Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Wetland Shrub Does Not Warrant Federal Protection
Seaside alder is stable throughout its range thanks to conservation partners

August 14, 2019

Contact(s):

Meagan Racey, 413-253-8557, meagan_racey@fws.gov               

Phil Kloer, 404-679-7299, philip_kloer@fws.gov 



The seaside alder (a large native shrub) does not tolerate the sea at all. The fall-flowering plant instead makes its home in sunny freshwater areas in multiple locations across Delaware, Maryland, Georgia and Oklahoma. 

Despite a name that is contrary to its preferred habitat, the seaside alder is doing well, according to a thorough scientific review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The review found that the plant is stable throughout its range thanks to conservation efforts by the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, Georgia Power Company and a variety of state, federal and private partners. 

In Maryland and Delaware, the alder has benefited from state efforts to protect and maintain trees and plants in wetland areas. Land protection and management by the Georgia Power Company has helped the Drummond Swamp population in Georgia. In addition, the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance maintains the shrub in multiple collections as outplantings in the wild and in plant nurseries that serve as a safeguard for the species. Limits on groundwater pumping in Oklahoma are in place through state legislation and help maintain water levels for the species. 

The seaside alder has glossy dark green leaves that turn reddish-brown in the autumn. It’s the only North American alder that flowers in the fall, first producing clusters of yellow catkins and then developing woody cones.

The species was petitioned for federal protection by the Center for Biological Diversity and several other entities in 2010. The Service reviewed the petition and decided to conduct a more in-depth review of the plant. The status assessment was analyzed by experts in academia and with state and federal agencies. Biologists found that while stressors such as drought, increasing salinity in coastal wetlands, and decreased water quality can impact populations, the alder has maintained, and is projected to continue to maintain, sufficient resilient populations throughout its range. 

More information regarding the species and the Service’s listing determination is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/08/15/2019-17536/endangered-and-threatened-species-12-month-findings-on-petitions-to-list-eight-species-as-endangered. On August 15, supporting documents will be available at www.regulations.gov under docket FWS–R5–ES–2019–0036.

The effort to conserve America’s at-risk wildlife and recover listed species is led by the Service and state wildlife agencies in partnership with other government agencies, private landowners, conservation groups, tribes, businesses, utilities and others. The Service has drawn support for its use of incentives and flexibilities within the ESA to protect rare wildlife, reduce regulations and keep working lands working.

Access the species status assessment


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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