U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list four South Florida plants as threatened or endangered
Because of the risk of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is listing four plants found only in Florida’s Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The shrub Everglades bully, Florida pineland crabgrass, and an herb, pineland sandmat, are being listed as threatened. In addition, the Florida prairie-clover, another shrub, is being listed as endangered.
“The Service sought and gathered new information from the public and the scientific community that helped us make this decision,” said Mike Oetker, acting regional director of the Service’s Southeast Region. “The risk of extinction is high for these plants, now or within the foreseeable future, because the populations are small, isolated and have limited to no potential for recolonization.”
The Service is likely to publish a proposed rule designating critical habitat for these four plants in the future.
The listings of these four plants will take effect on November 6, 2017, 30 days from the rule’s publication in the Federal Register.
Populations of these plants are small and isolated because most of the surrounding habitat has been developed. They occur on a mix of public and private land in these two counties. The bulk of the remaining populations are on public lands.
The Everglades bully is found in the Miami-area pine rockland habitat being considered for the Coral Reef Commons development project. These listings are not expected to significantly impact that plan–especially, since there are no federal prohibitions under the ESA for the take of listed plants on non-federal lands, unless taking of those plants violates state law. The Service is, however, working with the Coral Reef Commons developer on a Habitat Conservation Plan that would provide a mechanism that allows for development and minimize impacts to protected plant and animal species and the habitats they depend on. The ultimate goal is to work together to prevent the extinction of imperiled species.
The largest populations of Everglades bully and Florida pineland crabgrass occur within Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. The largest population of pineland sandmat occurs within Everglades National Park. Everglades bully and pineland sandmat also have small populations on private and county-managed lands outside of the Everglades or Big Cypress, whereas Florida pineland crabgrass only remains on public lands. Florida prairie-clover is found within Big Cypress National Preserve (mainland Monroe County), as well as on private and county-managed locations in Miami-Dade County (including one reintroduction site, Virginia Key).
Frequently asked questions
- Endangered Species Act
- Everglades Bully
- Florida Pineland Crabgrass
- Florida Prairie-Clover
- Pineland Sandmat
- Vero Beach Ecological Services Field Office
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