Featured Projects - Citizen-science

FNPS has a hands-on approach to conservation.  The projects listed here are large conservation and restoration projects involving many FNPS members and FNPS leaders in multiple capacities.  They range from buying and managing land to improve the protection and management of that land for target species, to major relocations of rare plants from areas to be developed or otherwise made unsuited to areas where the species can be protected and managed and their habitats improved.

Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia), is North America's most endangered conifer, and its habitat is the steep ravines along the Apalachicola River in north Florida and extending in similar habitat to about 1 mile into southern Georgia. Since the 1950s, the species has been threatened by numerous fungi. Most trees found in the wild are root sprouts that are just a few feet tall due to stem and needle blights caused by the fungi.

The FNPS TorreyaKeepers project is focused on working with private landowners to locate and conserve trees on private property.  This project will expand upon the work that Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) is doing on public lands and help to conserve more of the genetic diversity of Florida Torreya.  In partnership with ABG we will collect seeds and cuttings for propagation by ABG in their nursery.  We developed a brochure to help private landowners identify Florida Torreya and distinguish it from other similar-looking trees. We will also be developing a brochure on best management practices to help private landowners protect the species on their properties.

Updates

Dec. 23, 2019 -
   Blog Article
   Photographs

Resources

TorreyaKeepers Website: torreyakeepers.fnps.org

Torreya taxifolia (Florida torreya).  Photo by Bill Boothe.

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FNPS volunteers caging a Torreya tree to protect it from deer, who like to rub on the trees.

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Torreya taxifolia (Florida torreya).  Photo by Lilly Anderson-Messec.

We are documenting occurrences of Florida’s rare plant species throughout the state, especially those in the path of development or that are located within road right-of-ways and utility easements.  This is important because many companies and contractors have begun using herbicide in place of mowing.  Additionally, many of our rare species require occasional or reduced mowing in order to flower and reproduce.  Management protocols for rights-of-ways are essential for the conservation of many of our rare and endemic plant species. 

Some of our successes (preserving rare plant occurrences in rights-of-ways): 

  • Wakulla County - Ruellia noctiflora, Brickellia cordifolia (this roadside also contained milkweed plants with Monarch butterfly larvae)
  • Bay County – Road-widening Project - Sarracenia leucophylla
  • Jefferson County - Leitneria floridana
  • Lake County - Lilium catesbaei
  • Lee County - Sacoila lanceolata (and milkweeds)
  • Flagler and Putnam Counties – Roadside management protocol developed for Helianthus carnosus populations.  Funded by an FNPS Conservation Grant.
  • Osceola County - Sacoila lanceolata

 

Resources

How you can help:

  1. Document all sightings of rare plants in road rights-of-way and report to conservation@fnps.org  to help fill in gaps and build the database.  Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone.  Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send with your email.
  2. Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet). 
  3. If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside rare plant population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.
The Council of Chapters spearheaded the development of six regional native plant posters.  Each poster has easily gown plants (trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species) characteristic of the region.  The poster is foldable, in full color, and distributed through the chapters.
Project Contact
Send email

One side of the native plant poster.

 

 

Under the leadership of FNPS Conservation Committee member Scott Davis, we are documenting occurrences of Florida’s native milkweed (Asclepias) species throughout the state.  Many of our milkweed species are important hosts for monarch butterflies. 

Mr. Davis and volunteers across Florida have documented 21 native milkweed species and have tracked about 800 populations throughout the state.  Many of the documented populations and plants are roadside occurrences.  Data is shared with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

More about the database:
It is comprehensive and assimilated into the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Database - used by vegetation managers, land managers, agencies, and more.  What it encompasses:

  • Roadsides
  • Powerline Cuts – (and herbicide Issues)
  • Public Lands

Goals:

  • To know where each species occurs
  • To monitor
  • To protect and appropriately manage (with FDOT, county, city, and private land managers)

Key Findings:

  • Many species are more uncommon than anticipated, and  they appear to be very dependent upon roadsides.
  • There are major apparent occurrence gaps in South Florida, North Central Florida, and SW Florida
  • Only a handful of sites are utilizing reduced mowing practices that are essential for maintaining appropriate habitat

WE NEED A LOT OF HELP (to mobilize local FNPS members to contact local officials and support reduced mowing and management of these important sites).  Note that reduced mowing does not mean “no mowing” because some annual mowing, properly timed, is needed at many of these sites.

How you can help:

  1. Document all sightings of Asclepias occurrences and report to conservation@fnps.org  to help fill in gaps and build the database.  Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone. Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send it with your email.
  2. Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet). 
  3. If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.
Resources
Project Contact
Send email

Milkweed locations map as of March 2020.

 

 

We are documenting occurrences of Florida’s rare plant species throughout the state, especially those in the path of development or that are located within road right-of-ways and utility easements.  This is important because many companies and contractors have begun using herbicide in place of mowing.  Additionally, many of our rare species require occasional or reduced mowing in order to flower and reproduce.  Management protocols for rights-of-ways are essential for the conservation of many of our rare and endemic plant species. 

FNPS and our Chapters work with partners to help monitor and manage many sensitive locations located in power line and road rights-of-ways.  We also help monitor and manage rare plant populations on public lands.

This mapping project has been instrumental in the following:

  • Our Warea Conservation & Land Acquisition Project
  • Roadside management protocol was developed for Helianthus carnosus populations in Flagler and Putnam Counties.  Funded by an FNPS Conservation Grant.
  • Bay County – Road-widening Project - Sarracenia leucophylla population was brought to the attention of planners
  • Popluations of Ruellia noctiflora, Brickellia and numerous milkweed plants in Wakulla County were rescued and relocated for the installation of a paved trail.
  • Lake County - Lilium catesbaei population conserved
  • Lee County - populations of Sacoila lanceolata and several milkweeds were conserved.

How you can help:

Document all sightings of rare plants in road rights-of-way to help fill in gaps and build the database.  Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone.  Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send with your email (see link below).

Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet). 

If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside rare plant population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.

Project Contact
Send email

Annual surveys by our Pawpaw Chapter are showing the importance of land management to the rare species yellow squirrel-banana (Asimina rugelii).

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Rare Plant Location Map.  Updated June 2020.