Press Release
Prairie Plant Thrives With Collaborative Conservation, Proposed for Delisting From Endangered Species Act
Media Contacts

PORTLAND, Oregon – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to delist Nelson’s checker-mallow from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to recovery. This tall perennial plant graces Pacific Northwest prairies with spectacular pink blooms from May through the summer. 

When Nelson’s checker-mallow was listed in 1993, most known populations were small and threatened from habitat loss, encroachment by invasive and woody plant species, and roadside management activities. Now, thanks to the work of a diverse network of partners, Nelson’s checker-mallow no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species. 

“Once again, we see recovering at-risk species is achievable through partnerships, funding, and perseverance,” said Robyn Thorson, the Service’s Pacific Regional Director. “This delisting is possible because private and public landowners remain committed to actively maintaining prairie habitat for Nelson’s checker-mallow, which in turn benefits other native plants and pollinators.”   

Prairie habitat loss and degradation is still occurring, but this threat has been significantly reduced through years of habitat management and by the commitments from our partners in conservation. Landowners are actively maintaining prairies through mowing and prescribed burning, practices which mimic the natural disturbance processes needed to prevent native plant communities from turning into a forest or sea of annual invasive grasses.  

Range-wide, there are now management plans for 57 of the 66 sites known to contain Nelson’s checker-mallow, and that number is expected to remain relatively constant into the foreseeable future. Sixty Nelson’s checker-mallow sites are in public ownership, have been acquired by non-governmental conservation organizations, or are enrolled in conservation easement conservation easement
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or qualified conservation organization that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on a property in the future. Conservation easements aim to protect habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife by limiting residential, industrial or commercial development. Contracts may prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland and establishment of game farms. Easement land remains in private ownership.

Learn more about conservation easement
programs, which has substantially reduced the risk of habitat and population losses due to land use conversion.  

Other native plants and wildlife have also benefited from these prairie conservation efforts, including Bradshaw’s lomatium, Oregon vesper sparrow, and the following ESA-listed species: Willamette daisy, Kincaid’s lupine, golden paintbrush, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, and Fender’s blue butterfly. 

Partners helping conserve and recover Nelson’s checker-mallow include Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, private landowners, Institute for Applied Ecology, The Nature Conservancy, Greenbelt Land Trust, Oregon Department  of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

This announcement opens a 60-day comment period for the public to review and comment on the proposal to delist Nelson’s checker-mallow and provide additional information. We are also accepting comments on the draft post-delisting monitoring plan. All relevant information received by June 27, 2022, will be considered. 

Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:  

InternetGo to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2021-0154. Click on the Search button. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the Proposed Rule box to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment” 
• U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2021–0154, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit https://www.fws.gov/pacific or connect with us via FacebookTwitterYouTube and Flickr.

Story Tags

Endangered and/or Threatened species
Flowering plants
Plants