Celebrating Wildflowers News 2006

November 2006

Payette National Forest Partnership with Red Butte Garden Helps Conserve Imperiled Plant, Tobias Saxifrage, in Idaho. - November 2006

Tobias saxifrage.
Saxifrage bryophora var. tobiasiae, Tobias saxifrage, Payette National Forest.

This rare endemic to the subalpine region of the West Salmon River Mountains is found only on the Payette National Forest. Named after a local conservationist, Nell Tobias, the plant produces few seeds and relies on small plantlets or bulbils for reproduction. Bulbils of Tobias saxifrage were collected this spring from remaining populations at Pearl Creek and sent to Red Butte Gardens in Utah for propagation. These plantlets will receive expert care from the staff at Red Butte until they can be planted back into national forest lands that were “burned-over” by wild fires.

Following recent fires, known sites of Saxifrage bryophora var. tobiasiae in the Pearl Creek drainage, Payette National Forest, were destroyed. Since only six populations of Tobias saxifrage are known to occur on the Payette National Forest, it is important to propagate local genetic material for restoration. Past reproductive biology research done by Kim Pierson, the Forest botanist on the Sawtooth National Forest, contributed to our understanding of the plants ecological and biological characteristics, allowing for successful reintroduction.

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Finding the Elusive Wright’s Filmy Fern on the Tongass National Forest - November 2006

pitcher plants returning to an area that burned.
Gametophyte of Wright’s filmy fern. The plant pictured here is about 1/3 inch wide.

The tiny fern, Wright’s filmy fern (Hymenophyllum wrightii), grows in Japan and Korea and the temperate rain forests of the northwest coast of North America. Moss experts discovered the fern in British Columbia in 1957 and in Alaska in 1965. It is rare in British Columbia and was known in only two places in Alaska.

In July, a team of botanists, armed with flashlights and magnifying glasses, conducted concentrated surveys to locate the fern in southeastern Alaska. The botanists found the plant at 15 places near Petersburg and Sitka. In 2006, botanists have found the fern at 40 other locations in southeastern Alaska.

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October 2006

Pollinators at Risk: Nation Unites for the Birds and Bees - October 2006

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) hosted a symposium on October 18, 2006, to "to increase attention to the importance, and potential peril, of pollinating insects and other animals and the plants which depend on them for reproduction." The goal of the symposium was to raise awareness and to underscore the critical need for forethought and research to prevent a crisis in the pollinator world. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), USDA, and the U.S. Postal Service each made major announcements to focus public attention on often unseen and yet vitally important interactions between plants and the pollinating animals that help them reproduce.

  • Dr. Gene Robinson introduced the Status of Pollinators: Monitoring and Prevention of their Decline in North America, a nearly 400 page report completed by the NAS's National Research Council (NRC).
  • Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner announced the signing of a proclamation by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in recognition of pollinators and designating June 24-30, 2007 as National Pollinator Week.
  • The United States Postal Service (USPS), represented by Washington, DC Postmaster Yverne Pat Moore, unveiled the intricate design for a commemorative stamp series highlighting the interconnectedness of nature and the process of pollination.

Complete North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Press Release (PDF, 30 KB)…

Pitcher Plant Restoration - October 2006

pitcher plants returning to an area that burned.
Pitcher plants returning after burn. Photo courtesy of Linda Chance.

The Kisatchie National Forest has partnered with Northwestern State University’s biology department, Natchitoches Parish, and a local construction company. Funding was secured with a grant of $86,000 from the Coypu Foundation to the NSU biology department to accomplish native plant conservation including the restoration of pitcher plant bogs in Louisiana.

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Cottonwood Canyons Foundation 2006 Invasive Weed Program: Final Report - October 2006

bags of weeds collected by the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation volunteers sitting in a trash dumpster.
Weeds collected by the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation participating groups and volunteers.

The Cottonwood Canyons Foundation Invasive Weed program was sponsored this summer by funding from the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a partnership grant from the Bonneville Coordinated Weed Management Area and in-kind support from Salt Lake County Public Works, who picked up pulled weeds for proper disposal. Volunteers chipped in a ton of hours and sweat effort to map invasive species and pull weeds.

