Conserving the Nature of America

News Release


October 24, 2007


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today designated 2,117 acres as critical habitat for Yadons piperia (Piperia yadonii), a perennial orchid found in Monterey County, California. The plant is currently listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rule was published in todays Federal Register.

Approximately 33 percent of the critical habitat consists of private land on the Monterey Peninsula and other areas of the county. State lands comprise 12 percent of the proposal, and ten percent consists of local agency lands. About 45 percent of the critical habitat acreage is owned or managed by the non-profit Elkhorn Slough Foundation, the Big Sur Land Trust, and the Del Monte Forest Foundation. A draft economic analysis for Yadons piperia critical habitat was released in August 2007.

The Service has entered into a conservation agreement with Pebble Beach Company in which the company will implement management and conservation actions for Yadons piperia. As a result, the Service has excluded 143 acres of Pebble Beach Company property from the final critical habitat designation.

Yadons piperia has small white flowers on a slender stalk. The plant grows primarily in Monterey pine forests of the Monterey Peninsula. It also occurs in the Bishop pine and Gowen cypress forests of the Peninsula and in maritime chaparral. An estimated one-third to half of the Monterey pine forests that existed historically in the Monterey Bay area were destroyed.

The plant was listed as endangered under the ESA in August 1998 but the Service did not designate critical habitat at that time. The greatest threat to the species is alteration or loss of habitat due to urban, agricultural, and intensive recreational development such as golf courses and other manicured fields.

This critical habitat rule was completed in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Todays announcement is in compliance with a December 2004 court order. Copies of the final rule and related materials can be downloaded from under "News Room." Links to the rule and other materials are located in the body of the news release.

Critical habitat is a term in the ESA. It identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management considerations or protection. Federal agencies that undertake, fund, or permit activities that may affect critical habitat are required to consult with the Service to ensure such actions do not adversely modify or destroy designated critical habitat. The designation does not affect wholly private or state actions on private or state lands, nor require non-federal lands to be positively managed for conservation.

The U.S. 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 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource offices, and 81 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.

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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

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