2005 Idaho Rare Plant Conference

Conservation Working Group Agendas and Notes

slickspot peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) - Discussion leader Ann DeBolt

February 16, 2005; 2:00 - 3:30 pm


2:00-2:10 Introductions

2:10-2:30 Brief Background and Status Update for L. papilliferum

2:30-2:45 Specific Questions for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS):

2:45-3:00 Specific Questions for Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) Signatories (BLM, IDARNG, Idaho Dept. of Lands, IDFG):

3:00-3:15 Status of Current Research, Research Proposals, and Future Research Needs

3:15-3:30 Wrap-up



Charlie Baun, URS Consulting

Angelia Binder, U.S. Air Force, Mountain Home

Carol Blackburn, consultant

Leslie Carpenter, Idaho Power Company

Beth Colket, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Cyndi Coulter, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Ann DeBolt, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Lorna Emerich, student

Judy Ferguson, CH2M Hill

Roger Ferriel, Bureau of Land Management, Vale District

Valerie Geertson-Ray, Bureau of Land Management, Owyhee Field District

Gina Glenne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise (30 minutes)

Sheri Hagwood, Bureau of Land Management, Jarbidge District

Barb Heslin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise (note taker)

Brent Inghram, Federal Highway Administration, Idaho

Marie Kerr, Idaho Power Company

Randy Kirckbaum, Eagle Cap Consulting

Jennifer Miller, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Hilary Parkinson, Bureau of Land Management

Roger Rosentreter, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office

Dana Quinney (IDARNG)

Scott Quinney (IDARNG)

Mark Steiger, Bureau of Land Management, Four Rivers District

Amy Stillman, Boise State University

Jay Weaver (IDARNG)

Background and Status Update for Species

Ann DeBolt gave a brief overview of a map showing known slickspot peppergrass occurrences.  Inventories in 2004 resulted in a few extensions of previously known Element Occurrences (EO).  Angelia Binder indicated that the species was found along a road right-of-way east of Three Creek Well where it had not been documented in the past (the plant had previously been found west of Three Creek Well).  ICDC located an extension of EO 72 north of the Orchard Training Area and near the town of Owyhee.  

Ann raised the concern that many new folks are currently surveying for the species who do not have the historic knowledge of the species distribution across the landscape.  For example, slickspot peppergrass was extremely abundant in the Kuna Butte and the Initial Point areas and now is restricted to relatively small areas.  Habitat fragmentation has resulted in the loss of a great deal of plants in these areas.  Forage kochia is another big concern in this area.  Ten years of monitoring data has shown the decline of slickspot peppergrass with the increase in forage kochia in the Initial Point area.  

The Slickspot Peppergrass Technical Team first convened in December of 1999 and continues to work together today to encourage conservation of this species through coordinated efforts of multiple species.  Meeting frequency has varied from monthly to twice yearly.  The Technical Team provided technical assistance for the development of the Slickspot Peppergrass Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA), which was signed in December 2003.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was not a signatory on the CCA.  The Technical Team met on January 14 and is scheduled to meet again in March 2005.  Marj McHenry of the Idaho Army National Guard is currently coordinating the Technical Team meetings.

Questions for FWS:  Currently, the FWS has no authority for protection of slickspot peppergrass as the plant has no status under the Endangered Species Act.  The FWS currently is funding the following slickspot peppergrass related activities:  the Idaho Department of Agriculture/University of Idaho Slickspot Peppergrass Livestock Grazing Study (discussed below) and a Section 6 funded review and update of slickspot peppergrass EOs by the Idaho Conservation Data Center (ICDC).  This section 6 project would standardize the definitions of LEPA populations for all EOs.  There is no special FWS funding code for work on the species.  The Service's primary role with the species at this time is to provide technical assistance to others who are working to manage the species.  The Service continues to participate on the Technical Team.  Botanist Gina Glenne may replace Barb Heslin within the next year as the Service representative on the Technical Team.  Roger Rosentreter and Valerie Geertson raised the concern that since the species only has status as a BLM sensitive species, funding for management of the species is extremely difficult to obtain.  

FWS tracking of slickspot peppergrass occurs through the annual reporting requirements of the CCA, which the FWS should receive by the end of March each year.  The first annual report will be provided to the Service next month.  Each signatory agency will provide a write up to David Hensley of the Governor's Office of Species Conservation (OSC).  OSC will be consolidating all agency submissions into the final report.  Beth Colket indicated that the triggers for the CCA conservation measures had been tripped according to 2004 HIP monitoring.  These CCA conservation measure triggers were purposely designed to be tripped early as a warning that management changes may be warranted.  Tripping a trigger does not automatically result in changes in current management practices.

Ann DeBolt raised the concern that agencies need to be aware of the impacts of numerous “small projects” that continue to “chip away” at the remaining habitat for the species.  For example, the Ten Mile Ridge population area is threatened by gravel mining and off highway vehicle activities.  Emphasis needs to be focused on retention of remaining habitat areas.  Even small areas may be very important for species survival and retention of sagebrush seed reserves over time.  

The lawsuit regarding slickspot peppergrass deals with the plaintiff's disagreement with the Service's decision to withdraw the proposal to list slickspot peppergrass under the Endangered Species Act.  The plaintiffs believe that the Service's decision was not made using the best available science.  The Service is in the process of defending its decision.  The Service recently submitted a rebuttal of the plaintiff's case, and is awaiting the counter-rebuttal from the plaintiff.  Currently, the case is being handled by the Department of Justice in Washington DC.  If the Service loses the lawsuit, the Service may be required to re-examine the final rule.  A final court decision on this lawsuit may take years.  

The final report for the slickspot peppergrass drill seeding and herbicide application Challenge Cost Share study has also not yet been submitted to BLM by U of I.  The Service and BLM will continue to request that this final report be completed and submitted to BLM.

Status of Slickspot Peppergrass Candidate Conservation Agreement:  

BLM:  Mark Steiger indicated that all BLM items for the CCA were implemented in 2004 (see table).  Items implemented included conservation measures for recreation, livestock grazing, and fire suppression and management.  Potential fuelbreaks for protection of slickspot peppergrass were examined by the fire shop over 85,000 acres on BLM lands.   Fire breaks will be existing roads and trails that may be widened and treated for weeds.  No brown strips are proposed at this time.  No implementation of the fuel breaks will occur until NEPA is completed on individual projects.    

Fire crews put up carsonite posts to mark the approximate locations of slickspot peppergrass EOs so livestock permittees could avoid trailing stock through EOs when soils were wet.  The carsonite posts are located within 0.5 mile of the EO boundary, and are unmarked so the general public will not know what they are designating.   Livestock permittee training has been completed by the range staff, which involved identification of the sites and carsonite markers rather than identification of the plants themselves.  

BLM also surveyed 8,000 acres north of the Orchard Training Area and the Bennett Mountain Watson Lake Allotment.  No new EOs were located

Sheri Hagwood reported that 35,000 acres were surveyed in 2004 by VisionAire south of Bliss in the Saylor Creek area.  Much suitable habitat was observed, but no new EOs were located.  

