[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 165 (Tuesday, August 26, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50844-50854]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-20054]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2013-0078; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-AY27

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status 
for Vandenberg Monkeyflower

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine 
endangered species status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(Act), as amended, for Diplacus vandenbergensis (Vandenberg 
monkeyflower), a plant species from Santa Barbara County, California. 
The effect of this regulation will be to add this species to the 
Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.

DATES: This rule is effective September 25, 2014.

ADDRESSES: This final rule is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2013-0078). Comments and 
materials we received, as well as supporting documentation we used in 
preparing this rule, are available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov. Comments, materials, and documentation that we 
considered in this rulemaking are available by appointment, during 
normal business hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish 
and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 930032; 
telephone 805-644-1766; or facsimile 805-644-3958.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen P. Henry, Field Supervisor, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 
Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 930032; telephone 805-644-1766; or 
facsimile 805-644-3958. Persons who use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 


Previous Federal Action

    Please refer to the proposed listing rule for Vandenberg 
monkeyflower (78 FR 64840; October 29, 2013) for a detailed description 
of previous Federal actions concerning this species.
    We will also publish a final rule to designate critical habitat for 
Vandenberg monkeflower under the Act in the near future (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.).


    Vandenberg monkeyflower is a small, annual herbaceous plant in the 
Lopseed family (Phrymaceae) with stems that are glandular and usually 
green with purplish tinting. Plants produce a single yellow flower, or 
plants are branched producing multiple flowers. The tubular yellow 
flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, with the distal ends of the petals 
forming a unique structure that is likened to a face; hence, the common 
name monkeyflower.
    Vandenberg monkeyflower occupies a specific landscape in Santa 
Barbara County, California, known as Burton Mesa. Burton Mesa supports 
a mosaic of several native vegetation types, including maritime 
chaparral, maritime

[[Page 50845]]

chaparral mixed with coastal scrub, oak woodland, and small patches of 
native grasslands (Wilken and Wardlaw 2010, p. 2). The maritime 
chaparral on Burton Mesa is referred to as Burton Mesa chaparral (Odion 
et al. 1992, pp. 5-6; Sawyer et al. 2009, p. 376), and is dominated by 
evergreen shrubs and scattered multi-trunked Quercus agrifolia (coast 
live oak) that form open stands to almost impenetrable thickets over 
large areas of Burton Mesa, with heights reaching up to 13 ft (4 m) 
(Gevirtz et al. 2007, pp. 95-96). Vandenberg monkeyflower does not grow 
beneath the canopy of shrubs or oaks, but rather in the sandy openings 
(canopy gaps) that occur in-between shrubs. Sandy openings have been 
noted for their high abundance and diversity of annual and perennial 
herbaceous species, compared to those found in the understory of the 
shrub canopy (Hickson 1987, Davis et al. 1989; Keeley et al. 1981; 
Horton and Kraebel 1955).
    Vandenberg monkeyflower is sensitive to annual levels of rainfall 
(Thompson 2005, p. 23), and, therefore, germination of resident seed 
banks may be low or nonexistent in unfavorable years, with little or no 
visible aboveground expression of the species. The annual differences 
in the numbers and location of aboveground plants indicate the presence 
of a seed bank.
    Vandenberg monkeyflower is currently known to occur within sandy 
openings at nine extant locations; one additional location is 
potentially extirpated (see Distribution of Vandenberg Monkeyflower in 
the proposed listing rule (78 FR 64840; October 29, 2013)). Because 
portions of Burton Mesa are inaccessible and difficult to survey, 
Vandenberg monkeyflower has the potential to occur in areas within 
sandy openings where it has not yet been observed. However, not all 
sandy openings within the shrub canopy appear to be currently suitable 
for Vandenberg monkeyflower because some of the sandy openings consist 
of sands that structurally seem more consolidated and currently do not 
support this species (Rutherford in litt. 2012). To date, all of the 
extant occurrences of Vandenberg monkeyflower are within sandy openings 
where the structure of the sands appears loose (Rutherford in litt. 
    Please refer to the Background section of Vandenberg monkeyflower's 
proposed listing rule (78 FR 64840; October 29, 2013) for a summary of 
additional species information.

Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule

    Based on comments and information received from peer reviewers and 
the public, we are revising our discussions of the following specific 
biological information for Vandenberg monkeyflower: Dispersal ecology 
and pollinator ecology. Additional information related to description 
and taxonomy, life history, geographic setting, climate, habitat, land 
ownership, distribution, and current status/occurrences is available in 
the Background section of the proposed listing rule (78 FR 64840; 
October 29, 2013).

Dispersal Ecology

    Seeds of Vandenberg monkeyflower are small and light in weight, 
dispersing primarily by gravity and also by water and wind over 
relatively short distances (Thompson 2005, p. 130; Fraga in litt. 
2012). The small size of the seed makes it likely that short-distance 
dispersal could also be facilitated by ants, as has been noted for 
other small-seeded plant taxa (Cain et al. 1998, pp. 328-330). The 
literature on seed dispersal discusses that, while short-distance 
dispersal occurs with high frequency (Cain et al. 2000, p. 1218), this 
method of dispersal is most important for understanding dispersal of 
seeds within populations (e.g., metapopulation dynamics), recruitment 
patterns, and resource use (Nathan et al. 2003, p. 261).
    Dispersal of seed between populations and dispersal of seed from 
established populations to newly colonized sites are typically the 
result of less frequently occurring, long-distance seed dispersal 
events (Cain 2000, pp. 1217-1227; Nathan et al. 2003, p. 262). 
Moreover, while there is good correlation between seed morphology and 
short-distance dispersal, seed morphology characteristics are less 
important for understanding long-distance dispersal because long-
distance dispersal is more dependent on the dispersal event. Therefore, 
while seed morphology characteristics of Vandenberg monkeyflower are 
consistent with short-term dispersal, long-distance dispersal events 
would still be important for dispersing seed between populations and to 
new sites with suitable habitat. We recognize, however, that 
determining long-distance seed dispersal distances for any species is 
challenging because of the difficulty observing and quantifying long-
distance dispersal events.
    Long-distance dispersal of seeds occurs in numerous ways, including 
vertebrate dispersal (by adhesion or ingestion), wind dispersal of 
seeds (in updrafts and storms, or by secondary dispersal over the 
substrate), wind dispersal of plants (tumble-plant dispersal), and 
water dispersal (Cain et al. 2000, p. 1218). Given that the Burton Mesa 
area is subject to occasional high winds (see discussion in Climate 
section in the proposed listing rule), long-distance dispersal of 
Vandenberg monkeyflower seeds likely occurs during these wind events. 
Wind dispersal likely leads to a random dispersal of seeds, some of 
which fall into suitable habitat.

