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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Eagle Nest and Volunteer Effort Help Protect Threatened Lakeside Daisy

Region 3, May 30, 2012
FWS, ODNR, and volunteers, including former Ohio First Lady Hope Taft, gather to collect Lakeside daisy seeds at Lafarge's Marblehead Quarry.
FWS, ODNR, and volunteers, including former Ohio First Lady Hope Taft, gather to collect Lakeside daisy seeds at Lafarge's Marblehead Quarry. - Photo Credit: n/a
Service biologist Jenny Finfera is surrounded by Lakeside daisies at a translocation site owned by ODNR on Kelleys Island, Ohio.
Service biologist Jenny Finfera is surrounded by Lakeside daisies at a translocation site owned by ODNR on Kelleys Island, Ohio. - Photo Credit: n/a
Lakeside daisy in bloom.
Lakeside daisy in bloom. - Photo Credit: n/a
Volunteers help collect Lakeside daisy seeds at Lafarge's Marblehead Quarry.
Volunteers help collect Lakeside daisy seeds at Lafarge's Marblehead Quarry. - Photo Credit: n/a

The lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea) is a federally-listed threatened plant whose U.S. population is primarily restricted to approximately 2,000 acres of a peninsula in Ohio's Lake Erie. Several small and isolated populations occur in Illinois and Michigan. The daisy thrives in areas dominated by exposed limestone bedrock with full sun and little competition from other plants. Roughly 1,000,000 Lakeside daisies persist at this site, which is primarily owned by Lafarge North America's Marblehead Quarry. A pair of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) also calls the quarry home.

 

Proposed quarry expansion plans over the next 50 years could result in the removal of the bald eagle nest at the site, as well as the loss of approximately 80 percent of the area inhabited by daisies. Lafarge has decided to seek a Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act permit from the Service to authorize nest removal, which triggers analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act and consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. With this Section 7 consultation nexus created by the eagle take permit, the Service has the opportunity to evaluate the effect of take of lakeside daisies, and to ensure that the take that does occur will not result in jeopardy to the species.

As part of the eagle permit process Lafarge has drafted a plan to mitigate loss of the eagle nest. The mitigation plan calls for restoring and permanently protecting 400 acres of habitat, including forest, ponds, and former quarry which is now habitat for lakeside daisy. The Service is working with Lafarge to determine additional actions that could be taken to enhance daisy habitat at the mitigation site.

While the mitigation plan is still draft, implementation of measures to protect the daisies has already begun. Lafarge allowed the Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and a host of volunteers, including former Ohio First Lady Hope Taft, access to the site to collect lakeside daisy seeds this spring. On May 24 and 30, 2012, Service and ODNR biologists and volunteers collected seeds on the Lafarge property in areas proposed to be cleared for quarrying during the first phase of Lafarge's expansion plan. These seeds will be planted at other sites, (for example the mitigation area and other sites to be determined over the next few months) to ensure that the genetic diversity of lakeside daisies is maintained. Similar plantings occured approximately 15 years ago at a former quarry, now ODNR State Park, on Kelleys Island, Ohio, with great success.

The Service plans to continue seed collection and disbursement over the next few years in conjunction with multiple partners to maintain/establish multiple permanently protected and genetically diverse lakeside daisy populations. The Service hopes that coordinating with Lafarge on a long-term plan for lakeside daisy management at their quarry will result in actionable measures to conserve the lakeside daisy, preclude jeopardy, and move the species closer to recovery.

Contact Info: Megan Seymour, (614) 416-8993 x 16, megan_seymour@fws.gov