CFR 424.20(a)). 
The Federal agencies participating in these efforts were the National 
Park Service (NPS) and the Service. The State of California was 
represented by Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Game 
(CDFG). The Presidio Trust, a wholly owned government corporation that 
jointly manages the Presidio with the NPS, also participated (71 FR 
10608; March 2, 2006; NPS 2006).
    The original habitat of the plant was threatened by the ongoing 
redevelopment of Doyle Drive, but that threat was removed by the 
translocation of the plant to a new location. Potential immediate 
threats applicable to the new location, including the danger that the 
plant might not survive the move and transplantation, were addressed by 
provisions in the conservation plan for collecting and propagating 
rooted clones, seeds, and cuttings from the original plant. The 
conservation plan provides for the long-term propagation, and eventual 
reestablishment in wild populations, of all remaining genetic lines, 
including those from the surviving wild plant and from individuals 
surviving in botanical gardens. It also includes long-term monitoring 
provisions. While these provisions did not remove the need for further 
review of the species' status, they appeared to be effective for 
protecting the species in the short term. We also indicated that we 
would make an initial finding in Fiscal Year 2010 regarding whether the 
petition presented substantial information to indicate that listing may 
be warranted. The 90-day finding was published on August 10, 2010 (75 
FR 48294). This notice constitutes the 12-month finding on the December 
23, 2009, petition to list Arctostaphylos franciscana as endangered.
    Arctostaphylos franciscana was originally proposed for listing as 
an endangered species under the Act in 1976 (41 FR 24524; June 16, 
1976). In 1980, it was included in the list of Category 1 candidates 
for listing, as one of the taxa retaining a high priority for addition 
to the list subject to confirmation of extant populations. At the time, 
the species was thought to be extinct in the wild although known to be 
extant in cultivation (45 FR 82480; December 15, 1980). It is included 
as a ``species of concern'' in the Recovery Plan for Coastal Plants of 
the Northern San Francisco Peninsula (Service 2003, p. 95). In October 
2009, 62 years after the loss of the last known wild plants, one 
individual A. franciscana plant was located in the wild on the 
Presidio. The Presidio is under joint management by the Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area (GGNRA), a part of the NPS, and by the 
Presidio Trust. The A. franciscana plant is located in the portion of 
the Presidio that is managed by the Presidio Trust. The plant is 
considered to be wild because it has been moved to an undeveloped area 
of the Presidio that is managed as natural habitat. Although the plant 
is currently receiving care associated with its transplantation, it is 
not receiving the level of protection, water, and nutrients that plants 
in a botanical garden may receive.
    The Arctostaphylos franciscana plants that exist in cultivation 
fall into three categories: (a) Cuttings and rooted specimens that were 
collected from the Laurel Hill Cemetery and transplanted to various 
managed botanical gardens in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Claremont 
prior to 1947; (b) specimens currently being propagated in greenhouses 
from cuttings and layers taken from the wild plant in 2010; and (c) 
specimens of unknown origin that are sold in the nursery trade or have 
been transplanted into home gardens. We consider the single wild plant 
and plants identified in (a) and (b) above to be the listable entity 
under the Act. Our rationale for not including plants identified in 
item (c) above is outlined below.
    The Arctostaphylos franciscana plants found in botanical gardens 
may represent from one to six genetically distinct plants, other than 
the single wild plant (Vasey 2011b, pp. 2, 3; Chasse 2011a, p. 1; 
Chasse 2011b, p. 1; Chasse et al. 2009, p. 7) and may contribute 
genetic material in the form of cuttings for efforts to expand the 
number of wild plants. The botanical garden plants are not considered 
part of the wild population and, therefore, are not being addressed in 
this 12-month finding and proposed rule although they will be 
considered to be listed if this proposed rule becomes final. The 
cuttings and layers that were collected from the wild plant currently 
being propagated in greenhouses will be used to establish additional 
populations of the species by being planted with plants propagated from 
the botanical garden A. franciscana specimens. We have concluded that 
the third category of plants, those cultivated for private or 
commercial uses, will not aid in the conservation or the recovery of 
the species in the wild because cultivated plants may be hybrids and 
bred for landscape use and thus offer minimal conservation 

Species Information

Species Biology
    Arctostaphylos franciscana is a low, spreading-to-ascending 
evergreen shrub in the heath family (Ericaceae) that may reach 0.6 to 
0.9 meters (m) (2 to 3 feet (ft)) in height when mature (Chasse et al. 
2009, p. 5). Its leaves are about 1.5 to 2 centimeters (cm) (0.59 to 
0.79 inches (in)) long, are isofacial (have the same type of surface on 
both sides), and are oblanceolate (longer than they are wide and wider 
towards the tip) (Eastwood 1905, p. 201; Chasse et al. 2009, p. 39). 
Its mahogany brown fruits are about 6 to 8 millimeters (mm) (0.24 to 
0.32 in) wide, while its urn-shaped flowers measure about 5 to 7 mm 
(0.2 to 0.28 in) long (Wallace 1993, p. 552; Service 2003, p. 57).
    A closely related species, Arctostaphylos montana ssp. ravenii 
(Raven's manzanita), listed as federally endangered, looks similar but 
has a more prostrate growth habit, more rounded leaves, smaller and 
less reddish fruits, and smaller and more spherical flowers (Service 
2003, pp. 55, 57). Another somewhat similar appearing species, though 
not as closely related, is A. uva-ursi (bearberry), which can be 
distinguished by its lack of isofacial leaves (Chasse et al. 2009, p. 
    In the wild, Arctostaphylos franciscana is an obligate-seeding 
species (it reproduces primarily from seed after a fire or other 
disturbance rather than from burls) (Vasey 2010, p. 1). Arctostaphylos 
species are members of the chaparral plant community,

[[Page 55626]]

which have a variety of triggers for seed germination including heat, 
smoke, and light (Keeley 1987, p. 434). The germination requirements 
for A. franciscana have not yet been studied; however, other 
Arctostaphylos species have germinated after being exposed to charate 
(ground charred wood) (Keeley 1987, pp. 435, 440).
    The seeds of Arctostaphylos are dispersed primarily by mammals, 
including coyotes, foxes, and rodents (T. Parker pers. comm., 2011; 
Vasey 2011a, p. 1). Animals such as coyotes and foxes eat the 
Arctostaphylos fruit and may travel long distances before depositing 
their scat. Any undigested fruit left in the scat can then be harvested 
by rodents and either eaten or buried. Parker (2010b, p. 1) found that 
70 percent of the fruits buried by rodents were located deeper than 2 
centimeters (cm) (0.78 inch (in)), which is the maximum soil depth at 
which seeds are typically killed by wildfire.
Genetics and Taxonomy
    At one point Arctostaphylos franciscana and A. montana ssp. 
ravenii, along with A. montana ssp. montana (Mount Tamalpais 
manzanita), were considered to be subspecies of A. hookeri (Hooker's 
manzanita). However, recent taxonomic revisions have established A. 
montana ssp. ravenii and A. franciscana as separate species. These 
revisions have been based primarily on genetic comparisons, including 
the fact that A. franciscana is diploid (with 13 pairs of chromosomes) 
while A. montana ssp. ravenii is tetraploid (with 26 chromosome pairs) 
(Service 2003, p. 95; Parker et al. 2007, pp. 149, 150; Chasse et al. 
2009, p. 6).
Distribution and Habitat
    Known historical occurrences and collections of Arctostaphylos 
franciscana are from serpentine maritime chaparral, a plant community 
dominated by Arctostaphylos (manzanita) and Ceanothus (California 
lilac) species, on the San Francisco Peninsula. This area is part of a 
region that Willis Linn Jepson named the Franciscan Area, one of 10 
areas that he considered to have the highest concentration of endemic 
plant species in California (Jepson 1925, pp. 11-14). An endemic 
species is one that is native to and restricted to a particular 
geographical area. Native habitats have been largely converted to urban 
areas of the City of San Francisco and habitat that might support A. 
franciscana is now mostly lost to development (Chasse 2010, p. 2; 
Gluesenkamp 2010, p. 7).
    Chasse (2009, pp. 6, 7) has noted that information on the plant 
community that historically included Arctostaphylos franciscana is 
largely missing from the literature. Early records describe the species 
as growing ``on rocky ground'' (Eastwood 1905, p. 202), on ``bare, 
stony bluff'' (Brandegee 1908, as cited in Chasse 2009, p. 6) and with 
coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), coast blue blossom (Ceanothus 
thyrsiflorus), and coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) (Wieslander 1938, 
cited in Service 2003, p. 95). Arctostaphylos franciscana was also 
observed ``forming flat masses over serpentine outcroppings and humus-
filled gravel and flopping down over the sides of gray and chrome 
rocks. Ericameria, Baccharis, Ferns, Buckwheats, and Golden Yarrow grow 
among it; and over it stand Toyons and Live Oaks.'' Additionally, A. 
montana ssp. ravenii was found at nearly all A. franciscana locations. 
These observations, along with the geology and climate of historical 
sites, indicate that the species' community likely consisted of a 
mosaic of coastal scrub, barren serpentine maritime chaparral, 
perennial grassland, with occasional woodland of coast live oak and 
toyon shrubs and small trees (Chasse 2009, pp. 6, 7).
    Parker (2007, pp. 8-11) examined the prehistoric distribution of 
Arctostaphylos in California and the geologic changes that helped lead 
to the number and location of Arctostaphylos species present today. 
Arctostaphylos evolved at least 15 million years ago during the Miocene 
epoch, corresponding with an earlier period of global warming; however, 
only during the last 1.5 million years have large numbers of new fossil 
types of the genus appeared. Currently there are at least 95 species 
and subspecies of Arctostaphylos within California. The large number of 
species is thought to be a response to significant changes in climate 
and physical geography that occurred approximately 1.5 million years 
ago. Tectonic changes in the landscape resulted in a diversity of new 
niches that selected for new species. Additionally, glacial advances 
and retreats during the last 2 million years have impacted the 
distribution of plants as well as created two possible paths of 
Arctostaphylos evolution.
    One potential path is that populations of Arctostaphylos species 
moved in response to climatic changes but also left behind remnant 
populations of formerly more widespread species that persisted in 
isolated areas. Secondly, new species could have resulted from 
hybridization between rapidly migrating species and the remnant 
populations of other Arctostaphylos species. The San Francisco Bay area 
was a forested river valley during the last glacial period. At the end 
of the last glacial period, the climate became warmer and drier, and 
conditions became more favorable for Arctostaphylos. The area from San 
Francisco Bay to Monterey now contains 42 species or subspecies of 
Arctostaphylos, 32 of which are narrow endemics. Researchers have 
accepted that the obligate-seeder life history also promotes a more 
rapid rate of speciation in contrast to the vegetative regeneration of 
burl-sprouting species (Wells 1969, p. 264), which is evidenced by the 
fact that nearly all of the 32 narrow endemics in the San Francisco Bay 
to Monterey area are obligate-seeders.
    Arctostaphylos franciscana is considered to be endemic to the San 
Francisco peninsula, California, and historically occurred in areas 
with serpentine soils and bedrock outcrops, greenstone, and mixed 
Franciscan rock, typically growing in mixed populations with A. montana 
ssp. ravenii (Service 2003, pp. 95, 96; Chasse et al. 2009, p. 6). The 
Doyle Drive site was comprised of disturbed soil over serpentinite 
(Chasse et al. 2009, p. 3). Serpentine soil restricts the growth of 
many plants due to its high nickel and magnesium concentrations, and 
thus tends to support unique plant communities (Brooks 1987, pp. 19, 
53; Service 2003, p. 16) because relatively few plant species can 
tolerate such soil conditions. Such conditions generally result in 
semibarren soil and a lack of competing plants that benefits 
serpentine-tolerant plants such as A. franciscana (Bakker 1984, p. 79).
    The coastal upland habitat of Arctostaphylos franciscana is 
influenced by cool, humid conditions and frequent summer fog. The 
serpentine chaparral plant community, of which A. franciscana is a 
part, may have been present historically in the southeastern portion of 
the San Francisco area (for example, in Potrero Hill, Bayview Hill) but 
the cumulative effects of burning by native Americans, grazing during 
the Spanish/Mexican period and later, more grazing and gathering of 
firewood during the U.S. military period may have converted the 
maritime chaparral to grassland or depauperate coastal scrub (Chasse 
2010, p. 2). Prior to 1947, A. franciscana was known from three 
locations: the Masonic and Laurel Hill Cemeteries in San Francisco's 
Richmond district, and Mount Davidson in the south-central part of San 
Francisco (Service 2003, pp. 16, 62, 95; Chasse et al. 2009, p. 4). 
Unconfirmed sightings were also noted at a possible fourth location 
near Laguna and Haight Streets. By 1947, the

