Federal Register, Volume 76, Number 149, August 3, 2011, Pages 46595-47054 Page: 46,633
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Federal Register/Vol. 76, No. 149 /Wednesday, August 3, 2011 /Rules and Regulations
believed to be the type locality for the
species was destroyed by the
construction of a trailer park.
More recently, Binns et al. (2002, pp.
610-632) revised the taxonomy of the
genus Echinacea and in doing so
reduced Echinacea tennesseensis to one
of five varieties of E. pallida. Their
taxonomic treatment considers E.
pallida var. tennesseensis (Beadle)
Small to be a synonym of their E.
tennesseensis (Beadle) Binns, B. R.
Baum, & Arnason, comb. nov. (Binns et
al. 2002, pp. 629). However, this has not
been unanimously accepted among
plant taxonomists (Estes 2008, pers.
comm.; Weakley 2008, pp. 139-140).
Kim et al. (2004) examined the genetic
diversity of Echinacea species and their
results conflicted with the division of
the genus by Binns et al. (2002, pp. 617-
632) into two subgenera, Echinacea and
Pallida, one of which-Echinacea-
included only E. purpurea. Mechanda et
al. (2004, p. 481) concluded that their
analysis of genetic diversity within
Echinacea only supported recognition
of one of the five varieties of E. pallida
that Binns et al. (2002, pp. 626-629)
described, namely E. pallida var.
tennesseensis. While Mechanda et al.
(2004, p. 481) would also reduce E.
tennesseensis from specific to varietal
status, the conflicting results between
these two investigations point to a lack
of consensus regarding the appropriate
taxonomic rank of taxa within the genus
Echinacea. Because clear acceptance of
the taxonomic revision by Binns et al.
(2002, pp. 610-632) is lacking, and
Flora of North America (http://
id=1 &taxon id=250066491, accessed
December 3, 2009) and a flora under
development by Weakley (2008, pp.
139-140) both retain specific status for
E. tennesseensis, we continue to
recognize E. tennesseensis as a species
for the purposes of this rule.
Echinacea tennesseensis is restricted
to limestone barrens and cedar glades of
the Central Basin, Interior Low Plateau
Physiographic Province, in Davidson,
Rutherford, and Wilson Counties in
Tennessee (Tennessee Department of
Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
2006, p. 2). These middle Tennessee
habitats typically occur on thin plates of
Lebanon limestone that are more or less
horizontally bedded, though interrupted
by vertical fissures in which sinkholes
may be readily formed (Quarterman
1986, p. 124). Somers et al. (1986, pp.
180-189) described seven plant
community types from their study of 10
cedar glades in middle Tennessee. They
divided those communities into xeric
(dry) communities, which occurred in
locations with no soil or soil depth less
than 5 cm (2 in.), and subxeric
(moderately dry) communities that
occurred on soils deeper than 5 cm (2
in.) (Somers et al. 1986, p. 186).
Quarterman (1986, p. 124) noted that
soil depths greater than 20 cm (8 in.) in
the vicinity of cedar glades tend to
support plant communities dominated
by eastern red cedar (Juniperus
virginiana) and other woody species.
Somers et al. (1986, p. 191) found E.
tennesseensis in four of the community
types they classified, but could not
determine the fidelity of the species to
a particular community type because it
only occurred on three of the glades
they studied and was infrequently
encountered in plots within those sites.
The communities where E.
tennesseensis occurred spanned two
xeric and two subxeric types. The xeric
community types, named for the
dominant species that either alone or
combined constituted greater than 50
percent cover, were the (1) Nostoc
commune (blue-green algae)-
Sporobolus vaginiflorus (poverty
dropseed) and (2) Dalea gattingeri
(purpletassels) communities. The
subxeric types were the (1) S.
vaginiflorus and (2) Pleurochaete
squarrosa (square pleurochaete moss)
communities. Mean soil depths across
these communities ranged from 4.1 to
7.7 cm (1.6 to 3.0 in.) (Somers et al.
1986, pp. 186-188).
When Echinacea tennesseensis was
listed as endangered in 1979 (44 FR
32604), it was known only from three
locations, one each in Davidson,
Rutherford, and Wilson Counties. When
the species' recovery plan was
completed in 1989, there were five
extant populations ranging in size from
approximately 3,700 to 89,000 plants
and consisting of one to three colonies
each (Clebsch 1988, p. 14; Service 1989,
p. 2). The recovery plan defined a
population as a group of colonies in
which the probability of gene exchange
through cross pollination is high, and a
colony was defined as all E.
tennesseensis plants found at a single
site that are separated from other plants
within the population by unsuitable
habitat (Service 1989, p. 1). While
analysis of genetic variability within E.
tennesseensis did not reveal high levels
of differentiation among these
populations (Baskauf et al. 1994, p.
186), recovery efforts have been
implemented and tracked with respect
to these geographically defined
populations. The geographic
distribution of these populations and
the colonies they are comprised of was
updated in a status survey of E.
tennesseensis by TDEC (1996, Appendix
I) to include all known colonies at that
time, including those from a sixth
population introduced into glades at the
Stones River National Battlefield. For
the purposes of this rule, we have
followed these population delineations
and have assigned most colonies that
have been discovered since the status
survey was completed to the
geographically closest population.
The six Echinacea tennesseensis
populations occur within an
approximately 400 square kilometer
(km2; 154 square miles (mi2)) area and
include between 2 and 11 colonies each.
In 2005, TDEC and the Service
confirmed the presence of E.
tennesseensis at 36 colonies and
counted the number of flowering stems
in each (TDEC 2006, pp. 4-5). Fifteen of
these are natural colonies, and 21 of the
36 colonies have been established
through introductions for the purpose of
recovering E. tennesseensis (TDEC 1991,
pp. 3-7; TDEC 1996, Appendix I;
Lincicome 2008, pers. comm.). Three of
these introduced colonies constitute the
sixth population that was established at
a Designated State Natural Area (DSNA)
in the Stones River National Battlefield
in Rutherford County (TDEC 1996,
Appendix I). We do not consider 2 of
the 21 introduced colonies as
contributing to recovery and do not
include them in our analysis of the
current status of E. tennesseensis for
reasons explained in the Recovery
section of this rule. An additional
introduced colony that was not
monitored during 2005, but for which
TDEC maintains an element occurrence
record, brings the number of introduced
colonies we consider here to 20 and the
total number of colonies considered for
this rulemaking to 35.
In assessing the status of Echinacea
tennesseensis for this final rule, with
respect to the recovery criterion
described below, we use data from
flowering stem counts conducted by the
Service and TDEC (2006, pp. 4-5) in
2005 (Table 1), qualitative data collected
at various times since the initial
discovery of each colony (TDEC 1996,
Appendix I), and quantitative
monitoring data from nine natural
colonies and five introduced colonies
(Tables 2 and 3) (Drew 1991, p. 54;
Clebsch 1993, pp. 11-16; Drew and
Clebsch 1995, pp. 62-67; TDEC
unpublished data). In order to address
comments we received in response to
the proposed delisting rule, the Service
and TDEC undertook a thorough review
of the monitoring data collected by
TDEC and reanalyzed those data to
produce ratios among juvenile and adult
stage-classes (Table 2) and to produce
density estimates with confidence
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