Pollinator Ecology

    First, we are correcting a reference that was cited in our proposed 
listing rule. Specifically, we cited Krombein et al. (1979) for a list 
of pollinators observed on Vandenberg monkeyflower. However, the list 
of pollinators was for those that have been observed on Diplacus 
[Mimulus] fremontii, a closely related species.
    Second, we are revising our discussion on the pollination ecology 
of Vandenberg monkeyflower to include additional information about 
potential Vandenberg monkeyflower pollinators, both with respect to the 
wider array of pollinators as well as the inclusion of pollinators that 
are considered of large size. Species of Diplacus are predominantly 
bee-pollinated, although the genus also includes species that are 
pollinated by hummingbirds, hawk moths (Sphingidae), beeflies 
(Bombyliidae), and other flies (order Diptera) (Wu et al. 2008, p. 
224). Species of bees that have been observed to visit flowers of the 
closely related Fremont monkeyflower (Diplacus [Mimulus] fremontii) 
include sweat bees (Dufourea versatilis rubriventris), miner bees 
(Perdita nitens, Caliopsis [Nomadopsis] fracta and C. nomadopsis 
trifolii), mason bees (Hoplitis product bernardina), and leaf-cutter 
bees (Anthidium collectum, Chelostoma cockerelli, C. minutum, C. 
phaceliae, Chelostomopsis rubifloris, and Ashmeadiella timberlakei 
timberlakei) (Krombein et al. 1979, pp. 1863-2030; Bugguide 2012; The 
Xerces Society 2012). Additionally, Inouye (in litt. 2012) observed 
that small solitary bees were the most common pollinators on three 
other species of small annual monkeyflower species from dry and mesic 
habitats (D. androsaceus, D. angustatus, and D. douglasii); and Fraga 
(in litt. 2012) has observed halictid bees (Halictidae) on other small 
monkeyflower species.
    Observations of insects specifically on Vandenberg monkeyflower 
include domestic honey bees (Apis mellifera), an

[[Page 50846]]

unidentified native bee, a medium-sized bumblebee (Bombus sp.), and a 
small black wasp (Chesnut in litt. 2014). In addition, Ballard (in 
litt. 2014) documented a number of insects within Vandenberg 
monkeyflower habitat, and though not specifically observed on 
Vandenberg monkeyflower, are consistent with other observations of 
likely pollinators; these include blue mud wasp (Chalybion 
californicum), common eumenid wasp (yellow and black) (Euodynerus 
annulatum), burrowing bee (Apinae), sweat bee (Halictidae), and 
honeybees (Apis mellifera). Although most of the bees listed here are 
considered to be small (6-8 mm long) or medium-sized (8-10 mm long) 
bees, some of them (such as the honeybees) are considered to be large 
(over 10 mm long) bees.

Summary of Biological Status and Threats

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding 
species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species based 
on any of the following five 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 existence. Listing actions may be 
warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.

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

    Factor A threats to Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat include 
development (military, State lands, and residential); utility 
maintenance and miscellaneous activities; invasive, nonnative plants; 
anthropogenic (influenced by human-caused activity) fire; recreation; 
and climate change. These impact categories overlap or act in concert 
with each other to adversely affect Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat. 
The full analysis for each of these Factor A threats is described in 
detail in the October 29, 2013, proposed listing rule (78 FR 64840), 
and is summarized below. The proposed rule also provides a discussion 
of the various conservation measures that have occurred to date to 
assist in addressing these threats (see Factor A--Conservation Measures 
Undertaken section of the proposed listing rule).
    Most of the historical loss of Burton Mesa chaparral where 
Vandenberg monkeyflower occurs is due to military activities 
(Vandenberg AFB), residential communities (Vandenberg Village, Mission 
Hills, and Mesa Oaks), infrastructure at La Purisima Mission State 
Historic Park (SHP), and commercial development that occurred in the 
past and resulted in many developed areas that have existed for 
decades, although historical loss of chaparral is also due to the 
presence and expansion of invasive, nonnative plants. Prior to 1938, 
there were approximately 23,550 ac (9,350 ha) of Burton Mesa chaparral 
(Hickson 1987, p. 34). In 2012, approximately 10,057 ac (4,070 ha) of 
Burton Mesa chaparral remained, which represents a loss of 53 percent 
of the original upland habitat (Service 2012, unpublished data). Based 
on the habitat characteristics of Burton Mesa chaparral, it is probable 
that an equivalent percent loss of sandy openings that occur in-between 
shrubs may have occurred over this timeframe (see Background--Habitat 
section of the proposed listing rule).
    The majority of remaining Burton Mesa chaparral where Vandenberg 
monkeyflower occurs is within Federal or State-owned lands and is 
protected from development. Therefore, large-scale future development 
of remaining Burton Mesa chaparral is not likely to occur and thus is 
not a significant threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower. However, smaller-
scale private property development; access to easements; maintenance of 
utility, oil, and gas pipelines; fire and fire suppression; and 
authorized and unauthorized recreational activities may continue to 
take place throughout Burton Mesa. Some of these activities may occur 
within Burton Mesa chaparral or adjacent to occurrences of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower, resulting in the destruction and possible removal of 
Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat and creating open areas for nonnative 
plants to invade. Therefore, the direct destruction and alteration of 
chaparral habitat (Factor A) is likely to continue on a relatively 
small scale and is thus considered a threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower 
both currently and in the future.
Utility and Pipeline Maintenance
    Utility and pipeline structures occur within the Burton Mesa 
Ecological Reserve (Reserve), and access routes through the Reserve 
service the Plains Exploration and Production Company oil processing 
plant, which surrounds the La Purisima Management Unit of the Reserve. 
Additionally, local land use agencies and public works agencies retain 
other utilities and pipelines, and easements for access. For example, 
the Vandenberg Village Community Services District has several 
structures (including water tanks, a water processing plant, wells, and 
water lines and sewer lines) located within the Reserve (Gevirtz et al. 
2007, p. 63). These existing facilities or structures at times require 
routine maintenance to ensure proper operation. As a result, vehicles 
and foot traffic could occur at or adjacent to these structures and 
potentially result in trampling of habitat and other soil surface 
disturbance, which in turn could result in ground disturbance that 
removes Burton Mesa chaparral and creates open areas in the vegetation 
that act as pathways for nonnative plants to expand or invade. There is 
no indication that ongoing maintenance activities of existing pipelines 
and utilities have directly impacted Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat. 
However, utility maintenance actions could result in ground disturbance 
that removes Burton Mesa chaparral, creating open areas in the 
vegetation that act as pathways for nonnative plants to invade.
Invasive, Nonnative Species
    Invasive, nonnative plants occur and are expanding throughout the 
Burton Mesa. More specifically, at least one of the four most 
problematic invasive plants occurs within or adjacent to suitable 
habitat at each of the nine extant occurrences of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower and at one potentially extirpated location. Invasive 
plants have demonstrated the ability to reduce the diversity of native 
vegetation and convert the native shrublands into nonnative-dominated 
vegetation. In some areas, particularly on Vandenberg AFB, veldt grass, 
iceplant, and pampas grass when first introduced were only minor 
components of the vegetation; today, these nonnatives are dominant 
components of the vegetation at the locations where they were 
introduced, and they have expanded to new areas. The expansion of 
invasive, nonnative plants is also prevalent on the Reserve and at La 
Purisima Mission SHP. Native shrub recruitment and growth of native 
annuals into open areas are substantially decreased where these 
invasive, nonnative plants become established. Thus, it is likely that 
invasive, nonnative plants will become more dominant where they already 
occur and will continue to expand to

