Conservation Assessment for Elegant Fawn Lily




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Conservation Assessment

for

Elegant Fawn Lily
(Erythronium elegans)

Photo by M. Stein


May 2009

USDA Forest Service Region 6 and


Bureau of Land Management, Oregon and Washington

Authors


Kathleen Cushman was a botanist for the Deschutes National Forest, Crescent Ranger District, PO Box 208, Crescent, OR 97773. Cushman is currently a Land and Water Specialist, Bend Field Office, Bureau of Reclamation, 1375 SE Wilson Ave, Bend, OR 97702

Ronald Exeter is a botanist, Marys Peak Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management, 1717 Fabry Road SE, Salem, OR 97306

Martin Stein is a botanist, Siuslaw National Forest, PO Box 400, Waldport, OR 97394

Table of Contents


Disclaimer………………………………………………………………… 3

Executive Summary………………………………………………………. 3

List of Tables and Figures……………………………………………….. 5

I. Introduction…………………………………………………………… 6

A. Goal…………………………………………………………….. 6

B. Scope……………………………………………………………. 6

C. Management Status…………………………………………….. 7



II. Classification and Description………………………………………... 7

A. Systematics …………………………………………………….. 7

B. Species Description …………………………………………….. 10

III. Biology and Ecology…………………………………………………… 11

A. Life History and Reproductive Biology………………………… 11

B. Range, Distribution, and Abundance…………………………… 12

C. Population Trends and Demography……………………………. 13

D. Habitat…………………………………………………………... 14

IV. Conservation…………………………………………………………… 20

A. Threats…………………………………………………………... 20

B. Conservation Status……………………………………………... 23

C. Known Management Approaches................................................. 24

D. Management Considerations……………………………………. 25

V. Research, Inventory, and Monitoring Opportunities………………… 27

VI. Acknowledgements…………………………………………………… 27

VII. References …………………………………………………………… 27

Appendix: Associated species at Mt. Hebo sites…………………………..31

Disclaimer


This Conservation Assessment (CA) compiles published and unpublished information on the Elegant Fawn Lily, Erythronium elegans. This assessment does not represent a management decision by the USDA Forest Service (Region 6) or Bureau of Land Management for Oregon and Washington. Although we used the best scientific information available and appropriate experts were consulted in preparation of this document, we expect that new information will be forthcoming. We ask that readers and researchers contact the Interagency Special Status and Sensitive Species Conservation Planning Coordinator in Portland, Oregon, with any new information, via the Interagency Special Status and Sensitive Species Program website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/sfpnw/issssp/.
Executive Summary
Species and Taxonomic Group

Erythronium elegans Hammond & Chambers, vascular plant.
Management Status

E. elegans is currently on the USDA Forest Service Region 6 Sensitive Plant Species List and is Bureau Sensitive for the Bureau of Land Management. The species is listed as Threatened by the State of Oregon and a Species of Concern (SOC) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The species has a Global Rank of G1 and State Rank in Oregon of S1, “critically imperiled because of extreme rarity or because it is somehow especially vulnerable to extinction or extirpation, typically with 5 or fewer occurrences”.
Range and Habitat

E. elegans is endemic to the Coast Range in Lincoln, Tillamook, Yamhill and Polk Counties, Oregon. Habitat is restricted to peaks and ridges above 790 meters (2600 feet) in elevation. The species occurs in a wide range of habitats within this limited range but reproduction is most common in both non-forest and open-canopy forest habitat with limited vegetative competition.
Threats

Threats include climate change due to the inability to respond by shifting its range, in-breeding depression due to the limited number of small, disjunct sites, insect and disease outbreaks, invasive plant invasion, herbivory by elk and deer, vegetative competition from shrubs and trees resulting from plant succession, illegal plant collection or picking of the showy flowers, and the effects of management including habitat enhancement for other species and timber management.


Management Considerations

  • Maintain the full diversity of E. elegans habitat and anticipate changes in future habitat needs.

  • Collect seed for long term storage in a seed bank from all populations so that there is an adequate supply of seed representing the entire genetic diversity of E. elegans for use in restoration efforts and to guard against extirpation of the species.

  • Determine the propagation techniques and germination requirements in preparation of in-situ augmentation or ex-situ introduction.

  • Monitor sites on an annual basis to identify disease, insect and invasive plant problems and determine if illegal collection has occurred.

    • If illegal collection of plants is suspected, contact law enforcement officials and request increased patrol of area during times that collection is suspected to be occurring.

    • Inventory and map invasive species at all sites. Periodically monitor infestations and, if warranted, apply appropriate treatment to control or eradication infestations.

  • Consider practices that reduce the risk of introducing or expanding invasive species when planning and implementing projects in the vicinity of E. elegans sites.

  • Monitor the Lost Prairie site on Salem BLM to determine the loss of reproductive capability resulting from elk herbivory. If losses appear significant, consider actions such as fencing or caging individual plants.

  • Management proposals for the purpose of increasing elk population or use in the vicinity of sites should also address potential impacts to E. elegans, and include mitigation (such as fencing) to reduce/eliminate impacts.

  • Consider initiating vegetation management projects for the benefit of E. elegans. Examples include timber stand thinning, reducing shrub competition by mechanical and manual methods, and maintaining open meadow habitat by mowing or the use of prescribed fire.

  • Review plans for Oregon silverspot butterfly habitat enhancement at the Mt. Hebo site on the Siuslaw National Forest prior to implementation each spring and work with contractors to identify and avoid E. elegans.

  • Establish and implement a Site Management Plan for each site area.


Research, Inventory and Monitoring Opportunities

  • Continue ongoing genetics work that seeks to determine the origins of E. elegans and its level of genetic diversity between and within sites. What are the seed transfer guidelines and can material from one site be used to augment another? Does E. elegans suffer from in-breeding depression?

  • What are the germination requirements or propagation techniques to reproduce plants?

  • Inventory potential habitat (open rocky areas, meadows, peaks and ridges) between known sites to locate additional occupied sites and potential habitat areas.

  • Incorporate results from Oregon Department of Forestry timber harvest effects monitoring at the Triangulation Point site and increase our understanding of management activity impacts.

  • Monitor the effectiveness of any vegetation manipulation done to benefit E. elegans, or for any other purpose.

  • Initiate monitoring of population trends in different habitat types; design and implement a program capable of detecting meaningful changes in populations (to be determined by agency biologists in conjunction with population experts).

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