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News / Clark County News

Feds propose delisting long-endangered wildflower

Listed as an endangered species since 1988, Bradshaw's lomatium – which has a large population near Camas – has recovered

By Jeffrey Mize, Columbian staff reporter
Published: November 26, 2019, 6:00am

A rare plant once facing extinction has recovered to the point that it no longer needs protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that it proposes to delist Bradshaw’s lomatium, a plant with yellow flowers that survives in a few locations in Oregon and Washington, including northwest of Lacamas Lake in Clark County.

A large population of the plant, also known as Bradshaw’s desert parsley, lives in the Lacamas Prairie Natural Area near Camas.

The plant’s range was believed to be confined to wet prairies in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, primarily near Eugene, until two populations were discovered in Clark County in 1994.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, there were 11 populations and fewer than 30,000 individual plants when the species was listed as endangered in 1988.

Today, due to the work of private and public landowners committed to prairie restoration and the discovery of new populations, there are more than 24 populations and 11 million plants.

Paul Henson, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Oregon state director, credited the plant’s recovery to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and private landowners.

“Strong partnerships have championed the work leading to this proposed delisting,” Henson said in a statement. “These efforts played a big role in protecting almost all sites and individuals from further habitat loss and fragmentation.”

Hundreds of years ago, natural fires and intentional burns by native people helped Bradshaw’s lomatium thrive by keeping woody species from encroaching on its habitat.

A reduction in fires, along with conversion of land for agriculture and urban development and the introduction of non-native grasses, led to the plant’s listing in 1988.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Bradshaw’s lomatium depends on pollinators — more than 30 species of bees, flies, wasps and beetles — to reproduce.

A recent assessment concluded that known threats have been reduced and the species is showing increased resiliency in multiple populations throughout its range.

“It’s always good news when a plant or animal is saved from extinction,” Tierra Curry, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity in Portland, said in a statement. “Today, we celebrate Bradshaw’s desert parsley and the Endangered Species Act. This lovely wildflower is yet another success for America’s most effective conservation law, which has saved more than 99 percent of species placed under its care.”

Monday’s announcement starts a 60-day period for the public to review and comment on the proposed delisting. All relevant information received by Jan. 27, 2020, will be considered before a final decision is made.

Information on how to offer comments or request a public hearing is available on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s website: www.fws.gov/oregonfwo.

Columbian staff reporter