Raiche`s red ribbons - Endangered Species Coalition

Endangered Species Coalition 2015 Top 10 Report Nominating Form
General Information
Nominating Organizations: Please use this Column to Provide the Requested Information
Organization & Web address
Contact name for species info
Email & phone
Communications staff contact name
Email & phone
California Native Plant Society (CNPS) / www.cnps.org
Danny Slakey
2707 K St. Suite 1, Sacramento, CA 95816
dslakey@cnps.org / (916)420-2977
Stacey Flowerdew
sflowerdew@cnps.org / (916)447-2677 x204
General Species Information
Common name, genus, and species
Geographic range
Conservation status
Remaining population size
Raiche's red ribbons, Clarkia concinna subsp. raichei
A 1/4 mile stretch of roadside, near Tomales in Marin County, California. This is
reduced fromits former range of a ¾ mile stretch of roadside.
California Rare Plant Rank 1B.1 (rare and endangered, seriously threatened);
NatureServe G5?T1 / S1; Not State- or Federally-Listed. Also included in CNPS’ list of
Top 10 Endangered Plants without ESA listing.
169 flowering plants counted in April 2015
Report Questions
Do you have high-resolution photos that can
be used in the report?
Will you want printed reports? If so, how
If your species is selected, will you use the
report as a tool to organize around the
species and/or publicize its plight?
Yes, 50, if possible
Yes. We have been actively engaged in fundraising for rare plant conservation for over
one year. We would use this report as a tool to highlight the critical need for
additional funding dedicated to rare plant conservation.
Public Engagement Questions (Please explain why the species is interesting, why it matters, why decision-makers + the public should care.)0
Interesting facts about the species
There is only one known population of this plant. It was first discovered by chance in
1988 by CNPS member Roger Raiche, for whom this plant is named. Roger is an
expert of California’s native flora, having discovered numerous plant species and
native horticultural varieties. Roger has also been instrumental in the protection of
Please cite any substantiating scientific studies
Additional background information to
complete the species profile in the report
What are the most important messages that
should be communicated about this species'
decline? Please be sure to indicate your
organization’s lead message that you would
like to be included in the report.
Is your NGO working to save the species? If
yes, how? (Optional)
serpentine habitat in Sonoma County. This plant is one of three subspecies in the
species Clarkia concinna, and is by far the rarest and most highly threatened.
Another common name for Clarkia is 'farewell to spring' as they are often
among the only plants still flowering at the end of the spring blooming season;
providing nectar for late season pollinators while adding a sense of beauty to
drying landscapes.
The species was originally described in the journal Madroño 37(4):305-310 in 1990,
and was added to the CNPS Rare Plant Inventory four years later where it immediately
gained conservation status. We would happily connect you with Roger Raiche for
additional interesting information on this plant.
Raiche's red ribbons, a plant in the genus Clarkia near Tomales, California, is on the
brink of extinction because of erosion and noxious weeds such as gorse and fennel.
While it formerly consisted of over 400 individuals extending along a ¾ mile stretch of
highway, there are now only 200 individuals along a ¼ mile stretch of road. The Marin
County Public Works department has a history of conducting vegetation management
activities (i.e. brushing and herbicide application) along road right of ways in rare
plant habitat of very narrowly distributed species. In the past their vegetation
management activities have negatively impacted or extirpated rare plant populations.
Although most rare plant populations grow deep in the wildlands of California, we
can’t forget about the species richness and rarity that grow in our roadside habitat.
While raodsides serve as an access point for humans, and therefore allow us to make
discoveries in these areas, they are also areas where we have some of our greatest
impacts. In the past two decades many species of plants have been described along
heavily traveled trails and roadways. Undescribed cryptic diversity is yet to be
discovered in many of California’s populated and urban areas.
Yes. This species is routinely monitored and this year a comprehensive census was
conducted. Several of our members are also working on a petition to get the plant
listed as State-Endangered, which will afford it additional protections. Next year, we
plan to collect seed from a small portion of this plant’s seed set for long-term storage
in a seed bank. This will serve as a backup in case the population suffers severe losses
in the future.
Please cite any substantiating scientific studies
How can individuals help? Please be as
specific as possible.
Is there anything else that governments or
others could/should/are doing to save the
Remove gorse and other weeds by hand, not with herbicides. Trained volunteers can
participate in CNPS’s seed banking efforts for this plant.
Make sure Caltrans Highway 1 maintenance personnel are regularly informed of its
presence and endangerment status, and that they implement best management
practices to avoid impacting the plant, while restoring the site to a more natural state
to help ensure its long-term survival.
Criteria-specific Questions – Please feel free to answer N/A or “see above/below” as appropriate. Please cite any substantiating scientific studies.
