Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Act Listing Determination for the Coral Pocillopora meandrina

CourtNational Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
Citation85 FR 40480
Record Number2020-14304
Published date06 July 2020
Federal Register, Volume 85 Issue 129 (Monday, July 6, 2020)
[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 129 (Monday, July 6, 2020)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 40480-40506]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2020-14304]
                [[Page 40479]]
                Vol. 85
                Monday,
                No. 129
                July 6, 2020
                Part IVDepartment of Commerce-----------------------------------------------------------------------National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-----------------------------------------------------------------------Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Act
                Listing Determination for the Coral Pocillopora meandrina; Notice
                Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 129 / Monday, July 6, 2020 /
                Notices
                [[Page 40480]]
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                DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
                National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
                [Docket No. 200626-0172; RTID 0648-XG232]
                Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species
                Act Listing Determination for the Coral Pocillopora meandrina
                AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and
                Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
                ACTION: Notice; 12-month finding and availability of status review
                documents.
                -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                SUMMARY: We, NMFS, have completed a comprehensive status review under
                the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Indo-Pacific, reef-building
                coral Pocillopora meandrina. After reviewing the best scientific and
                commercial data available, including the General Status Review of Indo-
                Pacific Reef-building Corals and the P. meandrina Status Review Report,
                we have determined that listing P. meandrina as threatened or
                endangered based on its status throughout all or a significant portion
                of its range under the ESA is not warranted at this time.
                DATES: This finding was made on July 6, 2020.
                ADDRESSES: The petition, General Status Assessment of Indo-Pacific
                Reef-building Corals, P. meandrina Status Review Report, Federal
                Register notice, and the list of references can be accessed
                electronically online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/pocillopora-meandrina-coral#conservation-management.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lance Smith, NMFS, Pacific Islands
                Regional Office, Protected Resources Division, (808) 725-5131; or
                Celeste Stout, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, (301) 427-8436.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
                Background
                 This 12-month finding is a response to a petition to list P.
                meandrina under the ESA. Background to the petition, 90-day finding,
                and policy on listing species under the ESA is provided below.
                Petition and 90-Day Finding
                 On March 14, 2018, we received a petition from the Center for
                Biological Diversity to list the Indo-Pacific reef-building coral
                Pocillopora meandrina in Hawaii as an endangered or threatened species
                under the ESA. Under the ESA, a listing determination addresses the
                status of a species, its subspecies, and, for any vertebrate species,
                any distinct population segment (DPS) that interbreeds when mature (16
                U.S.C. 1532(16)). Under the ESA, a species is ``endangered'' if it is
                in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its
                range, or ``threatened'' if it is likely to become endangered within
                the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its
                range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), respectively, 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and
                (20)). The petition requested that the Hawaii portion of the species'
                range be considered a significant portion of its range, thus the
                petition focused primarily on the status of P. meandrina in Hawaii.
                However, the petition also requested that P. meandrina be listed
                throughout its range, and provided some information on its status and
                threats outside of Hawaii. In light of recent court decisions regarding
                our policy on the interpretation of the phrase ``significant portion of
                its range'' (SPR) under the ESA (79 FR 37577, July 1, 2014), we
                interpreted the petition as a request to first consider the status of
                P. meandrina throughout its range, followed by an SPR review consisting
                of: (1) Analysis of any SPRs, including the portion of the range within
                Hawaii; and (2) determination of the status of SPRs.
                 On September 20, 2018, we published a 90-day finding (83 FR 47592)
                announcing that the petition presented substantial scientific or
                commercial information indicating that P. meandrina may be warranted
                for listing under the ESA throughout all or a significant portion of
                its range. We also announced the initiation of a status review of the
                species, as required by section 4(b)(3)(a) of the ESA, and requested
                information to inform the agency's decision on whether this species
                warrants listing as endangered or threatened under the ESA.
                Listing Species Under the Endangered Species Act
                 We are responsible for determining whether P. meandrina is
                threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). To
                make this determination, we first consider whether a group of organisms
                constitutes a ``species'' under section 3 of the ESA, then whether the
                status of the species qualifies it for listing as either threatened or
                endangered. Section 3 of the ESA defines species to include subspecies
                and, for any vertebrate species, any DPS that interbreeds when mature
                (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). As noted previously, because P. meandrina is an
                invertebrate species, the ESA does not consider listing individual
                populations as DPSs.
                 Section 3 of the ESA defines an endangered species as any species
                which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant
                portion of its range, and a threatened species as one which is likely
                to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future
                throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Thus, in the
                context of the ESA, the Services interpret an ``endangered species'' to
                be one that is presently at risk of extinction. A ``threatened
                species'' is not currently at risk of extinction, but is likely to
                become so in the foreseeable future (that is, at a later time). The key
                statutory difference between a threatened and endangered species is the
                timing of when a species is or is likely to become in danger of
                extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future
                (threatened).
                 When we consider whether a species qualifies as threatened under
                the ESA, we must consider the meaning of the term ``foreseeable
                future.'' It is appropriate to interpret ``foreseeable future'' as the
                horizon over which predictions about the conservation status of the
                species can be reasonably relied upon. What constitutes the foreseeable
                future for a particular species depends on species-specific factors
                such as the life history of the species, habitat characteristics,
                availability of data, particular threats, ability to predict threats,
                and the reliability to forecast the effects of these threats and future
                events on the status of the species under consideration. That is, the
                foreseeability of a species' future status is case specific and depends
                upon both the foreseeability of threats to the species and
                foreseeability of the species' response to those threats. Our
                consideration of the foreseeable future for this status review is
                described in the Global Climate Change and the Foreseeable Future
                section below.
                 The statute requires us to determine whether any species is
                endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of its
                range as a result of any one or a combination of any of the following
                factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or
                curtailment of its habitat or range; overutilization for commercial,
                recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or
                predation; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or other
                natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. 16 U.S.C.
                1533(a)(1). We are also required to make listing determinations based
                solely on the best scientific and commercial data
                [[Page 40481]]
                available, after conducting a review of the species' status and after
                taking into account efforts, if any, being made by any state or foreign
                nation (or subdivision thereof) to protect the species. 16 U.S.C.
                1533(b)(1)(A).
                General Status Assessment, Status Review Report, and Extinction Risk
                Assessment Team
                 The rangewide Status Review of P. meandrina consists of two
                documents: (1) The General Status Assessment (GSA) of Indo-Pacific
                Reef-building Corals (Smith 2019a); and (2) the P. meandrina Status
                Review Report (SRR; Smith 2019b). The GSA (Smith 2019a) provides
                contextual information on the status and trends of Indo-Pacific reef-
                building corals, and the SRR (Smith 2019b) reports the status and
                trends of P. meandrina based on the best available scientific
                information. Based on the information provided in the Status Review
                reports (Smith 2019a,b), an Extinction Risk Assessment (ERA) was
                carried out as specified in the ``Guidance on Responding to Petitions
                and Conducting Status Reviews under the Endangered Species Act'' (NMFS
                2017). As per the guidance, an ERA Team was established, consisting of
                seven reef-building coral subject matter experts, and the Team used the
                information in the Status Review reports to provide ratings of P.
                meandrina's extinction risk, described in the final section of the SRR
                (Smith 2019b).
                 The two reports that make up this Status Review (Smith 2019a,b)
                represent a compilation of the best available scientific and commercial
                information on the P. meandrina's biology, ecology, life history,
                threats, and status from information contained in the petition, our
                files, a comprehensive literature search, and consultation with Indo-
                Pacific reef coral experts. We also considered information submitted by
                the public in response to our 90-day finding (83 FR 47592; September
                20, 2018). The draft Status Review reports (Smith 2019a,b) underwent
                independent peer review by reef coral experts as required by the Office
                of Management and Budget (OMB) Final Information Quality Bulletin for
                Peer Review (M-05-03; December 16, 2004). The peer reviewers were asked
                to evaluate the adequacy, appropriateness, and application of data used
                in the Status Review reports, including the Extinction Risk Assessment
                methodology. Peer reviewer comments were addressed prior to
                dissemination and finalization of the Status Review reports and
                publication of this finding, as described in the Peer Review Report.
                 We subsequently reviewed the Status Review reports (Smith 2019a,b),
                their cited references, and peer review comments, and believe the
                Status Review reports, upon which this 12-month finding are based,
                provide the best available scientific and commercial information on P.
                meandrina. Much of the information discussed below on the species'
                biology, distribution, abundance, threats, and extinction risk is
                presented in the Status Review reports (Smith 2019a,b). However, in
                making the 12-month finding determinations (i.e., our decisions that P.
                meandrina is not warranted for listing rangewide, nor as any SPRs), we
                have independently applied the statutory provisions of the ESA,
                including evaluation of the factors set forth in section 4(a)(1)(A)-(E)
                and our regulations regarding listing determinations at 50 CFR part
                424. The Status Review reports (Smith 2019a,b) and the Peer Review
                Report are available on our website at http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prplans/PRsummaries.html.
                Global Climate Change and the Foreseeable Future
                 Many of the threats to P. meandrina, including the most severe
                threats, stem from global climate change (Smith 2019b). As described in
                the preceding ``Listing Species Under the Endangered Species Act''
                section, the purpose of this finding is to determine the extinction
                risk of the species now and in the foreseeable future. The extinction
                risk of P. meandrina now and in the immediate future depends on the
                impacts of threats resulting from the continuation of ongoing climate
                change. Its extinction risk in the future depends on how far into the
                future climate change threats are foreseeable, and what impacts those
                threats will have on the species over that timeframe. Thus, this
                section provides an overview of global climate change and existing
                guidance, a description of the climate change status quo, the rationale
                for our determination of the length of the foreseeable future for the
                most important threats to P. meandrina (ocean warming and ocean
                acidification), and descriptions of the impacts of those threats on the
                species over the foreseeable future.
                Overview of Global Climate Change and Existing Guidance
                 Global climate change refers to increased concentrations of
                greenhouse gases (GHGs; primarily carbon dioxide, but also methane,
                nitrous oxide, and others) in the atmosphere from anthropogenic
                emissions, and subsequent warming of the earth, acidification of the
                oceans, rising sea-levels, and other impacts since the beginning of the
                industrial era in the mid-19th century. Since that time, the release of
                carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial and agricultural
                activities has resulted in atmospheric CO2 concentrations
                that have increased from approximately 280 ppm in 1850 to 410 ppm in
                2019 (Smith 2019a). The resulting warming of the earth has been
                unequivocal, and each of the last three decades has been successively
                warmer than any preceding decade since 1850. The climate change
                components of the P. meandrina Status Review were based on the
                International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report
                ``Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis'' (AR5; IPCC 2013a),
                the IPCC's ``Global Warming of 1.5[deg] C'' (1.5[deg] Report; IPCC
                2018), and other climate change literature cited in the GSA and SRR.
                The IPCC published the 1.5[deg] Report to compare the impacts of global
                warming of 1.5[deg] C vs. 2.0[deg] C above pre-industrial levels, in
                response to the 2015 Paris Agreement's objective of limiting global
                warming to 1.5[deg] C. The IPCC's AR5 and the 1.5[deg] Report together
                represent the largest synthesis of global climate change physical
                science ever compiled. The IPCC is currently compiling its Sixth
                Assessment Report (AR6), due to be published in 2021 or 2022 (Smith
                2019a).
                 Observed and projected global mean surface temperatures (GMST) from
                the pre-industrial baseline period of 1850-1900 to the year 2100
                provide context for the climate change threats facing P. meandrina and
                other species. GMST refers to the mean of land and sea temperatures
                observed at the earth's surface. Since the pre-industrial period, GMST
                has increased by nearly 1[deg] C due to GHG emissions, and estimated
                anthropogenic global warming is currently increasing at approximately
                0.2[deg] C per decade due to past and ongoing GHG emissions. Warming
                greater than the global annual average is being experienced in many
                land regions and seasons, including two to three times higher in the
                Arctic. Warming is generally higher over land than over the ocean, thus
                warming of the ocean lags behind warming of air at the earth's surface.