[[Page 50847]]

new areas due to the human activities on Burton Mesa, the competitive 
fitness of these invasive plants, the direction of the prevailing wind, 
and the potential for small- and large-scale disturbances (see Factor 
A--Development and Anthropogenic Fire), all of which could create open 
areas that promote invasive, nonnative species invasion and expansion.
    With regard to site-specific impacts to Vandenberg monkeyflower 
habitat, veldt grass has been observed occurring within suitable 
habitat at each of the nine extant occurrences and at one potentially 
extirpated location. Recent observations of the habitat at all nine 
extant occurrences indicate that veldt grass is expanding and becoming 
dominant in the sandy openings where Vandenberg monkeyflower grows. 
Because veldt grass will outcompete native vegetation (including 
overcrowding the sandy openings where Vandenberg monkeyflower grows) 
and is very difficult to eradicate once it is established, the presence 
and expansion of veldt grass within known occurrences of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower is a continuous threat because it reduces the amount and 
quality of this species' habitat. Three other invasive, nonnative 
species (iceplant, Sahara mustard, and pampas grass) have substantial 
impacts to Vandenberg monkeyflower and its habitat. These species, 
along with numerous other nonnative plant species, are present 
throughout Burton Mesa and at all extant occurrences of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower. Similar to veldt grass, the other invasive, nonnative 
plants reduce the amount and quality of habitat for Vandenberg 
monkeyflower by outcompeting Burton Mesa chaparral vegetation and 
decreasing the amount and availability of the sandy openings where 
Vandenberg monkeyflower grows. Nevertheless, no invasive plant is as 
prevalent and represents as much of a threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower 
habitat as veldt grass.
Anthropogenic Fire
    Because of the human presence and infrastructure on Burton Mesa, 
the frequency of human-caused wildfires is likely greater than the 
frequency of historical fires on the mesa. An increased fire frequency 
in Burton Mesa chaparral would tend to favor the establishment of 
nonnative vegetation in open areas at the expense of native vegetation. 
However, the primary threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower and its habitat 
from fire is the post-fire expansion of invasive, nonnative plants, 
regardless of the fire frequency. Because an abundance of nonnative 
plants already occurs on the mesa, and invasive plants rapidly invade 
open areas, any fire that occurs within or adjacent to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower habitat is likely to result in an increase of invasive, 
nonnative vegetation. Likewise, fire suppression activities that 
include clearing vegetation in fuel breaks or spreading retardant would 
increase the likelihood of nonnative species invading suitable 
Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat, as well as enhance the habitat 
conditions for invasive species expansion. Additionally, because the 
presence of invasive, nonnative plants creates a positive feedback 
mechanism, the greater the percent cover of nonnative vegetation, the 
more likely fires will occur on Burton Mesa. Based on the information 
presented in this section, the current threat from anthropogenic fire 
and associated fire suppression activities to Vandenberg monkeyflower 
habitat described above is expected to continue into the future.
Recreation and Other Human Activities
    Recreational activities that occur throughout Burton Mesa include 
authorized uses such as hunting, hiking, biking, wildlife observation, 
and leashed-dog walking. Additionally, off-road vehicle (ORV) use is 
authorized on Vandenberg AFB (Air Force 2011a, p. 6), but it is not 
permitted on the Reserve (Gevirtz et al. 2007, p. 70) or La Purisima 
Mission SHP (California State Parks 1991, p. 109). ORV use and other 
casual recreational activities may contribute to soil disturbance and 
increase the potential for invasive, nonnative plants to be introduced 
and further spread across Burton Mesa, including into locations where 
Vandenberg monkeyflower and its suitable habitat occurs. At this time, 
the best available information does not indicate that recreational 
activities pose a substantial direct threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower 
habitat, although these activities would indirectly affect the habitat 
by contributing to the spread of invasive, nonnative plants within the 
habitat and reducing the habitat quality.
Climate Change
    Climate change may have potential impacts on Vandenberg 
monkeyflower and its habitat (Factors A and E), such as increased 
temperatures and decreased precipitation that would likely reduce 
suitable habitat. Scientific measurements spanning several decades 
demonstrate that changes in climate are occurring, and that the rate of 
change has increased since the 1950s. Within central-western California 
(i.e., counties along the California coast from the San Francisco Bay 
area south to Santa Barbara County), regional climate models project a 
mean annual temperature increase of 1.6 to 1.9 degrees Celsius ([deg]C) 
(2.9-3.4 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F)) and a mean diurnal temperature 
range increase of 0.1 to 0.2 [deg]C (0.2-0.4[emsp14][deg]F) by 2070 
(Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) Conservation Science 2011, p. 35). 
The projected impacts of climate change are warmer winter temperatures, 
earlier warming in the spring, and increased summer temperatures (PRBO 
Conservation Science 2011, p. 35). Additionally, regional climate 
models project a decrease in mean annual rainfall of 2.4 to 7.4 in (6.1 
to 18.8 cm) (PRBO Conservation Science 2011, p. 35). The large range of 
possible precipitation change (-11 percent to -32 percent) is due to 
different model projections and sensitivity. This sensitivity indicates 
substantial uncertainty in precipitation projections (PRBO Conservation 
Science 2011, p. 35). Other scientific sources (Snyder et al. 2004, pp. 
594-595) project similar temperature increases and precipitation 
decreases along the central California coast.
    To estimate what changes in rainfall and temperature, if any, would 
occur in the Burton Mesa area over the next 50 years, we used both 
local weather data and an available projection tool called 
ClimateWizard (2012). ClimateWizard (2012) projects that rainfall would 
decrease an average of 8 to 12 percent from baseline and temperature 
would rise approximately 2.5[emsp14][deg]F (1.4 [deg]C) by the 2050s. A 
comparison between the Burton Mesa area and the eastern portion of 
Santa Barbara County (for example, 30 mi (48 km) east of the Burton 
Mesa area, which is projected to rise approximately 5[emsp14][deg]F 
(2.8 [deg]C)), indicates that the change in temperature is expected to 
be less in the Burton Mesa area. This prediction is likely due to the 
moderating influence of ocean temperatures in coastal areas.
    We recognize that climate change is an important issue with 
potential impacts to species and their habitats, including Vandenberg 
monkeyflower. Regional climate projections indicate that a warming and 
drying trend is likely in central-western California, which would 
likely make habitat less favorable for Vandenberg monkeyflower. 
However, as stated above, these warming and drying effects may be 
moderated by the marine influence. Therefore, climate change may not 
affect Vandenberg monkeyflower or its habitat as quickly or as 
extensively as may be projected.