USAF:  Angelia Binder indicated that while the Air Force is not a signatory on the CCA, they are using their Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan to manage slickspot peppergrass on the 12,000 acre Juniper Butte Range.  The INRMP manages for all species rather than just for slickspot peppergrass.  The Air Force is mowing two-track roads to serve as fire breaks on Juniper Butte instead of using the 100-150' wide brown strip fuel breaks used on the Saylor Creek Range.  The Air Force is also aggressively controlling Russian thistle by spraying and reseeding.  The Air Force is also monitoring 7 transects and surveying 6 areas using parameters similar to ICDC's HIP/HII monitoring.    

IDARNG:  Dana Quinney of the Idaho Army National Guard (Guard) indicated that the Gowen Field/Orchard Training Area (OTA) INRMP was updated in 2004 and contains strong protections for slickspot peppergrass.  As the Guard has managed this species since 1991, no new conservation measures were required for the Guard within the CCA except the additional HIP monitoring parameters.   The Guard continues to conduct its soil seedbank research, and they are examining slickspot soil layers in partnership with Dr. Susan Meyer of the Forest Service Shrub Lab in Provo, Utah.  The Guard has partnered with Dr. Meyer in the study of this plant since 1991, and Dr. Meyer will attend the next Slickspot Peppergrass Technical Team meeting in March.  The Guard also funds Dr. Ian Robertson's pollinator and genetics work out of Boise State University.  The Guard has annually monitored permanent plots of slickspot peppergrass since 1991.  The Guard has provided a write up of their 2004 accomplishments to David Hensley of the Office of Species Conservation for the 2004 CCA annual report.

Slickspot Peppergrass Grazing Study:  The slickspot peppergrass grazing study was initiated by the Idaho Department of Agriculture (IDA) at the request of the Idaho Cattle Association.  The Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base funded a pilot study at Juniper Butte Range in 2002.  Ann DeBolt indicated that the BLM first heard of the study  during a conference call she participated in with Dr. Wayne Burkhardt (consultant), Dr. Steve Bunting  of the University of Idaho (U of I), and Glenn Secrist of Idaho Department of Agriculture (IDA) (currently with BLM) regarding allowing a slickspot peppergrass grazing study to occur on BLM lands.  BLM was concerned that the study could have high impacts on slickspot peppergrass due to the potentially high number of treatments, the high amounts of fencing to potentially be constructed, and high numbers of sites required for a statistically valid study.  At that point, IDA indicated that they would conduct the study on private land or state land instead.  

Funding for the study since 2002 has been appropriated by Congress to the FWS ($60,000 per year).  The FWS provides the funds earmarked for the study to IDA.  IDA is contracting with U of I to conduct the study.  Two years of baseline data have been collected, and the study is scheduled to begin in 2005 since U of I has recently recruited an undergraduate student being groomed for the graduate program to complete the study design and implement the study.  Although the FWS provides the funding to IDA for this study, annual reporting on progress has been weak.  The FWS (Gina Glenne) is working with IDA (Ken Crane) to encourage better reporting of study progress by U of I in the future.  

Currently, the study will occur on a site at the Juniper Butte Range and one fenced site on BLM lands.  No sites on state or private land were identified for the study.  The study specifically deals with whether trampling impacts slickspot peppergrass as livestock do not typically eat this plant.  The study design has also been in draft form in the past as Dr. Steve Bunting indicated that the graduate student that would be assigned to this project would be responsible for completing the final study design as part of their education.  The Technical Team has previously provided input on the draft study design, and will have an opportunity to comment on this final study design.  Past concerns have included sample size adequacy, rigor of proposed statistical analyses, and duration of the study needed in order to provide information usable for conservation of the plant.  

BSU Pollinator and Genetics Research:  Amy Stillman indicated that two graduate students are working on the slickspot peppergrass pollinator study.  There has also been 1 year of population genetics work completed.  Five leaves were gathered from each of 800 plants (up to 10 plants per slickspot) for the genetic analysis.  The genetics laboratory work is almost completed.  There does not appear to be a great deal of variability among populations, but there is high variability within populations.  A total of 15 populations have been sampled.  If a population had very few slickspots/plants, researchers only sampled a few plants so that the site would not be impacted by the study.  Smaller populations appear to have lower within population variability.  Only four populations have been sampled in the Jarbidge area, and these four populations are treated as one.  The focus of the genetics study has been on the northern portion of the species range.  Results of this research will be discussed at the Slickspot Peppergrass Technical Team meeting.   

The pollinator study is examining herbivory and what the insects do with pollination.  Dr. Robertson will update the Technical Team on the status of this research at the March Technical Team meeting.  

OTA Soil Seed Bank Research:  Dana Quinney provided an overview of the Guard's slickspot soil and seed bank study.  The Guard has collected 7,000 soil samples from the OTA area for analysis of soil and examination of viable seeds within the soil.   Parameters examined include depth of seeds in soil/soil layers and location of seeds within slickspots.  Laboratory studies will be completed to examine soil depth thresholds for successful slickspot peppergrass seed germination.   A total of nine soil samples were taken from each slickspot and each sample was limited to 3 cm in diameter.   Three types of populations were sampled:  1) excellent sites with high numbers of plants, 2) sites with moderate habitat quality and numbers of plants, 3) poor sites with history of highly disturbed soils and occasional plants documented.  Soils were analyzed by Al Harkness of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.  The Guard and Dr. Meyer have recently published a paper on their work with slickspot peppergrass.  A second paper on slickspot peppergrass demography is being prepared for submission to a journal.    

Roger Rosentreter indicated that herbarium specimens of Lepidium montanum could be used in the ongoing genetics study to examine the relationship between L. montanum and L. papilliferum.   Dana Quinney indicated that Dr. Meyer has documented that unlike slickspot peppergrass (L. papilliferum), L. montanum is perennial and does not form a seed bank.  

Forest Service opportunity:  Ann DeBolt reported that the Forest Service has slickspot peppergrass seeds from the Scholten study that are approximately six years old that would be available for use in research studies.

Distribution Modeling:  Beth Colket of the ICDC indicated that element distribution modeling could be conducted to do predictive range mapping for slickspot peppergrass.  This technique is being used in Wyoming to located rare species.  Ann DeBolt stated that a large effort to map potential habitat for slickspot peppergrass using soils and vegetation types has already been conducted.   Using the mapping exercise, sometimes new populations were found in subsequent surveys and sometimes the species was not located.  Dana Quinney of the Guard indicated that Al Harkness of NRCS used soil types to characterize slickspot peppergrass habitat.  This GIS soil layer is available from the Guard's GIS shop.   Ann indicated that close to 200,000 acres have already been surveyed for the plant so a model may not help in locating additional populations, although 1 year of survey may not be adequate to locate the plant.  Beth indicated that the modeling could assist with range extensions for the plant.  These models include other parameters such as precipitation.

