Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
New Populations of Missouri Bladderpod Discovered in Arkansas Ozarks and Ouachita Mountains
Midwest Region, June 5, 2007
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Missouri bladderpod at Cedar Fouche site. 
- FWS photo by Craig Faiser
Missouri bladderpod at Cedar Fouche site.

- FWS photo by Craig Faiser

- Photo Credit: n/a

Surveys conducted by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ARNHC), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners have led to the discovery of new populations of surveys for Missouri bladderpod (Physaria filiformis) in Arkansas in the northwestern Ozarks and the state’s centrally-located Ouachita Mountains.


Fish and Wildlife Biologist Paul McKenzie of Missouri Ecological Services, ARNHC’s Theo Witsell, and John Logan of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources rediscovered the only known historical location of Missouri bladderpod in Washington County, Arkansas in 2002.


This small population in the northwestern Ozarks required challenging management measures due to the encroachment of cedar trees.  In consultation with the Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the Service and ANHC outlined management recommendations to open the glade to promote Missouri bladderpod growth.


Cedar clearing was completed to benefit the species in 2005 and the site continues to be monitored through 2007.   Recommended management guidelines were successful as a few hundred plants were observed on the restored glade in 2006 and thousands were estimated at the site in 2007. 


In 2006, McKenzie and Witsell discovered a more extensive population at one site in northwestern Arkansas and established a new county record for a locality in the same region of the state.


Two additional Missouri bladderpod populations, one each in Garland and Hot Springs counties, were found in the Ouachita Mountains in 2006. With this discovery, the species has been documented from more counties in Arkansas than is currently known from Missouri. 


McKenzie and Witsell revisited the sites in 2007 and established that the populations were much larger than documented in 2006.  The populations contained tens of thousands of plants and extended onto adjacent private land.


The federally listed Missouri bladderpod is on the verge of being recovered sufficiently to consider delisting from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.  The discovery of additional populations and the success of management actions in Arkansas will provide further support to potentially remove the species from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s list of threatened and endangered species.


According to McKenzie, “The success of ongoing surveys and monitoring in Arkansas will be helpful in providing support for a proposal by Missouri Ecological Services to de-list the species in the near future.” Ongoing surveys and monitoring of existing sites in Arkansas and Missouri will continue through the 2007 field season.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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