Two plants that live on California’s Channel Islands and nowhere else on earth – the Santa Cruz Island dudleya and island bedstraw – have reached recovery thanks to Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to remove the two island plants from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.
“The recovery of these island plants is the result of long-term cooperation and conservation efforts by scientists and land managers,” said Paul Souza, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. “That’s what the ESA can bring to the table – attention, resources, and incentive for sustained conservation work that produces meaningful results.”
Scientists say their understanding of the plants’ ecology, habitat needs, and status has improved due to the diligent efforts of the U.S. Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to survey, study, and conserve habitat on Santa Cruz Island and San Miguel Island.
“Plants are key contributors to the overall food web and island ecosystem,” said Kenneth Niessen, Service botanist. “As the cause of their decline, and now as their caretakers, we have a responsibility to ensure they, and the benefits they provide to their ecosystem, are not lost to extinction.”