Air Force Slickspot Soil Study:  Angelina Binder reported on the Air Force slickspot peppergrass soil study.  This study was funded by the Air Combat Command out of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.  In 2002, contractor Tony Palazzo collected soil samples from OTA and Juniper Butte for analysis.  Tony also collected material for a slickspot peppergrass genetics study; however, the amount of material collected was inadequate for genetic analysis.  Tony also planted slickspot peppergrass seeds on the Juniper Butte range in 2002.  In 2003, no seeds had germinated.  No field work was completed in 2004 as Tony's house burned down.   Currently there is no final report on the study, but additional data may be collected in 2005.  

Valerie Geertson asked if all EOs have been GPSed.  Ann DeBolt indicated that most have been GPSed. Sites that may not be GPSed have been drawn on quad maps at the Boise District Office.   In addition, Beth Colket indicated that all HII transects have been GPSed, and all EOs have at least one subpopulation GPSed.  Ann indicated that the 40 acre site at Simco Road and I-84 has probably not been GPSed.  Roger Rosentreter stated that extirpated sites are not marked.  

BLM Poen Fire Rehabilitation Study:  Roger Rosentreter of BLM reported that the Poen Fire Rehabilitation Challenge Cost Share Project final report was completed last year by Boise State University.  The report highlights fire rehabilitation issues related to slickspot peppergrass conservation, including grading and plowing sagebrush areas for greenstrips.  Many of these plowed areas had to be replanted 3 or 4 times, yet weeds still invaded.  There were also problems with the invasiveness of forage kochia, which was included as part of the seed mix in the planting.  There are many areas in the vicinity of the Poen Fire where forage kochia has invaded slickspots.  The area was aerial seeded with forage kochia following the fire as part of the fire rehabilitation effort. This Challenge Cost Share report is available from Jim Clark of the BLM Boise District.

The concern was raised that in using roads as fuel breaks, some slickspot peppergrass may be bladed through.  In some work along the freeway, 15 miles of right-of-way was bladed, including some slickspot peppergrass sites. This area is now choked with weeds.  Fuel break roads must be maintained regularly or they will become filled with weeds.  The group was encouraged to report or document when such disturbances occur as they may impact slickspot peppergrass.  Sometimes this blading may be trespass incidents.

The Technical Team was encouraged to continue to meet and work together for conservation of this plant.  

Spalding's Catchfly (
Silene spaldingii) - Discussion Leader LeAnn Eno

February 16, 2005; 2:00-3:30 p.m.


2:00-2:10 Introduction/Objectives of this session

2:10-2:40 Recovery Plan Discussion

2:40 - 3:00 Brief Review of 2004 S. spaldingii Conservation Efforts - Monitoring, Surveys, Etc.

3:00-3:20 Conservation Needs for S. spaldingii in Idaho

3:20-3:30 Open for Other Questions/Discussion Concerning S. spaldingii



 Curtis Björk, Contractor/University of Idaho Herbarium

Clair Button, Bureau of Land Managmenet, Baker Resource Area

LeAnn Eno, Bureau of Land Management, Coeur d'Alene

Jean Findley, Bureau of Land Management, Vale District

Gina Glenne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise (30 minutes)

Karen Gray, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Marilyn Hemker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise

Janice Hill, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Jerry Hustafa, U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Mark Lowry, Bureau of Land Management, Cottonwood District

Mamie Smith, University of Idaho

Angela Sondenaa, Nez Perce Tribe

Gene Yates U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Marilyn-Draft Recovery Plan currently being reviewed in USFWS Regional Office.

Clair-during the last two years, spent two weeks doing surveys at Joseph Canyon but found only S. scouleri.  Spent one day at Lime Hill (on Washington side of Limekiln Rapids along the Lower Snake River) in July, looking at northeastern slopes but no S. spaldingii observations.  Curtis mentioned he had seen one Silene plant in that same area but could not relocate it.  If possible, Clair will be in the Lime Hill area again this spring/summer and will continue surveying for S. spaldingii.

Karen-Emphasized that the presence of Festuca idahoensis between 1350 and 3800 feet elevation in the Canyon Grasslands seems to be a key indicator that the site is capable of supporting S. spaldingii. Janice clarified that Idaho fescue sites between these elevations all occur on northerly aspects, (from WNW to N to ENE) in mesic Idaho fescue habitat types, i.e., FEID-KOCR, FEID-SYAL, and FEID-Rosa. The only place Idaho fescue can occur at these low elevations in Canyon Grasslands is on northerly aspects; shrubs and forest usually occur above these elevations on northerly aspects and are not known to support Spalding's silene. Idaho fescue also occurs in drier FEID-AGSP habitat types at higher elevations on southerly aspects, usually above 3500-4000 ft where moisture has increased enough with elevation to support Idaho fescue; however, no Spalding's silene is known to occur in these drier Idaho fescue sites. All known Spalding's silene sites in Canyon Grasslands in Idaho occur in mesic Idaho fescue habitat types on northerly aspects between 1350 and 3800 feet.

Angela-has been looking at Tribal Precious Lands wildlife area.  Tim found 59 S. spaldingii plants in 2004 on a site in the Lower Joseph Creek drainage with good condition F. idahoensis and Agropyron spicatum but no Koeleria cristata present.  Wants to do more surveys in that area.  USFWS Tribal Lands Incentive Program (Idaho/Oregon/Washington) has provided two years' worth of funding to the Tribe (starting this year) for surveys in the Lower Joseph Creek area.  Asked about effect of drought on S. spaldingii dormancy.  Karen said that the previous year's weather conditions have more of an effect on the current year's individuals.  Angela mentioned that the Assistant Area Manager for the Washington Department of Wildlife has a strong interest in the Tribe's survey work.

Karen-She, Janice, Juanita Lichthardt, and Bertie Weddell have monitored S. spaldingii plots in the Craig Mountain area for 3 years.  Doing a demographic study and ideally, need 4-5 years of data.  In 2005, will answer question of whether recruitment is occurring; also, the question of whether plants can remain dormant for 3 years.  Looking at various influencing factors such as weather (data from RAWS station); and rodent activity 1) causing depredation (pull stems down into holes in the ground); 2) creating travel corridors among plants; and 3) gophers churning up soil later in the summer.  Set up two new demographic monitoring plots in 2004 at the Eagle Creek and Rice Creek occurrences.

Janice-It is generally believed that dormancy rate increases in drier years; however, at a site monitored since 1999, the dormancy rate and the number of plants observed aboveground remained relatively constant for 3 consecutive years (i.e., ~ 1/3 of plants dormant each year and ~ 200 plants aboveground each year) even though some of these years were considerably drier than others. She added that a wildfire in 2001 decreased the dormancy rate to ~ 10% and increased the number of aboveground plants to 290 plants at this site. Each year since the fire, the dormancy rate has been increasing and aboveground plants decreasing and is approaching pre-fire levels.

