U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Region News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   Vicki M. Boatwright or 

March 26, 1997                          Diana M. Hawkins



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on a draft plan to recover Braun's rockcress (Arabis perstellata), which was listed on January 3, 1995, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Braun's rockcress is a perennial herb with small white pinkish flowers that grows in forests in north-central Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. The plant is extremely rare, biologists say. It is presently known from two locations, the Blue Grass section of Kentucky and the Central Basin section of Tennessee. In Kentucky, Braun's rockcress is found in three counties--Franklin, Henry, and Owen; whilt in Tennessee, it is found in Davidson County. In each state the plant is associated with a single river drainage--the Kentucky River in Kentucky and the Stones River in Tennessee.

Braun's rockcress is vulnerable to extinction because of its very small range, low numbers, and declining number of occurrences. Twenty-five existing occurrences of the plant are known of in Kentucky, and two in Tennessee. The full range of this species in Kentucky is an approximately 200-square-mile area, with two disjunct populations in Tennessee. This narrow range makes the species vulnerable to a catastrophic occurrence, such as disease or the effects of weather. In addition, population levels are declining; eight sites previously known in Kentucky were found to have been extirpated during 1996. Three historical occurrences in Tennessee are presumed extirpated, including one that was submerged by dam construction.

The draft recovery plan describes actions considered necessary for the conservation of this plant, establishes criteria for recognizing the recovery levels for downlisting or delisting the species, and estimates the time and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed. Major objectives of the recovery plan are to protect currently occupied habitat, restore historical habitat for reintroduction of the species, conduct applied research, and increase public awareness of the species.

The Service will collect written comments on this recovery plan over the next 60 days. Copies of the plan can be obtained from the Service by writing to the State Supervisor, Asheville Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801, or by calling 704/258-3939.


Release #97-34

1997 News Releases

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