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Minutes from November 6, 2009

November 2009 Weeks Bay

Minutes from the APCA meeting November 6, 2009
Held at Weeks Bay Reserve
Minutes taken by Patrick Thompson, with assistance by Dee Smith and Bob Boyd

Attendees:

  • Wayne Barger (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Bob Boyd (Biological Sciences, Auburn University)
  • Patrick Daniel (Curator, Kaul Wildflower Garden, Birmingham Botanical Gardens)
  • Linda Derry (Site Director, Old Cahawba)
  • Ron Determann (Atlanta Botanical Garden)
  • Dan Everson (US Fish and Wildlife Service) 
  • Rebecca Godwin (Graduate student, Auburn University)
  • Brian Holt (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Harry Larsen (Retired professor, Auburn University)
  • Dana McReynolds (Alabama Forestry Commission)
  • Jan Midgley (Author, Educator, Grower)
  • Brian Martin (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Jim Miller (US Forest Service, Alabama Invasive Plant Council)
  • Fred Nation (Weeks Bay Reserve)
  • Linda Sherk (President, Blanche Dean Chapter of Alabama Wildflower Society)
  • Ryan Shurette (US Forest Service) 
  • Dee Smith (Curator, Donald Davis Arboretum, Auburn University)
  • R. Oneal Smitherman (Retired professor, Auburn University)
  • Bill Summerour (Bird & nature enthusiast)
  • Keith Tassin (The Nature Conservancy) 
  • Patrick Thompson (Donald Davis Arboretum, Auburn University)
  • Gena Todia (Wetland Resources Environmental Consulting)

Summary of Events

GPCA / APCA Interactions   
Presented by Dee Smith

The APCA was formed based on the GPCA’s model after a group from AU was invited to a GPCA meeting in Oct of 2008. 

Dee Smith, Bob Boyd, Debbie Folkerts, and Patrick Thompson have been attending meetings of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance to continue to learn from this 15 year old group.  GPCA members have been in attendance at each APCA meeting, Ron Determan was on hand to expound on this discussion.    

At a June meeting at Tallulah Gorge, and an October meeting in the Okeefenokee Swamp, we were updated on approximately 28 ongoing projects.  The meeting format is an optional Thursday arrival and dinner, followed by an early Friday meeting that lasts well into the afternoon.  The Okefenokee meeting was followed by a 4 hour canoe tour through the swamp Saturday morning with an all star team of GA and AL botanists.

Dee participated in a mountain bog cleanup in Rabun County GA where GPCA members and volunteers cleared encroaching Rhododendron and Kalmia that were shading out habitat for a group of Sarracenia purpurea var.venosa subsp. montana.  With the small amount of habitat left for some of species, management is required to ensure viability of existing and reintroduced populations.

Committee Reports

1) Alabama pitcher plant or Canebrake pitcher plant: Sarracenia alabamensis or S. rubra alabamensis
Presented by Brian Martin
Committee: Brian Martin, Keith Tassin, Ron Determann, Debbie Folkerts, Rebecca Godwin, Dee Smith, Patrick Thompson, and a boy scout camp representative.

Step one: Write a proposal
Step two: Submit to USFWS for review and comment
Step three: Make it so!

It was proposed to augment existing population at Camp Tuckabatchee in Autaga County.  APCA members from TNC, AU and ABG chose three sites to plant 50 individuals.  Plants were grown by ABG from seeds collected from the camp in 2004. A group of approx. 40 plants were placed in 2 locations 0.08 miles from the original site in a hillside seepage bog.  10 other plants were put in another seeping slope near a path where they could be used to educate campers about rare native plants.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens has been working with USFWS to keep this species’ (or subspecies’) genetic material safeguarded for 17 years.  The ABG is currently safeguarding 9 of twelve (?) populations historically known for this species.

2) Turkeybeard: Xerophyllum asphodeloides  
Presented by Jan Midgely
Project Committee: Jan Midgeley (Chair), Patrick Thompson, Ron Determann, Ryan Shurette

This plant is known in AL from a site in the Talladega Nat’l Forest on a ridge above Shoal Creek at an elevation of 900 ft. The first seed collection was done on 7/18/09 by Jan Midgely, Patrick Thompson, Jeff Gardner, and Ryan Shurette.

1 of 15 seed heads was collected and about 200 seeds each were distributed to AU Davis Arboretum, ABG, Mt Cuba Center, and Jan Midgely.