[[Page 55627]]

Masonic and Laurel Hill Cemetery sites were removed and the grounds 
destroyed in preparation for commercial and urban development (Chasse 
et al. 2009, p. 7). The Mount Davidson and the Laguna and Haight 
Streets locations were lost to urbanization as well. Until October 
2009, A. franciscana had not been seen in the wild since 1947 (Chasse 
et al. 2009, pp. 3, 7), although no systematic surveys are known to 
have taken place to search for potential remaining individuals (Chasse 
2010, p. 1).
    Between 1930 and 1947, prior to the loss of the wild plants, 
botanists collected cuttings and rooted specimens from confirmed wild 
Arctostaphylos franciscana plants representing possibly one to six 
distinct individuals, and propagated them in botanical gardens (Vasey 
2011b, p. 2; Chasse 2011a, p. 1; Chasse 2011b, p. 1; Service 2003, p. 
96; Chasse et al. 2009, p. 7). The number of distinct individuals 
depends on whether more than one of the botanical garden specimens were 
started from cuttings of the same individual (which would mean multiple 
plants would have identical genotypes) or whether all the specimens 
originated from separate plants (in which case all the specimens would 
have different genotypes) (Vasey 2011b, pp. 2, 3; Chasse 2011a, p. 1; 
Chasse 2011b, p. 1). Genotype is defined as the genetic constitution of 
an individual.
    Accession records for the botanical garden specimens indicate that 
some specimens collected and planted prior to 1947 did not survive and 
that others are duplicates of original collections leaving only three 
specimens confirmed to have been original plants transplanted from 
Laurel Hill (Chasse 2011b, p. 1). Further genetic work will verify 
whether plants with differing morphological features prove to be 
additional A. franciscana individuals. Although some of the botanical 
garden specimens may have different genotypes, which is the result of 
sexual reproduction (sprouting from seed) rather than clonal 
reproduction, all of the botanical garden specimens are currently 
considered to be A. franciscana until further genetic work can be 
conducted. The number of existing distinct individuals cannot currently 
be determined because a suitable genetic sampling technique has not yet 
been developed (Chasse 2011a, p. 1). Modern collections of this plant 
at East Bay Regional Park District's Botanical Garden at Tilden 
Regional Park, Strybing Arboretum, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 
Claremont, and UC Berkeley Botanical Garden include some of the 
original specimens from Laurel Hill, as well as specimens propagated 
vegetatively after the species was thought to have been extinct in the 
wild (Chasse et al. 2009, pp. 6-8).
    In October 2009, an ecologist identified a plant growing in a 
concrete-bound median strip along Doyle Drive in the Presidio as 
Arctostaphylos franciscana (Chasse et al. 2009 pp. 3, 4; Gluesenkamp 
2010, p. 7). The plant's location was directly in the footprint of a 
roadway improvement project designed to upgrade the seismic and 
structural integrity of the south access to the Golden Gate Bridge 
(Caltrans et al. 2009, p. 1; Chasse et al. 2009, p. 10). The 
identification of the plant as A. franciscana has since been confirmed 
with 95 percent confidence based on morphological characteristics 
(Chasse et al. 2009 pp. 3, 4; Vasey and Parker 2010, pp. 1, 5). 
Additional tests of ploidy level indicate that the plant is diploid, 
consistent with A. franciscana (Vasey and Parker 2010, p. 6). Molecular 
genetic data also indicate that the plant is A. franciscana (Parker 
2010a). Based on the best available scientific information, we consider 
the individual found along Doyle Drive in October 2009 to be A. 
franciscana (Vasey and Parker 2010, pp. 1, 5-7
    Several agencies, including the Service, established an MOA and 
conservation plan for the species (see Previous Federal Actions section 
above). The conservation partners concluded that leaving the plant 
undisturbed at its original site would compromise public safety and 
cultural resources by the potential curtailment or redesign of the 
roadway improvement project (Chasse et al. 2009, pp. 9, 10).
    The conservation plan evaluated potential translocation sites, 
established procedures for preparation of the new site and for the 
translocation itself, and called for management and monitoring (both 
short- and long-term) of the translocated plant and all newly 
propagated plants, with the goal of eventually establishing self-
sustaining populations of the species in the wild (Chasse et al. 2009, 
pp. 23-27, 29-30). Following recommendations in the conservation plan, 
the Arctostaphylos franciscana plant was moved successfully to a new 
site within the Presidio in January 2010. Subsequent monitoring reports 
indicate the translocated plant continues to do well at its new 
location (Yam 2010, pp. 1, 3-14, Young 2010a, p. 1).
    Cuttings from the plant, both from nonrooted stems and from 
layering stems (stems that have rooted at their leaf nodes), were taken 
for vegetative propagation prior to its translocation in January 2010 
(Chasse et al. 2009, pp. 10-16, 40-42, Young 2010a, p. 1). This 
material was distributed to seven locations including UC Berkeley 
Botanic Garden, Regional Parks Botanic Garden, UC Santa Cruz Botanical 
Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Cal Flora Nursery, Presidio 
Nursery, and the Presidio Trust Forester (Young, 2011). A total of 
1,346 seeds were collected in July and August, 2010, from the plant 
(Young 2010a, p. 1; Frey 2010, p. 1).
    The plan calls for eventual propagation of seeds (including seeds 
collected from the soil around the plant's original location), and for 
genetic testing of resulting plants. Seeds fertilized in the wild could 
result from cross-pollination by pollen from another individual 
Arctostaphylos franciscana or a closely related species and would 
produce a genetically unique individual (Chasse et al. 2009, p. 13). 
Additionally, because the roots of most Arctostaphylos individuals 
establish a mutually beneficial association with species of mycorrhizal 
fungi living in the soil, the conservation plan established means by 
which the soil for propagating cuttings and seeds should be inoculated 
with spores from such fungi (Chasse et al. 2009, p. 9). Propagation of 
A. franciscana seed and inoculation of seeds and cuttings by 
mycorrhizal fungi have not yet occurred. Soil surrounding the wild 
plant is being examined for presence of a seedbank but no A. 
franciscana seed has yet been found (Young 2011, p. 1). Propagation 
methods for A. franciscana seed will be developed using seed of a 
surrogate species, A. montana ssp. montana, which was collected from 
Mount Tamalpais in 2010 (Young 2011, p. 1). Outplanting of two rooted 
A. franciscana cuttings took place at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum in 
January 2011 (Kriegar 2011, unpaginated)

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 424) 
set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be 
determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more 
of the following five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act: 
(A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment 
of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or 
predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and 
(E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. 

