Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Two California Plants No Longer Candidates for Protections Under the Federal Endangered Species Act

Nov 22, 2013

November 22, 2013

Contact: Scott Flaherty 916-978-6156

Two California Plants No Longer Candidates for Protections Under the Federal Endangered Species Act

Sacramento – Orcutt’s goldenbush and Brand’s Phacelia, two California native plants once being considered for federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) were among three species removed from candidate status today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The actions were announced in the Service’s annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), a yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals nationwide previously considered for listing under the ESA. This year’s CNOR recognizes no new candidates, changes the listing priority for three candidates and removes three species. 
Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose them as threatened or endangered, but developing a proposed listing rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. Candidate species do not receive protection under the ESA, although the Service works to conserve them. The annual review and identification of candidate species provides landowners and resource managers notice of species in need of conservation, allowing them to address threats and work to preclude the need to list the species.

The complete notice and list of proposed and candidate species appears in today’s Federal Register and can be found online at:  

The CNOR also retained  recommendations made in a 2010 12-month finding for Delta smelt to “uplist” the fish from its current  status as a threatened species, to “endangered”  under the ESA. The reclassification, however, remains precluded by higher priorities. The primary rationale for reclassifying delta smelt from threatened to endangered is the significant declines in delta smelt abundance that have occurred since 2001. 
The Service has multiple tools for protecting candidate species and their habitats, including a grants program that funds conservation projects by private landowners, states and territories. In addition, the Service can enter into Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs), formal agreements between the Service and one or more public or private parties to address the conservation needs of proposed or candidate species, or species likely to become candidates, before they actually become listed as endangered or threatened. CCA participants voluntarily commit to implementing specific actions removing or reducing the threats to these species, thereby contributing to stabilizing or restoring the species.

Brand’s Phacelia, a small annual herb native found in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, was removed from the candidate list today. Among the factors considered in its removal from candidate status are conservation measures contained in a CCA with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Department of Homeland Security and California Department of Parks and Recreation; and conservation and management provided for the plant by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

Orcutt’s goldenbush, a flowering evergreen shrub in the Asteraceae (sunflower) family, is associated with coastal sage scrub communities, and transitional areas between coastal sage scrub and chaparral.  A single U.S. native population of Orcutt’s goldenbush occurs in the city of Encinitas, San Diego County, California.  In Mexico, 15 occurrences are known. The conservation of the plant and its habitat in the U.S., and a better understanding of the range and geographic distribution of the 15 occurrences of Orcutt’s goldenbush in Mexico minimized concern for the potential loss of habitat, potential loss of populations due to random catastrophic events, and potential reduction in fitness due to low genetic variability.

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 Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.