                Regardless of future emissions, warming from past anthropogenic GHG
                emissions since the pre-industrial period will persist for centuries to
                millennia, and will continue to cause further long-term changes in the
                climate system, such as sea-level rise, with associated impacts (Smith
                2019a).
                 In order to ensure consistency in the application of climate change
                science to
                [[Page 40482]]
                ESA decisions, in 2016 NMFS issued ``Guidance for Treatment of Climate
                Change in NMFS Endangered Species Act Decisions'' (Climate Guidance,
                NMFS 2016). The Climate Guidance provides seven policy considerations,
                the first two of which are particularly relevant to the P. meandrina
                finding: (1) ``Consideration of future climate condition uncertainty--
                For ESA decisions involving species influenced by climate change, NMFS
                will use climate indicator values (i.e., quantitative projections of
                ocean warming, ocean acidification, and other climate change impacts)
                projected under the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s
                Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 when data are available. When
                data specific to that pathway are not available we will use the best
                available science that is as consistent as possible with RCP 8.5'', and
                (2) ``Selecting a climate change projection timeframe--(A) When
                predicting the future status of species in ESA Section 4, NMFS will
                project climate change effects for the longest time period over which
                we can foresee the effects of climate change on the species' status.''
                (NMFS 2016). The application of these two policy considerations to the
                P. meandrina finding are described below.
                RCP8.5 As the Status Quo
                 AR5 (IPCC 2013a) projected GMST from 2006 over the remainder of the
                21st century using a set of four representative concentration pathways
                (RCPs) that provide a standard framework for consistently modeling
                future climate change under different assumptions. The four RCPs span a
                range of possible futures, from high GHG emissions peaking near 2100
                (RCP8.5), to intermediate emissions (RCP6.0 and RCP4.5), to low
                emissions (RCP2.6). The 1.5[deg] Report (IPCC 2018) developed
                additional pathways with lower emissions than RCP2.6. The IPCC's
                pathways are based on projected concentrations of CO2 and
                other GHGs in the earth's atmosphere. As atmospheric GHG concentrations
                increase, less of the sun's heat can be radiated back into space,
                causing the earth to absorb more heat. The increased heat forces
                changes on the earth's climate system, and thus is referred to as
                ``radiative forcing.'' AR5's four RCPs are named according to radiative
                forcing of 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 Watts per square meter of the earth's
                surface. These result from atmospheric CO2 concentrations of
                421 (RCP2.6), 538 (RCP4.5), 670 (RCP6.0), and 936 (RCP8.5) ppm in 2100.
                The 1.5[deg] Report includes pathways with lower CO2 levels
                than RCP2.6 (IPCC 2013a, 2018).
                 The various pathways were developed with the intent of providing
                different potential climate change projections to guide policy
                discussions. The IPCC does not attach likelihoods to the pathways.
                Taken together, the four pathways in AR5 project wide ranges of
                increases in GMSTs, ocean warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise,
                and other changes globally throughout the 21st century (Smith 2019a).
                Summaries of the most recent information on observed and projected
                ocean warming, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise are provided in
                the GSA (Smith 2019a), and support RCP8.5 as representative of the
                status quo. For example, according to the most recent Global Carbon
                Budget report (Friedlingstein et al 2019), global CO2
                emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew continuously from 2010 to
                2019; and global atmospheric CO2 concentration grew from
                approximately 385 in 2010 to 410 ppm in 2019, with each year setting
                new historic highs, according to NOAA's Earth System Research
                Laboratory (ESRL) station on Mauna Kea, Hawaii (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/, accessed December 2019). This rapid
                growth in global CO2 emissions and atmospheric
                CO2 is more consistent with RCP8.5 than any of the other
                pathways in AR5 (IPCC 2013a) or the 1.5[deg] C Report (IPCC 2018).
                The Foreseeable Future for P. meandrina
                 The Climate Guidance (NMFS 2016) directs us to determine the
                longest period over which we can reasonably foresee the effects of
                climate change on the species. The IPCC pathways (IPCC 2013a, IPCC
                2018) use the year 2100 as the main end-point for their climate change
                projections. The IPCC's AR5 and the 1.5[deg] Reports (IPCC 2013a, IPCC
                2018), together with the large and growing scientific literature on
                projected impacts of the IPCC pathways on coral reef ecosystems,
                provide considerable information on how climate change threats are
                likely to affect corals and coral reefs from now to 2100. Although
                there is wide variability in the IPCC pathways (e.g., RCP8.5 vs. the
                1.5[deg] Report's pathways would result in highly contrasting impacts
                to most of the world's ecosystems over the 21st century), 2100 is
                foreseeable because some pathways are more likely than others over that
                timeframe, as explained in the following paragraph.
                 Since the status quo is best represented by RCP8.5, we consider
                climate indicator values projected under RCP8.5 to be likely over at
                least the near future. Beyond that, current GHG emissions policies
                resulting from the 2015 Paris Agreement may eventually lead to climate
                indicator values projected under the intermediate emissions pathways
                RCPs 6.0 and 4.5 (CAT 2019, Hausfather and Peters 2020, UNEP 2019).
                However, such projections have high inherent uncertainty (IPCC 2018,
                Jeffery et al. 2018), thus climate indicator values projected under
                RCP8.5 may continue to prevail beyond the near future. Therefore, based
                on the status quo, current policies, and uncertainty, we consider it
                likely that climate indicator values between now and 2100 will be
                within the collective ranges of those projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0,
                and 4.5.
                 The two most severe threats to P. meandrina are ocean warming and
                ocean acidification, both of which are caused by climate change (Smith
                2019a,b). Projections of climate indicator values for ocean warming
                (sea surface temperature) and ocean acidification (sea surface pH and
                aragonite saturation state) under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5 within the
                range of P. meandrina are described in the following sections. These
                projections lead to our conclusions about the length of the foreseeable
                future for ocean warming and ocean acidification that will be applied
                to the P. meandrina 12-month finding.
                 The Foreseeable Future for Ocean Warming and P. meandrina. Global
                warming projections under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5 over the 21st century,
                and subsequent ocean warming impacts on P. meandrina, are described in
                NMFS (2020a) and summarized here. AR5's Supplementary Materials (IPCC
                2013b,c,d) provide detailed projections of future warming of air over
                land and sea grid points of the earth's surface under each RCP for the
                time periods 2016-2035, 2046-2065, and 2081-2100, including regional
                projections within the range of P. meandrina. Warming of seawater at
                the sea's surface lags behind warming of air at the sea's surface.
                Although AR5's detailed projections in the Supplementary Materials are
                for air at the sea's surface, they indicate likely proportional warming
                of seawater (NMFS 2020a, Fig. 1).
                 For each RCP (8.5, 6.0, 4.5) and time period (2016-2035, 2046-2065,
                2081-2100), AR5 provides global maps of projected annual warming across
                the earth's surface, as explained in more detail in NMFS (2020a).
                Projected additional warming above what has already occurred is highest
                under RCP8.5, intermediate under RCP6.0, and lowest under RCP4.5 (NMFS
                2020a, Fig. 2). The ranges of projected warming
                [[Page 40483]]
                under the three RCPs overlap with one another, illustrating the high
                variability in the projections (NMFS 2020a, Fig. 3). Within the range
                of P. meandrina, AR5 provides regional maps of projected annual warming
                for the eastern Pacific Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, the northern
                Indian Ocean, the Coral Triangle, northern Australia, and the tropical
                Pacific. As with the global projections, projected additional warming
                within the range of P. meandrina above what has already occurred is
                highest under RCP8.5 (2-4 [deg]C), intermediate under RCP6.0 (1-3
                [deg]C), and lowest under RCP4.5 (1-2 [deg]C), but with high
                variability (NMFS 2020a, Figs. 4-9).
                 Ocean warming can result in the bleaching of the tissues of reef-
                building coral colonies, including P. meandrina colonies, whereby the
                unicellular photosynthetic algae living within their tissues
                (zooxanthellae) are expelled in response to stress. For many reef-
                building coral species, including P. meandrina, an increase of only 1
                [deg]C-2 [deg]C above the normal local seasonal maximum ocean
                temperature can induce bleaching. Corals can withstand mild to moderate
                bleaching; however, severe, repeated, or prolonged bleaching can lead
                to colony death (Smith 2019a).
                 The projected responses of reef-building corals to ocean warming in
                the 21st century under RCPs 8.5, 6.0 and 4.5 have been modeled in
                several recent papers. An analysis of likely disease outbreaks in reef-
                building corals resulting from ocean warming projected by RCP8.5 and
                RCP4.5 concluded that both pathways are likely to cause sharply
                increased coral disease before 2100 (Maynard et al. 2015). An analysis
                of the timing and extent of Annual Severe Bleaching (ASB) of the
                world's coral reefs under RCPs 8.5 and 4.5 found that the average
                timing of ASB would be only 11 years earlier under RCP8.5 (2043) than
                RCP4.5 (2054; van Hooidonk et al. 2016). Similarly, an analysis of the
                timing and extent of warming-induced bleaching of the world's coral
                reefs under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5 found little difference between the
                pathways, with 60-100 percent of Indo-Pacific coral reefs experiencing
                severe bleaching by 2100 under all three pathways (Hoegh-Guldberg et
                al. 2017). A study of the adaptive capacity of a population of the
                Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Acorpora hyacinthus to ocean warming
                projected that it would go extinct by 2055 and 2080 under RCPs 8.5 and
                6.0, respectively, and decline by 60 percent by 2100 under RCP4.5 as a
                result of warming-induced bleaching (Bay et al. 2017). These papers
                illustrate that the overall projected trends are sharply downward under
                all three RCPs in terms of ocean warming impacts on Indo-Pacific reef-
                building corals.
                 As far as we know, there are no reports that model projected
                responses of P. meandrina to ocean warming in the 21st century under
                any of the RCPs. As described in the SRR (Smith 2019b), we consider P.
                meandrina's vulnerability to ocean warming in the 21st century to be
                high, based on observed susceptibility to the ocean warming that has
                occurred over the past several decades, together with increasing
                exposure as the oceans continue to warm throughout the remainder of the
                century. We expect vulnerability of P. meandrina to ocean warming to
                increase in the 21st century as climate change worsens, resulting in
                higher frequency, severity, and magnitude of warming-induced bleaching
                events (Smith 2019b).
                 Based on the available information, we cannot distinguish the
                likely responses of P. meandrina to projected ocean warming under the
                three RCPs from one another because: (1) All three RCPs project large
                increases in warming relative to historical rates of change (NMFS
                2020a, Fig. 1), especially in the late 21st century (NMFS 2020a, Fig.
                2); (2) the ranges of warming projected by each RCP are broad and
                overlapping with one another (NMFS 2020a, Fig. 3), reflecting high
                uncertainty; (3) the projections are for warming of air at the sea's
                surface, but warming of the ocean itself lags behind, reducing
                distinctions between RCPs; and (4) as has already been documented,
                there is high spatial variability in how P. meandrina's responds to a
                given warming event, and high temporal variability in how a given P.
                meandrina population responds to multiple warming events over time
                (Smith 2019b), reflecting high uncertainty in projecting the responses
                of this species to warming.
                 The Foreseeable Future for Ocean Acidification and P. meandrina.
                Ocean acidification projections under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5 over the
                21st century are described in AR5 (IPCC 2013a), and summarized in NMFS
                (2020a) for P. meandrina's range. Unlike for global warming, AR5 does
                not include detailed regional comparisons of projected ocean
                acidification under the different RCPs. Ocean acidification, however,
                reduces the aragonite saturation state ([Omega]arg) in
                seawater by lowering the supersaturation of carbonite minerals
                including aragonite, the form of calcite that makes up the skeletons of
                reef-building corals (Smith 2019a).
                 Under RCP8.5, mean global pH of open surface waters is projected to
                decline from the 1986-2005 average of approximately 8.12 to
                approximately 7.77 by 2100, with the greatest reductions in the higher
                latitude areas of the P. meandrina's range, such as the southern Great
                Barrier Reef (GBR) and the northern Philippines, resulting in
                [Omega]arg levels dropping to 1.75-2.5 in open surface
                waters within most of the species' range by 2090. Under RCP6.0, mean pH
                is projected to decline to approximately 7.88 by 2100, resulting in
                [Omega]arg levels dropping to 2.25-3 within most of the
                species' range by 2090. Under RCP4.5, mean pH is projected to decline
                to approximately 7.97 by 2100, resulting in [Omega]arg
                levels dropping to 2.75-3.25 within most of the species' range by 2090
                (NMFS 2020a, Figs. 10-12).
