Rare forb declared endangered species | RecordCourier.com

Rare forb declared endangered species

Staff Reports

A low-growing, perennial forb found in the mountains of Douglas and Washoe counties in Nevada has been declared an endangered species the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife announced Monday.

“Webber’s ivesia is threatened with extinction because of many factors, particularly the invasion of nonnative plant species and associated increases in the frequency and severity of wildfires throughout the species’ limited range,” said Ted Koch, State Supervisor for the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office.

Webber’s ivesia is restricted to sites with sparse vegetation and shallow, rocky, clay soils on mid-elevation flats, benches or terraces between 4,475 and 6,237 feet elevation in Washoe and Douglas Counties in Nevada, and in Lassen, Plumas and Sierra Counties, in California. All 17 known populations of Webber’s ivesia are within the transition zone between the eastern edge of the northern Sierra Nevada and the northwestern edge of the Great Basin. One of these populations is presumed to have died off.

In Douglas County, the plant lives just off Highway 395 in the Pine Nut Mountains.

Webber’s ivesia is a member of the rose family. It is approximately 10 inches in diameter with clusters of leaves that lie nearly flat on the ground. It has greenish-gray leaves, dark red, wiry stems, and head-like clusters of small bright yellow flowers. Flowering typically begins in May and extends through June and the whole plant becomes reddish-tinged late in the season.

The service first identified Webber’s ivesia as a candidate for ESA protection in 2002, due to the threat posed by urban development, authorized and unauthorized road use, OHVs and recreation use, livestock grazing and trampling, wildfire and suppression activities, displacement by nonnative, invasive plant species, and inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.

The species continues to experience habitat loss due to these same threats.

Areas identified as critical habitat for the Webber’s ivesia include 16 units (two comprised of two subunits each).

The area within the 16 units is currently occupied by the species. Approximately 70 percent of the designated critical habitat is on federally managed lands, 10 percent is state, and 20 percent is on private land.

The act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others.

The health of threatened and endangered species is strongly linked to the health and well-being of people and communities. Millions of Americans depend on habitat that sustains imperiled species — for clean air and water, recreational opportunities and for their livelihoods.