[[Page 55628]]

actions may be warranted based on any of the above threat factors, 
singly or in combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.
    In considering what factors might constitute threats to a species, 
we must look beyond the exposure of the species to a particular factor 
to evaluate whether the species may respond to that factor in a way 
that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a 
factor and the species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat 
and, during our review, we attempt to determine how significant a 
threat it is. The threat is significant if it drives, or contributes 
to, the risk of extinction of the species such that the species 
warrants listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are defined 
in the Act. However, the identification of factors that could impact a 
species negatively may not be sufficient to compel a finding that the 
species warrants listing. The information must include evidence 
sufficient to suggest that these factors are operative threats that act 
on the species to the point that the species may meet the definition of 
endangered or threatened under the Act.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    All known habitat originally occupied by Arctostaphylos franciscana 
has been lost to urban development (Chasse et al. 2009, pp. 4, 7). The 
range of the species is now limited to a single transplanted plant on 
the Presidio. In January 2010, after the newly discovered wild plant 
was moved to the Presidio, the plant's habitat at Doyle Drive was 
destroyed as part of a Caltrans highway improvement project. The loss 
of the plant's native serpentine chaparral habitat to development and 
the curtailment of the species' range restrict the species' current and 
future ability to naturally reproduce and expand its range.
    The remaining area of potential habitat for the species on the San 
Francisco peninsula has not yet been determined but is very limited as 
a result of past urban development. Although areas of greenstone or 
serpentine soils remain on the peninsula, the residual effects of 
urbanization (primarily habitat fragmentation and degradation) have 
resulted in reducing the remaining greenstone/serpentine soils into 
areas of about 0.4 hectare (ha) (1 acre (ac)) or less in size with some 
up to 2.4 ha (6 ac). These small remnant areas may no longer be 
suitable for reestablishment of A. franciscana due to factors such as 
dominance by other plant species (Chasse pers. comm., 2011). Currently, 
these small, isolated parcels are subject to ``edge effects'' such as 
increased invasion of weed species that would compete with A. 
franciscana for limited resources (water, nutrients, space).
    Small isolated parcels have also been shown to be dryer than larger 
parcels and the habitat on these smaller parcels has become desiccated 
due to lack of surrounding vegetation, thus potentially leading to 
increased plant stress (Murcia 1995, p. 58). Urban barriers such as 
streets and buildings have been found to impose a high degree of 
isolation on chaparral species and to result in trends for decreased 
numbers of native plant species and concurrent increased numbers of 
nonnative plant species in habitat fragments over time (Soule et al. 
1992, pp. 41-43); Alberts et al. (unpubl.) as cited in Soule et al. 
1992, p. 41). These effects of the urbanization of the San Francisco 
peninsula are expected to continue to affect these remnant parcels into 
the future and to pose a threat to establishment of additional A. 
    Additionally, nitrogen deposition poses a current and continuing 
threat to remnant habitat that might otherwise be found to be suitable 
for Arctostaphylos franciscana. Weiss and Luth (2003, p. 1) have 
conducted research on the effects of nitrogen deposition in a 
serpentine grassland south of the San Franciscan peninsula, which has 
bearing on threats to A. franciscana. Weiss and Luth found that 
nitrogen deposition from automobiles on Highway 280 was responsible for 
higher nitrogen levels in the soil within 400 m (1,312 ft) on the west 
side and 100 m (328 ft) on the east side of the roadway. Grass cover 
was higher in these areas. Native species within this zone are thought 
to be at long-term risk from invasions of nitrogen-loving grasses and 
other weedy plant species. The entire northern San Francisco peninsula, 
with the exception of the Presidio and Golden Gate Park, has been 
urbanized, and four major highways travel across the peninsula 
(Highways 1, 101, 280, and 480). Urban areas and roadways are a 
continuous source of nitrogen deposition from automobiles, trucks, and 
industrial and home heating (Weiss 1999, p. 1477). Invasions of 
nitrogen-loving plants into nitrogen-limited grasslands and shrublands 
appears to be a common response to atmospheric nitrogen deposition 
(Weiss and Luth 2003, p. 1) and may partly explain why the ecosystem 
that existed on the San Francisco peninsula has been so altered.
    The one remaining wild plant is subject to multiple threats. The 
Presidio Trust's Vegetation Management Plan provides for the protection 
and management of rare plants on the Presidio (further discussed in 
Factor D). However, in some cases when the Trust has acted as a project 
proponent on the Presidio, direct project impacts to federally listed 
species and their habitat have resulted. For example, actions by the 
Presidio Trust and NPS related to management and remediation of former 
Army landfills on the Presidio have impacted federally listed plant 
species, including the Lessingia germanorum (San Francisco lessingia), 
and their habitat. Remediation of a large landfill near the 
transplanted Arctostaphylos franciscana plant is ongoing (M. Frey, 
pers. comm., 2011a) and has the potential to impact the plant and its 
habitat due to their close proximity to the remediation site. The 
remaining remediation activities involve the use of heavy equipment to 
complete final recontouring and to bring in soil to the site, followed 
by installation of plants, and restoration of original habitat features 
at the landfill (Presidio Trust 2011a, p. 2, M. Frey, pers. comm., 
    We are not aware of any specific proposals by the Presidio Trust 
for other activities in or near the habitat of the remaining wild A. 
franciscana plant. However, the Presidio Trust Act contains a sunset 
clause that could result in the transfer of Presidio holdings to the 
General Services Administration for disbursement, if the Trust 
operations are not self-sufficient by 2013. The Presidio Trust Act is 
discussed under Factor D below; however, the potential that lands could 
be transferred and become available for development presents a threat 
that additional habitat loss could occur within the foreseeable future.
    Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, 
we consider the present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the species habitat or range to be a high-magnitude and 
ongoing (imminent) threat to the wild population of Arctostaphylos 
franciscana. The current fragmented and degraded condition of most 
remaining serpentine/greenstone soil habitat on the San Francisco 
peninsula threatens the ability of the species to expand its range. The 
threats of possible development and change in management of the habitat 
may further limit the species' propagation and expansion, and could 
potentially threaten the only remaining wild plant in the foreseeable 

[[Page 55629]]

Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Overutilization of the species is possible due to the popularity of 
Arctostaphylos franciscana for landscape use, as evidenced by the 
widespread use of cultivars of this species in the commercial nursery 
trade. Arctostaphylos franciscana is specifically recommended for use 
in erosion control on steep slopes (Theodore Payne Foundation 2009, p. 
1; Sierra Club 2011, p. 1).
    The attention and media coverage generated by the discovery of a 
species thought to be extinct may result in efforts by the public to 
visit the plant and possibly collect cuttings or seed. Although the 
location of the transplanted plant has not been disclosed, it was 
planted in a heavily used area in the Presidio near common-use trails 
with unrestricted access by the public. The Presidio is a National Park 
and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; the Presidio 
is open to the public 24 hours a day, every day of the week and 
receives 5 million visitors annually. Because of the Presidio's 
proximity to the City of San Francisco and because the Park has no 
entrance fees and contains restaurants, trails, and businesses that can 
be accessed by car, foot, or public transport, it receives heavy use. 
The Presidio Trust and NPS are making serious efforts not to disclose 
the location of the translocated plant. The Presidio Trust and NPS are 
concerned that public knowledge of the plant's location would lead to 
authorized and unauthorized group tours by plant enthusiasts that would 
overwhelm the Arctostaphylos franciscana and compact the soil (T. 
Thomas, pers. comm., 2011).
    No damage to the plant has been observed to date; however, 
trampling or the taking of cuttings could occur if the identification 
and location of the plant become known. Similarly, another extremely 
rare plant, Arctostaphylos montana ssp. ravenii is also located on the 
Presidio. Its location has not been revealed to the public by NPS in 
order to protect the plant from vandalism although it was federally 
listed as endangered in 1979.
    Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, 
we consider the overutilization for commercial and recreational 
purposes to be a high-magnitude and ongoing (imminent) threat to wild 
Arctostaphylos franciscana plants. Although captively propagated A. 
franciscana are available to residents for use in private gardens, 
collection of wild individuals is a threat to the species, and we 
expect it may be a threat in the foreseeable future, particularly if 
the location of the plant becomes known to the public.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    Transplantation of the single wild Arctostaphylos franciscana plant 
may have caused stress to the plant, and thereby made the plant more 
susceptible to predation and disease. In this case, stress and root 
damage may result from a number of sources including compaction of soil 
from foot traffic around the plant (Hammitt and Cole 1998, p. 52), too 
little or too much water, and improper planting depth. A fungal 
infection called twig blight is also a potential concern, particularly 
during wet years (Service 2003, p. 69). Some twig blight was observed 
in the wild plant during winter of 2009-2010, but it subsided during 
the dry summer months (Chasse 2010, p. 2).
    The soil-borne pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi, has long been 
known as a world-wide threat to commercial and ornamental plants. 
Phytophthora cinnamomi is a fungus-like organism most closely related 
to diatoms and kelp (Kingdom Stramenopila) rather than to the true 
fungi (Kingdom Fungi or Eumycota). It is an introduced exotic pathogen 
in North America whose native range is unknown, but is suspected to be 
southeast Asia. Human-related activities, including the international 
plant trade have facilitated spread of P. cinnamomi into many habitats 
worldwide (Swiecki et al. in press, p. 3). Phytophthora cinnamomi was 
introduced to California early in the 20th century and recently has 
been identified as a serious threat to the State's native plants and 
their habitats (Swiecki et al. in press, p. 3).
    Phytophthora cinnamomi has been the cause of the decline and death 
of rare Arctostaphylos species, including the federally threatened A. 
pallida (pallid manzanita) in the Oakland Hills of the East San 
Francisco Bay region, and federally threatened A. myrtifolia (Ione 
manzanita) near Ione in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and of other woody 
native species in the San Francisco Bay area (Swiecki et al. in press, 
pp. 3-5). This organism causes root decay but can also kill above-
ground portions of some plants (Swiecki et al. in press, p. 3). 
Phytophthora cinnamomi is persistent in soil, and once introduced to 
native habitat, it cannot be eradicated (Swiecki et al. in press, p. 
3). Phytophthora cinnamomi is transmitted by contaminated shoes, tools, 
and infested soil clinging to tires, and by using contaminated nursery 
stock, including native plant stock. Many areas showing plant mortality 
caused by P. cinnamomi are associated with hiking trails, landscaping 
with ornamental plants, and, in one case at the Apricum Hill Preserve, 
with use by visitors including researchers, agency personnel, and 
students (Swiecki et al. in press, p. 4).
    This pathogen poses a significant threat in the foreseeable future 
to A. franciscana through the potential for infestation by the public 
and by staff who regularly work with the plant. It is not possible to 
predict when the pathogen might infect the single plant since the 
disease is generally transmitted directly or indirectly by humans or 
human activity. The pathogen could be introduced from soil on 
contaminated shoes and tools, or from cuttings of A. franciscana plants 
that are currently being grown in a number of nurseries in the San 
Francisco Bay area that could become contaminated. Swiecki et al. (in 
press, p. 6) tested A. menziesii plants purchased from four nurseries 
and found them to be infested with four Phytophthora species that cause 
root infections or stem cankers, including P. cinnamomi. Crown rot, 
which is caused by P. cinnamomi, is known to occur in A. myrtifolia and 
A. viscida (Swiecki et al. in press, p. 3), and is a concern when 
outplanting nursery-grown plants to wild locations (Chasse et al. 2009, 
p. 17). However, crown rot has not been observed in the wild plant 
(Chasse 2010, p. 2).
    Arctostaphylos franciscana cuttings are proposed to be planted with 
the transplanted A. franciscana to facilitate cross-pollination of the 
different genotypes. Should the wild plant become contaminated with P. 
cinnamomi, the result would be the decline and death of the wild plant 
and the permanent contamination of the soil and seedbank beneath the 
plant. Any seedlings that germinate from this seedbank would also very 
likely be contaminated and not survive. Any cuttings that become 
contaminated will also die of the pathogen. The Golden Gate National 
Parks Conservancy staff in charge of propagation and care of A. 
franciscana cuttings are aware of the threat of contamination and 
rigorously follow clean procedures to prevent infection to the cuttings 
or the wild plant; however, a risk of contamination continues to exist 
because current fungicides do not eradicate 100 percent of Phytophthora 
spores (Young 2010b, p. 1). The cuttings and layers have been dispersed 
to seven different locations and growers, which, while decreasing the 
risk of complete loss of plant

[[Page 55630]]

material, also increases the risk of exposure to disease.
    After being transplanted, the wild plant became severely infested 
with the larvae of a native leaf roller moth (Argyrotaenia franciscana) 
(Estelle 2010, p. 1). Treatment for the infestation was hand removal of 
the larvae and all infected leaves, which resulted in the removal of 
some of the new growth on the plant (Young 2010a, p. 1; Estelle 2010, 
p. 1). A parasitic wasp emerged from one leaf roller moth larva that 
had been captured, indicating that the moth has natural enemies (M. 
Frey 2010, p. 2). The moth has not been known to kill plants and does 
not appear to be a serious threat at this time; however, the moth 
species was found to have five overlapping generations in a year 
(Estelle 2010, p. 1), so monthly removal of moth larvae and pupae is 
planned (Frey 2010, p. 2). The leaf roller moth infestation in early 
2010 did not permanently damage the plant; new growth has been 
observed, and the plant began blooming in November 2010 (Frey 2010, p. 
    We conclude that the best scientific and commercial information 
available indicates that Arctostaphylos franciscana is threatened by 
disease and predation. We consider predation to be a relatively minor 
(low magnitude) but ongoing (imminent) threat to the wild population of 
the species. Although the leaf roller moth has not been known to kill 
Arctostaphylos species, the moth produces five overlapping generations 
per year and severely damaged the leaves in 2010. We consider infection 
of the plant by P. cinnamomi to be a high-magnitude and ongoing 
(imminent) threat to A. franciscana because only one plant occurs in 
the wild and the disease is easily and quickly spread by multiple 

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Regulatory mechanisms protecting Arctostaphylos franciscana derive 
primarily from the location of the single known wild plant on Golden 
Gate National Recreation Area lands on the Presidio, which are 
administered by the Presidio Trust. The Presidio Trust was established 
by the Presidio Trust Act of 1996 to manage the leasing, maintenance, 
rehabilitation, repair, and improvement of property within the Presidio 
(Presidio Trust Act, as amended, Section 104(a)). The Presidio Trust is 
directed to preserve the natural, scenic, cultural, and recreational 
resources on the Presidio, but also is directed to ensure that the 
Presidio becomes financially self-sufficient by 2013 (Presidio Trust 
2002, pp. 1, 2, 12). The Presidio Trust Act directed that the Presidio 
Trust design a management program to reduce expenditures of the NPS and 
increase revenues to the Federal Government to the maximum extent 
possible (Presidio Trust Act, pp. 5, 6). The Presidio Trust Management 
Plan was published in May 2002.
    Federal regulations at the Presidio, which offer some protection to 
Arctostaphylos franciscana, include regulations that prohibit 
disturbing, injuring, removing, possessing, digging, defacing, or 
destroying from its natural state, any plant or parts thereof. 
Unauthorized introduction of plants and plant seeds is also prohibited, 
offering limited protection against invasive nonnative species. 
Additional regulations require that special events be permitted by the 
Trust, and provide for restricting visitor use to address resource 
conflicts (36 CFR, part 1002).
    The Presidio Trust and the NPS have developed a Vegetation 
Management Plan for the Presidio. For special status plants, the plan 
provides an objective to preserve and enhance rare plant habitats by 
evaluating species-specific habitat needs and giving high priority to 
actions that preserve and enhance those habitats (Presidio Trust 2001, 
Chapter 3, unpaginated).
    Future management of the Presidio, and of Arctostaphylos 
franciscana and its habitat, are uncertain because of differences in 
the missions of the Presidio Trust and NPS. The Presidio Trust is a new 
model for National Park management in that the Trust is directed to 
preserve the natural, scenic, cultural, and recreational resources on 
the Presidio, and at the same time ensure that the Presidio becomes 
financially self-sufficient by 2013 (Presidio Trust 2002, pp. 1, 12), 
which means that generation of revenue is a consideration for its 
activities as well as resource protection. The cost of operation and 
care are higher for this park than for most National Parks because of 
the Presidio's large number of structures and cultivated landscapes 
(Presidio Trust 2011, unpaginated). In 2002, the Trust adopted a 
management program designed to reduce expenditures of the NPS and to 
increase revenues to the Federal Government to the maximum extent 
possible (Presidio Trust 2002, p. 1; Presidio Trust Act, as amended 
2001, p. 6). The mission of NPS on the Presidio as stated in the Golden 
Gate National Recreation Area Act (16 U.S.C. 460bb), although similar 
to the Presidio Trust Act regarding the protection of natural, 
historic, scenic, and recreational values, does not include the mandate 
to ensure that the Presidio becomes financially self-sufficient.
    The future status of the Presidio as National Park land is 
uncertain, as explained in the Presidio Trust Act, Section 104(o) 
Reversion, which states: If, at the expiration of 15 years, the Trust 
has not accomplished the goals and objectives of the plan required in 
section 105(b) of the Presidio Trust Act, then all property under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the Trust pursuant to section 103(b) of 
this Act shall be transferred to the Administrator of the General 
Services Administration to be disposed of in accordance with the 
procedures outlined in the Defense Authorization Act of 1990 (104 Stat. 
1809) and any real property so transferred shall be deleted from the 
boundary of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In the event of 
such transfer, the terms and conditions of all agreements and loans 
regarding such lands and facilities entered into by the Trust shall be 
binding on any successor in interest (Presidio Trust Act, Section 
104(o), p. 9). This clause indicates that lands currently considered 
National Parks lands could be disbursed to the private sector and 
subject to development within the near future.
    The Presidio Trust is subject to section 7 consultation under the 
Act, which would confer protections to the plant should it be listed 
under the Act. For example, actions by the Presidio Trust and NPS 
related to management and remediation of former Army landfills on the 
Presidio have impacted federally listed plant species including the 
federally endangered Lessingia germanorum (San Francisco lessingia) and 
federally endangered Clarkia franciscana (Presidio clarkia). Because 
those plant species are federally listed, the Presidio Trust has 
consulted with the Service to minimize such impacts. Arctostaphylos 
franciscana does not currently have these protections.
    The species is not listed under the California Endangered Species 
Act. The conservation plan and MOA are not regulatory in nature, and 
are not legally enforceable by third parties (Caltrans 2009, p. 8; 
Chasse et al. 2009, p. 3), limiting their usefulness in enforcing 
protections for the plant. Although general protections are provided 
for plants on National Parks, existing regulatory mechanisms are 
inadequate to protect the last known wild specimen of Arctostaphylos 
franciscana, or any other such wild specimens that may be established 
or found to exist.
    Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, 
we consider the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms to be a 
threat of moderate-to-low magnitude to the species. We expect this 
threat to

[[Page 55631]]

continue into the future unless the species is listed under the Act, 
and thus we consider the threat to be ongoing (imminent).