[[Page 50848]]

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

    No available information indicates any impacts to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower related to overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes or that these activities would 
increase in the future. Therefore, we do not consider this factor to be 
a threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower, nor do we expect it to be in the 

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    We have no information indicating any impacts to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower related to disease or predation, or that disease or 
predation may become a concern in the future. Therefore, we do not 
consider disease or predation to be threats to Vandenberg monkeyflower, 
nor do we expect them to become threats in the future.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Under this factor, we examine whether existing regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate to address the threats to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower discussed under other factors. We give strongest weight to 
statutes and their implementing regulations, and management direction 
that stems from those laws and regulations. They are nondiscretionary 
and enforceable, and are considered a regulatory mechanism under this 
analysis. Examples include State governmental actions enforced under a 
State statute or constitution, or Federal action under statute.
    Some other programs are more voluntary in nature or dependent on 
available funding (see Conservation Measures Undertaken under Factor A 
in the proposed listing rule); in those cases, we analyze the specific 
facts for that effort to ascertain its effectiveness at mitigating the 
threat and the extent to which it can be relied on in the future. 
Having evaluated the significance of the threat as mitigated by any 
such conservation efforts, we analyze under Factor D the extent to 
which existing regulatory mechanisms adequately address the specific 
threats to the species. Regulatory mechanisms, if they exist, may 
preclude the need for listing if we determine that such mechanisms 
adequately address the threats to the species such that listing is not 
    We note that Vandenberg monkeyflower is not State-listed as 
endangered or threatened. The Service added this species to the Federal 
list of candidate species on November 10, 2010 (75 FR 69222; see 
previous Federal Actions in the proposed rule) and proposed listing 
this species as endangered on October 29, 2013 (78 FR 64840). Candidate 
species are afforded no protections under the Act. The California 
Native Plant Society (CNPS) classifies this species as 1B.1, which 
denotes that a taxon is seriously endangered in California (CNPS 2012). 
The full Factor D analysis is described in detail in the October 29, 
2013, proposed listing rule (78 FR 64840), and is summarized below.
    The existing regulatory mechanisms at the Federal and State levels 
require evaluation of potential actions that may impact Vandenberg 
monkeyflower and its habitat on Burton Mesa. At the Federal level, the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires only evaluation of 
impacts to the human environment. The Sikes Act requires military 
installations to develop Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans 
(INRMPs) to ensure proper consideration of fish, wildlife, and habitat 
needs on their lands. In 2012, the Air Force approved an Addendum (Air 
Force 2012) to the 2011 INRMP (Air Force 2011b) that addresses the 
conservation of Vandenberg monkeyflower and its habitat. Vandenberg 
monkeyflower is considered a covered species, and the Air Force 
provides management of the species by identifying the threat of 
invasive, nonnative plants and proposing actions to limit further 
spread of, and assist in the restoration of habitat degraded by, 
invasive, nonnative plants. The Service has approved the INRMP and 
Addendum as providing a conservation benefit to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower, and anticipates continued coordination with the Air Force 
regarding INRMP revisions and future conservation actions relevant to 
Vandenberg monkeyflower and its habitat. With the exception of this 
INRMP, no protections are in place at the local, State, and Federal 
levels that are intended to protect a plant species that is not 
federally or State listed. Additionally, at least one incident of 
unauthorized grading occurred without following the required local 
permit process; loss of Vandenberg monkeyflower individuals and habitat 
was documented.
    Federal and State ownership of much of the occupied Vandenberg 
monkeyflower habitat and the regulatory framework that defines the use 
of those Federal and State lands protect the species from direct losses 
of habitat and provide further protection from many forms of 
disturbance. However, the current regulatory regime does not address 
the majority of impacts associated with loss of Vandenberg monkeyflower 
habitat (i.e., development of private lands that result in habitat 
loss, fire and fire suppression efforts, authorized and unauthorized 
recreation activities, and the invasion and expansion of invasive, 
nonnative species). As described under Factor A in the proposed listing 
rule and summarized here, the primary threat with the greatest severity 
and magnitude of impact to Vandenberg monkeyflower is invasive, 
nonnative species invasion and expansion. Although some protections 
currently exist for the species and its habitat as a result of existing 
regulatory mechanisms in place at the local, State, and national 
levels, our evaluation suggests these protections are inadequate to 
address the primary threat of invasive, nonnative species to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower and its habitat (Factor D).

