News Release

San Francisco’s Namesake Shrub Protected - The Franciscan Manzanita is an Endangered Species

Service Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Designate 318 Acres of Critical Habitat

September 5, 2012

Media Contacts:
Robert Moler,, (916) 414-6606
Sarah Swenty,, (916) 414-6571

Flycatcher Glendale AZ

Photo: Sarah Swenty USFWS

Sacramento – The Franciscan manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana) was given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) today and listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (Service). The Service also published a proposed rule to designate approximately 318 acres as critical habitat for the plant in San Francisco City and County.

The last known wild Franciscan manzanita, a low-growing evergreen shrub, was discovered in 2009 during a road renovation project and moved to the grounds of the Presidio for protection. The Service is working with conservation partners to recover the species. 

“Adding the Franciscan manzanita to the federal Endangered Species List is a critical step to ensure the last wild specimen is protected and the species has a secure opportunity to recover,” said Susan Moore, Field Supervisor for the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Service. “It now has room to grow.”

Proposing critical habitat for the Franciscan manzanita, the Service is looking for specific information related to the amount and distribution of historic habitat and the range of the plant, probable economic impacts of designating critical habitat, and whether the Service should or should not designate critical habitat for the plant.

Comments will be accepted until November 5, 2012. Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at (Docket Number FWS–R8–ES–2012–0067) or by U.S. mail to:

Public Comments Processing
Attn:  FWS–R8–ES–2012–0067
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203.

Before the discovery of the last known specimen, the Franciscan manzanita was thought to be extinct in the wild. Quickly following discovery of the plant, a conservation plan was designed to protect the plant and environmental organizations petitioned the Service to list the plant on the endangered species list. 

In September 2011, the Service found that listing the plant as an endangered species was warranted and proposed to list the species as endangered, followed by two comment periods to allow the public to submit information on the status of the species. The Service’s announcement today is a result of assessing the best available science and information about the plant and its habitat.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others.

The ESA makes it illegal to kill, harm or otherwise “take” a listed species, or to possess, import, export or engage in interstate or international commerce of a listed species without authorization in the form of a permit from the Service. Botanical gardens or nurseries that acquired its stock legally may continue to possess and propagate the species. Permits under the ESA are required if a person or group intends to sell the plants or any of the progeny in interstate or foreign commerce.