Jerry-huge year for S. spaldingii on Wallowa-Whitman NF (WWNF).  Doing an Allotment Management Plan for the three clusters where the plants occur:  Wallowa Lake, Clear Ridge, and Crow Creek.  Tried to revisit all S. spaldingii patches on Clear Ridge and Crow Creek.  2002 and 2003 were fairly dry, but in 2004 the Crow Creek occurrence received quite a bit of rainfall, and plants were much larger than previous years.  Held fieldtrips to show Forest Service and Nature Conservancy sites to USFWS.   Trying to put pin flags by all S. spaldingii plants at the FS sites.  Doing GPS mapping of S. spaldingii patches.  No livestock grazing allowed in Silene allotments during summer; only spring/fall.  A lot of deer/elk herbivory on Silene plants, as well as some from grasshoppers.  Has noticed a fat, white grub feeding on some S. spaldingii plants.   Plants are palatable in late summer.  Permitees are supposed to be moving cattle through the allotments, not hanging around; however, they did camp out in the allotments, resulting in some effects to the Silene plants.  Worked with Rob (Nature Conservancy) to devise a monitoring scheme.  Hired Peter Lesica to do some monitoring work.  Jerry is 1-2 years out from determining the locations of all the S. spaldingii plants on the allotments.  He has no funding to do a demographic study.  Next year he'll be assessing management strategies for the allotments.  Would like to see the Tribe's site and those on Craig Mountain.  A contractor found two small patches of S. spaldingii stalks last September in the Imnaha Canyon.  Those sites are F. idahoensis, Koeleria cristata/F. idahoensis, and A. spicatum/F. idahoensis, with Orthocarpus, Geum, etc.  Curtis mentioned he'd done surveys in that same area in the past.

Janice-Currently involved in demographic monitoring of 7 sites managed by BLM and The Nature Conservancy. Has monitored these sites twice during the growing season, once in early June and the other at flowering time in late July/early August for 3 years, 2002-2004. Individual plants were tracked within permanent plots. Basically two growth forms were observed. The majority of plants observed over the 3-year period (~ 65-70%) were 1) stemmed plants with elongated internodes between sets of leaves, and the remaining plants (~ 30-35%) were 2) rosette plants without elongated internodes forming a cluster of leaves at the ground surface. Rosette plants did not bolt into stemmed plants during the growing season; all remained in a rosette growth form between early and late sampling. Both seedlings and adult plants can produce rosette plants and distinguishing between them is difficult. In general the leaves of seedling rosette plants are glabrous while those of adult rosette plants have gland-tipped hairs; however, many adult rosette plants had glabrous leaves as well. Current literature suggests that most rosette plants are seedlings. However, based on excavations and plant transitions between years, it has been documented in this study that over ½ of all rosette plants observed during the 3-year period were adult plants (i.e., older than 1 year). Excavation around the caudex area of several rosette plants revealed that many of them were connected to mature, relatively large-diameter, and in some cases, branching, caudices that showed evidence of previous years' stem remnants and supported numerous, live stem buds; these rosette plants were obviously adult plants and not seedlings. Plant transitions between years also revealed the adult status of many rosette plants, i.e., rosette plants that were present the previous year were obviously not seedlings. Many plants were rosette plants all 3 years of the study. To date, no rosette plant has been positively identified as a seedling during this study. Since anatomical features between seedling and adult rosette plants are not diagnostic, positive identification of seedlings requires annual monitoring for at least as long as plants can remain in prolonged dormancy. If a plant appears at a location where no plant has been recorded for the length of time a plant can remain dormant, it is likely a seedling rather than a re-emerging dormant plant. (Peter Lesica's work indicates plants can remain in prolonged dormancy for up to 3 years.) During the 3 years of the study, it was discovered that a large numbers of plants that were present at early sampling were either absent or dead by late sampling, 45% in 2002, 64% in 2003, and 49% in 2004, and that higher proportions of rosette plants were absent or dead than stemmed plants by late sampling. In 2003, all rosette plants in all seven plots were absent or dead by late sampling. Janice cautioned that only sampling once in the growing season at flowering time may miss a number of plants, especially rosette plants, that were present earlier but disappeared or senesced during the growing season, making them impossible to detect or difficult to see by late sampling time. This can result in inaccuracies in population size, demographic composition, recruitment, mortality, dormancy, predation, etc.

Gene-WWNF is modeling potential habitat for S. spaldingii, using attributes of existing populations as a basis.  About 100,000 acres in Hells and Joseph Canyons are identified as having very high to moderate potential for the species to occur.  During this discussion, Jerry also added that Potentilla recta is the largest threat on the WWNF sites.

Mamie-will be doing master's thesis research on Craig Mountain this field season.  Focusing on habitat typing.  Funding is through the Environmental Science Program at U of I.

LeAnn-both the Coeur d'Alene and Cottonwood Field Offices are in the middle of revising their Land Use Plans, which are now called Resource Management Plans.  Currently in the alternative development phase.  If interested, check out the websites:  www.cdarmp.com and www.cottonwoodrmp.com

Gina-Draft Recovery Plan was sent to USFWS Regional Office in August.  Next it's going to their Washington, D.C. office.  Hopefully, the Draft Plan will be released for review the end of March.  Comment period length will be stated when the Draft Plan is released.  Hopes the Final Recovery Plan will be out by the end of the year.  The S. spaldingii Technical Team will meet one or two more times.  Also the Tech Team will remain intact and will not evolve into a Recovery Team.  Wants to identify potential key recovery areas.  In response to Angela's question, Gina said she will email all of us when the Draft Plan is released.  The largest change since the last Tech Team meeting is that recovery goal for populations is now 500 or more individual plants present, except for the Palouse occurrences where the goal is 200 or more individuals because of the relatively smaller sizes of the Palouse populations.  These goals were established due to the lack of population viability analyses.  Has done a detailed map by physiographic region related to S. spaldingii species distribution.  Needs new observation data very soon, or it won't be included in the Final Recovery Plan.  In response to Jerry's question about the difference between the Conservation Strategy and Recovery Plan:  the CS is the basis for the Recovery Plan.

Thanks to Mark Lowry for volunteering to be our scribe!

(Note from Janice:  I would ask for clarification of Jerry's statement on plants “bolting” in mid-June. Did he actually track individual rosette plants that bolted into stemmed plants? Or did he mean mid-June is when plants emerged, or they became tall enough to notice? All 101 rosette plants in the seven BLM plots we observed during the 3 year study remained as rosette plants during the growing season and did not bolt into stemmed plants. Also, a larger study on Craig Mt. involving 18 plots, including the seven BLM plots, eight CDC plots, and two new plots, was sampled twice during the 2004 growing season, and all rosette plants in this study also remained as rosette plants between early and late sampling).

Ute ladies'-tresses (
Spiranthes diluvialis) - Discussion Leader Wendy Velman

February 16, 2005; 2:00-3:30 p.m.


Handouts: history; list of references; Idaho status table with historic numbers

2:00-2:05 Introductions

2:05 - 2:45 Petition to Delist S. diluvialis- US Fish & Wildlife Service

Answer: 1996, Central Utah Water Conservancy District

Answer: monitoring for 5 years

2:45-2:55 Monitoring Efforts - Conservation Data Center - Chris Murphy

3:55-3:05 Conservation Efforts - Bureau of Land Management - Karen Rice

Land & Water Conservation Fund - partners, conservation easements (perpetuity), acres acquired & money spent

3:05-3:10 Caribou-Targhee National Forest Management Information - Rose Lehman

Fall Creek Campground, conservation efforts

3:10-3:15 Upper Snake Field Office Management Information - Wendy Velman

3:15-3:20 Chester Wetlands Management Information - Idaho Fish & Game - Chris Murphy/Dennis Aslett?

