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Partners for Recovery; The Formation of the Boltonia Recovery Implementation Workgroup
Midwest Region, September 8, 2010
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Small Boltonia cluster in bloom, Mason County, Illinois. (Photo by Amber Andress)
Small Boltonia cluster in bloom, Mason County, Illinois. (Photo by Amber Andress) - Photo Credit: n/a

Decurrent false aster (Boltonia decurrens) is one of our federally threatened wetland plants and is endemic to the lake shores and stream banks of the Illinois River Corridor.  It blooms with showy white flowers from August through October and is part of a unique plant community that colonizes disturbed areas left behind by the natural flood pulses of the Illinois River. 

Extreme habitat loss due to navigation infrastructure, changes in hydrology, and alteration flood regimes on the Illinois River have contributed to its decline, and it was listed as a federally threatened species in 1988.

Recovery and delisting of the species, as prescribed by the 1990 Recovery Plan, requires that a research program be completed to determine the requirements and life history of the species.  In addition, twelve geographically distinct self-sustaining populations of the species must be permanently protected, and those populations must be monitored for a period of at least five years to document that they are self-sustaining.  Extensive research on the species has been completed, but permanent protection and long-term monitoring of the species has yet to be accomplished.

Biologists Jody Millar and Amber Andress from the Rock Island Field Office have facilitated the formation of a Boltonia Recovery Implementation Workgroup to establish working relationships with researchers and land managers in the Illinois River Corridor.  The group includes representatives from the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lindenwood University, and Western Illinois University.

Together with the Rock Island Field office, these partners will work to implement plans to meet the final delisting criteria.  Specifically, the Workgroup will develop consistent guidelines for management of the species and promote its conservation on both federally and privately owned lands.  Best management practices for Boltonia will not only benefit the species, but also provide benefits to other species of fish, wildlife, and plants that rely on moist soil units and natural hydrologic regimes to flourish.  In addition to management, the Workgroup will also facilitate the consistent monitoring of core populations and work together to compile that data in support of delisting.

The formation of the Workgroup is an important step toward the recovery of the species and the long-term conservation of a unique habitat in the Illinois River Corridor.  The Rock Island Field Office looks forward to the accomplishments of the Workgroup in the coming year.


Contact Info: Amber Andress, 309-757-5800 x222, amber_andress@fws.gov



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