                 These general projections are for open surface waters, and are not
                necessarily representative of nearshore waters, because of multiple
                physical factors that cause high natural variability in pH of seawater
                and [Omega]arg on coral reefs. The projected ocean
                acidification of open surface waters is expected to eventually result
                in proportional reductions in seawater pH and [Omega]arg on
                coral reefs, but these changes will lag behind open surface waters and
                be much more variable both spatially and temporally (Smith 2019a). For
                example, while the [Omega]arg levels of open surface waters
                are projected to decline to 1.75-2.5 within most of the range of P.
                meandrina by 2090 (NMFS 2020a, Fig. 12), an analysis of 19 coral reefs
                in the Indo-Pacific projected [Omega]arg levels to range
                from approximately 1.4 to 3.0 at the sites in 2100 (Eyre et al. 2018).
                 As described in more detail in the GSA (Smith 2019a), ocean
                acidification impacts reef-building corals and coral reef communities
                in several ways. The reduced [Omega]arg levels from ocean
                acidification result in decreased calcification of coral colonies,
                leading to lower skeletal growth rates and lower skeletal density.
                Generally, [Omega]arg should be >3 to enable adequate
                calcification of reef-building corals, and [Omega]arg levels
                of arg levels also cause increased dissolution of the
                calcium carbonate structure of coral reefs, leading to reef erosion
                rates outpacing accretion rates (Smith 2019a).
                 The projected responses of reef-building corals and coral reefs to
                ocean acidification in the 21st century under conditions projected for
                RCPs 8.5, 6.0 and 4.5 have been reviewed or modeled in several recent
                papers. A review of laboratory studies on the effects of
                [[Page 40484]]
                ocean acidification and ocean warming spanning the entire range of
                conditions projected under the three RCPs found that RCP8.5 would
                result in the greatest reduction in calcification (>20 percent), but
                that the impacts of different levels of ocean acidification were
                complicated by species, habitat type, and interactions with warming
                (Kornder et al. 2018). A model of the effects of ocean acidification
                alone (i.e., without considering the additive effect of ocean warming)
                projected under RCP8.5 found that the skeletal density of reef-building
                Porites corals is likely to decrease by 20 percent by 2100 (Mollica et
                al. 2018). An analysis of the timing and extent of ocean acidification
                and ocean warming on the world's coral reefs under the three RCPs found
                that there would be progressively greater and earlier declines in
                calcification under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5, respectively, over the 21st
                century. Spatial variability in the projected calcification reductions
                was very high, especially in the Indo-Pacific (van Hooidonk et al.
                2014).
                 As far as we know, there are no reports that model projected
                responses of P. meandrina to ocean acidification in the 21st century
                under any of the RCPs. As described in the SRR (Smith 2019b), we
                consider P. meandrina's vulnerability to ocean acidification in the
                21st century to be high, based on high susceptibility and moderate to
                high exposure throughout the remainder of the century. We expect
                vulnerability of P. meandrina to ocean acidification to increase in the
                21st century as climate change worsens, resulting in reductions in
                calcification and skeletal growth (Smith 2019b).
                 Based on the available information, we cannot distinguish the
                likely responses of P. meandrina to projected ocean acidification under
                the three RCPs from one another because: (1) All three RCPs project
                worsening ocean acidification and reduced [Omega]arg levels
                over the 21st century (NMFS 2020a, Fig. 10-12); (2) the ranges of
                reduced [Omega]arg levels projected by each RCP are broad
                and overlapping with one another (NMFS 2020a, Fig. 12), reflecting high
                uncertainty; (3) the projections of reduced [Omega]arg
                levels vary depending on whether feedbacks are considered (NMFS 2020a,
                Fig. 12), reflecting additional uncertainty; and (4) the above
                projections are for open surface waters, but many abiotic and biotic
                factors cause greater fluctuations and different mean values in pH and
                [Omega]arg on coral reefs than in open surface waters,
                resulting in high spatial and temporal variability in the impacts of
                ocean acidification on reef-building corals such as P. meandrina (Smith
                2019b), thereby further blurring the distinctions between projections
                of the three RCPs.
                 Foreseeable Future Conclusion. Ocean warming and ocean
                acidification represent the two greatest threats to P. meandrina in the
                foreseeable future, both of which are caused by climate change. While
                different levels of ocean warming are projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0,
                and 4.5 from now to 2100, the projected impacts of warming-induced
                bleaching on P. meandrina are not clearly distinctive between the RCPs,
                and all three RCPs result in substantially worsening impacts. Thus,
                impacts of warming-induced bleaching on P. meandrina are reasonably
                foreseeable to 2100.
                 Likewise, while different levels of ocean acidification are
                projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5 from now to 2100, the projected
                impacts of reduced [Omega]arg levels on P. meandrina are not
                clearly distinctive between the RCPs, and all three RCPs result in
                substantially worsening impacts. Thus, impacts from ocean acidification
                and reduced [Omega]arg levels on P. meandrina are also
                reasonably foreseeable to 2100.
                Indo-Pacific Reef-Building Corals
                 Indo-Pacific reef-building corals share many biological
                characteristics, occupy many similar habitat types, are subject to
                similar key trends, and are threatened primarily by the same suite of
                global climate change and local threats. In addition, typically more
                information is available on the status and trends of reef coral
                communities (e.g., live coral cover) than species-specific information.
                Thus, to provide context for determining the status of P. meandrina,
                general information on Indo-Pacific reef-building coral biology,
                habitats, key trends, and threats is provided in the GSA (Smith 2019a)
                and summarized below.
                Biology and Habitats
                 Reef-building corals are defined by symbioses with unicellular
                photosynthetic algae living within their tissues (zooxanthellae),
                giving them the capacity to grow large skeletons and thrive in
                nutrient-poor tropical and subtropical seas. Since reef-building corals
                are defined by their symbiosis with zooxanthellae, they are sometimes
                referred to as ``zooxanthellate'' or ``hermatypic'' corals. Reef-
                building corals collectively produce shallow coral reefs over time, but
                also occur in non-reef and mesophotic areas, both of which are defined
                in the habitat section below. That is, these species are reef-building,
                but they are not reef-dependent, thus reef-building corals are not
                limited to shallow coral reefs (NMFS 2014).
                 Reef-building corals are marine invertebrates in the phylum
                Cnidaria that occur as polyps, usually forming colonies of many clonal
                polyps on a calcium carbonate skeleton. The Cnidaria include true stony
                corals (class Anthozoa, order Scleractinia, including both reef-
                building, zooxanthellate and non-reef-building, azooxanthellate
                species), the blue coral (class Anthozoa, order Helioporacea), and fire
                corals (class Hydrozoa, order Milleporina). Most reef-building corals
                form complex colonies made up of a tissue layer of polyps (a column
                with mouth and tentacles on the upper side) growing on top of a calcium
                carbonate skeleton, which the polyps produce through the process of
                calcification (Brainard et al. 2011). As of 2019, Veron estimates that
                758 species of reef-building corals occur in the Indo-Pacific, over 90
                percent of the world's total (Corals of the World, http://www.coralsoftheworld.org, November 2019).
                 Most Indo-Pacific reef-building corals have many biological
                features that complicate the determination of the status of any given
                species, including but not necessarily limited to the following: They
                are modular, colonial, and sessile; the definition of the individual is
                ambiguous; the taxonomy of many species is uncertain; field
                identification of species is difficult; each colony is a collection of
                coral-algae-microbe symbiotic relationships; they have high skeletal
                plasticity; they utilize a combination of sexual and asexual
                reproduction; hybridization may be common in many species; and they
                typically occur as many populations across very large ranges. These and
                other biological features of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals are
                described in more detail in the GSA (Smith 2019a).
                 Indo-Pacific reef-building corals occur on shallow coral reefs (30 m depth), in
                the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans,
                including the eastern Pacific. This vast region includes over 50,000
                islands and over 40,000 km of continental coastline, spanning
                approximately 180 degrees longitude and 60 degrees latitude, and
                including more than 90 percent of the total coral reefs of the world.
                In addition to this region's extensive shallow coral reefs, the Indo-
                Pacific includes: (1) Abundant non-reef habitat, defined as areas where
                environmental conditions prevent reef formation by reef-building
                corals, but some reef-building coral species are present; and (2) vast
                but scarcely known
                [[Page 40485]]
                mesophotic habitat, defined as areas deeper than 30 meters of depth
                where reef-building corals are present. Shallow coral reefs, non-reef
                habitat, and mesophotic habitat are not necessarily sharply delineated
                from one another, thus one may gradually blend into another. The total
                area of non-reef and mesophotic habitats is likely far greater than the
                total area of shallow coral reef habitats in the Indo-Pacific (NMFS
                2014).
                 In addition to the biological features described above, there are
                several habitat features of Indo-Pacific reef-building coral species
                that should be considered in the determination of the status of any
                given species including, but not necessarily limited to: (1) Specific
                substrate and water quality requirements of each life history stage;
                (2) ranges of many of these species encompass shallow coral reef, non-
                reef, and mesophotic habitats that vary tremendously across latitude,
                longitude, depth, distance from land, and in other ways; and (3)
                physical variability in habitat characteristics within the ranges of
                these species produces spatial and temporal refuges from threats. That
                is, habitat heterogeneity and refugia produce a patchy mosaic of
                conditions across the ranges of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals,
                which complicates the determination of the status of any given species.
                These and other habitat features of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals
                are described in more detail in the GSA (Smith 2019a).
                Key Trends
                 The health of reef-building coral communities is largely determined
                by the extent of disturbance, together with recovery from it. The most
                common measure of the condition of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals is
                live coral cover. Resilience is the capacity of a community to recover
                from disturbance. Observations and projections of anthropogenic
                disturbance, recovery time, coral cover, and overall resilience of
                Indo-Pacific reef-building coral communities provide insight on the
                status and trends of these communities.
                 The main threats to Indo-Pacific reef-building corals are acute and
                chronic anthropogenic disturbances, most of which have been increasing
                over the last half-century or more. In particular, warming-induced
                coral bleaching events are acute disturbances that have been increasing
                in frequency, severity, and magnitude over the last several decades,
                especially since 2014. Other disturbances of Indo-Pacific coral reef
                communities are chronic, such as ocean acidification because of its
                continual effects on both coral calcification and reef accretion, and
                localized land-based sources of pollution and coral disease outbreaks.
                Both acute and chronic anthropogenic disturbances are broadening and
                worsening on coral reefs near human populations throughout the Indo-
                Pacific, and all anthropogenic disturbances of Indo-Pacific coral reefs
                are projected to worsen throughout the foreseeable future (Smith
                2019a,b).
                 Studies of the recovery of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals
                (excluding the eastern Pacific) show that the majority of sites showed
                significant recovery from, or resistance to, anthropogenic disturbance
                over the latter part of the 20th century and early part of the 21st
                century (Tables 1a and 1b, Smith 2019a). The available information does
                not indicate that the capacity for recovery of Indo-Pacific reef-
                building corals has substantially declined. However, due to increased
                frequency of disturbance, the amount of time available for corals to
                recover has declined. Furthermore, since the frequency of disturbance
                is projected to increase as climate change worsens, recovery time is
                projected to continue to decrease throughout the foreseeable future
                (Smith 2019a,b).
                 The available information clearly indicates that mean coral cover
                has declined across much of the Indo-Pacific since the 1970s (Tables 2
                and 3, Smith 2019a), and likely many decades before then in some
                locations. High spatial and temporal variability influenced by a large
                number of natural and anthropogenic factors can mask the overall trend
                in coral cover, but long-term monitoring programs and meta-analyses
                demonstrate downward temporal trends in most of the Indo-Pacific.