3:20-3:30 Final Questions and Answers

Meeting Notes


Gina Glenne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (30 minutes)

Karl Holte, Idaho State University

Lucy Jordan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, by conference call

Chris Murphy, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Wendy Velman, Bureau of Land Management

Jeri Wood, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (note taker)

Walt Vertig is working on a draft status review and should be sending to Lucy soon.  The status review will be reviewed by interested parties and will not have any value judgments or statements regarding listing status.  The information will be used to determine whether or not delisting is warranted.  Lucy will be looking for comments regarding the interpretations of the data, etc.  Idaho appears to be ahead of the curve on Federal lands compared to other states.  Hope to allow for a 30 day comment period on the status review document.

Questions for the status include - with small scatter populations, what is the conservation significance of these populations?, is this natural or is it problematic?, genetic information indicates that the populations are not different, is this recent separation or greater than 200 years?

Species would be delisted across it's entire range.  Most states do not have plant protection programs.

Listing decision is due out by July as a proposed rule or not warranted.

There is no recovery plan, therefore will not be able to delist due to recovery.  The status will be evaluated based on the threats (or 5 factors).

SRBA flows and the effect on SPDI are unknown.  2800 cfs is needed but not likely to get those flows.  Hower document has information (Gina will e-mail folks the link for the Hower document and add Cleve to the e-mail contact list.)

Monitoring of growth and recreation appears to show that these activities are not causing an increase in habitat loss.  Weed invasions are unknown - what level is acceptable?, what is the threat to “clean” habitat.  There have been some attempts to propagate the species but there has not been successful flowering.  Also the longevity of seedlings in the lab is still shaky.  

Monitoring is only occurring on BLM lands.  Wendi will be resurveying and conducting habitat monitoring as well as additional new surveys this year.  OHV appears to be a habitat issue, especially on Annis Island.  BLM issued an emergency OHV closing.  They will be updating their operations plan and will address increases in recreation and readdress OHV closures.  Hoping for more stringent OHV restrictions but may wait for the status review to be completed.  There is currently not enough habitat monitoring on the SF to extrapolate effects.

Conservation easements in place on the Henry's Fork and the SF.

Chester Wetlands has a large population with a lot of scattered populations, some natural ponds and is bound by lava fields and the Henry's Fork.  Will be managed as a waterfowl production area.  (Question - what has happened to the management for Chester Wetlands?)  There was a formal plan in place, plan involves monitoring but it has been a hit or miss activity.  Dennis Aslett is the manager there.  The wetlands were purchased using Federal dollars.

IDFG - 1 population

Madison County/BLM - 1 population

Private land/BLM - 1 population

Private land - 3 populations

Caribou NF - 4 populations

BLM - 14 populations

Hydrology managed by BR on the SF

Question - Idaho Fish and Game is out doing creel surveys, can they also be looking for SPDI?

2004 - >3 million to purchase conservation easement on private land, 14,000 acres at 31 million on the SF and Henry's Fork, and main SR.  3 properties with SPDI, 4 properties adjacent to SPDI (something for follow-up).

For the numbers - don't read too much into them, they don't show the whole picture.  Idaho Conservation Data Center has recommendations for monitoring.

Goose Creek milkvetch (
Astragalus anserinus) - Discussion Leaders Jim Tharp and Michael Mancuso - February 16, 2005; 3:30-5:00 p.m.


3:30 - 3:35 Introductions

3:35 - 3:45 Background and Status Updates

3:45 - 4:05 Questions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

4:05 - 4:15 Monitoring Efforts and Needs

4:15 - 4:45 Review / Discussion of any Ongoing and Proposed A. anserinus Conservation Efforts

4:45 - 5:00 Final Questions and Answers



Nancy Ady, Bureau of Land Management, Burley Field Office

Miriam Austin, Red Willow Research

Kristin Fletcher, IMNH

Gina Glenne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise (30 minutes)

Barb Heslin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise (note taker)

Michael Mancuso, Idaho Conservation Data Center

Kim Pierson, U.S. Forest Service, Sawtooth National Forest

Jim Tharp, Bureau of Land Management, Burley Field Office

Jim Tharp and Michael Mancuso gave a brief overview of a map showing known Goose Creek milkvetch occurrences.  Red polygons on the map were GPSed sites.  Green dots on the map were sites that had not been GPSed.  Two of the new sites located by BLM were digitized but had not been GPSed.  A large multi-agency survey effort occurred in June of 2004.  Three new occurrences were discovered in 2004 by BLM shortly before and after this survey effort.  One of the new Goose Creek milkvetch occurrences (Big Site) is the largest known occurrence in Idaho.  Not all sites in Utah and Nevada have been surveyed yet.  Surveys of the Utah and Nevada sites are scheduled to occur in 2005.  

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not apply to plants on private land but it does apply to animals on private land.  Karl Holte indicated that it might be helpful to contact the Idaho congressional delegation to inform them that the ESA currently does not apply to plants on private lands.  This information could be used by the delegation as they work to reform the ESA.

Jim provided a handout describing information on plant numbers known for Idaho Element Occurrences (EOs) from 1989 through 2004.  

Miriam Austin indicated that caution needs to be used to verify that other species (purshii or torreyii) have not been misidentified as Goose Creek milkvetch.  Michael and Jim indicated that they were confident that all plants counted in 2004 were actually Goose Creek milkvetch.   June of 2004 yielded observations of high numbers of Goose Creek milkvetch seedlings.  In 2004, all plants were pin flagged for exact counts.  

The Horseshoe Springs site (EO 002) exhibited good habitat, and surveyors were surprised that more plants were not located at this site.  Although soil testing did not show differences, both Michael and Miriam agreed that some type of soil difference must exist for this plant.   

EO 003 was extended a bit to the east as a result of the 2004 surveys.  

In 1989, the population EO 004 (Coal Banks Draw) was estimated by Duane Atwood as “too numerous to count” (1,000 to 10,000 plants).  Miriam suggested that these high numbers might be due to high numbers of seedlings in 1989.  Data from 2002 and 2003 represents partial counts in the vicinity of the CDC monitoring site.    A total of 1,271 plants were observed in 2004.  Jim also indicated that prior to 2000, there were no plants observed along the road in EO 004.  The road was bladed in approximately 2000, and in 2004 plants were documented all along this road.  Miriam indicated that natural erosion may have a role in germination of the plant, and expressed concern that location of plants along the road might result in increased threats from roadside spraying of weeds.  Miriam also indicated that Steve Moseley had recommended that EO 004 be closed off to livestock grazing.

