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Rule

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Adding 20 Coral Species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), are amending the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List) by adding 20 species of corals: Boulder star coral (Orbicella franksi), lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis), mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata), pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), rough cactus Start Printed Page 67357coral (Mycetophyllia ferox), Acropora globiceps, Acropora jacquelineae, Acropora lokani, Acropora pharaonis, Acropora retusa, Acropora rudis, Acropora speciosa, Acropora tenella, Anacropora spinosa, Euphyllia paradivisa, Isopora crateriformis, Montipora australiensis, Pavona diffluens, Porites napopora, and Seriatopora aculeata. These amendments are based on previously published determinations by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, which has jurisdiction for these species.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 13, 2014. Applicability date: The 20 coral listings were applicable as of October 10, 2014.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Douglas Krofta, Chief, Branch of Endangered Species Listing, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS-ES, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; 703-358-2171.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In accordance with the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970 (35 FR 15627; October 6, 1970), NMFS has jurisdiction over the marine and anadromous taxa identified in this rule. Under section 4(a)(2) of the Act, NMFS must decide whether a species under its jurisdiction should be classified as an endangered or threatened species. NMFS makes these determinations via its rulemaking process. We, the Service, are then responsible for publishing final rules to amend the List in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.11(h).

On December 7, 2012, NMFS published a proposed rule (77 FR 73220) to list 66 petitioned coral species, 12 as endangered and 54 as threatened, and to reclassify from threatened to endangered two coral species (elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis)) already listed under the Act. NMFS solicited public comments on the proposed rule through March 7, 2013. On September 20, 2013, NMFS published a notice of 6-month extension of the deadline for the final coral species' determinations because of substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the data and analyses relevant to the proposed listing determinations (78 FR 57835).

On September 10, 2014, NMFS published a final rule (79 FR 53852) to list 20 of the 66 proposed coral species as threatened species. The listing of the 20 species was effective October 10, 2014. In that same rule, NMFS also determined that elkhorn coral and staghorn coral did not warrant reclassification from threatened to endangered. However, we revise the elkhorn coral and staghorn coral listings in this rule to make the information in the Historic Range column consistent with the other coral entries; the listing status of threatened remains unchanged for these two species.

In the September 10, 2014, final rule (79 FR 53852), NMFS addressed all public comments received in response to the proposed rule. By publishing this final rule, we are simply taking the necessary administrative step to codify these changes in the List in 50 CFR 17.11(h).

Administrative Procedure Act

Because NMFS provided a public comment period on the proposed rules for these taxa, and because this action of the Service to amend the List in accordance with the determination by NMFS is nondiscretionary, the Service finds good cause that the notice and public comment procedures of 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are unnecessary for this action. We also find good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule effective immediately. The NMFS rules extended protection under the Act to these species and listed them in 50 CFR parts 223 and 224; this rule is an administrative action to add the species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife at 50 CFR 17.11(h). The public would not be served by delaying the effective date of this rulemaking action.

Required Determinations

National Environmental Policy Act

We have determined that an environmental assessment, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. We outlined our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

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List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

  • Endangered and threatened species
  • Exports
  • Imports
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Transportation
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Regulation Promulgation

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

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PART 17—[AMENDED]

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

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

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2. Amend § 17.11(h) under Corals by:

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a. Revising the entries for “Coral, elkhorn” and “Coral, staghorn” to read as set forth below; and

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b. Adding 20 entries in alphabetical order for: “Coral, [no common name]” (15 entries); “Coral, boulder star”; “Coral, lobed star”; “Coral, mountainous star”; “Coral, pillar”; and “Coral, rough cactus”, to read as follows:

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Endangered and threatened wildlife.
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(h) * * *

SpeciesHistoric rangeVertebrate population where endangered or threatenedStatusWhen listedCritical habitatSpecial rules
Common nameScientific name
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
Corals
Coral, [no common name]Acropora globicepsU.S.A. (Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Remote Island Areas, American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Acropora jacquelineaeU.S.A. (American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
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Coral, [no common name]Acropora lokaniIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Acropora pharaonisIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Acropora retusaU.S.A. (Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Remote Island Areas, American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Acropora rudisU.S.A. (American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Acropora speciosaU.S.A. (Pacific Remote Island Areas, American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Acropora tenellaIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Anacropora spinosaIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Euphyllia paradivisaU.S.A. (American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Isopora crateriformisU.S.A. (American Samoa); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Montipora australiensisIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Pavona diffluensIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Porites napoporaIndo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, [no common name]Seriatopora aculeataU.S.A. (Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands); and wider Indo-PacificEntireT853NANA
Coral, boulder starOrbicella franksiU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI, Gulf of Mexico); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853NANA
Coral, elkhornAcropora palmataU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853226.216223.208
Coral, lobed starOrbicella annularisU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI, Gulf of Mexico); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853NANA
Coral, mountainous starOrbicella faveolataU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI, Gulf of Mexico); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853NANA
Coral, pillarDendrogyra cylindrusU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853NANA
Coral, rough cactusMycetophyllia feroxU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853NANA
Coral, staghornAcropora cervicornisU.S.A. (FL, PR, USVI); and wider CaribbeanEntireT853226.216223.208
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Dated: November 4, 2014.

Stephen Guertin,

Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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[FR Doc. 2014-26893 Filed 11-12-14; 8:45 am]

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