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Federal Agencies finalize Conservation Agreement to protect five Central Utah Navajo Sandstone Endemics - October 2006

View of Dixie National Forest from Capitol Reef National Park.
Colorado Plateau: View of Boulder Mountain from Capitol Reef National Park. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

A Conservation Agreement and Strategy (PDF, 692 KB) to protect five rare endemic plants in Central Utah was signed by federal land management agencies this past month. It is the culmination of an interagency partnership that began even years ago to share botanical expertise and resources to conduct range-wide surveys (regardless of agency ownership) to understand the distribution, range, threats, and opportunities to manage shared species. The five species protected through this Agreement include: Maguire’s daisy (Erigeron maguirei), Wonderland Aliceflower (Aliciella caespitosa), Mussentuchit gilia (Aliciella tenuis), Harrison’s milkvetch (Astragalus harrisonii) and Pinnate springparsley (Cymopteris beckii).

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September 2006

Uinta National Forest Introduction Program to Recover Clay Phacelia, one of Utah’s most Endangered Species - September 2006

clay phacelia.
Clay Phacelia (Phacelia argillacea) habitat is found on sparsely vegetated slopes of the Green River shale formation at about 6,600-foot elevation. Photo by Denise Van Keuren.

Known from only two small populations on private lands, the Forest Service is contributing to recovery efforts of one of the nation’s rarest plants, the Endangered Clay phacelia (Phacelia argillacea) by taking action to establish new populations on federal lands. Over the past decade the Uinta NF has conducted extensive surveys in suitable habitat on federal lands adjacent to occupied sites but no additional populations have been found. Field surveys conducted in 2001 indicated an alarmingly low number of plants in the known populations due a series of natural and weather related factors (drought, predation, etc.) which subsequently led to the need for urgent action to begin Seed collection for ex-situ testing and seed bank expansion. The goal is to establish up to 13 new populations on federal lands that would ensure that this species does not go extinct.

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Native Plant Rescue: Saving Our Natural Heritage - Wayne National Forest - September 2006

volunteers planting black cohosh and other species in beds on the Wayne National Forest.
Volunteers planting black cohosh and other species in beds on the Wayne National Forest. Photo courtesy of Rural Action.

Personnel from the Wayne National Forest and volunteers from Hocking College, Rural Action Appalachian Resource Center, Ohio University, United Plant Savers, Frontier Natural Products Cooperative and the National Forest Stewardship Program came together in September to salvage many native plants from the future site of the U.S. Highway 33 bypass that will cut through the Wayne National Forest. Among the many species saved were a number of economically important medicinal plant species such as, goldenseal, black cohosh, blue cohosh, and bloodroot. Some of the salvaged plants were transplanted into other young, second growth forests on the forest. Most of the salvaged plants were planted into beds located at the Athens Ranger District Office. These plants will produce valuable seed for use in future revegetation and restoration projects on the forest.

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May 2006

New Plant Species Named after Sacajawea Found in Boise National Forest - May 11, 2006

Sacajawea's bitterroot (Lewisia sacajaweana)
Sacajawea's bitterroot
(Lewisia sacajaweana).

A species new to science - Sacajawea's bitterroot (Lewisia sacajaweana) - is the first plant species to be named in honor of Sacajawea.

An Idaho native, this rare and beautiful plant occurs nowhere else in the world but Central Idaho. Just over two dozen populations of Sacajawea’s bitterroot are known to exist - roughly 75 percent of them on the Boise National Forest. Scattered populations also occur on the Payette, Sawtooth, and Salmon-Challis National Forests.

Read More (PDF, 262 KB)…

Lichen and Bryophyte Groups Visit Wayne National Forest - Spring 2006

Visiting groups spent several hours collecting specimens in the Symmes Creek area, taking them back to the Shawnee State Park lodge, where they were identified. One of the goals of the workshop was to develop lists of lichens and bryophytes for each area visited. The Symmes Creek lichen list contained more species than any of the other sites visited.

The Symmes Creek area is recognized as a hotspot for moss and lichen diversity as well as a premier habitat for these taxa. The area contains a variety of tree bark, soil, and rock habitats.

Groups included member of the Wayne National Forest, Ohio Moss and Lichen Association members, Lichen and moss experts throughout the Eastern United States, and herbaria (New York Botanical Garden, Philadelphia Museum of natural History, University of Nebraska, Kent State university, Ohio State University)

Read More (PDF, 98 KB)…

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