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 

    Potential threats to the species include changes in environmental 
conditions resulting from climate change, trampling, or disturbance by 
people visiting the Presidio, change in fire frequency, loss of genetic 
diversity, and stochastic (chance) events.
Climate Change
    Changes in environmental conditions resulting from climate change 
may cause presently suitable habitat to become unsuitable for endemic 
California plants in general, due to projected changes in temperature 
and rainfall (Loarie et al. 2008, pp. 1-2). A U.S. Geological Survey 
(USGS) study in National Park lands in northern California and Oregon 
is being conducted to examine trends in climate, ocean conditions, and 
other features (Madej et al. 2010, p. 7). In these National Park lands, 
variation in abiotic factors (for example, precipitation, fog, and air 
and ocean temperatures) regulates many ecological processes, including 
the distribution of vegetation and frequency of disturbance from fires, 
floods, landslides, and pest species. The preliminary results of the 
USGS study show an increase in average maximum summer air temperatures 
at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, located near the Presidio, and 
a reduction statewide in fog frequency (Madej et al. 2010, p 24; 
Johnstone and Dawson, 2010, p. 4535).
    Summer fog is important to upland coastal vegetation and partly 
determines the distribution of coastal species (Johnstone and Dawson 
2010, p. 4533). Besides serpentine soil and cool air temperatures, 
(Parker 2010c, p. 1), summer fog is one of the primary habitat 
requirements for Arctostaphylos franciscana (Vasey 2010, p. 1). Summer 
fog results from the presence of two phenomena that may be affected by 
changes in environmental conditions resulting from climate change: 
Upwelling of cold, coastal ocean water and a temperature inversion of 
hot air flowing toward the ocean over a cool, humid marine air layer 
below (Vasey 2010, p. 1; Johnstone and Dawson 2010, p. 4533). Fog 
reduces sunlight and air temperature, and raises humidity. Summer fog 
provides a source of water for plants, including Arctostaphylos 
species, by condensing in the plant canopy and falling directly as 
water to the soil and being taken up by the plant's roots or by being 
taken up directly by leaves (Johnstone and Dawson 2010, p. 4533; Vasey 
2010, p.1).
    Fog frequency is highest in north and central California and 
declines in Oregon and Southern California. Mean fog frequency in the 
California region, quantified by cloud ceiling height measured at 
airports, has decreased since 1951 (Johnstone and Dawson 2010; p. 
4535). Research by Vasey suggests that most coastal endemic 
Arctostaphylos species are more vulnerable to drought stress than those 
found in interior California and could be threatened by a decrease in 
coastal summer fog (Vasey 2010, p. 1). Vasey has found that obligately 
seeding Arctostaphylos species, such as A. franciscana, are better 
hydrated in areas that receive fog. He also found that obligately 
seeding species are more vulnerable to vascular cavitation (air bubbles 
forming in water vessels in the plant) when the rate of 
evapotranspiration of water through the leaves becomes too great (Vasey 
2010, p. 1). This disruption of water flow can lead to branch death and 
possible death of the entire plant (Vasey 2010, p. 1).
    Reduced soil moisture from loss of summer fog may also result in a 
reduction of seed germination and seedling survival. Additionally, the 
ability of A. franciscana to track future climate changes by 
establishing new plants in new habitat may be limited because of its 
association with serpentine and greenstone bedrock outcrops (Service 
2003, pp. 95, 96) and because remaining soils derived from serpentine 
and greenstone bedrock on the peninsula are limited in area and largely 
fragmented (Chasse 2010, p. 1). If the trend towards a warmer, drier 
climate continues as shown in data from Madej et al. (2010, p. 24) and 
Johnstone and Dawson (2010, p. 4535), the climate may become too warm 
or dry to support A. franciscana. Natural movement of the species by 
seed dispersal to reach cooler, moister areas to the north would be 
blocked by barriers such as the San Francisco Bay.
Alteration of the Natural Fire Regime
    Fire, in addition to soil type and climate, plays an important role 
in the determination of plant distribution (Keeley 2007, p. 19). The 
chaparral plant community, of which Arctostaphylos is an important 
member, is adapted to specific fire regimes that vary in different 
areas in California. In the San Francisco East Bay region, the current 
fire rotation interval is estimated at about 100 years (Keeley 2007, p. 
20). Factors that affect the fire frequency in the San Francisco Bay 
area are a short fire season, moist climate, the local human population 
density, and changes in human behavior. Due to prevailing ocean winds 
and frequent fogs, the average relative humidity along the coast is 
moderate to high throughout the year. The exceptions typically occur in 
the fall, when changing prevailing weather patterns allow dry 
northeasterly winds from the State's interior to reduce humidity in the 
coastal area to around 20 percent, thereby creating dry and windy 
conditions that typify high fire danger (GGNRA 2005, pp. 136, 140).
    Fire frequency in the San Francisco Bay area has varied 
substantially in the last several thousand years. Not only have fire 
regimes changed with changing climate, fire regimes have changed as 
patterns of human utilization of the landscape have changed. 
Disturbances by fire occurred at long intervals in the pre-human 
period, then at shorter intervals during the late Native American and 
Spanish-Mexican period, at moderate intervals during the European 
settlement period, and have generally returned to long intervals in the 
modern period (GGNRA 2005, pp. 144-147). The natural fire regime has 
been heavily altered by the urbanization of San Francisco and the 
fragmentation of remaining undeveloped lands. The City of San Francisco 
is essentially built out, with the exception of small isolated parcels 
and undeveloped hilltops. Lands administered by the NPS and the 
Presidio Trust are surrounded by other land uses and close to the 
wildland-urban boundary where landscape plants and nonnative plants 
contribute to vegetative buildup (GGNRA 2005, pp. 130-131) that can 
increase fire danger. In addition, fire suppression has been prevalent 
during the last 100 years. This altered fire regime has led to an 
increase in crown and surface fuels, contributing to high-intensity 
fires (GGNRA 2005, p. 147). These administered lands could eventually 
be identified as suitable for outplanting Arctostaphylos franciscana 
seedlings, but the specific habitat characteristics for the species are 
not known at this time.
    Two opposing types of changes in fire frequency can threaten 
Arctostaphylos franciscana. First, ``senescence risk'' occurs when too 
little fire leads to the loss of a species that is dependent on fire 
for regeneration from seeds or sprouts. The second is ``immaturity 
risk,'' which is a threat especially to obligate-seeding species. In 
this case, wildfires that occur too frequently will kill plants before 
they can reach reproductive maturity and produce seed (Keeley 2007, p. 
18). Wildfire can

[[Page 55632]]