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 

Competition for Resources With Invasive, Nonnative Species
    In Factor A, we discussed how invasive, nonnative plants alter the 
habitat that supports Vandenberg monkeyflower. In this section, we 
summarize how invasive, nonnative plants compete with individuals of 
Vandenberg monkeyflower for light, water, and soil nutrients. Please 
see the Factor E--Competition for Resources with Invasive, Nonnative 
Species section of the proposed listing rule for a detailed discussion.
    Invasion of nonnative plants and in particular nonnative grasses is 
a threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower because small annuals such as this 
species most likely cannot compete with fast-growing nonnative plants 
for light, water, and soil nutrients (refer to Barrows et al. 2009; 
Lambrinos 2000; D'Antonio and Vitousek 1992). Grasses have long been 
recognized as effective competitors with herbaceous and woody species 
(Davis and Mooney 1985; D'Antonio and Vitousek 1992). For example: (1) 
Rapidly growing nonnative grasses can reduce light at the soil surface 
and thereby reduce the photosynthetic ability of competitors (Thompson 
1991, pp. 394-395); and (2) nonnative grasses can uptake water and 
nutrients with their dense, shallow root systems (whereas root systems 
of most woody species are deeper and less dense than those of grasses); 
once woody species become large, they are generally thought to have 
access to moisture and nutrients from portions of the soil profile 

[[Page 50849]]

grass roots (D'Antonio and Vitousek 1992, p. 70). Grasses are most 
effective as competitors against seedlings and shallow-rooted annuals 
rather than saplings or adults of woody species (Davis and Mooney 1985, 
p. 528; D'Antonio and Vitousek 1992, p. 70). However, Knoop and Walker 
(1985, p. 249) demonstrated that grasses can reduce water availability 
in the subsoil at a depth of 1 to 4.25 ft (0.3 to 1.3 m) where shrub 
roots are common.
    Because individuals of Vandenberg monkeyflower are small in stature 
(growing up to 10 in (25.4 cm) tall), invasive, nonnative plants that 
grow taller in stature and quicker than this species (such as veldt 
grass and Sahara mustard; see Factor A--Invasive, Nonnative Plants and 
Anthropogenic Fire sections of the proposed rule) may inhibit the 
growth and production of Vandenberg monkeyflower attempting to grow 
nearby. Moreover, because Vandenberg monkeyflower likely is shallow 
rooted like other small annual plants that grow in sandy openings 
within chaparral, invasive, nonnative grasses that occur within and 
near the species are likely outcompeting it by depleting the water at 
shallow depths and soil nutrients that it requires. Veldt grass is of 
particular concern because: (1) It is present at nine (100 percent) of 
the Vandenberg monkeyflower extant occurrences and one potentially 
extirpated occurrence (i.e., Lower Santa Lucia Canyon); and (2) it has 
deep-reaching roots that are able to tolerate Mediterranean climates 
(Tothill 1962, pp. 132-161). Thus, veldt grass could deplete the water 
and soil nutrients that would otherwise be available for Vandenberg 
Small Population Size and Restricted Range
    According to the criteria put forth by the World Conservation 
Union, as modified for plants, a species that has life-history, 
population, and distribution attributes similar to those of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower is considered to have a high risk of extinction in the 
wild in the immediate future (Keith 1998, pp. 1085-1087). Species with 
few populations and individuals are vulnerable to the threat of 
naturally occurring events, which can cause extinction through 
mechanisms operating either at the genetic, population, or landscape 
level (Shaffer 1981, pp. 131-134; Primack 1998, pp. 279-308). The 
genetic characteristics of Vandenberg monkeyflower have not been 
investigated; therefore, the degree to which genetic characteristics 
contribute to the likelihood of this species being vulnerable to 
extinction is unknown. However, random events operating at the 
population and landscape levels may increase the chance of extinction 
for Vandenberg monkeyflower. Although data are not available to 
determine population trends for this species, the best available 
information gained from multiple survey years between 2003 and 2012 
indicate that 3 occurrences (33 percent) have fewer than 100 
individuals. Six occurrences (67 percent) were recently shown to harbor 
more than 100 individuals, and 2 of those 6 occurrences (22 percent) 
contained more than 1,000 individuals (see Current Status of Vandenberg 
Monkeyflower section in the proposed listing rule for further 
population discussion).
    Species with few populations or those with low numbers may be 
subject to forces at the population level that affect their ability to 
complete their life cycles successfully. The number and density of 
flowering plants in a population can be important determinants of 
pollinator abundance and behavior (Jennersten 1988, pp. 361-363; 
Bernhardt et al. 2008, p. 948). Reduced numbers of individuals of 
flowering plants may lead to a reduction in abundance of pollinators 
and subsequent seed set and fitness of seed progeny (Menges 1991, p. 
162). Specific information is not available for Vandenberg 
monkeyflower; however, these studies on other plant-pollinator 
relationships point out the importance of pollinators that is likely 
applicable to Vandenberg monkeyflower.
    The establishment and encroachment of nonnative species in and 
around Vandenberg monkeyflower individuals and populations results in a 
less diverse plant community. One aspect of this situation is the 
reduction of native pollinators that are necessary for the continued 
reproduction of Vandenberg monkeyflower because it is an annual, not a 
    Annual plants that are subject to wide fluctuations in population 
numbers from year to year, such as Vandenberg monkeyflower, may have 
difficulty maintaining a viable population size after a series of poor 
seed-production years. Additionally, if the host plants (plants being 
visited by pollinators) are partially self-incompatible, reduction in 
population size may lead to increased self-pollination and may reduce 
the level of genetic variability. At the landscape level, random 
natural events, such as storms, drought, or fire, could destroy a 
significant percentage of individuals or entire populations. Because 
Vandenberg monkeyflower comprises a small number of locations and 
individuals, and is restricted to a small geographic area on Burton 
Mesa, this species' risk of extinction increases from such naturally 
occurring events. No empirical information is available to estimate 
trends for Vandenberg monkeyflower populations; however, the continued 
decrease in habitat (especially from nonnative plant invasions) is 
contributing to habitat fragmentation and impacting the species' 
ability to persist.
    Recreational use occurs on Burton Mesa within Vandenberg AFB, the 
Reserve, and La Purisima Mission SHP. We discussed the effects to 
Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat resulting from recreational use (see 
Factor A--Recreation of the proposed rule); however, recreational 
activities may also result in trampling individuals of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower. The Volans Avenue occurrence of Vandenberg monkeyflower 
is adjacent to a sewer line easement that is also used for hiking and 
dog walking (see Factor A--Recreation of the proposed rule). 
Recreational users are encouraged to stay within existing and 
designated trails. No other location where this species occurs is 
adjacent to designated trails. Therefore, the best available 
information indicates that recreational activities involving casual 
human use are having minimal effect on individuals of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower. Unauthorized recreational activities such as mountain 
biking and ORV use have resulted in damaged native vegetation, and 
squashed and sometimes broken plant parts (Meyer in litt. 2010; Meyer 
in litt. 2013). Determining where the unauthorized ORV activity 
originates on the Reserve is difficult because of the historical 
network of trails and roads. Available information does not indicate 
the extent and degree to which ORV activity and mountain biking may be 
impacting Vandenberg monkeyflower individuals.