                Because disturbance is projected to increase in frequency throughout
                the foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b), and this is expected to result
                in reduced recovery times, mean coral cover in the Indo-Pacific is also
                projected to decrease, especially as climate change worsens (Smith
                2019a).
                 Despite increasing disturbance, decreasing recovery times, and
                decreasing coral cover, the available information suggests that overall
                resilience of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals remains quite high
                because: (1) Observed impacts of disturbances on corals have been
                spatially highly variable due to habitat heterogeneity; (2) factors
                that confer resilience (high habitat heterogeneity, large ecosystem
                size, high coral and reef fish species diversity) have not declined;
                (3) observed responses of corals to disturbances indicate that most
                either recovered or were resistant; and (4) observed responses of
                corals to disturbances indicate that phase shifts have so far been
                either rare or reversed. However, the trends in disturbance, recovery
                time, and coral cover are projected to worsen with climate change, thus
                overall resilience is also projected to decrease throughout the
                foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b).
                Threats
                 We consider global climate change-related threats of ocean warming,
                ocean acidification, and sea-level rise, and the local threats of
                fishing, land-based sources of pollution, coral disease, predation, and
                collection and trade, to be the most important to the extinction risk
                of Indo-Pacific reef-building corals currently and throughout the
                foreseeable future. The most important of these is ocean warming. In
                addition, five lesser global and local threats are also described
                (changes in ocean circulation, changes in tropical storms, human-
                induced physical damage, invasive species, and changes in salinity).
                The interactions of threats with one another could be significantly
                worse than any individual threat, especially as each threat grows. Each
                threat, and the interactions of threats, are described both in terms of
                observed effects since relevant scientific information became available
                (usually mid-20th century), and projected effects throughout the
                foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b).
                 The effects of most threats to Indo-Pacific reef-building corals
                have already been observed to be worsening, based on the monitoring
                results and the scientific literature. Ocean warming in conjunction
                with the other threats have recently resulted in the worst impacts to
                Indo-Pacific reef-building corals ever observed. These impacts are
                further described in terms of increasing disturbance, less time
                available for recovery, decreasing coral cover, and decreasing
                resilience in the trends section above. All threats are projected to
                worsen throughout the foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b), based on the
                scientific literature, climate change models, and other information
                such as human population trends in the Indo-Pacific.
                Summary for Indo-Pacific Reef-Building Corals
                 Indo-Pacific reef-building corals are a diverse group ([ap]760
                species) with many biological features that complicate the
                determination of the status of any given species. These species occur
                in vast and diverse habitats including shallow coral reefs, non-reef
                areas, and mesophotic areas throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
                Key observed trends include
                [[Page 40486]]
                increasing anthropogenic disturbances, decreasing recovery time, and
                decreasing live coral cover, while overall resilience remains high.
                However, all trends are projected to worsen throughout the foreseeable
                future (Smith 2019a,b). Community trends do not necessarily represent
                individual species trends, but they provide valuable context that
                inform investigations of the status of species within the community
                such as P. meandrina.
                Pocillopora meandrina Status Review
                 This status review of P. meandrina is based on the methodology
                provided in the ``Guidance on Responding to Petitions and Conducting
                Status Reviews under the Endangered Species Act'' (NMFS 2017): An
                overall extinction risk assessment of the species is based on dual
                assessments of its demographic risk factors (distribution, abundance,
                productivity, diversity) and a threats evaluation. Thus, the P.
                meandrina SRR (Smith 2019b) covers introductory information (biology,
                habitat), demographic risk factors, threats evaluation, and extinction
                risk assessment, which are summarized below.
                Biology and Habitats
                 Pocillopora meandrina was described by James Dana from specimens
                collected in Hawai`i (Dana 1846a, b), thus the formal scientific name
                is ``Pocillopora meandrina, Dana 1846''. Morphologically, P. meandrina
                colonies are small upright bushes, with branches radiating from the
                initial point of growth. Adult colonies are commonly 20-40 cm (8-16 in)
                in diameter, with branches radiating from the initial point of growth.
                Coloration is typically light brown or cream, but may also be green or
                pink (Fenner 2005, Corals of the World website,http://www.coralsoftheworld.org, accessed November 2019).
                 Taxonomic uncertainty refers to how a species should be
                scientifically classified. Taxonomic uncertainty appears to be lower
                for P. meandrina than some other Pocillopora species, and available
                information supports the conclusion that P. meandrina is a valid
                species. Whereas taxonomic uncertainty refers to how a species should
                be scientifically classified, species identification uncertainty refers
                to how a species should be identified in the field. We do not believe
                that species identification uncertainty for P. meandrina affects the
                quality of the information used in this status review. The taxonomic
                and species identification uncertainty for P. meandrina are described
                in detail in the SRR (Smith 2019b).
                 As with most other reef-building corals, P. meandrina is modular
                (the primary polyp produces genetically-identical secondary polyps or
                ``modules'') and colonial (the polyps aggregate to form a colony). The
                primary and secondary polyps are connected seamlessly through both
                tissue and skeleton into a colony. A colony can continue to exist even
                if numerous polyps die, the colony is broken apart, or otherwise
                damaged (Smith 2019a,b). Under the ESA, the ``physiological colony''
                (Hughes 1984), defined as any colony of the species whether sexually or
                asexually produced, is considered an individual for reef-building
                colonial coral species such as P. meandrina (NMFS 2014).
                 Reef-building corals like P. meandrina build reefs because they are
                sessile (the colony is attached to the substrate), secreting their own
                custom-made substrates which grow into skeletons, providing the primary
                building blocks for coral reef structure. One of the most important
                aspects of sessile life history for consideration of extinction risk is
                that colonies cannot flee from unfavorable environmental conditions,
                thus must have substantial capacity for acclimatization to the natural
                variability in environmental conditions at their location. Likewise,
                since P. meandrina populations are distributed throughout a large range
                with environmental conditions that vary by latitude, longitude,
                proximity to land, etc., the populations must have substantial capacity
                for adaptation to the natural variability in environmental conditions
                across their ranges (Smith 2019a,b).
                 Reef-building corals like P. meandrina act as plants during the day
                by utilizing photosynthesis (autotrophic feeding), and they act as
                animals during the night by utilizing predation (heterotrophic
                feeding). Autotrophic feeding is accomplished via symbiosis with
                unicellular photosynthetic algae living within the host coral's tissues
                (zooxanthellae). The host coral benefits by receiving fixed organic
                carbon and other nutrients from the zooxanthellae, and the
                zooxanthellae benefit by receiving inorganic waste metabolites from the
                coral host as well as protection from grazing. This exchange of
                nutrients allows both partners to flourish and helps the host coral
                secrete calcium carbonate that forms the skeletal structure of the
                coral colony. Heterotrophic feeding is accomplished by extending their
                nematocyst-containing tentacles to sting and capture zooplankton (Smith
                2019a,b).
                 Pocillopora meandrina reproduces both sexually and asexually.
                Sexual reproduction is by broadcast spawning, and asexual reproduction
                is by fragmentation. The larvae of P. meandrina disperse by swimming,
                drifting, or rafting, providing the potential for high dispersal. The
                larvae readily recruit to both natural and artificial hard surfaces.
                Like many branching coral species, P. meandrina has high skeletal
                growth rates relative to most other Indo-Pacific reef-building coral
                species (Smith 2019b). Pocillopora meandrina has been classified as a
                competitive species, based on its broadcast spawning, rapid skeletal
                growth, and branching colony morphology, which allow it to recruit
                quickly to available substrate and successfully compete for space
                (Darling et al. 2012). More information about P. meandrina's
                reproduction, dispersal, recruitment, and growth is provided in the
                Productivity portion of the Demographic Factors section, and in the SRR
                (Smith 2019b).
                 The preferred habitat of P. meandrina is high energy reef crests
                and upper reef slopes. In Hawai`i where there are relatively few other
                coral species to compete with, P. meandrina dominates such high energy
                habitat to the extent that it has been termed the ``P. meandrina zone''
                (Dollar 1982). The species is abundant in other types of high energy
                habitats, including non-reef habitats like lava bedrock, and
                unconsolidated rocks and boulders. The species also occurs in lower
                abundances in most other habitats where reef-building corals are found,
                such as middle and lower reef slopes, back-reef areas such as reef
                flats and patch reefs, and atoll lagoons. In addition, P. meandrina can
                be one of the most common corals found on artificial substrates, such
                as concrete structures and metal buoys. Although much more common in
                shallow water, P. meandrina occurs at depths of >30 m (98 ft; Smith
                2019b).
                 In summary, several characteristics of P. meandrina's biology and
                habitat moderate its extinction risk. As with most other reef-building
                corals, P. meandrina occurs as colonies of polyps that can continue to
                exist even if numerous polyps die, the colony is broken apart, or
                otherwise damaged. Since colonies are sessile, they cannot flee from
                unfavorable environmental conditions, thus must have substantial
                capacity for acclimatization and adaptation to the natural variability
                in environmental conditions at their location. In addition, P.
                meandrina has a high capacity to successfully compete for space with
                other reef-building corals,
                [[Page 40487]]
                especially following disturbances when it is often one of the first
                coral species to colonize denuded substrates. With regard to habitat,
                it is most abundant in high energy habitats with strong currents and
                constant wave action such as reef crests and upper reef slopes
                throughout its range, but is also found on deeper reef slopes, back-
                reef areas, lava, boulders, and artificial substrates (Smith 2019b).
                Demographic Factors
                 In order to determine the extinction risk of species being
                considered for ESA listing, NMFS uses a demographic risk analysis
                framework that considers the four demographic factors of distribution,
                abundance, productivity, and diversity (NMFS 2017). Each demographic
                risk factor is described for P. meandrina below.
                 Distribution. Pocillopora meandrina is found on most coral reefs of
                the Indo-Pacific and eastern Pacific, with its range encompassing
                >230[deg] longitude from the western Indian Ocean to the eastern
                Pacific Ocean, and [ap]60[deg] latitude from the northern Ryukyu
                Islands to central western Australia in the western Pacific, and the
                Gulf of California to Easter Island in the eastern Pacific.
                Distribution of P. meandrina is summarized here in terms of geographic
                distribution across the Indo-Pacific area, as well as depth
                distribution, based on the detailed descriptions in the SRR (Smith
                2019b).
                 The Corals of the World website (http://www.coralsoftheworld.org)
                provides comprehensive range information for all 758 currently known
                Indo-Pacific reef-building corals, based on presence/absence in 133
                Indo-Pacific ecoregions. As of February 2019, the website showed P.
                meandrina as present in 91 of the 133 ecoregions, from Madagascar in
                the western Indian Ocean to the Pacific coast of Colombia, and from
                southern Japan to the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia
                (Fig. 2, Smith 2019b). In addition, we found information confirming P.
                meandrina in four ecoregions in the southeastern and eastern Pacific,
                including the Austral Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Marquesas
                Islands, and Clipperton Atoll. Therefore, these 95 ecoregions are
                considered to be the current, known range of P. meandrina. There is no
                evidence of any reduction in its range due to human impacts, thus we
                consider its historic and current ranges to be the same (Smith 2019b).
                 Although P. meandrina is usually more common at depths of 30 m
                (98 ft) of depth. For example, in a transect from 8 m (26 ft) to 36 m
                (118 ft) depth on Fanning Island in Kiribati surveyed in the early
                1970s, colonies of P. meandrina were recorded at 31 m (102 ft) and 34 m
                (112 ft). Maximum cover of P. meandrina on the transect was at 10 m (33
                ft), where it made up 25 percent of live coral cover. The cover of P.
                meandrina may have been even greater at depths 230[deg] longitude and [ap]60[deg] latitude, and includes 95 of the
                133 Indo-Pacific ecoregions, giving it a larger range than about two-
                thirds Indo-Pacific reef-building coral species. Although P. meandrina
                is usually more common at depths of 2 levels have both risen to historically high levels and
                continue to do so; (2) the world's second largest GHG emitter, the
                United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement in 2017; and (3) the
                most recent Emissions Gap Report from November 2019 concludes that
                globally, current policies are on track to result in global warming of
                3.5[deg] C by 2100 (UNEP 2019). Finally, even successful implementation
                of the Paris Agreement (i.e., limiting warming to 1.5 [deg]C) would
                still result in additional warming, and thus worsening of the current
                conditions. Therefore, we conclude that current global regulatory
                mechanisms for management of GHG emissions are expected to be
                unsuccessful at reducing global climate change-related impacts to Indo-
                Pacific reef-building corals, including P. meandrina (Smith 2019a,b).
