Feds Increase Proposed Habitat for Rare Eastern Sierra Flower | KCET
Feds Increase Proposed Habitat for Rare Eastern Sierra Flower
The Webber Ivesia, Ivesia webberi, a low-growing plant in the rose family with bright yellow flowers, is under consideration by the agency for listing as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The plant, restricted to less than 200 acres of habitat in California and Nevada, is under threat from grazing, development, off-road vehicle use, invasive plants, and wildfire.
As part of the process of listing, USFWS is evaluating which parts of the Sierra Nevada should be designated as critical habitat for the plant. A previous comment period expired last year, but USFWS is proposing to add 159 acres to the flower's critical habitat, and has reopened comment on the proposal.
During much of last year, USFWS was going through the listing and habitat proposal process for Webber Ivesia as a sort of package deal with the Soldier Meadows cinquefoil, Potentilla basaltica, but the agency dropped the cinquefoil from consideration for listing over the objections of environmentalists.
The extra land was added to the proposal based on better information on the actual size of the populations and their surroundings that USFWS obtained from the U.S. Forest Service. The designated habitat doesn't necessarily hold populations of the plant, but may also include similar habitat deemed crucial to the species' recovery.
Webber Ivesia grows in sagebrush stands on the Sierra Nevada's eastern slope and requires a specific kind of rocky clay soil that swells when wet, and habitat where that wet period comes in the spring. That soil type can take 1,000 years to develop after disturbance, making the Ivesia especially vulnerable to soil disturbance froom grazing and off-road vehicles.