Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 6, 2023

Contact:

Jeff Miller, (510) 499-9185, jmiller@biologicaldiversity.org

Two California Island Plants Saved From Extinction by Endangered Species Act

LOS ANGELES— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today removed two Channel Islands plants from the endangered species list because they have successfully recovered.

The island bedstraw and Santa Cruz Island dudleya live only on two of the Northern Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. They were imperiled because of grazing, trampling and soil erosion caused by sheep and feral pigs introduced to the islands, and were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1997. Sheep and pigs were subsequently removed from the islands which allowed both rare plants to expand and has benefitted the entire island ecosystem.

“The Endangered Species Act rescued these two unique California plants,” said Jeff Miller, a senior conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Act is our most effective tool for bringing endangered plants and wildlife back from the brink of extinction with a 99% success rate in recovering species under its protection.”

Island bedstraw is a 3-foot-tall woody shrub with small greenish-white flowers that lives only on Santa Cruz and San Miguel islands. It’s increased from 19 known sites and around 500 to 600 individual plants in 1997, to 42 sites with more than 15,700 individual plants in recent surveys.

Santa Cruz Island dudleya, also known as Santa Cruz Island liveforever, is a succulent perennial known to live in only one area on the westernmost tip of Santa Cruz Island. Since receiving protections under the Act and the removal of sheep and pigs, the population has fluctuated between 40,000 to 200,000 individuals. The population has stabilized at 120,000 plants with an increase in distribution around the island.

Botanists have begun conservation banking of both plants’ seeds and the Service has developed a monitoring plan to ensure the plants continue to thrive. This is especially important for the Santa Cruz Island dudleya, which inhabits a single area that’s vulnerable to sea-level rise caused by climate change.

The island bedstraw and Santa Cruz Island dudleya join 61 other species of plants and animals that have successfully recovered under federal protection, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, humpback whales, Coastal California sunflowers and Channel Islands foxes.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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