substantially reduce the number of live seeds in the soil (Odion and 
Tyler 2002, p. 1). Odion and Tyler (2002 p. 1) found that a controlled 
burn in a 40-year-old stand of A. morroensis (Morro manzanita) 
substantially reduced the seedbank to 33 percent of that which had 
accumulated in the soil since the previous burn 40 years earlier. Three 
years after the burn, the new population of A. morroensis that had 
germinated from the seedbank was less than half the size of the 
original population (Odion and Tyler 2002, p. 1). Odion and Tyler (2002 
p. 2) concluded that if viable seed densities in the soil are too low 
because fires are too frequent to allow seeds to accumulate in the 
soil, the population may risk extinction.
    The fire return interval for this general area, and, therefore, for 
this species, is currently approximately 100 to 125 years (T. Parker 
pers. comm., 2011, Vasey 2011a, p. 1). The long fire return interval is 
not thought to be a threat to the mature Arctostaphylos franciscana 
plant at the Presidio or to future seedlings that are likely to be 
outplanted in the future as a result of efforts by the NPS and the 
Presidio Trust. Infrequent fire would allow the mature plant at the 
Presidio to produce seed to build up a sufficiently large seedbank to 
withstand seed loss from wildfire, and would allow the growth of 
outplantings. However, if fire continues to be excluded from these 
areas and the fire return interval greatly exceeds the natural return 
interval, over time the loss of fire may also result in the loss of the 
mature plant and individual outplanted seedlings due to competition by 
plants, including nonnative plants, that could encroach upon the 
    Other aspects of the altered fire regime within the remaining 
undeveloped lands of San Francisco pose greater threats to the species. 
Alteration of the fire regime has led to an increase in crown and 
surface fuels in some areas, leading NPS fire planners to conclude that 
it is difficult to predict where the changed fire regime will 
ultimately lead, given the trend to warmer and drier climate conditions 
(Madej et al. 2010, p. 24; Johnstone and Dawson, 2010, p. 4535), and 
the climatic correlation with fire frequency (GGNRA 2005, pp. 147, 
148). In the past, large fires have occurred within areas that are 
typically subject to maritime climatic conditions. Such fires include 
the 1923 Berkeley Fire; the October 1991 Oakland Fire (Keeley 2005, p. 
286) that burned 607 ha (1,500 ac); the October 1995 fire at Point 
Reyes National Seashore that burned 4,999 ha (12,354 ac) (GGNRA 2005, 
p. 151); and the 1,133-ha (2,800-ac) 2009 Lockheed Fire north of the 
City of Santa Cruz (The Associated Press 2009). On the Presidio, fire 
history data show that 17 fires occurred between 2000 and 2009, with no 
fires in some years and as many as 5 fires in other years. All fires 
were contained at 0.04 ha (0.1 ac) or less (A. Forrestel, pers. comm., 
2011a, 2011b). In the same period, approximately four wildfires 
occurred in the Marin Headlands, directly to the north of the Presidio 
across the Golden Gate, while recent fire history records for all areas 
of the GGNRA show the potential for larger wildfires in the maritime 
zone (GGNRA 2005, pp. 150-155).
    Although the Presidio is located within a highly urbanized setting, 
substantial areas of open space within the Presidio itself and within 
the adjacent GGNRA lands harbor an interspersed mixture of vegetative 
types, including native vegetation, landscaped grounds, and forest 
(GGNRA 2005, pp. 190-199; Presidio Trust 2011, unpaginated). Grasslands 
are now dominated by nonnative annual grasses and forbs, which burn 
with greater intensity and have a more rapid rate of spread (GGNRA 
2005, p. 192). A fire model prepared by the GGNRA indicates that areas 
managed by the GGNRA on the western and southwestern borders of 
Presidio Trust lands present a moderate and moderate-high fire hazard 
(GGNRA 2005, p. E-7). As a result of the altered fire regime, 
infrequent fires may burn larger and hotter than previously occurred, 
potentially increasing the loss of seedbanks when such fires do occur. 
As a result of the altered fire regime, the incidence of wildfire may 
also increase, which would be detrimental to Arctostaphylos franciscana 
by killing mature plants, seedlings, and seeds in the seedbank. In 
obligate-seeding species, such as A. franciscana, fire normally kills 
the adult plants, which are then replaced by plants that germinate from 
seed in the soil seedbank after the fire. A wildfire that would kill 
the single wild A. franciscana would be an especially serious threat to 
the future of the species because no A. franciscana seedbank has been 
found in soil collected from the area beneath the wild plant (Young 
2011, p. 1).
    Trampling by people could impact the wild plant, and its offspring, 
or any herbarium-raised plants that are restored to the wild, if they 
are placed in areas subject to regular foot traffic. The translocated 
wild plant has been planted in an active native plant management area 
that receives heavy public use; however, it is protected by a cable and 
post fence from public access and is monitored (Chasse et al. 2009, pp. 
20-28). The post and cable fence was placed along an adjacent trail so 
that people do not enter the immediate area around the plant. The fence 
currently appears to be working well (Young 2010a, p. 1); however, a 
single trampling event could result in damage or the death of the wild 
plant. As noted under Factor B, the Presidio Trust and NPS have made 
continuous efforts not to reveal the location of Arctostaphylos 
franciscana. They are concerned that public knowledge of the A. 
franciscana location would attract large numbers of plant enthusiasts 
who may damage the A. franciscana and compact the soil (T. Thomas, 
pers. comm., 2011).
    Roots grow into soil to maintain stability and to extract water and 
nutrients; however, soil compaction from trampling increases the 
resistance of the soil to root penetration and thus diminishes the 
plant's ability to extract sufficient water and nutrients. Soil 
compaction also reduces water infiltration rates from rainfall and 
reduces soil aeration by collapsing the larger pores in the soil. 
Reduced soil oxygen levels from loss of soil pores also can reduce root 
growth, which further reduces water and nutrient uptake (Hammitt and 
Cole 1998, p. 52). Soil compaction also inhibits seed germination and 
establishment of new plants. Smooth, dense soil makes it difficult for 
the radicle (the seedling's primary root) to penetrate the soil for 
stability, water, and nutrients (Hammitt and Cole 1998, p. 52). 
Trampling has also been found to cause considerable damage to 
mycorrhizal fungi in seedling roots (Waltert et al. 2002, p. 1). As 
noted in the Distribution and Habitat section, most Arctostaphylos 
species form strong symbiotic associations with soil mycorrhizal fungi, 
which form an external sheath surrounding the plant's roots; all water 
and nutrients pass through this sheath to the plant's roots rather than 
directly from the soil to the plant's roots (Chasse 2009, p. 12). 
Damage from trampling will not only impact the wild plant by reducing 
its ability to take up water and nutrients, but will also reduce the 
ability of any seedlings germinating near the wild plant to survive.
    The location of the Arctostaphylos franciscana plant within the 
Presidio is near common-use trails and an area that is available for 
rent for private and public events. Threats to A. franciscana

[[Page 55633]]

include damage from vandalism and interested visitors. Vandalism to 
trees was reported in the Presidio in the early 2000's (T. Thomas pers. 
comm. 2011). Severe vandalism was observed in Golden Gate Park, located 
approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km) south of the Presidio, in summer 2010 
where more than 40 trees and 30 rose bushes were killed by unknown 
persons for unknown reasons (King 2010, unpaginated, Gordon 2010, 
unpaginated). The post and cable fence protecting A. franciscana in the 
Presidio is approximately 30 ft (9.1 m) from the plant and is not 
constructed to completely exclude visitors.
Loss of Genetic Diversity
    Any new population starting from the single wild plant is likely to 
have reduced genetic variation compared to historical populations. The 
generation with the smallest number of individuals has the greatest 
effect on the genetic variation of subsequent generations. Even if the 
number of plants is expanded, it may not reverse the previous genetic 
loss known as the ``bottleneck effect'' (Allendorf and Luikart 2007, p. 
158). Bottlenecks generally have a greater and more lasting effect on 
the loss of genetic variation in species that have slow growth rates 
(long-lived species with few offspring) (Allendorf and Luikart 2007, p. 
133). The age of the single wild A. franciscana plant is estimated at 
60 years, and no other A. franciscana plants or seedlings were found 
associated with the wild plant.
    Reduced genetic variation may result in the plant's offspring not 
being able to adapt to changes in habitat such as those noted above in 
the discussion on climate change (decrease in fog and increase in 
temperature), or loss of pollinators (see pollinator discussion below). 
Arctostaphylos franciscana may be capable of self-pollination. In 
general, self-pollination results in a decrease in genetic variation in 
the offspring of a plant (Allendorf and Luikart, 2007, p. 123); 
therefore, a loss of genetic variation is expected if A. franciscana is 
dependent on self-pollination to produce seed. In a study on the 
effects of habitat fragmentation on a non-self-pollinating plant 
(Lennartsson 2002, pp. 3065, 3066, 3068), the author found that 
fragmented populations exhibited dramatically reduced seed set and 
population viability, both caused by a reduction in number of 
pollinators. Threats associated with reduced seed production are 
discussed further in the following section on Stochastic Events and 
Small Population Size.
Stochastic Events and Small Population Size
    Chance events constitute a serious threat to the species. Because 
the known population of Arctostaphylos franciscana in the wild is 
currently limited to a single plant, the species is extremely 
vulnerable to stochastic events--normal but damaging environmental 
perturbations and catastrophes such as droughts, storm damage, and 
fires, from which large, wide-ranging populations can generally 
recover, but which may lead to extirpation of small, isolated 
populations (Gilpin and Soule 1986, pp. 25-31). Suitable pollinators 
may be critical for seed production for this obligately seeding 
species. If pollinators are not present or are in insufficient numbers, 
viable seeds may not be produced to develop and maintain the seedbank. 
Pollinators have been observed on the wild plant; however, no surveys 
have yet taken place to identify the most important pollinators. The 
most frequent pollinators seen have been bees and bumblebees; however, 
hummingbirds and butterflies have also been seen visiting the A. 
franciscana flowers, likely because few other plants are blooming 
during the winter months when A. franciscana blooms (M. Vasey, pers. 
comm. 2010). Although the loss of the seed produced in a single year 
would not likely lead to the extirpation of the species, a continued 
reduction of the seed crop or dependence on self-pollination would 
reduce the seedbank, the genetic variation, and the potential for 
expansion of the population.
    The wild plant is also threatened by the Allee effect, which is a 
decline in population growth rate due to declining plant density 
(Ak[ccedil]akaya et al. 1999, p. 86). For the wild plant, the Allee 
effect may result from a lack of other available Arctostaphylos 
franciscana plants with which to cross-pollinate and produce viable 
seed. The wild plant is the single remaining individual of its species 
in the wild and is currently dependent on its potential ability to 
self-pollinate, which may be limited, and the efforts of researchers 
and Presidio staff to provide additional plants of different genotypes 
from botanical garden specimens (if they are proven to be A. 
franciscana) to cross-pollinate with the wild plant to produce new 
plants and populations.
    Cultivars of Arctostaphylos franciscana are used in the commercial 
nursery trade. The cultivars are likely descended from some of the last 
wild A. franciscana plants known to exist in the 1940s and are located 
in at least four botanical gardens (Chasse et al. 2009, pp. 7, 8). 
Since hybridization between diploid species of manzanita is well 
recognized (Chasse et al. 2009, p. 5), there is a good chance that many 
of these commercially available specimens have resulted from 
hybridization. Because of the threat of cross-pollination from hybrids 
or other species (Allendorf et al. 2001, pp. 613, 618-621), any 
propagation or reintroduction programs for A. franciscana must account 
for subsequent contamination and swamping of the A. franciscana gene 
pool. The conservation plan does take this into account by recommending 
that future outplantings of nursery-raised plants avoid areas that 
could facilitate cross-pollination (Chasse et al. 2009, p. 31). 
Appropriate outplanting areas will be determined by A. franciscana 
experts in conjunction with the NPS, the Presidio Trust, and the Golden 
Gate National Parks Conservancy (Chasse et al. 2009, p. 31). Although 
cross-pollination of the wild plant with hybrids is possible, we do not 
know the magnitude of this threat.
    We conclude that the best scientific and commercial information 
available indicate that A. franciscana is threatened by other natural 
or manmade factors affecting its continued existence, and that these 
factors include changes in environmental conditions resulting from 
climate change, change in fire frequency, trampling, vandalism, loss of 
genetic diversity, loss of pollinators, stochastic events, effects of 
small population size, and hybridization. Cumulatively, we consider 
these threats to be of high magnitude and imminent.


