Within The Next 12 Months, A Rare Oregon Wildflower Might Be Listed S Endangered

According to a recent statement from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the tall western penstemon, a rare Oregon wildflower, may receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. The group has a year to make a decision over whether to safeguard the endangered Pacific Northwest flower.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Service in January to have the endangered bloom protected. The tall western penstemon has only been found in five unique populations, and they are hardly spread out from southwestern Washington to northwestern Oregon.

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Tall Western Penstemon

This is a critical step in the effort to save this beautiful and endangered flower, according to Quinn Read, the Center’s policy director for Oregon. She continued by saying that as time was of importance, the Service needed to finish its duty right away and take all required safety measures to protect the tall western penstemon.

The tall western penstemon belongs to a genus of plants known as “beardtongues.” The vibrant purple-blue flowers of this species, which are held atop extraordinarily long stalks, are typical of the region’s unique, ecologically sound wet prairies.

Due to considerable urban and agricultural expansion, the species’ ancient wetland habitat was almost entirely lost or badly degraded throughout the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. After being believed to be extinct, the species was rediscovered by local botanists at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in 2008.

Since it was rediscovered in 2008, the tall western penstemon has been observed in the metro region on both sides of the Columbia River. Across its habitat, this rare species is still at risk due to urban and suburban expansion.

Endangered, Threatened

The tall western penstemon is classified as “endangered” in Washington and “threatened” with extinction over its entire range by the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center. These markings, however, do not provide any publicly acknowledged legal protection.

A Rare Oregon Wildflower Might Be Listed S Endangered
A Rare Oregon Wildflower Might Be Listed S Endangered

The other three of the four species that will begin having their statuses reviewed are the southern population of bog turtles, the Pedernales River Springs salamander, and the ghost orchid.

According to the USFWS, the petitions offer substantial scientific or financial backing for the sought actions.

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What Constitutes An Endangered Species?

An organism that is at risk of going extinct is referred to as an endangered species, claims National Geographic. Loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation are the two primary causes of an endangered species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature maintains a list of threatened species called the “Red List” (IUCN). The Red List describes the gravity and particular root causes of a threat to an endangered species.

Extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, and least worried are the seven conservation levels mentioned on the Red List. Species that are not in danger of going extinct are grouped into the two categories of “least concern” and “near-threatened.”

When a species is designated as endangered, its range, habitat, and actual population are all taken into account. A species may therefore be least endangered in one area while endangered in another.

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