Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 5, 2017

First Endangered Species Act Success Story of 2017

News Release Center for Biological Diversity

First Endangered Species Act Success Story of 2017:
California’s Hidden Lake Bluecurls Flower Proposed for Delisting

LOS ANGELES, Calif.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to remove the Hidden Lake bluecurls, a rare alpine wildflower from Southern California, from the endangered species list due to its recovery. The beautiful plant is found on the shores of a high-elevation seasonal lake in the San Jacinto Mountains of Riverside County and nowhere else on Earth. Hidden Lake bluecurls was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1998 because its limited range was overrun with hikers and equestrians who trampled the flower. With protection the habitat and flower have recovered.

“The Endangered Species Act has saved yet another species from extinction,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Thanks to this highly effective law, the beautiful Hidden Lake bluecurls will now be around for generations to come.”

The watershed area where the flower grows is now managed as a natural preserve to protect rare plants and wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation have developed a long-term monitoring and management plan to ensure the flower is safe into the future. In addition, seeds have been secured in a seedbank to reintroduce the plant if a catastrophic event were to deplete the natural population.

Because of its highly limited range and dependence on wet conditions, climate change poses a potentially dire threat to the flower in the event of severe drought or altered precipitation patterns. To address this concern, the ongoing management and monitoring of the plant is designed to detect future threats in the face of the changing climate.

“I’m concerned about how climate change will hurt this highly localized mountain flower,” Anderson said. “But I’m also hopeful that ongoing monitoring will ensure the flower survives if climate change affects its fragile alpine habitat.”

The Hidden Lake bluecurls joins a growing list of species that have recovered with protection under the Endangered Species Act. More endangered species were found to be partially or fully recovered in 2016 than in any other year since the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973. Eleven species were found to have recovered in 2016, including a Texas plant; four subspecies of island foxes from the Channel Islands; two humpback whale populations; Kentucky’s white-haired goldenrod; Santa Cruz cypress; and Columbian white-tailed deer. Four species were proposed for downlisting or delisting, including the black-capped vireo, grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, Florida manatees and Texas’ Tobusch fishhook cactus. The bluecurls continues this trend.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


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