The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is cheering the return of an "unassuming" parsley plant found throughout northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.
Bradshaw's lomatium, a yellow-hued perennial herb, was once thought to be extinct, and had dwindled to fewer than 30,000 plants in 11 sites when it was listed via the Endangered Species Act in 1988.
Today, foresters believe there are more than 11 million wild lomatium plants grouped in more than 24 population clusters. The plant is now proposed to be delisted from the federal tally of threatened plant and animal species.
"Strong partnerships have championed the work leading to this proposed delisting," said Fish and Wildlife state director Paul Henson. "A number of private landowners are helping prairies with the assistance of the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Wetland Reserve Program and the Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program."
Bradshaw's lomatium had historically thrived in Pacific Northwest forests that were periodically burned by natural blazes — but stringent wildfire policies allowed invasive grasses to colonize their turf. Suburban development and the conversion of wet prairie grasslands to agricultural uses reduced lomatium's habitat as well.
Lomatium's rebound hinges on the continued success of its pollinators, which encompass more than 30 species of bees, flies, wasps and beetles.
The Forest Service will accept comments on the proposed delisting for the next 60 days, ending on Jan. 27, 2020. The public can comment on the proposal here.
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