A second seed head was collected in September 2009, and distributed to the same repositories.  Various seed treatments are being used by the different institutions and we are hoping for pleasant results in the spring.

Any student looking for a research project would have plenty of opportunities surrounding this species and its habitat. 

3) Tennessee yellow eyed grass (Xyris tenneseensis) survey
Presented by Bob Boyd
Project Committee: Bob Boyd (chair), Dan Everson, Mike Hardig
GPCA collaborator: Mincy Moffett
TN Natural Heritage Program collaborator: Andrea Bishop

This project’s purpose is to survey existing populations of this federally listed species.  It crossed many borders, incorporating the APCA’s Bob Boyd, Dan Everson, Mike Hardig, and AU grad students, along with GPCA’s Mincy Moffet, and Andrea Bishop of the TN Natural Heritage Program.

The census of the species began in Lewis Co. TN, at Twin Falls Hollow.  This is the best site for the species, and 14,384 spikes were counted here.

The next best site was Ebenezer Swamp, with 10,152 spikes counted on the Robinson’s private property, and 1,214 on adjacent U of Montevallo property.  The fate of the population on the Robinson’s property is uncertain.

Alligator glades west is in Bibb County’s Ketona glades.  This site is overgrown, and in need of an APCA clean-up effort.  It had zero visible spikes of X. tennesseensis, and is the only known location for the recently described X. spathifolia.

4) Alabama milkvine: Matalea alabamensis
Presented by Wayne Barger

Several plants were found in flower earlier this year at one site, but did not set seed. Maybe next year we can get some seeds for a safeguarding program and establish a committee to formulate and execute that plan.

5) Southern Spicebush: Lindera melissifolia
Presented by Dan Everson
Project Committee: Dan Everson (chair), Jan Midgeley, Patrick Thompson, Ron Determann, Ryan Shurette

Threatened by laurel wilt fungus, this species is affected by the disease, but the ambrosia beetle that spreads it prefers plants with a larger branch diameter than typically found in L. melissifolia.

This species is known from a couple of populations on Rainier timber property.  It grows in low wet swales and spreads clonally.  Both populations do have some seed set so males and females must be present at both sites.

No seeds have been collected this year.

6) Georgia Aster: Symphyotrichum georgianum
Presented by Ryan Shurette

Population augmentation on Talladega Ranger District.

Seeds were collected and sent to Amy Wright and Rachel Meriwether at AU’s Horticulture Department.  Propagation was hugely successful.  750 seedlings were potted into 250 one gallon containers.  These were outplanted early fall 2009 and are doing well.

After a spectacular lunch provided by Maureen Nation, we had a report from Jan Midgley on a Center for Plant Conservation Symposium that she attended in Oct. 2009:

CPC Presents International Symposium 
"Evaluating Reintroductions As a Plant Conservation Strategy: Two Decades of Evidence" Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel, October 21-22, 2009

The Center for Plant Conservation has a national database where information on reintroductions is kept.  They would appreciate any contributions from the APCA on our reintroduction activities.

Managing a site properly for a rare species in consideration is always preferable to reintroduction.  Reintroduction is useless if a site is no longer suitable, and is not maintained in a manner consistent with the plant’s needs.

50 or more plants are required for a successful reintroduction.

To be listed as a CPC garden, you must be actively involved in ex situ conservation.

Assisted migration as a tool for species stability:

Right way  
Stay within the species historical range.
Move genotypes in very small increments, as little as possible. 

Questionable way
See practices of Torreya guardians: i.e. re-wilding FL genotypes in NC or even across the pond (Atlantic Ocean)!

Suggested web resource: www.conservationevidence.com

Future APCA project discussion

Mohr’s Barbara’s buttons, Marshallia mohrii, had a recovery plan written in the mid 90’s.  Some ground truthing around the state would help us find out how effective the plan has been.  Send info about sightings to Dan Everson.

Green pitcher plant, Sarracenia oreophila, recently discovered population at Serenity campground has unknown future, but is adjacent to Desoto State park.  Seeds from this population currently being started at ABG and Davis Arboretum.  Patrick Thompson will write a proposal based on APCA’s  S. alabamensis project for possible future project.

Stem cuttings for Lindera melissifolia should be collected in June.

Haines Island Park in the Red Hills hosts a unique plant community but is suffering from some erosion problems and pressure from invasives.  It would greatly benefit from a work day mostly cutting and spraying, and offer opportunity for some botanizing.

Alligator Glades West could also use a cleanup to help open up Xyris habitat.



Last Updated: 05/03/2016