Rare Plant Rebounds;
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Downlists Status of Missouri Bladderpod from Endangered to Threatened
October 15, 2003
Contact: Georgia Parham 812-334-4261, ext. 203
Fish and Wildlife Service today changed the status of the Missouri bladderpod
from endangered to threatened reflecting the fact that this small, flowering
plant is making progress toward recovery.
southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, the Missouri bladderpod was listed
as endangered in 1987. Under the Endangered Species Act, an endangered
species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant
portion of its range. Threatened species are those that are likely to
become endangered in the foreseeable future.
final decision, published in today's Federal Register, cites several
factors for the species' progress, including successful management techniques
to enhance and protect existing populations, expansion of existing populations,
and discovery of new populations. The total population of the Missouri
bladderpod was estimated to be about 11,000 plants at nine sites in three
Missouri counties when the species was listed as endangered. Threats to
the species identified at the time of listing were vulnerability due to
low population size; over-collection and human disturbance; lack of information
on beneficial management techniques; seed predation by insects; and lack
of protection on private property. A recovery plan was completed in 1988.
listing as endangered in 1987, biologists and researchers have discovered
that the greatest threats to the bladderpod include overgrazing, urban
development, and lack of management of its "glade" habitat to
control encroachment by woody plants and aggressive non-native pasture
grasses. Surveys conducted after the listing identified 52 new populations
of Missouri bladderpod in Missouri. The species was also discovered at
two sites in Arkansas.
of habitat and use of various management techniques such as prescribed
burns have improved bladderpod habitat. In years when climate and soil
conditions are optimum for the species, population estimates may exceed
500,000 plants at all sites combined.
Missouri bladderpod is a step closer to recovery,
thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the efforts of our State and
local partners," said Robyn Thorson, Regional Director for the Service's
Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region. "Our ultimate goal is to secure the
future of this little plant in the landscape of Missouri and Arkansas
so that we can remove it from the list of endangered and threatened species."
the final rule today, the Service accepted public comments on its listing
proposal, analyzed them, then made the final decision to reclassify the
Missouri bladderpod as threatened.
bladderpod is an annual plant about eight inches tall. Bright yellow flowers
bloom in late April or early May. The species is found in the shallow
soils of limestone glades in Christian, Dade, Greene, and Lawrence counties
in southwestern Missouri, and at one site in Washington County, Arkansas.
The species also has been discovered on one dolomite glade in Izard County,
information about the Missouri bladderpod, visit the Service's website
Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible
for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and
their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The
Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which
encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands
and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish
hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field
stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered
Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant
fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and
helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees
the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars
in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife
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