                 The 2014 final coral listing rule concluded that national, state,
                local, and other regulatory mechanisms in the 68 countries with Indo-
                Pacific reef-building corals were generally ineffective at preventing
                or sufficiently controlling local threats to these species (NMFS 2014).
                Since that time, new coral reef MPAs have been established in the Indo-
                Pacific, slightly increasing the total proportion of coral reef
                ecosystems protected by MPAs in the region. However, human populations
                have also grown in many Indo-Pacific countries during that time, most
                likely leading to an increase in local threats since we completed our
                analysis in 2014. Thus, we conclude that current regulatory mechanisms
                are ineffective at reducing the impacts of local threats to Indo-
                Pacific reef-building corals including P. meandrina (Smith 2019a,b).
                 Threats Conclusion. We consider global climate change-related
                threats of ocean warming, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise, and
                the local threats of fishing, land-based sources of pollution, coral
                disease, predation, and collection and trade, to be the most
                significant to the extinction risk of Indo-Pacific reef-building
                corals, including P. meandrina, currently and throughout the
                foreseeable future. The most important of these threats is ocean
                warming. In addition, the interactions of threats with one another
                could be significantly worse than any individual threat, especially as
                each threat grows. Most threats have already been observed to be
                worsening, based on the monitoring results and the scientific
                literature. Ocean warming in conjunction with the other threats have
                recently resulted in the worst impacts to Indo-Pacific reef-building
                corals ever observed. All threats are expected to worsen throughout the
                foreseeable future, and to be exacerbated by the inadequacy of existing
                regulatory mechanisms (Smith 2019a).
                 The current susceptibilities, exposures, and subsequent
                vulnerabilities of P. meandrina to the threats are described in the SRR
                (Smith 2019b) and summarized here. For each threat, vulnerability is a
                function of susceptibility and exposure. Based on these vulnerability
                ratings, the six worst threats to P. meandrina currently are ocean
                warming (high), ocean acidification (high), predation (moderate),
                fishing (low to moderate), land-based sources of pollution (low to
                moderate), and collection and trade (low to moderate). There is not
                enough information to determine P. meandrina's vulnerability to the
                interactions of threats. Vulnerabilities of P. meandrina to all threats
                are expected to increase throughout the foreseeable future, and to be
                exacerbated by the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (Smith
                2019a,b).
                Rangewide Extinction Risk Assessment
                 An extinction risk assessment (ERA) was carried out by a seven
                member ERA Team for P. meandrina across its entire range, in accordance
                with the ``Guidance on Responding to Petitions and Conducting Status
                Reviews under the Endangered Species Act'' (NMFS 2017). The Team used
                the information provided in both the GSA and SRR (Smith 2019a,b) to
                provide the rangewide quantitative ratings of P. meandrina's
                demographic risk, threats, and overall extinction risk under RCP8.5
                over the foreseeable future. Draft ratings were conducted in August and
                September, 2019, then a Team meeting was held on September 30, 2019, to
                discuss the draft ratings and to ensure that all Team members had a
                common understanding of the guidance. The final ratings were completed
                in October 2019.
                 Demographic Risk Factors. The demographic risk assessment utilized
                the information provided in the SRR (Smith 2019b) on P. meandrina's
                four demographic risk factors of distribution, abundance, productivity,
                and diversity. ERA Team members were instructed to assign a risk rating
                to each of the four demographic risk factors, based on information in
                the SRR, on a scale of 1 (low risk) to 3 (high risk), for the
                foreseeable future, assuming conditions projected under RCP8.5. Draft
                and final ratings were conducted based on the same written information,
                resulting in mean ratings of 1.0 to 1.6 for the four demographic
                factors (Table 1).
                 Table 1--ERA Team's Draft and Final Ratings of P. meandrina's
                Demographic Risk Factors, Where 1 = Low Risk, 2 = Moderate Risk, and 3 =
                 High Risk, Under RCP8.5 Over the Foreseeable Future
                 [Now to 2100; Smith 2019b]
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Mean Ratings ( Standard
                ERA Team's ratings of demographic risk factors Deviation)
                 -------------------------
                 Draft Final
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Distribution.................................. 1.1 (0.38) minus>0.38)
                Abundance..................................... 1.6 (0.53) minus>0.53)
                Productivity.................................. 1.0 (0.00) minus>0.00)
                Diversity..................................... 1.1 (0.38) minus>0.00)
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 The Team rated P. meandrina's distribution as a low risk in both
                the draft and final ratings (Table 1). The distribution of P. meandrina
                is larger than about two-thirds of Indo-Pacific reef-building coral
                species, and includes most coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. The species
                also has a broad depth range, occurring from the surface to at least 34
                m (112 ft). There is no evidence of any reduction in its range due to
                human impacts, thus its historic and current ranges are considered to
                be the same. Although all threats are projected to increase under
                RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future P. meandrina's distribution is not
                likely to contribute significantly to extinction risk.
                 The Team rated P. meandrina's abundance as a moderate risk in both
                the draft and final ratings (Table 1). In the 10 ecoregions for which
                time-series abundance data or information are available, abundance
                appears to be decreasing in five ecoregions and stable in five
                ecoregions. Because of these declines in abundance that have already
                [[Page 40494]]
                been observed, and projections of increasing threats under RCP8.5 over
                the foreseeable future, P. meandrina's abundance is likely to
                contribute significantly to extinction risk.
                 The Team rated P. meandrina's productivity as the lowest possible
                risk in both the draft and final ratings (Table 1). Productivity of P.
                meandrina is high due to its high reproductive capacity, broad
                dispersal, high recruitment, rapid skeletal growth, and adaptability,
                i.e., these characteristics of the species all positively affect
                population growth rate. Although all threats are projected to increase
                under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future, P. meandrina's productivity
                is not likely to contribute significantly to extinction risk.
                 The Team rated P. meandrina's diversity as a low risk in both the
                draft and final ratings (Table 1). Diversity of P. meandrina is due to
                high genotypic and phenotypic diversity, and a large range with very
                high habitat heterogeneity. There is no evidence that either
                productivity or diversity have been reduced. Although all threats are
                projected to increase under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future, P.
                meandrina's diversity is not likely to contribute significantly to
                extinction risk.
                 In conclusion, P. meandrina's demographic factors are indicative of
                a robust and resilient species that is better suited for responding to
                ongoing and projected threats than most other reef-building coral
                species. While abundance has declined in some ecoregions in recent
                years, the species' high productivity provides capacity for recovery.
                All threats are projected to worsen under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable
                future, but P. meandrina's demographic factors moderate its extinction
                risk (Smith 2019b).
                 Threats Evaluation. The threats assessment utilized the information
                provided in the GSA and SRR (Smith 2019a,b) on P. meandrina's 10
                threats of ocean warming, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, fishing,
                land-based sources of pollution, coral disease, predation, collection
                and trade, other threats, and interactions of threats, ERA Team members
                were instructed to assign a risk rating to each of the 10 threats,
                based on information in the GSA and SRR (Smith 2019a,b), on a scale of
                1 (low risk) to 3 (high risk), for the foreseeable future, assuming
                conditions projected under RCP8.5. Draft and final ratings were
                conducted based on the same written information, resulting in mean
                ratings of 0.7 to 2.1 for the 10 threats (Table 2).
                Table 2--Mean Results of the 7-Member ERA Team's Draft and Final Ratings
                 of P. meandrina's Threats, Where 1 = Low Risk, 2 = Moderate Risk, and 3
                 = High Risk, under RCP8.5 over the Foreseeable Future
                 [Now to 2100; Smith 2019b]
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Mean Ratings ( Standard
                 ERA Team's ratings of threats Deviation)
                 -------------------------
                 Draft Final
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Ocean warming................................. 2.1 (0.69) minus>0.38)
                Ocean acidification........................... 1.9 (0.90) minus>0.76)
                Sea-level rise................................ 1.0 (0.00) minus>0.00)
                Fishing....................................... 1.4 (0.53) minus>0.39)
                Land-based sources pollution.................. 1.3 (0.49) minus>0.49)
                Coral disease................................. 1.3 (0.49) minus>0.49)
                Predation..................................... 1.3 (0.49) minus>0.49)
                Collection and trade.......................... 1.2 (0.39) minus>0.39)
                Other threats................................. 0.7 (0.52) minus>0.52)
                Interactions of threats....................... 1.9 (0.69) minus>0.38)
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 In both the draft and final ratings, the Team rated ocean warming,
                ocean acidification, and interactions of threats as posing moderate
                risk to the species (1.7-2.1), while the other seven threats were rated
                as posing low risk (0.7-1.4; Table 2). The worst threats to P.
                meandrina include those caused by global climate change (ocean warming
                and ocean acidification), and the Team unanimously agreed that these
                threats stem from the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms for
                greenhouse gas emissions management. Ocean warming and ocean
                acidification were rated as posing increased risk (Table 2), because of
                observed impacts that are already occurring, but mostly because the
                frequency, severity, and magnitude of these threats are likely to
                worsen under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future.
                 The interactions of threats were also rated as posing increased
                risk to P. meandrina in both the draft and final ratings (Table 2).
                While there is little information available on the effects of the
                interactions of threats on P. meandrina, general information on the
                negative effects of interactions of threats on reef-building corals
                indicates a large number of negative interactions (Smith 2019a). In
                addition, there are likely to be many negative interactions that are
                still unknown, and these interactions are likely to become worse under
                RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future.
                 While the other seven threats were all rated as relatively less
                severe in both the draft and final ratings (Table 2), at least some of
                them can be severe on small spatial scales, and most or all have the
                potential to negatively interact with other threats. For example,
                fishing, land-based sources of pollution, and predation heavily impact
                P. meandrina in portions of its range, and may negatively interact with
                one another and other threats.
                 In conclusion, P. meandrina faces a multitude of growing,
                interacting threats that are projected to worsen in the foreseeable
                future under RCP8.5. The species' strong demographic factors moderate
                all threats, but the gradual worsening of threats is expected to result
                in a steady increase in extinction risk under RCP8.5 over the
                foreseeable future (Smith 2019b).
                 Overall Extinction Risk. Guided by the results from their
                demographic risk and threats assessments, each ERA Team member
                independently applied their professional judgment to rate the overall
                extinction risk of P. meandrina across its range as Low, Moderate, or
                High, using the definitions provided in the SRR (Smith 2019b). The
                extinction risk ratings were made assuming conditions projected under
                RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future. In contrast to the demographic risk
                and threats ratings, extinction risk was rated using the ``likelihood
                point'' method, whereby each Team member had 10 `likelihood points'
                that could be distributed among the three extinction risk categories.
                The likelihood point method allows expression of uncertainty by Team
                members (NMFS 2017). The draft, final, and mean extinction risk ratings
                are shown in Table 3 below.