It was discussed that perhaps the blading of the road resulted in the reduction of competition with other plants.  Blading may have also scarified seeds, assisting in germination of the plants.  There must have been successful pollination in the area recently for seeds to be viable and germinating in this EO.  Jim said that there must have been successful pollination recently since there are strings of seedlings emanating from single Astragalus anserinus plants along the road which was bladed in approximately 2000.


EO 005 (Birch Creek) is on BLM land and private land, with many more plants (>100 plants) located on the private land portion of the EO.  The plants on the private land are located on slopes that are not cultivatable.

Two new Idaho penstemon sites were documented in 2004 associated with the newly located Goose Creek milkvetch locations at Big Site and the Unnamed Site.

Miriam expressed concern that high plant numbers may reflect seedlings with few adults and that there may be a problem with pollinators and outbreeding depression.  Monitoring needs to occur to verify the population is viable.  There may also be high predation on Astragalus seeds, although Astragalus seeds are typically long lived in the seed bank.  Miriam also expressed concerns with turkeys or doves eating seeds or deer eating individual Goose Creek milkvetch plants.  

Miriam asked about the impacts to the plant from the proposed pipeline in Utah that was scheduled to be constructed through a known Goose Creek milkvetch population.  This was the basis for the request for an emergency listing in the petition to list the species.  This petition was signed by 26 petitioners.  The goal of the petition was to provide protection to the plant.  The petitioners believe that the plant deserves conservation action as the species has a narrow geographic distribution and is threatened by factors such as competition by weeds.

Gina Glenne indicated that the petition for emergency listing of Goose Creek milkvetch was received by the FWS while the environmental assessment for the pipeline in Utah was seconds away from being signed.  The BLM agreed to include a Goose Creek milkvetch monitoring component within the project.  BLM attempted to avoid the population, but unfortunately, the mapping was not accurate and the population was bulldozed through.  Utah BLM is currently pursuing the use of livestock exclosures around populations of the plant.  

Miriam indicated that the imminence of the pipeline was the reason why the petitioners requested emergency listing for the species.  Gina Glenne indicated that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) does not emergency list a species unless threats are imminent throughout the range of a species rather than within a single population of a species.  Barb Heslin stated that FWS indicated in the written response to the petitioners that a 90-finding to determine if the listing process would be initiated in 2005.  However, this 90-day finding has not been completed due to budget constraints.  Gina indicated that these budget constraints are outside the control of the FWS office in Boise, and it is unknown when this 90-day finding will be completed by FWS.  

Gina indicated that the more effective means of protecting the plant is to encourage enthusiasm for conservation.  The petition effort served to focus attention on this plant, and now agencies are working together for its conservation.  

Michael indicated that a rudimentary monitoring effort for the Goose Creek milkvetch was initiated in 2000.   This monitoring effort does not provide cause and effect information but can indicate whether the trend for weeds to invade EOs is up or down.  The trend in populations can also be tracked in a limited way as the subset for this monitoring is relatively small.  

For site 1, the monitoring area is the entire site.  For site 6, the monitoring area is inadequate in relation to the total plant count.   While the same baseline information is being collected for all sites, additional monitoring information will be needed in the future.  Monitoring data is heavily scrutinized from outside groups as FWS uses these monitoring data to show trends.  Jim indicated that several more monitoring sites could be added, with the goal of having a mixture of small and larger EOs being monitored.  These monitoring sites should be permanently marked.  Gina indicated that it will take a long time to establish trends from monitoring due to the high levels of fluctuations in plant numbers over time.

It would be helpful to know how many plants will persist to become reproductive.  In 2004, about 20 to 30 percent of all plants counted were seedlings.  

Jim discussed BLM's conservation efforts for the Goose Creek milkvetch.  Competition from leafy spurge is a potential big threat to the Goose Creek milkvetch.  BLM is teaching herbicide applicators to avoid spraying Idaho penstemon and Goose Creek milkvetch.  BLM has also applied for a grant to fund their weed control program.  The areas sprayed and weed sites are to be plotted on GPS maps.  If the BLM receives the grant, they will set up specific leafy spurge/ Astragalus anserinus monitoring sites to monitor effectiveness over time.  

Other conservation efforts by BLM for Goose Creek milkvetch include gathering seeds for deposit into a seed bank, avoiding grading of roads near known populations, monitoring marked seedlings and adults to get an idea of demographic trends for the species, and marking and monitoring populations prior to weed spraying in the area.  BLM and the Forest Service are also proposing to minimize impacts to the Coal Banks population from the Goose Creek pipeline project through monitoring the site prior to burying the exiting pipeline, designating equipment turn-around areas, treating leafy spurge on Forest Service sites, using equipment wash stations to avoid spread of weeds, and screening water to control the transport of spurge seeds.  Spurge seeds are relatively large (about 1/8 inch) and are known to be transported in water.  Currently, no spurge has been documented at the BLM permanent trough site or at the Forest Service temporary trough sites.    

Jim also relayed that in the literature it indicates that adult doves do not pass viable spurge seeds.  Only juvenile doves pass viable spurge seeds while in the nest.  Mule deer do pass some viable spurge seed, as do sheep and goats.  

Jim indicated that one of the benefits of the proposed Idaho pipeline project was to encourage cattle to move off the riparian area.  If the round trough on BLM land is not upgraded to be functional again, then livestock would need to go to Goose Creek to water, traveling through the Coal Banks Goose Creek milkvetch population.  Livestock traffic through this population would be higher if the existing round tank is not functioning.   This permanent livestock watering trough already exists, and Idaho penstemon and Goose Creek milkvetch have not been documented to occur at this BLM trough site, the trough at Coal Banks spring, or any of the Forest Service trough sites.  Jim stated that there are proposals to eventually remove livestock from Goose Creek within the BLM water gap; however, it is a bit complicated with respect to fencing, and much more thought will need to go into this idea.  Gina indicated that the Utah pipeline project represented higher levels of impacts to the Goose Creek milkvetch than the proposed Idaho pipeline project.  

Gina indicated that additional Goose Creek milkvetch surveys would occur in June of 2005, and requested assistance with this survey effort.  There will also be a meeting of the Idaho, Utah, and Burley BLM offices, the Forest Service, and the FWS in June to discuss a united effort to conserve this species, possibly through a conservation action plan.  The focus of the action plan will be to cooperatively collect information on the species and do practical on the ground conservation.  

Mulford's milkvetch (
Astragalus mulfordiae) - Discussion Leaders Valerie Geertson and Roger Rosentreter - February 16, 2005; 3:30-5:00 p.m.


3:30-3:35 Introductions

3:35 - 3:55 Status of A. mulfordiae

3:55 - 4:10 Status of Current and/or Past Research or Monitoring Studies

4:10 - 4:25 Threat Evaluation - How should we measure and evaluate particular threats in a standard way (eg. livestock trampling, OHV use)?

