Lassics lupine listed as endangered



The Lassics lupine. Photo by David Impepe r

The Lassics lupine. Photo by David Impeper

ARCATA – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will list the Lassics lupine, a plant species found only in Northern California, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

This final rule, which includes a critical habitat designation, is based on the best available scientific and commercial information for the species.

Primary factors contributing to the plant’s decline include woody vegetation encroachment, pre-dispersal seed predation, catastrophic wildfire, and reduced soil moisture due to drought associated with ongoing climate change.

Lassics lupine is a tap-rooted, herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of less than six inches tall. The pink and white pea-like flowers of Lassics lupine provide nectar for many pollinator species, including three types of native bees.

The perennial plant is known to occur at high elevations around Mount Lassic and Red Lassic on the border of Humboldt and Trinity counties in Northern California.

In addition to listing the species as endangered, the Service is also designating approximately 512 acres of critical habitat for Lassics lupine in the portions of Humboldt and Trinity counties, where it occurs entirely on U.S. Forest Service land within the Six Rivers National Forest.

“Lassics lupine is a special perennial found only in the remote mountainside soils of Northern California. Because it has such a narrowly defined range, any habitat loss represents a serious threat,” said Vicky Ryan, assistant field supervisor of the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office. “We’re grateful for our partnership focused on Lassics lupine conservation and habitat management with Six Rivers National Forest. This joint effort is crucial for recovery of this rare plant, and we are optimistic about its prospects.”

As the ESA enters its 50th year, it remains extraordinarily effective at preventing species from going extinct and has inspired action to conserve at-risk species and their habitats before they need to be listed as threatened or endangered.

Since it was signed into law in 1973, more than 99 percent of all species listed under the Act are still with us today. The final rule to list the Lassics lupine was to publish in the Federal Register on Oct. 5, 2023.

The document will be available at regulations.gov by searching under docket number FWS-R8-ES-2022-0083 and on the Service’s website at fws.gov/species/lassics-lupine-lupinus-constancei.