                [[Page 40495]]
                 Table 3--Draft, Final, and Mean Results of the 7-Member ERA Team's
                 Ratings of P. meandrina's Overall Extinction Risk Under RCP8.5 Over the
                 Foreseeable Future
                 [Now to 2100; Smith 2019b]
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Number of Likelihood Points (%)
                 ERA Team's ratings of extinction --------------------------------------
                 risk Draft Final Mean
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Low.............................. 33.5 24.5 29 (41.4%)
                 (47.9%) (35.0%)
                Moderate......................... 26.5 39.5 33 (47.1%)
                 (37.9%) (56.4%)
                High............................. 10 (14.3%) 6 (8.6%) 8 (11.4%)
                 --------------------------------------
                Total............................ 70 70
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 The Low extinction risk category received 33.5 points (47.9
                percent) in the draft rating, and 24.5 points (35.0 percent) in the
                final rating, for a mean of 29 points (41.4 percent; Table 3). Several
                Team members moved likelihood points from Low to Moderate for the final
                rating following the September 30, 2019, Team meeting at which the
                climate change assumptions in the SRR were emphasized (i.e., assumption
                of conditions projected under RCP8.5 from now to 2100). Species at Low
                extinction risk have stable or increasing trends in abundance and
                productivity with connected, diverse populations, and are not facing
                threats that result in declining trends in distribution, abundance,
                productivity, or diversity. Currently, P. meandrina has high and stable
                productivity and diversity, a very large distribution, very high
                abundance, and stable (five ecoregions) or decreasing (five ecoregions)
                abundance in the 10 ecoregions for which abundance trend data or
                information are available. The species has life history characteristics
                that provide resilience to disturbances and a high capacity for
                recovery. However, P. meandrina faces multiple threats, the worst of
                which are expected to increase under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable
                future. Thus, on the one hand, most demographic factors suggest Low
                extinction risk of P. meandrina, but on the other hand, recent
                declining abundance trends in five of the 10 known ecoregions, as well
                as increasing threats under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future, suggest
                higher extinction risk in the foreseeable future.
                 The Moderate extinction risk category received 26.5 points (37.9
                percent) in the draft rating, and 39.5 points (56.4 percent) in the
                final rating, for a mean of 33 points (47.1 percent; Table 3). Several
                Team members moved likelihood points from Low to Moderate, and one Team
                member moved likelihood points from High to Moderate, for the final
                rating following the September 30, 2019, Team meeting. Species at
                Moderate extinction risk are on a trajectory that puts them at a high
                level of extinction risk in the foreseeable future, due to projected
                threats or declining trends in distribution, abundance, productivity,
                or diversity. While P. meandrina's distribution, productivity, and
                diversity are currently strong and stable, recent abundance trends are
                declining in half of the ecoregions for which data or information are
                available (five of 10 ecoregions). In addition, all threats are
                expected to worsen in the foreseeable future, especially the most
                important threats to the species. Ocean warming and ocean acidification
                are projected to worsen under RCP8.5 over the foreseeable future,
                resulting in increased frequency, magnitude, and severity of warming-
                induced coral bleaching, reduced coral calcification, and increased
                reef erosion. These climate change threats are likely to be exacerbated
                by local threats such as fishing and land-based sources of pollution
                throughout much of P. meandrina's range.
                 The High extinction risk category received 10 points (14.3 percent)
                in the draft rating, and 6 points (8.6 percent) in the final rating,
                for a mean of 8 points (11.4 percent; Table 3). One Team member moved
                likelihood points from High to Moderate, for the final rating following
                the September 30, 2019, Team meeting in response to clarification
                regarding the temporal distinction between High and Moderate extinction
                risk (Smith 2019b). Species at High extinction risk are those whose
                continued persistence is in question due to weak demographic factors,
                or that face clear and present threats such as imminent destruction.
                However, P. meandrina has strong demographic factors, with the possible
                exception of abundance. Thus, while threats to P. meandrina are
                expected to occur over the foreseeable future (now to 2100), impacts so
                severe as to place the species at high extinction risk are not expected
                in the immediate future (now to 2030), therefore the species is not
                considered to be at high risk of extinction.
                 In conclusion, the information in the GSA (Smith 2019a), the SRR
                (Smith 2019b), and the ERA Team's results (Tables 1-3) provide support
                for P. meandrina currently being at low risk of extinction throughout
                its range, and at low to moderate risk of extinction throughout its
                range in the foreseeable future. The ERA was conducted assuming that
                conditions projected under RCP8.5 will occur within the range of P.
                meandrina over the foreseeable future. The ERA Team's ratings were only
                for P. meandrina rangewide, thus the Team did not consider whether any
                smaller areas within its range constitute Significant Portions of its
                Range (Smith 2019b).
                Rangewide Determination
                 Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires that NMFS make listing
                determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data
                available after conducting a review of the status of the species and
                taking into account those efforts, if any, being made by any state or
                foreign nation, or political subdivisions thereof, to protect and
                conserve the species. We have independently reviewed the best available
                scientific and commercial information including the petition, public
                comments submitted on the 90-day finding (83 FR 47592; September 20,
                2018), the GSA (Smith 2019a), the SRR (Smith 2019b), and literature
                cited therein and in this finding. In addition, we have consulted with
                a large number of species experts and individuals familiar with P.
                meandrina (Smith 2019b). This rangewide determination is based on our
                interpretation of the status of P. meandrina throughout its range
                currently and over foreseeable future (now to 2100).
                 Pocillopora meandrina can be characterized as a species with strong
                [[Page 40496]]
                demographic factors facing broad and worsening threats: It has a very
                large and stable distribution, very high overall abundance but unknown
                overall abundance trend, high and stable productivity, and high and
                stable diversity. But it faces multiple global and local threats, all
                of which are worsening, and existing regulatory mechanisms are
                inadequate to ameliorate the major threats. Based on the same written
                information, the ERA Team rated P. meandrina's extinction risk twice,
                resulting in 47.9, 37.9, and 14.3 percent, and 35.0, 56.4, and 8.6
                percent, in the Low, Moderate, High risk categories, respectively, in
                the draft and final ratings (Table 3). Before the final rating, an ERA
                Team meeting was held to emphasize that the Team was to assume the
                worst-case climate change pathway (RCP8.5, and only RCP8.5) over the
                foreseeable future for the extinction risk ratings. As explained in the
                Foreseeable Future for P. meandrina section above, we consider it
                likely that climate indicator values between now and 2100 will be
                within the collective ranges of those projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0,
                and 4.5, and not necessarily limited to the range of conditions
                projected by the worst-case pathway RCP8.5. However, all three pathways
                lead to worsening conditions in the foreseeable future, and their
                impacts on P. meandrina cannot be clearly distinguished from one
                another based on the existing data and uncertainties. Thus, we
                interpret their final extinction risk rating as representing the worst-
                case scenario for P. meandrina.
                 Although all threats are projected to worsen within P. meandrina's
                range over the foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b; NMFS 2020a), the
                following characteristics of the species moderate its extinction risk,
                as documented in the SRR (Smith 2019b): (1) The species' unusually
                large geographic distribution (95 ecoregions; SRR, Section 3.2.1),
                broad depth distribution (0-34 m; SRR, Section 3.2.2), and wide habitat
                breadth (SRR, section 2.4), provide P. meandrina uncommonly high
                habitat heterogeneity (SRR, section 3.4), which creates patchiness of
                conditions across its range at any given time, thus many portions of
                its range are unaffected or lightly affected by any given threat; (2)
                its very high abundance (at least several tens of billions of colonies;
                SRR, Section 3.2.2), together with high habitat heterogeneity, likely
                result in many billions of colonies surviving even the worst
                disturbances; (3) even when high mortality occurs, its high
                productivity provides the capacity for the affected populations to
                recover quickly, as has been documented at sites within several
                ecoregions (e.g., on the GBR, at Fagatele Bay in American Samoa, at the
                Kahe Power Plant in the main Hawaiian Islands, and at Moorea in the
                Society Islands; SRR, Section 3.2.3); (4) likewise, its high
                productivity provides the capacity for populations to recover
                relatively quickly from disturbances compared to more sensitive reef
                coral species, allowing P. meandrina to take over denuded substrates
                and to sometimes become more abundant after disturbances than before
                them, as has been documented in several ecoregions (SRR, Section 3.3);
                (5) it recruits to artificial substrates more readily than most other
                Indo-Pacific reef corals, often dominating the coral communities on the
                metal, concrete, and PVC surfaces of seawalls, Fish Aggregation
                Devices, pipes, and other manmade structures (SRR, Section 3.3); (6) in
                some populations that suffered high mortality from warming-induced
                bleaching, subsequent warming resulted in much less mortality (e.g.,
                west Mexico, SRR, Section 4.1), suggesting acclimatization (i.e.,
                surviving colonies became acclimated to the changing conditions) or
                adaptation (i.e., relatively heat-resistant progeny of surviving
                colonies were naturally selected by the changing conditions) of the
                surviving populations; and (7) adaptation may be enhanced by its high
                genotypic diversity (i.e., some of its many distinct populations likely
                have genotypes that will be naturally selected by the changing
                conditions) and high dispersal (i.e., the progeny of naturally selected
                genotypes may widely disperse, establishing new populations with
                improved fitness; SRR, Sections 3.3 and 3.4).
                 Taken together, these demographic characteristics of P. meandrina
                are expected to substantially moderate the impacts of the worsening
                threats over the foreseeable future. While broadly deteriorating
                conditions will likely result in a downward trajectory of P.
                meandrina's overall abundance in the foreseeable future, the
                demographic characteristics summarized above are expected to allow the
                species to at least partially recover from many disturbances, thereby
                slowing the downward trajectory. Thus, our interpretation of the
                information in the GSA (Smith 2019a), SRR (Smith 2019b), and this
                finding is that P. meandrina is currently at low risk of extinction
                throughout its range. As explained in the Listing Species Under the
                Endangered Species Act section of this finding, an ``endangered
                species'' is presently at risk of extinction throughout all or a
                significant portion of its range. Because P. meandrina is currently at
                low risk of extinction throughout its range, it does not meet the
                definition of an endangered species, and is thus not warranted for
                listing as endangered at this time.
                 As also explained in the Listing Species Under the Endangered
                Species Act section of this finding, a ``threatened species'' is not
                currently at risk of extinction, but is likely to become so in the
                foreseeable future. Based on the information in the GSA (Smith 2019a),
                SRR (Smith 2019b), and this finding, P. meandrina is expected to face
                low to moderate extinction risk in the foreseeable future throughout
                its range. That is, we expect its extinction risk to increase slightly
                from its current low level, to low to moderate in the foreseeable
                future, in response to worsening threats. We do not expect extinction
                risk to grow rapidly in the foreseeable future, because as described
                earlier in this section, P. meandrina has several demographic
                characteristics that moderate its extinction risk. As described in the
                Rangewide Extinction Risk Assessment section, we interpret the ERA
                Team's final extinction risk rating (approximately 35, 56, and 9
                percent in the Low, Moderate, High risk categories, respectively, Table
                3) as representing the worst-case scenario for P. meandrina, because
                the Team assumed the high emissions climate change pathway (RCP8.5, and
                only RCP8.5) in the foreseeable future for the extinction risk ratings.
                As explained in the Foreseeable Future for P. meandrina section, we
                consider it likely that climate indicator values between now and 2100
                will be within the collective ranges of those projected by RCP8.5 and
                the intermediate emissions pathways RCPs 6.0, and 4.5, rather than
                limited to those projected by RCP8.5 alone. Because we expect P.
                meandrina to face a low to moderate risk of extinction in the
                foreseeable future throughout its range, it does not meet the
                definition of a threatened species, and is thus not warranted for
                listing as threatened at this time.
                 The definitions of both ``threatened'' and ``endangered'' in the
                ESA contain the phrase ``significant portion of its range'' (SPR),
                referring to an area smaller than the entire range of the species which
                must be considered when evaluating a species' risk of extinction. Under
                the final SPR Policy announced in July 2014, should we find that the
                species is of low extinction risk throughout its range and not
                warranted for listing, as we have for P. meandrina, then we must go on
                to consider whether the species may have a higher risk of
                [[Page 40497]]
                extinction in a significant portion of its range (79 FR 37577; July 1,
                2014). If the species within the SPR meets the definition of threatened
                or endangered, then the species should be listed throughout its range
                based on the status within that SPR. The following sections provide the
                SPR analysis and determinations for P. meandrina.
                SPR Analysis
                 The SPR analysis for P. meandrina consists of two steps: (1)
                Identification of any portions of its range that are significant, and
                thus qualify as SPRs; and (2) assessment of the extinction risk of each
                SPR. This SPR analysis is based on the SPR policy in light of recent
                court decisions, as explained below. In two recent District Court cases
                challenging listing decisions made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                Service, the definition of ``significant'' in the SPR Policy was
                invalidated. The courts held that the threshold component of the
                definition was ``impermissible,'' because it set too high a standard.
