Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Candidate Conservation Agreement Brings Together Federal and State Partners to Benefit Native California Plant

Sep 16, 2013

Contacts:

Naval Base Coronado contact: Lt. Michael Smith, 619-545-8136
Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton contact: Dean Levi, 760-725-9747
Department of Homeland Security contact: Bill Brooks, 432-729-5217
California Department of Parks and Recreation contact: Vicky Waters, 916-653-5115
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contact: Jane Hendron, 760-431-9440, ext. 205

Candidate Conservation Agreement Brings Together Federal and State Partners to Benefit Native California Plant

CARLSBAD, Calif., – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Department of Homeland Security, and California Department of Parks and Recreation signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) to benefit Phacelia stellaris (Brand’s phacelia).

The plant was identified as a Candidate for possible listing under the Endangered Species Act in 2004, based on information that indicated there were only 2 locations of the plant in the U.S. and 3 in Baja California, Mexico. Primary threats to the species identified in the Candidate Notice were habitat loss and degradation associated with invasive nonnative plants, and damage from vehicles, foot traffic, and horses.

“The CCA demonstrates the value of the Candidate process in achieving cooperative conservation for Brand’s phacelia and will also benefit other co-occurring native plants, including Lotus nuttallianus (Nuttall’s lotus),” said Ren Lohoefener, Regional Director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region.

Currently, Brand’s phacelia is known to occur at five locations in San Diego County – Lichty Mesa; Naval Air Station, North Island; Silver Strand Training Complex – North; Silver Strand State Beach; and on Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. One occurrence is in Riverside County on land managed by the Riverside County Parks Department and is addressed by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan. The other U.S. occurrence of the plant is in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino County, on land that is part of a California Department of Transportation Right-of-Way.

There are also five occurrences in Baja California, Mexico, presumed to be extant, although there have been no rigorous surveys to confirm those or any other potential additional occurrences of the plant in Mexico.

"This partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service will yield benefits for generations to come by continuing and formalizing our efforts to be good environmental stewards. The greatest assets at Naval Base Coronado are the installation and regional environmental staff that helped developed this agreement which maintains Navy's access to critical training areas, saves taxpayer dollars and enhances this sensitive species," said Capt. Gary Mayes, commanding officer, Naval Base Coronado.

Brand’s phacelia is an annual herb in the Boraginaceae (borage family). This low growing plant ranges from 2.5 to 10 inches tall. It is associated with sparsely vegetated habitats on loamy-sand in coastal dunes, coastal strand, coastal scrub, or alluvial floodplains.  Primary threats to the species identified at the time was added as a Candidate species included habitat degradation from invasive nonnative plants, and trampling associated with vehicles, foot traffic, and horses.

“Marine Corps Installations WEST-Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton appreciates the opportunity to participate in this regional initiative to ensure the long-term viability Brand's phacelia,” said Dean Levi
Head, Environmental Conservation Division MCIWEST- Camp Pendleton. “The Candidate Conservation Agreement demonstrates our on-going land management programs that benefit and conserve the installation's rare southern California coastal dune community.”

“CBP values the significance of partnerships in ensuring the preservation of natural resources as we execute our primary homeland security mission.  CBP remains committed to continued coordination on the Candidate Conservation Agreement in its commitment to environmental stewardship.”

Five of the seven currently known occurrences of this plant in the U.S. are on lands managed by the signatories to the CCA, including all of the San Diego County occurrences. Actions identified in the CCA that will benefit the plant by reducing threats include: removal of invasive nonnative plants; research into the effects of foot traffic and removal of nonnative plants, and how these activities may positively or negatively affect Brand’s phacelia; and coordination among the signatories to share information to enhance management.

“California State Parks (CSP) is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the long-term conservation of Brand’s phacelia. The CCA has been a cooperative effort with many agencies, as well as local scientists from organizations including Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association, and the California Native Plant Society, that helps us fulfill our mission to protect California’s most valued natural resources,” said Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.), Director of California State Parks. “This agreement offers State Parks and our partners the ability to learn more about Brand’s phacelia’s ecology (including disturbance regimes) and adapt our management and recreational activities to promote sustainable populations of the species.”

The CCA is in place for an initial 5-year timeframe, but may be extended by any one of the signatories.

-- FWS –

 

A photo of  Brand’s phacelia can be found on the U.S. Fish and Widlife Service Flickr site at:  http://bit.ly/1bnnhU8