Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Designate 381 Acres of Critical Habitat for Endangered Franciscan Manzanita

Sep 04, 2012

September 5, 2012

Media Contacts:
Robert Moler, robert_moler@fws.gov, (916) 414-6606
Sarah Swenty, sarah_swenty@fws.gov, (916) 414-6571

San Francisco’s Namesake Shrub  - the Endangered Franciscan Manzanita - Earned Protection Status in 2011

Service Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Designate 381 Acres of Critical Habitat

SACRAMENTO – The Franciscan manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana) was given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) today and listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (Service). The Service also published a proposed rule to designate approximately 318 acres as critical habitat for the plant in San Francisco City and County.

The last known wild Franciscan manzanita, an evergreen ground cover shrub, was discovered in 2009 during a road renovation project and moved to the grounds of the Presidio for protection. The Service will now work with conservation partners to recover the species.

“Designating the Franciscan manzanita as an endangered species is a critical step to ensure the last wild specimen is protected and the species has a secure opportunity to recover,” said Susan Moore, Field Supervisor for the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Service. “It now has room to grow.”

By proposing critical habitat for the Franciscan manzanita, the Service is looking for specific information related to the amount and distribution of historic habitat, the range of the plant, and probable economic impacts of the action.

Comments will be accepted until November 5, 2012. Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket Number FWS–R8–ES–2012–0067) or by U.S. mail to:

Public Comments Processing

Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2012–0067
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203.

Before the discovery of the last known specimen, the Franciscan manzanita was thought to be extinct in the wild. Quickly following discovery of the plant, a conservation plan was designed to protect the plant and environmental organizations petitioned the Service to list the plant as endangered.

In September 2011, the Service found that listing the plant as an endangered species was warranted and opened two comment periods to allow the public to submit information on the status of the species. The Service’s announcement today is a result of assessing the best available science and information about the plant and its habitat.

The ESA 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 ESA makes it illegal to kill, harm or otherwise “take” a listed species, or to possess, import, export or engage in interstate or international commerce of a listed species without authorization in the form of a permit from the Service. Botanical gardens or nurseries that acquired its stock legally may continue to possess and propagate the species.   ESA Permits are required if a person or group intends to sell the plants or any of the progeny in interstate or foreign commerce.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSPacSWest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/