                Specifically, the courts held that under the threshold in the policy, a
                species would never be listed based on the status of the portion,
                because in order for a portion to meet the threshold, the species would
                be threatened or endangered rangewide. Center for Biological Diversity,
                et al. v. Jewell, 248 F. Supp. 3d 946, 958 (D. Ariz. 2017); Desert
                Survivors v. DOI 321 F. Supp. 3d. 1011 (N.D. Cal., 2018). Accordingly,
                we do not rely on our definition in the policy, but instead our
                analysis independently construes and applies a biological significance
                standard, drawing from the demographic factors for P. meandrina
                described in the SRR (i.e., distribution, abundance, productivity, and
                diversity) as they apply to each SPR. That is, each P. meandrina SPR is
                identified based on its significance to the viability of the species,
                in terms of that SPR's distribution, abundance, productivity, and
                diversity.
                Identification of the Four SPRs
                 The first step of the SPR analysis is to identify any SPRs. We
                determined that several portions of P. meandrina's range are
                significant to the viability of the species, in terms of each SPR's
                demographic factors (distribution, abundance, productivity, and
                diversity). The range of this species encompasses 95 ecoregions spread
                across the Indo-Pacific from the western Indian Ocean to the eastern
                Pacific Ocean, including the western Indian Ocean (Ecoregions #1-10),
                the western Pacific Ocean (Ecoregions #11-68), the central Pacific
                Ocean (Ecoregions #69-87), and the eastern Pacific Ocean (Ecoregions
                #88-95; NMFS 2020b, Map 1). Based on the information in the SRR (Smith
                2019b) and NMFS (2020b), which is the best currently available
                information on the distribution of P. meandrina, we identified four
                SPRs: (1) SPR A, the 68 ecoregions within the western Indian and
                western Pacific areas (NMFS 2020b, Map 2); (2) SPR B, the 27 ecoregions
                within the central Pacific and eastern Pacific areas (NMFS 2020, Map
                3); (3) SPR C, the 58 ecoregions within the western Pacific area (NMFS
                2020b, Map 4); and (4) SPR D, the 19 ecoregions within the central
                Pacific area (NMFS 2020b, Map 5). As shown on the maps (NMFS 2020b),
                SPR A encompasses SPR C, and SPR B encompasses SPR D. Rationales for
                why each of these four areas qualify as an SPR are provided below.
                Other portions of P. meandrina's range were considered, but found not
                to qualify as SPRs.
                 SPR A qualifies as an SPR because it is significant to the
                viability of P. meandrina, based on the population's distribution and
                diversity. SPR A's distribution consists of 68 ecoregions (#1-68), or
                over 70 percent of P. meandrina's ecoregions (68/95 ecoregions), and
                approximately 85 percent of P. meandrina's coral reef area (Table 4).
                The population's ecoregions extend from the western edge of the
                species' range in the western Indian Ocean to the central western
                portion of its range in the Pacific Ocean (NMFS 2020b). Because SPR A's
                distribution covers over 70 percent of the species' ecoregions and
                approximately 85 percent of its coral reef area (NMFS 2020b), SPR A
                includes approximately 70 to 85 percent of P. meandrina's total
                abundance. Distribution and abundance strongly influence a population's
                productivity and diversity (see SRR, Sections 3.3 and 3.4), thus SPR A
                likely contains approximately 70 to 85 percent of P. meandrina's total
                productivity and diversity. Since SPR A includes most of P. meandrina's
                distribution, abundance, productivity, and diversity, the species would
                not be viable in the absence of this population. Therefore, SPR A is
                significant to the viability of P. meandrina and qualifies as an SPR.
                 SPR B qualifies as an SPR because it is significant to the
                viability of P. meandrina, based on the population's distribution,
                abundance, and productivity. SPR B's distribution consists of 27
                ecoregions (#69-95), or approximately 30 percent of P. meandrina's
                ecoregions (27/95 ecoregions) and approximately 15 percent of its coral
                reef area (Table 4). The population's ecoregions extend from the
                central eastern portion of its range to the eastern fringe of its range
                in the Pacific Ocean (NMFS 2020b). SPR B's distribution covers less
                than one-third of the species' ecoregions, and an even lower proportion
                of its coral reef area. However, the western portion of the population
                (i.e., Ecoregions #69-87) connects the eastern Pacific ecoregions (#88-
                95) with the rest of the species (i.e., Ecoregions #1-68). In addition,
                the abundance of this population is important because all ecoregions
                where P. meandrina is dominant occur within this population (NMFS
                2020b). Distribution and abundance strongly influence a population's
                productivity and diversity (see SRR, Sections 3.3 and 3.4), thus SPR B
                likely contains approximately 15 to 30 percent of P. meandrina's total
                productivity and diversity. Even though SPR B represents less than one-
                third of P. meandrina's ecoregions, the following characteristics of
                the population are especially valuable for maintaining the species'
                viability as threats worsen throughout the 21st century: (1) It
                contains all ecoregions where P. meandrina is dominant; (2) it provides
                a link to between the species' isolated ecoregions in the eastern
                Pacific to the bulk of its ecoregions in the western Pacific; and (3)
                it contains a high proportion of islands and atolls with small or no
                human populations (NMFS 2020b) where local threats are likely to be
                relatively low in the foreseeable future, and thus may provide refuges
                for maintaining the species' resilience as conditions deteriorate.
                Therefore, SPR B is significant to the viability of P. meandrina and
                qualifies as an SPR.
                 SPR C qualifies as an SPR because it is significant to the
                viability of P. meandrina, based on the population's distribution and
                diversity. SPR C's distribution consists of 58 ecoregions (#11-68), or
                approximately 60 percent of P. meandrina's ecoregions (58/95
                ecoregions) and approximately 76 percent of its coral reef area (Table
                4). The population's ecoregions all occur within the central western
                portion of its range in the Pacific Ocean. SPR C includes a high
                proportion of P. meandrina's coral reef area (76 percent) because it
                encompasses the entire Coral Reef Triangle, which has the highest
                density of coral reefs in the world (NMFS 2020b). In addition, SPR C
                connects the western Indian Ocean ecoregions (#1-10) with the rest of
                the species' ecoregions to the east (i.e., Ecoregions #69-95).
                Distribution and abundance strongly influence a population's
                productivity and diversity (see SRR, Sections 3.3 and 3.4), thus SPR C
                likely contains approximately 60
                [[Page 40498]]
                to 76 percent of P. meandrina's total productivity and diversity. Since
                SPR C includes the large majority of P. meandrina's distribution,
                abundance, productivity, and diversity, the species would not be viable
                in the absence of this population. Therefore, SPR C is significant to
                the viability of P. meandrina and qualifies as an SPR.
                 SPR D qualifies as an SPR because it is significant to the
                viability of P. meandrina, based on the population's distribution,
                abundance, and productivity. SPR D's distribution consists of 19
                ecoregions (#69-87), representing only 20 percent of P. meandrina's
                ecoregions (19/95 ecoregions) and approximately 14 percent of its coral
                reef area (Table 4). The population's ecoregions are located in the
                central eastern portion of its range in the Pacific Ocean (NMFS 2020b).
                While SPR D's distribution covers only one-fifth of the species'
                ecoregions, this population connects the eastern Pacific ecoregions
                (#88-95) with the rest of the species (i.e., Ecoregions #1-68). In
                addition, the abundance of this population is important because all
                ecoregions where P. meandrina is dominant occur within this population
                (NMFS 2020b). Distribution and abundance strongly influence a
                population's productivity and diversity (see SRR, Sections 3.3 and
                3.4), thus SPR D likely contains approximately 14 to 20 percent of P.
                meandrina's total productivity and diversity. Even though SPR D
                represents less than one-quarter of P. meandrina's ecoregions, the
                following characteristics of the population are especially valuable for
                maintaining the species' viability as threats worsen throughout the
                21st century: (1) It contains all ecoregions where P. meandrina is
                dominant; (2) it provides a link to between the species' isolated
                ecoregions in the eastern Pacific to the bulk of its ecoregions in the
                western Pacific; and (3) it contains a high proportion of islands and
                atolls with small or no human populations (NMFS 2020b) where local
                threats are likely to be relatively low in the foreseeable future, and
                thus may provide refuges for maintaining the species' resilience as
                conditions deteriorate. Therefore, SPR D is significant to the
                viability of P. meandrina and qualifies as an SPR.
                 Aside from SPRs A-D, no other portions of the range of P. meandrina
                considered were found to qualify as SPRs, based on the currently
                available best information, as presented in the SRR (Smith 2019b) and
                NMFS (2020b). The ecoregions on the fringes of the species' range in
                the western Indian Ocean (#1-10) and in the eastern Pacific Ocean (#88-
                95), are not significant to the viability of P. meandrina because: (1)
                Their distributions represent small proportions of the species' range,
                and do not connect large portions of the species' range with one
                another; (2) their abundances are much smaller than SPRs A-D; (3)
                productivity depends on abundance, thus their productivities are likely
                relatively low; and (4) diversity depends on distribution, thus their
                diversities are likely relatively low. Likewise, other groupings of
                ecoregions are not significant to the viability of P. meandrina for the
                same reasons, even groups with more ecoregions than SPRs B (27
                ecoregions) and D (19 ecoregions) such as those of the Coral Triangle
                (#15-42, 28 ecoregions), because they do not possess the unique
                characteristics described above for SPRs B and D.
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                Extinction Risk Assessments of the Four SPRs
                 The second step in our SPR analysis was to determine the status of
                each SPR with an Extinction Risk Assessment (ERA) similar to the
                process described in the Rangewide Extinction Risk Assessment section,
                except that the ERA Team was not involved. Instead, based on the
                information in the GSA (Smith 2019a), SRR (2019b), and NMFS (2020b),
                staff of the NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office analyzed the
                demographic factors and threats for each of the four SPRs to inform its
                extinction risk.
                 SPR A. SPR A's distribution consists of P. meandrina's Ecoregions
                #1-68, an area [ap]15,500 km (9,630 mi) wide from the western Indian
                Ocean to the western Pacific Ocean, encompassing approximately 197,000
                km\2\ of coral reefs. Its range includes some remote areas with small
                or no human populations, including most of the Maldives and Seychelles
                in the Indian Ocean, and parts of eastern Indonesia, the northern GBR,
                and the Kimberley Coast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean, and many
                others (Smith 2019b, Fig. 2; NMFS 2020b). As is typical of P.
                meandrina, SPR A is more common at depths of =30 m; NMFS 2020b), and wide habitat breadth (SRR,
                Section 2.4), provide SPR A high habitat heterogeneity (SRR, section
                3.4), which creates patchiness of conditions across its range at any
                given time, thus many portions of its range are unaffected or lightly
                affected by any given threat; (2) its very high abundance (a few tens
                of billions of colonies; NMFS 2020b), together with high habitat
                heterogeneity, likely result in many billions of colonies surviving
                even the worst disturbances; (3) even when high mortality occurs, its
                high productivity provides the capacity for the affected populations to
                recover quickly, as has been documented at sites in the GBR (SRR,
                Section 3.2.3); (4) likewise, its high productivity provides the
                capacity for populations to recover relatively quickly from
                disturbances compared to more sensitive reef coral species, allowing
                SPR A to take over denuded substrates and to sometimes become more
                abundant after disturbances than before them, as has been documented at
                sites in the GBR (SRR, Section 3.3); (5) it recruits to artificial
                substrates more readily than most other Indo-Pacific reef corals, often
                dominating the coral communities on the metal, concrete, and PVC
                surfaces of seawalls, Fish Aggregation Devices, pipes, and other
                manmade structures (SRR, Section 3.3); (6) in other P. meandrina
                populations that suffered high mortality from warming-induced
                bleaching, subsequent warming resulted in less mortality (SRR, Section
                4.1), suggesting the potential for acclimatization and adaptation in
                this population; and (7) adaptation may be enhanced by its high
                genotypic diversity (SRR, Section 3.3) and high dispersal (SRR, Section
                3.4).