4:25 - 4:40 Research Needs

4:40 - 4:50 Technical Team - Goals, Duties, Members, Widgets

4:50 - 5:00 Questions for USFWS - Marilyn Hemker



Angelia Binder, U. S. Air Force, Mountain Home

Beth Colket, Idaho Conservation Data Center, Boise

Karen Colson,  Bureau of Land Management, Bruneau Field Office

Gillian Crymes

Ann Debolt, U. S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Roger Ferriel , Bureau of Land Management, Vale District

Judy Ferguson, Ch2MHill

Jean Findley,  Bureau of Land Management, Vale, Oregon

Valerie Geertson-Ray, Bureau of Land Management, Boise District

Gina Glenne, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (30 minutes)

Marilyn Hemker, U. S. Fish and Wildfire Service, Boise (note taker)

Chris Murphy, Idaho Conservation Data Center, Boise

Hillary Parkinson (SP?), Bureau of Land Management

Roger Rosentreter, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office

Mark Steiger, Bureau of Land Management, Four Rivers District

Thayne Tuason, Bureau of Land Management, Four Rivers District

Introductions and discussion about what is your favorite Astragalus seedpod?

Oregon:  Three major population centers:

  1. North EOs in the sand hills northeast of Vale - Threats:  Weeds and ATVs
  2. Due south of Vale. Threats:  Sheep, ATVs,  Weeds
  3. Owyhee River and sand hills west of Adrian.  Threats:  ATVs

  1. North Populations.  Populations within the Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) experienced wildfires 1986 and 2000.   Some populations were seeded with drills using depth bands and with no-till drill with bluebunch wheatgrass.  The monitoring on three belt transects shows the numbers of plants have stayed the same between1984 to 2004 with widely fluctuating numbers over that time period.  The area is grazed December through January.
  2. Southern populations south of Vale and near Adrian are grazed.  In Clair's study the cages were generally destroyed before definitive conclusions could be drawn.  OHVs and rush skeletonweed are now present.  
  3. The population along the Owyhee River is experiencing continued and increasing impacts from ATVs.  Vale District is in the process of beginning to write a management plan for the Owyhee River corridor from the Dam north to private land.

Angelia offered to give Vale BLM some rust that is on the rush skeletonweed at Saylor Creek.  The inflorescences are deformed and the plants are scarce at this site.

Jean is working on a proposal for a long term monitoring study for Mulford's Milkvetch which has been proposed as a Challenge Cost Share with the Institute for Applied Technology.  


The definition of a “site” and an EO is confusing.  Widely scattered plants make EO's difficult to delineate

Jean is going to put new population site info from Oregon into GIS when she has time.

A USGS study in Oregon showed that crested wheatgrass adversely affected Mulford's Milkvetch establishment.  ASMU seedlings have long roots.  

Several plants were transplanted when a powerline was upgraded in some of the populations west of Adrian several years ago.  None of the transplants lived.  

Idaho populations include approximately 30 Eos (in 5 populations)

Idaho populations are near:

  1. Murphy
  2. Bruneau
  3. Boise Foothills
  4. Weiser
  5. Payette vicinity?  

Boise foothills populations are heavily infested with weeds.

Weiser populations are in an ACEC but there are problems with land use.  OX ranch populations are impacted and habitat is degrading (what monitoring is there at this site?)

Sagebrush Hill and Rebecca Sandhill are in the best shape despite being burned twice.

Bruneau populations are in trouble.  There was a temporary water trough 50 feet from an ASMU site.  These troughs were not moved despite being reported by field office personnel.  There are salt blocks within ¼ mile of another population in the same area.

Murphy.  Two sites are extirpated, one of them is in an OHV park and the other is in a dispersed ORV hill climbing area.

CDC and Chris have been working on inventory efforts.  

We need 2005 funding for a challenge cost share project to obtain monitoring data.

Someone needs to visit each EO and update that status rangewide.  Michael did this in 1999 in Idaho.  Maybe we need to just update the table that is in Michael's 1999 report and add information on threats.  Karen Colson offered to update the table.

We need to describe in better detail on how “A ranked” ASMU populations are defined.

We need some kind of trend data at the sites that have threats.  Managers are needing precise data on how populations are impacted by threats.

Chris described the monitoring he has been doing for Carex aboriginum:  they count all plants, measure the area occupied by the plants, and maintain check list of threats.

We discussed fencing OHVs out of sites.  An EA was prepared in 1994 for fencing of one of the sites.  The RMP was complete in 1999.  They are small sites.  The three exclosures are ready; the environmental analysis work is done and they are measured and laid out with permanent markers.  The group discussed writing a letter from INPS to BLM asking for this project to be completed since it has been six years in the waiting.

Gina G. said that FWS sent out letters a couple of weeks ago requesting that a technical team be convened for ASMU.  

The issue was brought up that we need similar monitoring in Idaho and Oregon.  Oregon BLM can't do the detailed monitoring that Michael Mancuso has done in the past.

We need to make a list of all that has been done for ASMU rangewide.

Maybe some of the Foothill populations need visiting to determine if they are extirpated.

The species lives on old stabilized dunes.  Glacial Lake deposits of the Glenns Ferry Formation suitable for ASMU.  Are the dunes at Farwell Bend the right kind of sand?  Populations are found in sand that resembles kitty litter, a very loose kind of sand.

We discussed the technical team and hoped those who wanted to participate would attend the May 10 and 11 technical team meeting.

We discussed private landowners who may be interested in participating in the technical team:  the conservation trust owners, a subdivision owner, the Owyhee motorcycle club committee.  Jon Trail, an orchard owner who is supportive of Idaho's Natural Heritage.

Research ideas:  Jim Smith from BSU volunteered to look at genetics of the plant.  Jean Findley is coordinating with him.

We need to request a summary report of the seeds in long term storage at Berry Botanical Garden.  Seed banking is needed for this apparently short lived species.

The group discussed having a field trip to some populations.  The site with Oolytes, a type of CaCO4 calcareous sand?

Macfarlane's four-o'clock (
Mirabilis macfarlanei) - Discussion Leader Mark Lowry

February 16, 2005; 3:30-5:00 p.m.


3:30-3:35 Introductions

3:35-4:05 Status of Implementation of Recovery Plan Recovery Actions:

4:05-4:20 Ongoing Conservation Actions and Conservation Needs for M. macfarlanei in Idaho

4:20-4:35 Mirabilis macfarlanei Monitoring Techniques and Population Trends

4:35-4:45 Noxious and Other Nonnative Plant Control within and Adjacent to M. macfarlanei Populations

4:45-5:00 Potential for Acquisition of Private Lands which have M. macfarlanei Populations Occurring on Them



Clair Button, Bureau of Land Management, Baker Resource Area

Brett Dumas, Idaho Power

LeAnn Eno, Bureau of Land Management, Coeur d'Alene (note taker)

Gina Glenne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise (30 minutes)

Jerry Hustafa, U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Marie Kerr, Idaho Power

Randy Krichbaum, Eagle Cap Consulting

Mark Lowry, Bureau of Land Management, Cottonwood District

Jeri Wood, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Gene Yates, U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Gina - Third week in May there is a field trip planned to M. macfarlanei sites.  She would be willing to return and help with one to two days of monitoring.  She also wants to coordinate agency monitoring techniques if possible.

Mark - Explained BLM monitoring process and the transition from English to Metric units of measurement.  We need to develop a consistent approach to monitoring M. macfarlanei.

