Ash Meadows Gumplant
Ash Meadows Gumplant
|Listed||May 20, 1985|
|Description||Biennial or perennial with tiny yellow flower heads and alternate, oblong leaves.|
|Habitat||Ash Meadows; saltgrass meadows near streams and pools.|
|Threats||Agricultural activities, groundwater pumping, potential road construction.|
Grindelia fraxinopratensis (Ash Meadows gum-plant) is a tall, erect biennial or short-lived perennial plant with purplish stems, up to 40 in (100 cm) in height. It has alternate, oblong leaves and yellow flower heads, measuring about 0.4 in (1 cm) in diameter.
The preferred habitat of Ash Meadows gumplant is in the alkali clay soils of saltgrass meadows beside streams and pools. To support the plant, these soils must remain constantly moist. Saltgrass meadows occur in a transitional zone between springs and the arid desert uplands and are vulnerable to unseasonable drying. The terrestrial and aquatic habitats of the Ash Meadows ecosystem are unique and extremely fragile. Nearly all endemic Ash Meadows plants require undisturbed soils.
Ash Meadows gumplant is found in Ash Meadows in Nye County, Nevada, and adjacent Inyo County, California. Extant populations are scattered throughout the area at sites that have not been disturbed or have been allowed to restabilize from disturbance for extended periods.
The Ash Meadows gumplant requires well-established, natural habitats. Most of its historical habitat has been lost through conversion to agricultural land use and related influences, such as drying because of excessive use of groundwater for irrigation. Much of the habitat of surviving populations has been degraded by trampling by off-road vehicles, livestock, and wild horses.
Conservation and Recovery
In 1976, a Supreme Court ruling limited the amount of groundwater pumping in Ash Meadows to ensure sufficient water levels to support the habitat of the endangered Devil's Hole pupfish. In 1977, agricultural interests in Ash Meadows sold about 23 sq mi (60 sq km) of land to a real estate developer. Abandoning plans for a resort community, the developer in turn sold about 11,000 acres (4,450 hectares) with associated water rights to the Nature Conservancy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) bought the property to establish the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge was established to protect the large number of endangered and threatened plants and animals found in Ash Meadows. Approximately 26% of the known populations of the Ash Meadows gumplant are located in the new refuge.
Within the refuge, Critical Habitat was designated for Ash Meadows gumplant, comprising about 2,000 acres (809 hectares). Plants outside the refuge are scattered along corridors of planned highway construction or in areas where mining claims have been filed. Some of these populations are on Bureau of Land Management lands, which is required by the Endangered Species Act to consult with the FWS on activities that would affect the plant.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N.E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
Telephone: (503) 231-6121
Cochrane, S. A. 1981. "Status Report on Grindelia fraxinopratensis Reveal and Beatley." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland.
Reveal, J. L., and J. C. Beatley. 1971. "Two New Species from Nevada." Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 98:332-335.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. "Recovery Plan for the Endangered and Threatened Species of Ash Meadows, Nevada." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon.