In This Issue
- Critical Habitat is Designated in California and Hawaii for Endangered Plants
- Call for Proposals
- Future Meetings
- Information Highway Hi-Lites
- Current Literature
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has designated more than 1,000 acres in California's Fresno and Tulare counties, more than 4,300 acres in California's Sonoma and Marin counties, and 24,333 acres of land on Molokai, Hawaii as critical habitat for 44 different endangered plant species.
The Endangered Species Act defines critical habitat as an area or areas with physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of a species and may need special management or protection. A designation does not set up a preserve or refuge. Federal agencies, however, must ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.
Until a population of 60 plants was discovered in 1992 in Tulare County, California, Keck's checkermallow (Sidalcea keckii) had not been seen since 1939 and was thought to be extinct. Another population was discovered in Fresno County in 1998. Surveys have found 500 to 1,000 plants in eight separate patches. Growing on serpentine soils in hilly grasslands, Keck's checkermallow displays deep pink flowers and can reach a height of 13 inches. Urban development and agricultural land conversion are the primary threats facing this plant.
Baker's larkspur (Delphinium bakeri) and yellow larkspur (D. luteum) are native, perennial herbs found only in coastal northern Marin and southern Sonoma counties, north of San Francisco, California. Baker's larkspur has dark-blue-to-purple flowers; yellow larkspur has bright yellow flowers. Botanists believe Baker's larkspur has been eliminated from Coleman Valley and near the town of Tomales. The number of plants at the only known remaining location, east of Tomales Bay, has varied from 0 to 67 over the last 20 years. The yellow larkspur was never widely distributed, and most historical populations have been partially or entirely destroyed. The species is now found at only seven sites. A total of approximately 100 to 175 plants remain. Both Baker's larkspur and yellow larkspur are threatened by road construction, over-collection by plant enthusiasts, grazing and development.
Eighty-eight single-species critical habitat units covering 24,333 acres of land on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, have been designated to protect 41 threatened and endangered plant species. Although identified in separate units by plant species, many of the units actually overlap, creating in essence nine multi-species units. Half of the acreage designated as critical habitat is privately held; the remainder is State land except for three acres under National Park Service jurisdiction.
A critical habitat designation does not affect activities on private lands unless some sort of Federal permit, license, or funding is involved. Activities of a private landowner - such as farming and grazing - generally are not affected by a critical habitat designation, even if the landowner's property is within the geographical boundaries of the critical habitat.
USFWS published in the Federal Register a final rule listing Baker's larkspur and yellow larkspur as endangered in January 2000, and Keck's checkermallow as endangered in February 2000. Due to budget limitations, USFWS did not designate critical habitat at that time. The Center for Biological Diversity brought suit, eventually leading to a settlement in which USFWS agreed to propose critical habitat for the three species by 10 June 2002, and to make a final determination by 10 March 2003.
The Research Program at Earthwatch invites proposals for 2003-2004 field grants. Earthwatch is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to sponsoring field research and promoting public education in the sciences and humanities. Past projects have been successfully fielded in, but are not limited to, the following disciplines: animal behavior, biodiversity, ecology, ornithology, endangered species, entomology, botany, and resource and wildlife management. Interdisciplinary projects are especially encouraged as is multinational collaboration. Information can be found at <http://www.earthwatch.org/research/> or you can contact Earthwatch at 3 Clocktower Place, Suite 100, P.O. Box 75, Maynard, MA 01754-0075; Tel: 978-461-0081; Fax: 978-461-2332. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giant hogweed, cheat grass, and miconia are just a few of the threatening plants that will be addressed as scientists and managers join forces at Invasive Plants in Natural and Managed Systems: Linking Science and Management and the 7th International Conference on the Ecology and Management of Alien Plant Invasions to be held 3-7 November 2003 at the Wyndham Bonaventure Resort, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The goals of the conference are to promote scientific exchange among invasive plant researchers, provide interchange between scientists, managers, and volunteers for efficient invasive plant management, and foster interdisciplinary cooperation on the science and management of invasive plants. National and international speakers have been invited to address a series of topics in the plenary sessions, symposia, and workshops. Contributed presentations (poster and oral) are encouraged to complement these invited presentations. Posters will be an integral part of the program with authors present during dedicated viewing times. Abstracts for contributed posters and oral sessions must be received no later than 1 May 2003. Abstracts and associated information should be submitted using the electronic submission form linked from the conference Web site at <http://www.esa.org/ipinams-emapi7>.
The Department of Systematic Biology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History offers the Mammal Species of the World (MSW) <http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/>, a database of mammalian taxonomy containing the names over 4,000 currently recognized mammal species. This database is intended for use as a "convenient on-line reference for identifying or verifying recognized scientific names and for taxonomic research." The database may be searched using a number of different fields, including scientific and common names, original publication citation, type species or locality, distribution, etc. In addition to serving as an online reference, MSW can be "adapted as an authority file for collections management activities of mammal collections."
-from The NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences
Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.
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