Despite unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rare Plant Care and Conservation program’s (Rare Care) volunteers successfully completed another busy field season of monitoring rare plant populations all across Washington State. The start of field work was delayed by the closure of most public lands, which gave us time to develop a Health and Safety plan for staff and volunteers.Read more
The Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program’s (Rare Care) partnership with the Washington Natural Heritage Program (WNHP) is invaluable and the relationships we build with their staff create a strong foundation for our program. As such, we like to spotlight the people we work with at WNHP like Joe Rocchio, the new Program Manager. Joe’s tenure for Heritage Programs began in 1999 when he worked for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program as a wetland ecologist.Read more
Last fall, the Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care) initiated a new study to investigate whether direct seeding is a viable alternative for establishing new populations of White Bluffs bladder-pod (Physaria douglasii ssp. tuplashensis). The only known population of this plant occurs at the Hanford Reach National Monument. It grows on the white bluffs along the east side of the Columbia River on a white cemented alkaline substrate rich in calcium.Read more
Each year the Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care) hosts a weekend to monitor rare and threatened plants of Washington State. Trained monitoring volunteers, Rare Care staff, and National Forest staff work together to collect data on rare plant populations. This year’s monitoring weekend was held in the Colville National Forest. Based at Frater Lake, we camped below the stars and woke to the chattering of red squirrels busy with their daily chores.Read more
This spring, the Rare Plant Care and Conservation program (Rare Care) launched a new initiative in partnership with the Washington Natural Heritage Program to conduct botanical surveys of several Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Natural Area Preserves (NAP) and Natural Resource Conservation Areas (NRCA). Our goal is to expand our understanding of the botanical diversity of these preserves and the flora of Washington State.Read more
Over the summer, my fellow intern, Maya Kahn-Abrams, and I monitored twelve species of alpine plants in Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks. These plants were chosen from a list developed by botanists from each park to describe current status and collect long-term data to develop strategies for adaption to climate change. These species are generally tracked by the Washington Natural Heritage Program, while a majority of them are endemic to Washington State.Read more
This year the Rare Plant Care Internship worked with the National Park Service on a project focused on establishing long term monitoring plots in alpine and subalpine ecosystems in Washington state National Parks (Olympic Mountains, Mt. Rainier (Tahoma), and North Cascades). This monitoring programs seeks to understand the effects of climate change on vulnerable alpine/subalpine communities as a whole and rare and largely endemic species in particular.Read more
Each year, the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care) designates a handful of species as focus species – species that we are attempting to monitor all known populations on public lands within a three to five year period. This year, we added snow cinquefoil (Potentilla nivea) to our list of focus species.
In Washington, snow cinquefoil is a relic of a much colder period, when glaciers covered the northern part of the state.
The Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation program (Rare Care) is beginning a new initiative with the National Park Service to monitor rare plant species in alpine communities and bank their seeds in the Miller Seed Vault. This work will occur over the next three years at: Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks (NP). The primary goals are to improve our understanding of the vulnerabilities of sensitive alpine plants to climate change and to develop management strategies to alleviate impacts of a warming climate.Read more
The UW Botanic Gardens is a member of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), a network of botanic institutions whose mission is to prevent the extinction of U.S. native plants. The CPC was founded in 1984 and operates the only national program of ex situ conservation of rare plant material in coordination with 40 leading botanic institutions. They maintain the National Collection of Endangered Plants with over 1,400 species represented and also conduct research, restoration, education, and advocacy programs.Read more