    As required by the Act, we conducted a review of the status of the 
species and considered the five factors in assessing whether 
Arctostaphylos franciscana is endangered or threatened throughout all 
or a significant portion of its range. We examined the best scientific 
and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by the A. franciscana. We reviewed the petition, 
information available in our files, and other available published and 
unpublished information, and we consulted with A. franciscana experts 
and other Federal and State agencies.
    This status review identified threats to Arctostaphylos franciscana 
attributable to each of the five listing factors identified in section 
4(a)(1) of the Act. The primary threat to A. franciscana is from the 
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the 
species' habitat or

[[Page 55634]]

range (Factor A). All original occupied habitat of the species has been 
lost, and its current range has been reduced to a single location 
supporting a single A. franciscana plant. The last wild plant was moved 
from its habitat, which was subsequently destroyed during a highway 
construction project, and transplanted to the Presidio in San 
Francisco. Remaining potential habitat for the species on the San 
Francisco peninsula has not yet been determined or surveyed. It is 
unknown whether there is sufficient suitable habitat to support a 
viable population of the species. Although greenstone and serpentine 
soils remain on the peninsula, the majority of this land has been 
fragmented into areas of 0.40 ha (1 ac) with a few approximately 2.4 ha 
(6 ac) in size. Additionally, potential disparity in the mission of the 
Presidio Trust and NPS and the possible transfer of Presidio lands to 
the General Services Administration and the private sector may result 
in potential future loss or modification of the plant and its habitat.
    Overutilization (Factor B) is a threat because the current known 
wild population consists of one individual plant, and manzanita plants 
are popular for landscaping and other horticultural purposes. 
Arctostaphylos franciscana is thus highly vulnerable to removal from 
the wild as a result of collection or damage from people collecting 
cuttings or seeds.
    The species is threatened to a lesser degree by disease and 
predation (Factor C). Stress from transplanting of the wild plant may 
have weakened the plant and made it more susceptible to disease and 
predation. The plant was heavily infested with a native leaf roller 
moth after being transplanted; however, the caterpillars and damaged 
foliage were removed, and the plant has produced new foliage and 
flowers. Twig blight, a fungal infection, was observed on the plant 
during the winter of 2009-2010, but the infection subsided during the 
dry season. A serious and lethal problem among Arctostaphylos species 
in the wild and in the native plant nursery trade is the pathogen 
Phytophthora cinnamomi, which cannot be controlled once introduced to a 
plant or habitat. Many of the A. franciscana cuttings are being grown 
in commercial or university nurseries for outplanting with the wild 
plant. Although the use of clean propagation techniques has been 
requested by the staff in charge of the project, the risk of infection 
of the cuttings and wild plant by P. cinnamomi is still a threat.
    Existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) afford certain 
protections for Arctostaphylos franciscana because the plant is located 
on lands administered by the NPS Golden Gate National Recreation Area 
and the Presidio Trust. However, as mentioned above, these protections 
are not guaranteed into the future because the Presidio Trust Act 
dictates that, if the goals and objectives of the Presidio Trust 
Management Plan are not met by 2013, property shall be transferred to 
the Administrator of the General Services Administration to be disposed 
of in accordance with procedures outlined in the Defense Authorization 
Act. Therefore, lands on the Presidio could be disbursed to the private 
sector and subject to development. We, therefore, consider existing 
regulatory mechanisms to be inadequate to protect A. franciscana.
    The species is also threatened by other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence (Factor E). These factors include 
changes in environmental conditions resulting from climate change, 
changes in fire frequency, trampling, loss of genetic diversity, 
stochastic events, small population size, and hybridization. Effects of 
changes in environmental conditions resulting from climate change on 
the plant's habitat are expected to include increased air temperature 
and reduced summer fog, both resulting in warmer and drier conditions 
than those to which the plant is adapted. A shift in the timing of 
flowering of the Arctostaphylos franciscana and availability of 
suitable pollinators or loss of pollinators due to climate change could 
affect the plants' ability to set seed. Warming and drying of the 
plant's habitat would likely also increase the frequency of wildfire 
that would result in death of the wild plant and its future seedlings 
if fire occurs before the plants are able to produce viable seeds.
    Loss of mature Arctostaphylos plants to fire is a natural 
phenomenon; however, this species is currently represented by a single 
mature plant. Therefore, to our knowledge, the loss of the plant would 
result in extinction of the species in the wild. Loss of genetic 
diversity has likely already occurred due to the reduction of the 
species to a single wild plant and may continue by limiting this 
generally outcrossing species to self-pollination. Reduced genetic 
diversity may also limit the species' ability to adapt to changes in 
habitat such as those resulting from climate change (decrease in fog 
and increase in temperature) or loss of pollinators. The species is 
extremely vulnerable to stochastic environmental events such as 
droughts, storm damage, and fires, from which large, wide-ranging 
populations can generally recover, but which would likely drive a 
species consisting of a single plant to extinction.
    Based on our evaluation of all scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by Arctostaphylos franciscana, we have determined that the 
continued existence of A. franciscana is threatened by residual effects 
from habitat loss, climate change, loss of genetic diversity, change in 
fire frequency, vandalism, predation, and inadequate regulatory 
mechanisms. Because the species faces these threats throughout its 
extremely limited range, we find that A. franciscana is warranted for 
listing throughout its range and, therefore, find it unnecessary to 
analyze whether it is endangered or threatened in a significant portion 
of its range.

Status Evaluation

    The Act defines an endangered species as one that is in danger of 
extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A 
threatened species is one that is likely to become an endangered 
species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. The species A. franciscana currently exists as a 
single plant on the San Francisco Presidio. Because the range of the 
species is restricted to a single plant, the risks presented by the 
threats noted in Factors A through E are more intensified than they 
would be were the species more widespread or numerous.
    The species is affected primarily by small area of remaining 
suitable habitat and loss of natural disturbance regime, as a result of 
past urban development and ongoing changes in environmental conditions 
resulting from climate change, as well as loss of genetic diversity. 
Additionally, the species is threatened by factors including collection 
or vandalism, disease, predation, loss of pollinators, and inadequate 
regulatory mechanisms. These interrelated factors have and will 
continue to result in threats to the continued existence of the 
species. Based on our evaluation of the best available scientific and 
commercial information and given the current population size (one 
plant), and severely limited distribution throughout its historical 
range, we have determined the species is in danger of extinction 
throughout all of its range and thus meets the definition of an 
endangered species. Because the species is in danger of extinction now, 
as opposed to in the foreseeable future, A. franciscana meets the 
definition of an endangered species rather than a threatened species.

