Wildlife Conservation Grants: Funding Priorities
Permanent Landscape Protection for Rare Plants
Several rare and endangered species have either no sites with permanent long-term protection or are protected voluntarily by the current landowner. In order to achieve recovery of a listed species or avoid listing of a rare species, conservation easements provide assurance of protection in perpetuity.
G3 Plant Species Review
- Obtain conservation easements for one or more sites for one or more of the following plants: Texas poppy-mallow (Callirhoe scabriuscula), black lace cactus (Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albertii), Texas golden gladecress (Leavenworthia aurea), white bladderpod (Physaria pallida), and Navasota false foxglove (Agalinis navasotensis).
- Provide legal documentation, property boundaries (including a shapefile), easement holder, completed TXNDD file and shapefile for each rare plant population.
Approximately 50% of the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (Texas Conservation Action Plan) are ranked G3 (T3) or G3G4 (T3T4). Many of these plants may actually be ranked G4, and thus not meet the criteria for rare plant SGCN status. Removing such apparently secure species from the SGCN list would allow limited resources to be used more effectively. Compile species data from TXNDD, relevant herbaria, and field work.
Field Surveys and Threat Assessments for Potential USFWS Plant Candidate Species
- Provide data (including GPS files, TXNDD forms, and landowner permission forms where required) to the TXNDD.
- Use assembled data to rank species using the rank calculator and provide rank and documentation to TXNDD.
Several lawsuits have identified almost 20 rare plants for which USFWS needs to review the status to determine if the plants meet the criteria for candidate status. Many of these species have not been thoroughly or recently surveyed nor have a current threat assessment. These species include Tharpís bluestar (Amsonia tharpii), prostrate milkweed (Asclepias prostrata), Don Richardís spring moss (Donrichardsia macroneuron), small-headed pipewort (Eriocaulon koernickianum), brush pea (Genistidium dumosum), big red sage (Salvia pentstemonoides), and Texas trillium (Trillium texanum). Additionally, two non-lawsuit, but rare and potentially highly threatened, plants (dune umbrella sedge Cyperus onerosus, Tharpís rhododon Rhododon tharpii) also need up-to-date surveys and recent threat assessments.
Web Page Development for Rare Plants
- Characterize, identify, and survey potential habitat as well as previously known sites.
- Collect site and population information using TXNDD forms.
- Submit report on status and threat updates, TXNDD forms, and GIS data/shapefiles.
Web pages for rare species provide quick access for identification, habitat, and range information for biologists, environmental review, consultants, students, and the general public. Recently, TPWD completed web pages for all listed rare plants as well as two plants proposed for listing. Much of this information is available in Rare Plants of Texas (2007, Texas A&M University Press) but needs to be updated with recent information, additional photographs (including similar appearing species), survey season, and links to relevant sites. Species that need web pages are prioritized: 1) plants currently under review for USFWS candidacy, 2) SGCN plants ranked as G1 (T1), and 3) SGCN plants ranks as G2 (T2).
Effective Pollinators of Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Plants
- Review current web page format and assemble species information, photographs, references, and links similar to that on the current pages.
- Submit to Wildlife Diversity botanists for review.
The effective pollinators of only a few rare plants are known. In order to recover listed plants and to help keep non-listed species from becoming listed, it is very important to know what species are effective pollinators so that the pollinator species are conserved as well.
- Using knowledge of floral morphology and effective pollinators of similar species, compile a review of potential effective pollinators of all SGCN plants.
- Through field studies, confirm effective pollinators of listed species, candidate species, MDL species, G1 (T1), and/or G2 plants.
- Submit report to Wildlife Diversity Program.