Combination of Factors

    Many of the threats discussed above act in concert, and the 
resulting effects to Vandenberg monkeyflower are amplified. For 
example, some land uses and development or maintenance activities 
(Factor A) create ground disturbance and subsequent openings in the 
vegetation where nonnative plants (Factor A) can invade, expand, and 
outcompete native vegetation (Factor E). Fires on Burton Mesa (Factor 
A) result in an increase in nonnative vegetation (Factor A). Similarly, 
an abundance of nonnative vegetation, particularly grasses (Factors A 
and E), may result in

[[Page 50850]]

an increase in fire frequency (Factor A). The availability of habitat 
and small overall population size (Factor E) may be affected in a 
changing climate and by events such as wildfire (Factor A). Thus, 
Vandenberg monkeyflower's productivity may be reduced because of these 
threats, either singularly or in combination. Existing regulatory 
mechanisms have not proven effective at protecting Vandenberg 
monkeyflower or its habitat from these threats (Factor D).
    As stated above, the presence of invasive, nonnative plants is the 
most significant threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower, both alone and in 
combination with other Factors (e.g., anthropogenic fire, recreation). 
The combination of factors would likely create a cumulative or 
synergistic threat to the existence of Vandenberg monkeyflower. Given 
these circumstances, the combined effects of current threats to the 
population put the species at risk rangewide.
    Please refer to the proposed listing rule (78 FR 64840; October 29, 
2013), available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R8-
ES-2013-0078, for a more detailed discussion of the biological status 
of Vandenberg monkeyflower and the impacts affecting the species and 
its habitat, which we have summarized here. Our assessment was based 
upon the best available scientific and commercial data and expert 
opinions of our staff.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the proposed rule published on October 29, 2013 (78 FR 64840), 
we requested that all interested parties submit written comments on the 
proposal by December 13, 2013. We also contacted appropriate Federal 
and State agencies, scientific experts and organizations, and other 
interested parties and invited them to comment on the proposal. 
Newspaper notices inviting general public comment were published in the 
Santa Barbara News-Press. We did not receive any requests for a public 
hearing. All substantive information provided during comment periods 
has either been incorporated directly into this final determination or 
is addressed below.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinion from three knowledgeable 
individuals with scientific expertise that included familiarity with 
Vandenberg monkeyflower and its habitat, the geographic region in which 
the species occurs, and conservation biology principles relevant to the 
species. We received responses from all three peer reviewers. We 
reviewed all comments received from the peer reviewers for substantive 
issues and new information. The peer reviewers provided additional 
information, clarifications, and suggestions to improve the final 
listing rule as discussed in more detail below. Peer reviewer comments 
are addressed in the following summary and incorporated into the final 
rule as appropriate.
    Comment 1: One peer reviewer stated that the shutdown of the 
California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) A-rated Noxious 
Weed Eradication Program in 2011, which provided funding and manpower 
for projects in Santa Barbara County, would contribute to the nonnative 
species threat. Another peer reviewer reiterated the threat posed by 
nonnative species and the difficulty managing them.
    Response: We acknowledge the peer reviewers' comments. We agree 
with the peer reviewers that invasive, nonnative plants are impacting 
Vandenberg monkeyflower individuals and habitat (see Factor A. The 
Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its 
Habitat or Range--Invasive Nonnative Species). It is unfortunate that 
CDFA eliminated State funding for all weed programs in 2011, given that 
invasive, nonnative plants are a significant threat to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower and its habitat. We have contributed to invasive, 
nonnative plant control on Burton Mesa, such as through the Service's 
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, to assist La Purisima Mission 
State Historic Park with veldt grass removal adjacent to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower populations. We agree that veldt grass and other nonnative 
plants are a pervasive presence in Vandenberg monkeyflower habitat, and 
we intend to continue partnering with State Parks, California 
Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other entities, such as the County 
of Santa Barbara and local agencies, on efforts to control and remove 
invasive, nonnative plants from sites on Burton Mesa that impact 
Vandenberg monkeyflower and other sensitive species.
    Comment 2: One peer reviewer provided recommendations for minor 
changes to the Background section (taxonomy, biology and life history, 
habitat and soil preferences, spatial distribution, historical range, 
and population size) of the proposed rule.
    Response: We appreciate the suggestions and clarifying information 
provided by the peer reviewer and the opportunity to incorporate the 
best available scientific information into the final rule. The 
information provided by the peer reviewer is related to a section of 
the proposed rule that is not repeated in this final rule. 
Nevertheless, we have made use of this information in other sections of 
this final rule, where appropriate, and it informs our final 
determination. Moreover, we will similarly use this information in 
future actions related to Vandenberg monkeyflower. The information did 
not alter our determination for Vandenberg monkeyflower as an 
endangered species. The following three comments and responses (i.e., 
Comments 2(a), 2(b), and 2(c)) are a summary of the peer reviewer's 
three clarifications and our responses.
    Comment 2(a): The peer reviewer noted that in the ``Life History'' 
section of the proposed rule, Layia glandulosa (tidytips) and Plantago 
erecta (plantain) would be better species to provide as examples of 
other plants that, like Vandenberg monkeyflower, respond to winter 
rains and bloom earlier in the growing season. The peer reviewer stated 
that the example we referenced as being similar to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower, Lessingia glandulifera (lessingia), may not be as good of 
a comparison because it is a much larger and robust annual that often 
blooms later in the season and may respond to the occasional summer 
rain event.
    Response: We acknowledge the peer reviewer's comment. While we made 
reference to lessingia because it is an often co-occurring annual in 
sandy openings with Vandenberg monkeyflower, we agree that its 
phenology and response to occasional summer rain events is different 
than that of Vandenberg monkeyflower, and that some of the other co-
occurring annual plant species may be more similar.
    Comment 2(b): The peer reviewer noted in the ``Distribution'' 
section of the proposed rule conflicting terminology; specifically, we 
referred to a historical occurrence of Vandenberg monkeyflower located 
in the Santa Rita Valley also as the Santa Ynez Valley.
    Response: We used the descriptions of valley names interchangeably; 
however, the Santa Rita Valley watershed is a tributary of the larger 
Santa Ynez Valley watershed, and so the former is a more precise 
reference to the historical location of this species. We have now 
clarified this description in this final rule as Santa Rita Valley, 
where appropriate.
    Comment 2(c): The peer reviewer commented that the historical 
occurrence in the Santa Rita Valley mentioned in the ``Distribution'' 

