Working Lands Win for Kincaid’s Lupine

Only four populations of Kincaid’s lupine remain in Washington, all of which occur on private lands. Collaboration with private landowners is accordingly an absolute necessity to help this federally threatened plant achieve recovery.

Kincaid’s lupine currently occupies upland prairie habitats from Lewis County, WA southward to Douglas County, OR. The largest population in Washington, located in Boistfort Valley, is on a 60-acre organic heifer ranch, part of an Organic Valley dairy farm that has been owned by the Mallonee family for four generations.

In 2006, the Mallonee family worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a Grazing Management Plan to maintain both sustainable livestock grazing and the lupine population. In the plan, grazing management is determined by forage stubble height and soil moisture, and cattle rotation is based on plant life cycles. It is designed to avoid areas with Kincaid’s lupine during specific time-periods to prevent potential negative impacts to the cattle and the plant.

Over the course of 12 years, this management approach has resulted in an approximately 30% increase in Kincaid’s lupine cover, while allowing the dairy farm to thrive.

In 2022, the Mallonee family worked with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program to increase infrastructure for their grazing operation. These additions included approximately 2,000 feet of pipeline and three watering facilities, which enabled more options in the grazing rotation schedule to benefit both the cattle and the Kincaid’s lupine population.

These partnerships continue to support the successful stewardship of the largest Kincaid’s lupine population in WA, and serve as a case study that with carefully planned management and infrastructure, grazing can be an effective tool to maintain habitat for federally listed species.

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Story Tags

Endangered and/or Threatened species