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A long stemmed plant with bright yellow flowers.
Information icon Shorts bladderpod. Photo by John MacGregor, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Draft recovery plan for Short’s bladderpod available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing a draft recovery plan for the Short’s bladderpod, a bright yellow flowering plant in the mustard family. The plant, which stands about two feet tall, is only found in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It exists near rivers on steep and rocky wooded slopes.

Federally listed as endangered on August 1, 2014, the plant is state-listed in each of the three states where it exists. Out of 55 historically known populations rangewide, only 31 populations still exist, according to a 2016 survey. Kentucky has 10 populations, Tennessee has 20 populations and Indiana only has one population.

This draft recovery plan describes actions considered necessary for the recovery of this plant, establishes criteria for delisting the species, and estimates the time and cost for implementing the measures needed.

To delist the Short’s bladderpod, the Service and its partners must make agreements with stakeholders to provide suitable habitat for healthy plants and resilient populations. Plant populations will be monitored with a goal of stable or increasing population growth rates and/or an average population size that is equal to or above the minimum viable population size for at least 25 protected populations. A minimum of six of these populations must be located in the Kentucky River watershed and 15 populations in the Cumberland River watershed, in addition to the population in the Wabash River watershed, in order to ensure adequate regional representation and resilient populations. Short’s bladderpod also would be considered for delisting when 50 protected or unprotected populations are found within the plant’s range.

The primary threat to the Short’s bladderpod’s survival is the destruction or modification of its habitat, especially by road construction or maintenance, because many populations are found along roadsides. Prolonged inundation and soil erosion caused by flooding and frequent water level fluctuations threaten populations located along the banks of reservoirs. The only remaining population in Indiana has declined following flooding of the Wabash River.

In the future, temperatures in the Southeast are expected to get hotter, accompanied by an increased frequency and severity of droughts. In the Midwest, flooding is expected to increase.

Short’s bladderpod also currently faces competition from non-native, invasive shrubs. Additionally, resilience of the plant’s populations is reduced by their small size, which increases risks of reduced genetic variation, low numbers of compatible mates, and increased likelihood of inbreeding depression.

The Service continues working with its partners on some conservation efforts for this plant. It funded a study by Tennessee Tech University into the reproductive and pollination ecology of Short’s bladderpod, which was completed in 2017. The Service also is supporting an ongoing study of the seed ecology of Short’s bladderpod by the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development. Additionally, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee periodically monitor bladderpod populations.

To view the draft recovery plan on the web visit the national endangered species website.


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. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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