Describe the specific threat(s) to the species.
Why is it in need of greater connectivity?
Is its geographic range shifting?
Is there concern around the cyclical/seasonal
life of the species and its interactions within
Does it have isolated populations?
Is it at risk of low genetic diversity?
Smothering weeds, such as gorse and fennel, as well as geological disturbances
(erosion of the habitat) are the main threats to the species. Potential threats, such as
the accidental spraying of herbicides, or road scraping following a landslide, are also
great sources of concern. Caltrans so far has been sensitive to the rarity of the Clarkia
by removing invasive gorse bushes.
In this case, Raiche's red ribbons are threatened by humans’ need for connectivity via
county roads. Weed control in its area of occurrence is needed so that its maximum
potential habitat is available for colonization. Space with available habitat is needed
so that its seeds will find a place to germinate when they are produced in the
occasional good seed year. It is our hope that this plant will someday occupy its full
historical extent of roadside habitat again.
No, but the already limited range has been significantly reduced over the past 27
It is an annual species, so its population can fluctuate wildly from year to year in
response to climate and annual weather patterns. It had a very low number of plants,
less than 200 individuals in this 2015 drought year. We hope to find a more robust
population when weather patterns are more favorable for this plant.
Yes, field surveys have been conducted in its potential habitat since it was originally
described in 1990, and only one population in the entire world is known. If other
nearby populations existed nearby in the past, they could have been eliminated
through conversion to agriculture or rural development before the plant was even
discovered. The single existing population has declined in both number of plants and
aerial extent since its initial discovery.
Yes, only 169 individuals were found in a census of the plant done this year. We don’t
Please cite any substantiating scientific studies
How urgent is the need for greater
connectivity in order to conserve this
species? Does it face a current, imminent, or
future threat?
Indicate if there is an associated political
threat. For instance, is this species being
actively attacked by an industry group or
member of Congress?
Judge’s Score for Severity and Extent of Threat:
know how abundant this plant is in the seed bank in its area of occurrence. This plant
is primarily self-pollinating, so it has a very limited ability to exchange genes.
The location where this plant grows makes it particularly susceptible to a number of
threats. At the heart of this plant’s plight is the human need for connectivity in the
form of roads. The road brings with it an abundance of noxious weeds, the potential
for erosion along its steep banks, and the possibility of an accidental herbicide spray
or roadside scraping. Eliminating weeds in this plant’s current and historical range is
essential to the recovery of this species. While the roadside habitat has clear threats
associated with it, it may have never been discovered if the road did not exist. The
threats from weeds and erosion are current, while the threats of herbicide use,
vegetation management, and scraping should be considered potentially problematic.
Climate change and the greater frequency of drought years in California are still
poorly-understood potential threats as well.
Not at the moment
Detail information on any social or economic
benefits the species provides—e.g., its value
for recreation or as a subject of scientific
research. (Optional)
Detail the ecological importance of the
species (e.g., is it a keystone species?).
It could become a horticultural variety. It is a very showy plant, and has been
successfully grown in UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. Further scientific research,
specifically genetic research, may help scientists better understand its relationship to
other Clarkias and to the Onagraceae plant family as a whole, and can also assist with
determining potential risk from low genetic diversity. Other research, such as
germination and soil seed bank studies can help inform scientists on specific life history
traits, which can in turn be used to help ensure the long-term survival of this species.
The area where it grows has a number of co-occurring rare plants, such as Delphinium
luteum (golden larkspur) and several rare forms of Gilia capitata (bluehead gilia).
Further study is needed to know whether Raiche’s red ribbons is a necessary
component for these other rare species to survive, but it most certainly contributes to
the biodiversity and overall ecosystem functions of the community. The number and
extent of contributions it provides to the ecosystem are unknown, yet can never be
Please cite any substantiating scientific studies
Describe how the species could be
considered an "ambassador" or “flagship”
species to enlist public support for
known if it were to go extinct.
Raiche’s red ribbons is a prime example of many plants in California that are
extremely rare, but currently have no Federal or State Listing status. There are an
additional 197 plant taxa known from just 1-2 populations in the State, but which still
lack these important protections. We are at a critical stage where we can take actions
now that will have immense benefits to the conservation of our biodiversity for years
to come. California already has 28 extinct or extirpated plants, and we are working
hard to make sure that the number doesn’t continue to increase. Raiche’s red ribbons
is also considered a very showy, beautiful plant, which further makes it a strong
ambassador to enlist public support.
Judge’s Score for Importance of Species
Judge’s Final Score
Please submit to top10@endangered.org, and thank you for participating in the 2015 Top 10 Report.
Please cite any substantiating scientific studies