                 Taken together, these demographic characteristics of SPR A are
                expected to substantially moderate the impacts of the worsening threats
                over the foreseeable future. While broadly deteriorating conditions
                will likely result in a downward trajectory of SPR A's overall
                abundance in the foreseeable future, the demographic characteristics
                summarized above are expected to allow the population to at least
                partially recover from many disturbances, thereby slowing the downward
                trajectory. Thus, our interpretation of the information in the GSA
                (Smith 2019a), SRR (Smith 2019b), and this finding is that SPR A is
                currently at low risk of extinction, and that it will be at low to
                moderate risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. Therefore, P.
                meandrina is not warranted for listing as endangered or threatened
                under the ESA at this time based on its status within SPR A.
                SPR B
                 SPR B can be characterized as a population with strong demographic
                factors facing broad and worsening threats: it has a large and stable
                distribution, high overall abundance but unknown overall abundance
                trend, high and stable productivity, and high and stable diversity
                (Table 4). But it faces multiple global and local threats, all of which
                are worsening, and existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to
                ameliorate the threats. As explained in the Foreseeable Future for P.
                meandrina section above, we consider it likely that climate indicator
                values between now and 2100 will be within the collective ranges of
                those projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5.
                 Although all threats are projected to worsen within SPR B's range
                over the foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b; NMFS 2020a), the following
                characteristics of the population moderate its extinction risk,
                summarized from information in the SRR (Smith 2019b), NMFS (2020b), and
                the SPR B component of the Extinction Risk Assessments of the SPRs
                section above: (1) Its large geographic distribution (27 ecoregions,
                [ap]35,000 km\2\ of reef area, extensive non-reef and mesophotic
                habitats; NMFS 2020b), broad depth distribution (0-34 m; NMFS 2020b),
                and wide habitat breadth (SRR, Section 2.4), provide SPR B high habitat
                heterogeneity (SRR, section 3.4), which creates patchiness of
                conditions across its range at any given time, thus many portions of
                its range are unaffected or lightly affected by any given threat; (2)
                its high abundance (at least several billion colonies; NMFS 2020b),
                together with high habitat heterogeneity, likely result in billions of
                colonies surviving even the worst disturbances; (3) even when high
                mortality occurs, its high productivity provides the capacity for the
                affected populations to recover quickly, as has been documented at
                sites within several ecoregions (e.g., at Fagatele Bay in American
                Samoa, at the Kahe Power Plant in the main Hawaiian Islands, and at
                Moorea in the Society Islands; SRR, Section 3.2.3); (4) likewise, its
                high productivity provides the capacity for populations to recover
                relatively quickly from disturbances compared to more sensitive reef
                coral species, allowing SPR B to take over denuded substrates and to
                sometimes become more abundant after disturbances than before them, as
                has been documented in some of SPR B's ecoregions (SRR, Section 3.3);
                (5) it recruits to artificial substrates more readily than most other
                Indo-Pacific reef corals, often dominating the coral communities on the
                metal, concrete, and PVC surfaces of seawalls, Fish Aggregation
                Devices, pipes, and other manmade structures (SRR, Section 3.3); (6) in
                some sub-populations that suffered high mortality from warming-induced
                bleaching, subsequent warming resulted in less mortality (e.g., Oahu,
                main Hawaiian Islands, SRR, Section 4.1), suggesting acclimatization or
                adaptation of the surviving populations; and (7) adaptation may be
                enhanced by its high genotypic diversity (SRR,
                [[Page 40505]]
                Section 3.3) and high dispersal (SRR, Section 3.4).
                 Taken together, these demographic characteristics of SPR B are
                expected to substantially moderate the impacts of the worsening threats
                over the foreseeable future. Although SPR B only consists of
                approximately 15 percent of the range of P. meandrina, it nevertheless
                covers approximately 35,000 km\2\ of reef area (Table 4), as well as
                extensive non-reef and mesophotic habitats, spread across the central
                and eastern Pacific, thus constituting a large distribution. In
                addition, SPR B's distribution includes over 1,000 atolls and islands
                with small or no human populations (NMFS 2020b) where local threats are
                relatively low. While broadly deteriorating conditions will likely
                result in a downward trajectory of SPR B's overall abundance in the
                foreseeable future, the demographic characteristics summarized above
                are expected to allow the population to at least partially recover from
                many disturbances, thereby slowing the downward trajectory. Thus, our
                interpretation of the information in the GSA (Smith 2019a), SRR (Smith
                2019b), and this finding is that SPR B is currently at low risk of
                extinction, and that it will be at low to moderate risk of extinction
                in the foreseeable future. Therefore, P. meandrina is not warranted for
                listing as endangered or threatened under the ESA at this time based on
                its status within SPR B.
                SPR C
                 SPR C can be characterized as a population with strong demographic
                factors facing broad and worsening threats: it has a very large and
                stable distribution, very high overall abundance but unknown overall
                abundance trend, high and stable productivity, and high and stable
                diversity (Table 4). But it faces multiple global and local threats,
                all of which are worsening, and existing regulatory mechanisms are
                inadequate to ameliorate the threats. As explained in the Foreseeable
                Future for P. meandrina section above, we consider it likely that
                climate indicator values between now and 2100 will be within the
                collective ranges of those projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5.
                 Although all threats are projected to worsen within SPR C's range
                over the foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b; NMFS 2020a), the following
                characteristics of the population moderate its extinction risk,
                summarized from information in the SRR (Smith 2019b), NMFS (2020b), and
                the SPR C component of the Extinction Risk Assessments of the SPRs
                section above: (1) Its very large geographic distribution (58
                ecoregions, [ap]178,000 km\2\ of reef area; NMFS 2020b), broad depth
                distribution (0->=30 m; NMFS 2020b), and wide habitat breadth (SRR,
                Section 2.4), provide SPR C high habitat heterogeneity (SRR, section
                3.4), which creates patchiness of conditions across its range at any
                given time, thus many portions of its range are unaffected or lightly
                affected by any given threat; (2) its very high abundance (a few tens
                of billions of colonies; NMFS 2020b), together with high habitat
                heterogeneity, likely result in many billions of colonies surviving
                even the worst disturbances; (3) even when high mortality occurs, its
                high productivity provides the capacity for the affected populations to
                recover quickly, as has been documented on the GBR (Section 3.2.3); (4)
                likewise, its high productivity provides the capacity for populations
                to recover relatively quickly from disturbances compared to more
                sensitive reef coral species, allowing SPR C to take over denuded
                substrates and to sometimes become more abundant after disturbances
                than before them, as has been documented on the GBR (SRR, Section 3.3);
                (5) it recruits to artificial substrates more readily than most other
                Indo-Pacific reef corals, often dominating the coral communities on the
                metal, concrete, and PVC surfaces of seawalls, Fish Aggregation
                Devices, pipes, and other manmade structures (SRR, Section 3.3); (6) in
                other P. meandrina populations that suffered high mortality from
                warming-induced bleaching, subsequent warming resulted in less
                mortality (SRR, Section 4.1), suggesting the potential for
                acclimatization and adaptation in this population; and (7) adaptation
                may be enhanced by its high genotypic diversity (SRR, Section 3.3) and
                high dispersal (SRR, Section 3.4).
                 Taken together, these demographic characteristics of SPR C are
                expected to substantially moderate the impacts of the worsening threats
                over the foreseeable future. While broadly deteriorating conditions
                will likely result in a downward trajectory of SPR C's overall
                abundance in the foreseeable future, the demographic characteristics
                summarized above are expected to allow the population to at least
                partially recover from many disturbances, thereby slowing the downward
                trajectory. Thus, our interpretation of the information in the GSA
                (Smith 2019a), SRR (Smith 2019b), and this finding is that SPR C is
                currently at low risk of extinction, and that it will be at low to
                moderate risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. Therefore, P.
                meandrina is not warranted for listing as endangered or threatened
                under the ESA at this time based on its status within SPR C.
                SPR D
                 SPR D can be characterized as a population with strong demographic
                factors facing broad and worsening threats: it has a large and stable
                distribution, high overall abundance but unknown overall abundance
                trend, high and stable productivity, and high and stable diversity
                (Table 4). But it faces multiple global and local threats, all of which
                are worsening, and existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to
                ameliorate the threats. As explained in the Foreseeable Future for P.
                meandrina section above, we consider it likely that climate indicator
                values between now and 2100 will be within the collective ranges of
                those projected under RCPs 8.5, 6.0, and 4.5.
                 Although all threats are projected to worsen within SPR D's range
                over the foreseeable future (Smith 2019a,b; NMFS 2020a), the following
                characteristics of the population moderate its extinction risk,
                summarized from information in the SRR (Smith 2019b), NMFS (2020b), and
                the SPR D component of the Extinction Risk Assessments of the SPRs
                section above: (1) Its large geographic distribution (19 ecoregions,
                [ap]32,000 km\2\ of reef area, extensive non-reef and mesophotic
                habitats; NMFS 2020b), broad depth distribution (0-34 m; NMFS 2020b),
                and wide habitat breadth (SRR, Section 2.4), provide SPR D high habitat
                heterogeneity (SRR, section 3.4), which creates patchiness of
                conditions across its range at any given time, thus many portions of
                its range are unaffected or lightly affected by any given threat; (2)
                its high abundance (at least several billion colonies; NMFS 2020b),
                together with high habitat heterogeneity, likely result in billions of
                colonies surviving even the worst disturbances; (3) even when high
                mortality occurs, its high productivity provides the capacity for the
                affected populations to recover quickly, as has been documented at
                sites within several ecoregions (e.g., at Fagatele Bay in American
                Samoa, at the Kahe Power Plant in the main Hawaiian Islands, and at
                Moorea in the Society Islands; SRR, Section 3.2.3); (4) likewise, its
                high productivity provides the capacity for populations to recover
                relatively quickly from disturbances compared to more sensitive reef
                coral species, allowing SPR D to take over denuded substrates and to
                sometimes become more abundant after disturbances than before them, as
                has been documented in some of SPR D's ecoregions (SRR, Section
                [[Page 40506]]
                3.3); (5) it recruits to artificial substrates more readily than most
                other Indo-Pacific reef corals, often dominating the coral communities
                on the metal, concrete, and PVC surfaces of seawalls, Fish Aggregation
                Devices, pipes, and other manmade structures (SRR, Section 3.3); (6) in
                some sub-populations that suffered high mortality from warming-induced
                bleaching, subsequent warming resulted in less mortality (e.g., Oahu,
                main Hawaiian Islands, SRR, Section 4.1), suggesting acclimatization or
                adaptation of the surviving populations; and (7) adaptation may be
                enhanced by its high genotypic diversity (SRR, Section 3.3) and high
                dispersal (SRR, Section 3.4).
                 Taken together, these demographic characteristics of SPR D are
                expected to substantially moderate the impacts of the worsening threats
                over the foreseeable future. Although SPR D only consists of
                approximately 14 percent of the range of P. meandrina, it nevertheless
                covers approximately 32,000 km\2\ of reef area (Table 4), as well as
                extensive non-reef and mesophotic habitats, spread across the central
                Pacific, thus constituting a large distribution. In addition, SPR D's
                distribution includes over 1,000 atolls and islands with small or no
                human populations (NMFS 2020b) where local threats are relatively low.
                While broadly deteriorating conditions will likely result in a downward
                trajectory of SPR D's overall abundance in the foreseeable future, the
                demographic characteristics summarized above are expected to allow the
                population to at least partially recover from many disturbances,
                thereby slowing the downward trajectory. Thus, our interpretation of
                the information in the GSA (Smith 2019a), SRR (Smith 2019b), and this
                finding is that SPR D is currently at low risk of extinction, and that
                it will be at low to moderate risk of extinction in the foreseeable
                future. Therefore, P. meandrina is not warranted for listing as
                endangered or threatened under the ESA at this time based on its status
                within SPR D.
                 This is a final action, and, therefore, we are not soliciting
                public comments.
                References
                 A complete list of the references used in this 12-month finding is
                available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/pocillopora-meandrina-coral#conservation-management and upon request (see FOR
                FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
                Authority
                 The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of
                1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
                 Dated: June 29, 2020.
                Donna Wieting,
                Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries
                Service.
                [FR Doc. 2020-14304 Filed 7-2-20; 8:45 am]
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