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Draft Recovery Plan for the Spring Creek Bladderpod in Tennessee Available for Review and Comment

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2005

Contacts: Timothy Merritt, 931-528-6481, ext. 211
Elsie Davis, 404/679-7107



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments on the Technical Agency Draft Recovery Plan for the Spring Creek bladderpod, a plant that is federally listed as endangered. The draft recovery plan details actions and efforts needed to recover this species and eventually remove it from the list of federally-protected species.

This winter annual, is currently known from only 21 occurrences within the floodplains of Spring Creek, Bartons Creek, and Cedar Creek near Lebanon, Tennessee, in Wilson County.

The Spring Creek bladderpod germinates in the fall, overwinters as a small rosette of leaves, and produces small white flowers in the early spring. Soon after the flowers wither, the fruits mature and the plant dies. Its seeds lie dormant until fall, when the cycle begins again. It is found mainly on newly disturbed sites and requires some degree of annual disturbance in order to complete its life cycle. In the present and the recent past, the disturbance occurred as a result of farming. Historically, the disturbance was caused by periodic flooding and associated clearing. Flooding helped remove the perennial grasses, herbs, and woody plants that quickly invaded the floodplain.

This species is extremely vulnerable because of its limited range and its specific habitat. The primary threat is the loss of habitat by conversion of land to uses other than farming. In order for this annual plant to complete its life cycle, it is essential that the sites not be plowed or disked in the fall after the seeds have germinated, and that spring plowing and planting be delayed until the plants have matured in the spring. Because the cultivation of annual crops is becoming increasingly rare and the development pressures are very high in Wilson County, this species is at a high risk for extinction. All the occurrences, except for one, are located on private property.

To obtain a printed copy, contact, or send comments about the Technical Agency Draft Spring Creek Bladderpod Recovery Plan by November 14, 2005 to Tennessee Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal Street, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501, telephone 931-528-6481, ext. 211. Questions should be addressed to Timothy Merritt at the above address and telephone number or e-mail timothy_merritt@fws.gov.

A copy of the draft plan is also available on the web. Please visit http://www.fws.gov/cookeville/ and click on the icon entitled Technical Agency Draft Spring Creek Bladderpod Recovery Plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management 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 agencies.


Spring Creek bladderpod
Spring Creek bladderpod


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