PORTLAND, Ore. – Tuesday, the Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice to the U.S. stating its intent to sue them. Fish and Wildlife Service to make it respond to a petition to save a plant called the tall Western penstemon under Endangered Species Act.
According to the group, the species is one of the most endangered vascular plants in the Pacific Northwest. It is at risk from habitat degradation, climate change, and competition from non native species. The news release is available below.
The tall western penstemon, Penstemon hesperius, is only found in five populations. It is narrowly distributed from southwestern Washington to northern Oregon. The species is part the genus beardtongues. The striking purple-blue flowers perched high on the unusually long stems make the western penstemon a beautiful and distinctive presence in the region’s rare, ecologically intact wet Prairies.
Quinn Read, center Oregon policy director, stated that the tall western penstemon is a rare plant in the Pacific Northwest. It is time for the Fish and Wildlife Service not to dither and deny this beautiful flower the protection that it deserves.
The loss or severe degradation of the species’ wetland habitat and its historic wetland habitat were caused by extensive agricultural and urban development in the Portland-Vancouver area. It was thought to be extinct until 2008 when local botanists discovered the species at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
The tall western penstemon was first discovered in 2008 and has been found in the metro area, on both sides the Columbia River. Despite its rarity, it is still endangered by suburban and urban development.
Washington Natural Heritage Program has designated the tall western penstemon as endangered. Oregon Biodiversity Information Center has designated the plant as threatened with extinction in its entire range. These designations do not provide any legal protection.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a national non-profit conservation organization, has more than 1.7million members and online activists who are dedicated to protecting endangered species and wild places.