[[Page 55635]]

    On the basis of our careful evaluation of the best available 
scientific and commercial information regarding the past, present, and 
future threats to the species as discussed above relative to the 
listing factors, we have determined that listing is warranted, and we 
propose to list Arctostaphylos franciscana as an endangered species 
throughout its range.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness and 
conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the 
States and requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed 
species. The protection required by Federal agencies and the 
prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, below.
    The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered 
and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The 
ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these 
listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of 
the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act requires the Service to develop and 
implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and 
threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the 
identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the 
species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and 
recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a 
point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning 
components of their ecosystems.
    Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline 
shortly after a species is listed, preparation of a draft and final 
recovery plan, and revisions to the plan as significant new information 
becomes available. The recovery outline guides the immediate 
implementation of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to 
be used to develop a recovery plan. The recovery plan identifies site-
specific management actions that will achieve recovery of the species, 
measurable criteria that determine when a species may be downlisted or 
delisted, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. Recovery plans 
also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate their recovery 
efforts and provide estimates of the cost of implementing recovery 
tasks. Recovery teams (comprising species experts, Federal and State 
agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and stakeholders) are often 
established to develop recovery plans. When completed, the recovery 
outline, draft recovery plan, and the final recovery plan will be 
available on our Web site (http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from our 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
    Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the 
participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal 
agencies, States, Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, 
and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat 
restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive 
propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The 
recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on 
Federal lands because their range may also occur on non-Federal lands. 
To achieve recovery of these species requires cooperative conservation 
efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands.
    If this species is listed, funding for recovery actions will be 
available from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State 
programs, and cost share grants for non-Federal landowners, the 
academic community, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, 
pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the State of California would be 
eligible for Federal funds to implement management actions that promote 
the protection and recovery of Arctostaphylos franciscana. Information 
on our grant programs that are available to aid species recovery can be 
found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as 
endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical habitat, if 
any is designated. Regulations implementing this interagency 
cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR part 402. 
Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with the 
Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of a species proposed for listing or result in destruction or 
adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is 
listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal 
agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out 
are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action 
may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible 
Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the Service.
    Federal agency actions within the species habitat that may require 
conference or consultation, or both, as described in the preceding 
paragraph include management and any other landscape-altering 
activities on Federal lands administered by the National Park Service 
or Presidio Trust; issuance of section 404 Clean Water Act permits by 
the Army Corps of Engineers; permitting of construction and management 
of gas pipeline and power line rights-of-way by the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission; and construction and maintenance of roads or 
highways by the Federal Highway Administration.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to endangered plants. If 
Arctostaphylos franciscana were listed, the last wild specimen 
(including any plants propagated from the wild plant) and the botanical 
garden specimens (i.e., those plants previously collected from the wild 
and subsequently propagated) would be protected by all prohibitions of 
section 9(a)(2) of the Act, which protects listed plants in areas of 
Federal jurisdiction such as the Presidio. Plants of unknown origin 
that have been or are being sold in the nursery trade or have been 
transplanted into home gardens would not be considered part of the 
listed entity. These prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for any 
person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to import or 
export, transport in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a 
commercial activity, sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign 
commerce, or remove and reduce the species to possession from areas 
under Federal jurisdiction. In addition, for plants listed as 
endangered, the Act prohibits the malicious damage or destruction on 
areas under Federal jurisdiction and the removal, cutting, digging up, 
or damaging or destroying of such plants in knowing violation of any 
State law or regulation, including State criminal trespass law. Certain 
exceptions to the prohibitions apply to agents of the Service and State 
conservation agencies. Arctostaphylos franciscana has not been listed 
by the State of California, therefore, State laws do not apply. Listing 
would also require Federal agencies to avoid actions that might 
jeopardize the species (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)), and would provide 
opportunities for funding of conservation measures and land acquisition 
that would not otherwise be

[[Page 55636]]

available to them (16 U.S.C. 1534, 1535(d)).
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.22 for endangered species, and at 17.32 for threatened species. With 
regard to endangered wildlife, a permit must be issued for the 
following purposes: For scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation 
or survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Sacramento 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). 
Requests for copies of the regulations concerning listed plants and 
general inquiries regarding prohibitions and permits may be addressed 
to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Permits, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, 
Sacramento, California 95825 (telephone 916-414-6600; facsimile 916-

Critical Habitat


    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
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
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
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 to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided pursuant to 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, and 
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner seeks or 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) of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction 
or adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner 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, the habitat within 
the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed 
must contain physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of the species, and which may require special management 
considerations or protection. Critical habitat designations identify, 
to the extent known using the best scientific and commercial data 
available, those physical or biological constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements) within an area that are essential to the 
conservation of the species (such as roost sites, nesting grounds, 
seasonal wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type). Primary constituent 
elements are the elements of physical and biological features that, 
when laid out in the appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement to 
provide for a species' life-history processes, are essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial 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.

Critical Habitat Determination

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable, the Secretary designate critical habitat at 
the time the species is determined to be endangered or threatened. Our 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that the designation of 
critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following 
situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or other 
human activity, and identification of critical habitat can be expected 
to increase the degree of threat to the species; or (2) such 
designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species.
    Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(2)) further state that critical 
habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following 
situations exist: (1) Information sufficient to perform required 
analysis of the impacts of the designation is lacking, or (2) the 
biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to 
permit identification of an area as critical habitat.
    We have done a preliminary evaluation to determine if the 
designation of critical habitat for Arctostaphylos franciscana is 
prudent and determinable at this time. On the basis of that evaluation, 
we have determined that the designation of critical habitat may not be 
prudent for this species due to an increased degree of threat.
    If the designation of critical habitat would increase threats to a 
species or if there are no benefits to a critical habitat designation, 
then a not prudent finding is warranted. A critical habitat designation 
may result in increased awareness of the specific area where the 
individual Arctostaphylos franciscana plant is likely to occur, which 
may result in increased threats for a species with such an extremely 
limited distribution--a single plant. Manzanitas are popular ornamental 
plants for landscaping and horticulture, and manzanita cuttings are 
easily propagated. Its rarity would make A. franciscana especially 
desirable to certain individuals who may try to take

[[Page 55637]]

cuttings or collect seeds from the A. franciscana plant (see Factor B). 
Vandalism of shrubs and trees has occurred recently within the Presidio 
and in Golden Gate Park (see Factor E); greater awareness of the 
specific location of where the individual A. franciscana plant occurs 
may result in increased risk of vandalism of the plant. Also, increased 
visitation of the individual plant that may result from critical 
habitat designation may result in increased risk of trampling and 
disease transmission of soil-borne pathogens to A. franciscana (see 
Factor C).
    Because of the potential increased threats that may result from the 
identification of the specific areas containing features essential to 
the conservation of the species or specific essential areas as critical 
habitat, we have preliminarily determined that the designation of 
critical habitat for Arctostaphylos franciscana may not be prudent at 
this time. However we have not made our final determination and we are, 
therefore, seeking information from the public regarding threats to the 
species and its habitat and whether the risks of designation of 
critical habitat would outweigh the benefits of this determination. 
Please see Information Requested above for specific information we are 
seeking for making our determination whether the designation of 
critical habitat would be prudent at this time.
    Further, we are currently unable to identify the physical or 
biological features for Arctostaphylos franciscana, because information 
on the full range of the physical or biological features that are 
considered essential to the conservation of this species is not known 
at this time. Little information is available on the historical 
populations that existed prior to habitat alteration from grazing and 
burning by Euro-American settlers (Keeley 2005, p. 285; Cooper 1922, p. 
76) and prior to development of the city of San Francisco. We cannot be 
sure that the historical records of extirpated occurrences and the 
currently known record of A. franciscana represent the full extent of 
the species' predisturbance range and habitat (Chasse 2010, p. 1). Some 
records are available as noted in the Distribution and Habitat section 
of this rule; however, they may simply be the only locations that were 
recorded rather than being representative of optimum habitat.
    The single remaining wild plant was found on a previously disturbed 
highway median, which was highly unlikely to represent natural habitat 
conditions. The remaining greenstone/serpentine habitat on the San 
Francisco peninsula, which is highly fragmented and not occupied by A. 
franciscana, may not be suitable for supporting populations of the 
species. Because of the limited information available related to the 
species' physical or biological requisites, we are not currently able 
to identify the specific areas that contain the appropriate physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of A. franciscana or 
otherwise identify areas that may be essential for its conservation 
without additional information. Therefore, since the physical or 
biological requirements of the species are not sufficiently known, we 
find that critical habitat for A. franciscana is not determinable at 
this time.
    We are, therefore, seeking information from the public regarding 
which physical or biological features or specific areas may be 
essential to the conservation of Arctostaphylos franciscana. Please see 
Information Requested section for specific information we are seeking 
to assist us in trying to identify the biological requirements for A. 

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure 
that our determination of status for this species is based on 
scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited 
these peer reviewers to comment during the public comment period on our 
specific assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposal to list 
Arctostaphylos franciscana as endangered and our proposed finding 
regarding critical habitat for this species.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a final 
determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 

Public Hearings

    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests must be received within 45 days after the date 
of publication of this proposal in the Federal Register. Such requests 
must be sent to the address shown in ADDRESSES. We will schedule public 
hearings on this proposal, if any are requested, and announce the 
dates, times, and places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain 
reasonable accommodations, in the Federal Register and local newspapers 
at least 15 days before the hearing.

Required Determinations

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (1) Be logically organized;
    (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (3) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us 
revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For 
example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs 
that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, 
the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule 
will not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or 
local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency 
may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, 
a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare 
environmental analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 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 position was upheld by the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 
(9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1042 (1996)).

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited is available on the 
Internet at http://

[[Page 55638]]

www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Field Supervisor, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).


    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

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


    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.

    2. Amend Sec.  17.12(h) by adding an entry for ``Arctostaphylos 
franciscana (Franciscan manzanita)'' to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Plants in alphabetical order under FLOWERING PLANTS to read 
as follows:

Sec.  17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

---------------------------------------------------------    Historic range            Family            Status    When listed    Critical     Special
          Scientific name                Common name                                                                              habitat       rules
Flowering Plants
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Arctostaphylos franciscana........  Franciscan manzanita  U.S.A. (CA).........  Ericaceae...........  E                    XXX           NA           NA
                                                                      * * * * * * *

    Dated: August 27, 2011.
Gregory E. Siekaniec,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-22990 Filed 9-7-11; 8:45 am]