Gina - Wants to pursue funding for land acquisition (sometimes there isn't a lot of competition for these funds).

Jeri - It may help having a proposal from Idaho for (RAcq. $)???, because Idaho is currently not tapping into it.

Mark - At the Dawson M. macfarlanei site, the original landowners would have possibly been willing to sell or trade, but have since passed away.  Don't know what the heirs' plans for the property are.  The Giant's Nose M. macfarlanei site has recently changed owners, don't know what the new owners plans are for the property.  John Day M. macfarlanei site has owners that may be willing to sell or trade.

Gina - Once lands are acquired, they need to be managed by a land manager that is not FWS.

Jeri - Funds can't be paid directly to a landowner; you need to have an intermediate partner (e.g. TNC).

Jeri - You need an appraisal; then acceptance of the appraisal; etc. (funds are available for appraisals, but it takes time, so an immediate purchase of any lands is probably not feasible).

Gina - Pittsburg Landing - There will be, as part of the field trip the third week in May, a visit to the Linaria dalmatica ssp. dalmatica biological control site.

Mark - Weeds are causing adverse impacts to M. macfarlanei and BLM is trying to reduce these impacts using various approaches.  There are three grazing allotments with M. macfarlanei that are currently not fenced.  I have never seen livestock use on two of them (where the M. macfarlanei is located).  There are some grazing impacts on the Rhett Creek M. macfarlanei plants.  Monitoring was implemented at Rhett Creek in 2004.

Jerry - Was trampling or herbivory observed?

Mark - Trampling appeared to be the primary impact from livestock.  Did observe some light browsing by deer and elk.

Jerry - What is the weed component at Rhett Creek?

Mark - Centaurea solstitialis and Linaria dalmatica ssp. dalmatica are the two most prevalent noxious weeds, and they are descending from the ridge into the Rhett Creek population.  There is evidence of past herbicide application on portions of this allotment; although, it was not authorized.  BLM will focus most of its 2005 noxious weed control at the Long Gulch and Skookumchuck M. macfarlanei populations.  Chondrilla juncea is now occurring at Long Gulch, and in 2004 I made a good effort to try and control it.  Will determine if this control was successful or not in 2005.

Mark - Botanical surveys in suitable M. macfarlanei habitat are usually being done in response to a proposed project (e.g. noxious weed control, land exchange, etc.).  BLM does have M. macfarlanei seeds in long term storage at the Berry Botanic Gardens (BBG) near Portland, Oregon.  We don't try to track M. macfarlanei seedlings anymore, because it is almost impossible to identify them.  The Lucile transplant population of M. macfarlanei was established in 1988 and additional transplants were done in 1999 and 2000.

Jerry - What is the survival rate at Lucile?

Mark - The transplants were not monitored in 2004, but overall, M. macfarlanei survival has been fair.  Generally, when there is increased spring precipitation, the plants are more vigorous.

Jerry - They do an annual May trip to Hells Canyon for M. macfarlanei monitoring.  At West Creek they have started using nested frequency plot monitoring where previously they had been using demographic monitoring.  Many of their sites are very fragile and susceptible to impacts.  Most of their sites are free of noxious weeds; although, they have Dipsacus sylvestris at some sites. At the site near Pittsburg Landing, they do have Chondrilla juncea, Crupina vulgaris (found recently), and Potentilla recta.  

Clair - He hand-pulled all Crupina vulgaris this year to control a small population near Pittsburg Landing.

Gene - Also did some hand pulling of Crupina vulgaris when the site was visited.

Jerry - ??? area is no longer being grazed (allotment is vacant); however, the grazing lease has not been cancelled.  A large exclosure was installed at West Creek.  They visited all of their sites checking for wildlife impacts.  At the Tryon site, their control of Centaurea solstitialis during 2004 seems to have been effective.  At the new M. macfarlanei site at the mouth of Pleasant Valley Creek, which has a lot of Linaria dalmatica ssp. dalmatica, biocontrol insects were released in 2004.  This site will be revisited in 2005 to evaluate effectiveness.  The Blue Mountain land exchange is ongoing.  The FS would acquire the Imnaha Canyon site with M. macfarlanei (currently two known occurrences half on FS that is fenced and the other half on private).  Potential habitat was surveyed in Joseph Canyon, but no M. macfarlanei plants were found.  There are three contracts for inventory work in the Imnaha Canyon.

Gene - They are doing nested frequency plot monitoring for M. macfarlanei, and haven't detected change in the past four years.  They have a 100-meter by 100-meter fixed baseline with random transects each year.  Grazed vs. ungrazed “test” was the reason that monitoring was established at this site.

Mark and Jerry - We have never seen M. macfarlanei seedlings.

Gene - Haphazard germination of M. macfarlanei seeds done at BBG.  No stratification seemed best.  The Imnaha Canyon site is fenced and is not subject to traditional grazing management.  An EIS is being done to acquire the private land with MIMA.  They want to get some botanical inventories done north of Pittsburg Landing.  Most of their inventories are tied to a planning effort.  Need to prioritize areas for inventory.

Jerry - He is talking with a rafting company about adopting a stretch of river and then having them inventory it for M. macfarlanei.

Jerry, Mark, and Clair - Discussed effectiveness of helicopter vs. ground-based inventory at finding M. macfarlanei populations.

Brett - Idaho Power is not doing any M. macfarlanei inventory at the present time.  They will be some transmission lines (Imnaha transmission line) in suitable M. macfarlanei habitat that has already been surveyed.  Idaho Power is contracting with Avista to do the permitting.

Clair - Thought that he might be willing to work with rafters (training) next year.

Jeri - Five year status review of M. macfarlanei Recovery Plan due in FY 2006.  It will be announced in the Federal Register and will request comments.  Current biological information / threats will be analyzed, and a decision will be made concerning its listing status.  This process is generally accomplished within one year, unless a listing change is proposed.  Figuring out how to compare monitoring data collected using different techniques is the key to this status review.

Jerry - Jennifer Barnes study didn't focus on M. macfarlanei pollinators, but she did record some observational data.

Gene - Weeds vs. M. macfarlanei seedling competition may be greatest connected to the weed threat.

Mark - M. macfarlanei is a fairly “tough” plant (spraying of plants on private property, livestock grazing, etc.).  Hand pulling of Linaria dalmatica ssp. dalmatica is very difficult to do and not very effective.  If we cannot acquire private lands with M. macfarlanei plants, transplanting plants off of private is an option.  The problem is where are the weed-free sites we would transplant the plants into?

Jeri - Are there willing private land owners with M. macfarlanei on their land?

Gene and Jerry - An obvious piece for the FS to acquire would be Fence Creek (40 to 80 acres), and it is inside the NRA boundaries.  The landowner had been unwilling in the past, but that may have changed.

Jerry - There is some geologic instability on part of the tract and some evidence of cattle use.

Jeri - She suggested that they show Gina the Fence Creek site and then, maybe FWS could do some supportive follow-up.

Much thanks to LeAnn Eno for being our scribe!!!!