Point Reyes National Seashore Prepares to Reintroduce Endangered Lupine to South Beach Area
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
Point Reyes National Seashore announced today that park biologists are preparing to reintroduce the endangered Tidestrom's lupine to an area along South Beach. During the next few weeks, Rare Plant Botanist Michelle Coppoletta, volunteers, and park staff will be planting 175 Tidestrom’s lupine plants at a former location near South Beach. The plants were grown in the Seashore's greenhouse from seed collected in 2003. Park Superintendent Don Neubacher stated "This project demonstrates our commitment to ensure the long-term survival of endangered species in the National Seashore for future generations. We are going the extra step to ensure future park visitors have the opportunity to experience the rich biodiversity of the area."
The park currently has seven occurrences of the endangered lupine and the species has been monitored since 1983. From the research that has been conducted, the populations within the park appear to be stable. The reintroduction of a new population of this endangered species will help ensure its long-term survival in the Seashore by locating it to a new area.
Tidestrom's lupine (Lupinus tidestromii) was listed as a federally endangered species on June 22, 1992 because much of its dune habitat has been degraded or lost to development along the coast of Northern California. The current range of Tidestrom's Lupine extends from Pebble Beach in Monterey County to the Russian River in Sonoma County. There are only approximately 20 occurrences (7 populations) of the species left and, overall, the species is declining. "We've received great support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on this project," stated park vegetation ecologist Jane Rodgers. "The Service encourages just these types of projects, and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Park Service to promote the recovery of listed species." The Seashore has become an important refuge for this species, and efforts are well underway to protect and restore the native dunes that provide habitat for the lupine.
Current threats to Tidestrom’s lupine include habitat loss due to the encroachment of two nonnative plants—European beachgrass and iceplant. Most of the populations at the Seashore exist within islands of native dune communities surrounded by beachgrass and/or iceplant. Removing invasive weeds and reintroducing the lupine to a new area within the dunes will help meet the Seashore's objectives to ensure recovery of this unique plant. For the last five years, the National Park Service has been removing invasive European beachgrass and iceplant from the coastal dunes area.
The Seashore plans on monitoring this new population for the first several years to see how the plants fare. It is the hope that park staff can maintain or increase the number and size of our populations at the Seashore. Careful monitoring to detect trends in population numbers and distribution will reveal how successful the reintroduction is over time.
This low-growing lupine is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae), and produces flowers at the end of long stems, made up of small, purple flowers. The flowers of Tidestrom's lupine are pollinated by bees, and bloom from March through June.
Point Reyes National Seashore includes 80 miles of coastline, 22,000 acres of coastal waters, 33,000 acres of wilderness, 27 threatened and endangered species, and over 900 species of plants. As part of the California Floristic Province, it is considered one of the top 25 most biologically rich and threatened systems in the world. The park has an annual visitation of approximately 2.5 million visitors.
Did You Know?
Marine biologists have identified nearly a third of all known marine mammal species in the waters surrounding Point Reyes. Blue whales and humpback whales feed here during spring and summer months. Gray whales migrate past our shores twice a year on their round trip from Alaska to Baja. More...