[[Page 50851]]

should be shown on the map of the distribution of Vandenberg 
monkeyflower occurrences (Figure 2), and we should consider that this 
historical occurrence may have persisted for a long time and was 
extirpated by land-use conversion in the area.
    Response: We chose to include only the known extant occurrences of 
Vandenberg monkeyflower in the distribution map presented in the 
proposed rule (78 FR 64840, 64846). In the Distribution of Vandenberg 
Monkeyflower--Historical Occurrences section of the proposed rule, we 
noted that Vandenberg monkeyflower has been extirpated at this location 
because no suitable habitat remains due to agricultural conversion 
(including vineyards and berries (Elvin 2009, pers. obs.)) and heavily 
grazed pastureland (Wilken and Wardlaw 2010, Appendix 2).
    Comment 3: One peer reviewer commented on our discussion in the 
Summary of Factors Affecting the Species section of the proposed rule 
regarding habitat threats (Factor A) from private land development and 
the impact to the soil seed bank. The following statement from the 
proposed rule was unclear to the commenter: ``Data are not available on 
the specific acreage of sandy openings expected to be lost as a result 
of these projects, but data are provided on the loss of Burton Mesa 
chaparral and the number of individuals of Vandenberg monkeyflower 
observed at, or adjacent to, these project sites.''
    Response: We appreciate the comment regarding the importance of the 
soil seed bank for Vandenberg monkeyflower. To clarify the statement 
mentioned above, it is meant to lay out what information we have about 
habitat loss resulting from the private land developments. We describe 
that Vandenberg monkeyflower occurs in sandy openings within Burton 
Mesa chaparral habitat. Because data measuring specific acreages of 
sandy openings expected to be lost as a result of these projects are 
not available (reporting of the loss of Burton Mesa chaparral typically 
does not include a separate breakdown of loss of sandy openings), we 
discuss the threat of habitat loss in terms of loss of overall 
chaparral habitat and the threats to the amount and quality of sandy 
openings where Vandenberg monkeyflower grows.

Public Comments

    We received two public comments. Both were supportive of our 
proposed listing of Vandenberg monkeyflower as an endangered species, 
although no specific comments were provided.


    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding 
species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species based 
on: (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; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its 
continued existence. Listing actions may be warranted based on any of 
the above threat factors, singly or in combination.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to Vandenberg monkeyflower. We considered the five factors identified 
in section 4(a)(1) of the Act in determining whether Vandenberg 
monkeyflower meets the Act's definition of an endangered species 
(section 3(6)) or a threatened species (section 3(20)). We determined 
that Vandenberg monkeyflower is endangered by the present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range 
(Factor A), and other natural or manmade factors affecting its 
continued existence (Factor E). The greatest threat to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower is the presence and expansion of invasive, nonnative 
plants that are abundant on Burton Mesa, particularly occurring within 
or adjacent to all known occurrences of Vandenberg monkeyflower. 
Additionally, many of the threats act in concert, and the resulting 
effects to Vandenberg monkeyflower are amplified.
    We did not identify threats to Vandenberg monkeyflower due to 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes (Factor B); or disease or predation (Factor C). 
Although regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are in place that provide 
some protection to Vandenberg monkeyflower and its habitat, these 
mechanisms do not completely alleviate all of the threats currently 
acting on the species.
    In the summary of the threats described in detail above, we found 
that Vandenberg monkeyflower suitable habitat on Burton Mesa has been 
displaced by military, residential, and commercial development, 
although the most significant ongoing threat to Vandenberg monkeyflower 
is the loss of habitat due to the presence and continual spread of 
invasive, nonnative plants (Factor A). Approximately 53 percent of 
Burton Mesa chaparral habitat has been lost, with only 10,057 ac (4,070 
ha) of the 23,550 ac (9,350 ha) that existed before 1938 remaining. 
Additionally, invasive, nonnative plants, in particular veldt grass, 
are present and continuing to expand at all nine extant locations. No 
Vandenberg monkeyflower individuals have been observed at the three 
smallest extant locations in the last 3 years at one location and the 
last 6 years at the other two locations even though a residual seed 
bank is likely present. Burton Mesa chaparral is also subject to an 
anthropogenic fire regime that can increase the presence of invasive 
plants (Factor A). Casual human recreational use and utility 
maintenance activities can contribute to habitat disturbance that 
facilitates pathways for nonnative species to invade Burton Mesa 
chaparral habitat (Factor A).
    Furthermore, invasive, nonnative plants are likely competing with 
Vandenberg monkeyflower for sunlight, water, and soil resources, and 
the species' restricted range and small population size make it 
vulnerable to changing environmental conditions due to climate change 
and other random, naturally occurring events (Factor E). Small 
population size is a highlighted concern in part due to the low number 
of individuals found to exist at the 3 smallest extant occurrences; in 
particular, 3 of the 9 occurrences have a range of 0 to 25 individuals 
documented between 2003 and 2012. The threats described above for 
Vandenberg monkeyflower occur across its entire range, resulting in a 
negative impact on the species' distribution, abundance, and 
probability of long-term persistence. Existing regulatory mechanisms 
are not adequate to protect the species or its habitat from these 
identified threats (Factor D).
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and a threatened species as any species ``that is likely to 
become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range 
within the foreseeable future.'' We find that Vandenberg monkeyflower 
is facing ongoing and projected threats across its range, and because 
of its restricted range and population size, it is vulnerable to 
extinction from elevated threats. We conclude that it meets the 
definition of an endangered species throughout its entire range due

[[Page 50852]]

primarily to: (1) The invasion, spread, and competition of invasive, 
nonnative species at all nine extant locations; (2) the species occurs 
only on Burton Mesa and over one-half of the habitat has been lost; and 
(3) its small population size makes it vulnerable to stochastic events. 
These impacts are heightened due to anthropogenic fire conditions that 
promote further invasion of nonnative species; recreation and other 
human activities that contribute to the spread of invasive, nonnative 
species; and continued development on private lands that further 
reduces and fragments the remaining suitable habitat. The threats to 
its continued existence are not commencing in the foreseeable future 
(which would result in a status determination of a threatened species), 
but are immediate and ongoing. We base this determination on the 
immediacy, severity, and scope of the threats described above. 
Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial 
information, we are listing Vandenberg monkeyflower as an endangered 
species in accordance with sections 3(6) and 4(a)(1) of the Act.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it meets the definition of an endangered or 
threatened species throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. The Vandenberg monkeyflower that is proposed for listing in this 
rule is highly restricted in its range and the threats occur throughout 
its range. Therefore, we assessed the status of Vandenberg monkeyflower 
throughout its entire range. The threats to the survival of the species 
occur throughout the species' range and are not restricted to any 
particular significant portion of that range. Accordingly, our 
assessment and proposed determination applies to the species throughout 
its entire 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 and preparation of a draft and final 
recovery plan. The recovery outline guides the immediate implementation 
of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to be used to 
develop a recovery plan. Revisions of the plan may be done to address 
continuing or new threats to the species, as new substantive 
information becomes available. The recovery plan identifies site-
specific management actions that set a trigger for review of the five 
factors that control, for example, whether a species remains endangered 
or 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 (composed of species 
experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and 
stakeholders) are often established to develop recovery plans; however, 
we have not coordinated a team nor initiated efforts on a recovery plan 
at this time. When completed, a recovery outline, draft recovery plan, 
and the final recovery plan for Vandenberg monkeyflower will be 
available on our Web site (http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from our 
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    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 occur primarily or solely on non-
Federal lands. To achieve recovery of these species requires 
cooperative conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands.
    Based on this final listing rule, funding for recovery actions may 
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 will be 
eligible for Federal funds to implement management actions that promote 
the protection or recovery of Vandenberg monkeyflower. Information on 
our grant programs that are available to aid species recovery can be 
found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Please let us know if you are interested in participating in 
recovery efforts for Vandenberg monkeyflower. Additionally, we invite 
you to submit any new information on this species whenever it becomes 
available and any information you may have for recovery planning 
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as an 
endangered or threatened species 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 consultation with the 
    Federal agency actions within the species' habitat that may require 
conference or consultation or both as described in the preceding 
paragraph include the Department of Defense, the Bureau of Prisons, 
Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and 
the Federal Highway Administration. Activities potentially include 
management and any other landscape-altering activities

[[Page 50853]]

on Federal lands administered by the Department of Defense or the 
Bureau of Prisons, issuance of section 404 Clean Water Act permits by 
the Army Corps of Engineers, construction and management of gas 
pipeline and power line rights-of-way licensed by the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, and funding by the Federal Highway 
Administration for the construction and maintenance of roads or 
    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at 
the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a listing on 
proposed and ongoing activities within the range of listed species. The 
Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of general 
prohibitions and exceptions that apply to endangered and threatened 
plants. The Service codified the Act's prohibitions applicable to 
endangered plants at 50 CFR 17.71. The regulations at 50 CFR 17.71(a) 
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, but 50 CFR 17.71(a) 
contains an exception for the seeds of cultivated specimens, provided 
that a statement that the seeds are of ``cultivated origin'' 
accompanies the seeds or their container. The following activities 
could potentially result in a violation of section 9 of the Act; this 
list is not comprehensive:
    (1) Removing and reducing to possession Vandenberg monkeyflower 
from areas under Federal jurisdiction.
    (2) Malicious damage or destruction of Vandenberg monkeyflower on 
areas under Federal jurisdiction.
    (3) Unauthorized collecting, handling, possessing, selling, 
delivering, carrying, or transporting across State lines and importing 
or exporting across international boundaries, except for properly 
documented antique specimens of these taxa at least 100 years old, as 
defined by section 10(h)(1) of the Act.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Ventura 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Required Determinations

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

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be 
prepared in connection with listing a species as an endangered or 
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We published a 
notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994 
(Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments; 59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes. With regard to Vandenberg 
monkeyflower, there are no tribal lands affected by this final rule.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available 
on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the 
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).


    The primary authors of this final rule are the staff members of the 
Service's Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office and Region 8 Regional 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 
of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


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

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245, unless 
otherwise noted.

2. Amend Sec.  17.12(h) by adding an entry for ``Diplacus 
vandenbergensis'' in alphabetical order under Flowering Plants to the 
List of Endangered and Threatened 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
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Diplacus vandenbergensis.........  Vandenberg            U.S.A. (CA)........  Phrymaceae.........  E                       847           NA           NA
                                   ....................               * * * * * * *

[[Page 50854]]

* * * * *

    Dated: July 24, 2014.
Stephen Guretin,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-20054 Filed 8-25-14; 8:45 am]