Celebration and Reflection on Endangered Species Day
An Open Spaces Blog

If you’ve seen it, you probably know Nelson’s checker-mallow. Its  beautiful pink flowers brighten the Pacific Northwest starting in May and through the summer.

You now have a better chance of seeing this plant, too. On April 27, 2022, we announced that the checker-mallow no longer needed special protection and proposed removing it from the Endangered Species list.

We worked with local communities, state and federal agencies, Tribes, conservation groups, and private-sector partners to give the prairie plant the habitat it needs.

It is this kind of conservation success we celebrate on Endangered Species Day, but we can’t have blinders on.

We take pride that more than 99% of all species protected under the Endangered Species Act in its nearly 50 years are still with us.

But we cannot rest on those laurels.

The world faces a crisis of extinction. Climate change has added threats like sea level rise and exacerbated existing ones such as habitat loss.

As we celebrate the proposal to delist Nelson’s checker-mallow, we must also acknowledge proposals to list prostrate milkweed and Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly.

The Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative will help. The initiative is a 10-year, locally led and voluntary campaign to conserve, connect, and restore 30% of the nation's lands and waters by 2030. One of its goals is to sustain our nation’s fish and wildlife.  

And we must continue enlisting diverse partners in conservation efforts when we use the Endangered Species Act to protect a species and in a proactive bid to ensure a species’ future before ESA action becomes necessary.

Today, we honor the 2021 Recovery Champions, staff and partners working tirelessly to advance the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.

In the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Congress wrote that endangered and threatened “species of fish, wildlife, and plants are of esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people.”

More on Endangered Species: Curious Critters and Why We Care

We won’t be deprived of Nelson’s checker-mallow’s value anytime soon. But the extinction crisis is unlikely to disappear. Our work is more needed than ever.

Story Tags

Climate change
Endangered and/or Threatened species