Draft Recovery Plan for Endangered Golden Sedge Available
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2013
Lilibeth Serrano, Lilibeth_Serrano@fws.gov, 252-933-2255
Tom MacKenzie, Tom_MacKenzie@fws.gov, 404-679-7291
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites public comment on the Draft Recovery Plan for the
golden sedge, afederally listed, endangered plant.
All eight known populations, which incorporate 21 currently known sites, of this plant are in the Northeast Cape Fear River watershed in Pender and Onslow Counties, North Carolina. The golden sedge is a perennial, lasting for more than two growing seasons. It is found in wet pine savanna habitat (equivalent to longleaf pine forest), in the transition zones between wet savannahs and hardwood forests and in wet soils near or in shallow drainage ditches. Open to sparse canopy, patchy shrub layer, and dense herb cover are characteristics of the habitat where this endangered plant is found.
Management and monitoring of the sedge’s known sites are essential to this plant’s survival. Threats to the golden sedge include habitat changes caused by fire suppression, conversion of limited habitat for residential, commercial, or industrial development, highway and utility expansion, and wetland drainage activities associated with forestry, agricultural, and development projects. In addition, roadside and utility right of way populations can be wiped out by herbicide treatments.
A total of 17 golden sedge sites are already in conservation ownership, and as such are protected from development threats. However, the remaining occurrences are located on private lands where threats to the species still persist.
This draft recovery plan provides a framework for the golden sedge’s recovery, so that protection under the Endangered Species Act is no longer necessary. It presents criteria for reclassifying or delisting the golden sedge, and estimates the timing and costs of recovery actions. As these criteria are met, the status of the species will be reviewed, and it will be considered for reclassification or removal from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.
Some examples of recovery activities, discussed in the recovery plan, are ongoing to help the golden sedge. The North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) has collected golden sedge seeds from several populations and it is working on seed storage and germination protocols. NCBG biologists set up long term monitoring plots at 10 golden sedge sites and began monitoring this plant in 2010. Initial monitoring will continue through 2014. In addition, a management plan was prepared for six golden sedge subpopulations in state parks. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has conservation and management agreements with Duke Energy. The utility agreed to avoid the use of herbicides and to not mow during critical growth periods for rare species.
Other sites are protected as Dedicated Nature Preserves. These agreements are permanently binding documents, endorsed by the State of North Carolina and the landowner that set aside outstanding natural areas of high biodiversity and conservation value as nature preserves. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program is negotiating with the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation to designate at least a portion of the Golden Sedge populations at Watkins Savanna, Haws Run Mitigation Site, Sandy Run Savannas, and The Neck Savanna as Dedicated Nature Preserves. In addition, The Nature Conservancy is working with local landowners to protect parcels of land that contain the Golden Sedge and other rare species or parcels that would facilitate management of rare plant sites already in conservation ownership.
The notice announcing the availability of the Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan for the Golden Sedge publishes in the Federal Register today beginning a 60-day public comment period from June 18, 2013, to August 19, 2013. All relevant information received from the public, government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties will be considered.
Written comments and materials concerning the Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan for the Golden Sedge may be submitted to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office, 551F Pylon Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606. The comments also may be hand-delivered the Raleigh Ecological Services Office at the above address, e-mailed to Dale_Suiter@fws.gov, or faxed to (919)856-4556.
For a copy of the draft recovery plan, please contact the Service’s Raleigh, North Carolina Ecological Services Field Office at the address and telephone number above. (919) 856-4520 ext. 18. To view the Recovery Plan on the web: Visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html.
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