Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Washington
After years of work by staff at the Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Native Plant Society, Bureau of Land Management, University of Washington Herbarium, and many others, we've finally finished the Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Washington. This guide includes color photographs, line drawings, distribution maps, and detailed descriptions for 317 vascular plants, six mosses, and one lichen. The book is now available from the University of Washington Press and other book sellers.
Updating and Refining Wetland Conservation Priorities for Western Washington
The Washington Natural Heritage Program recently received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update and refine wetland conservation priorities in western Washington. The project will improve wetland data managed by the Natural Heritage Program as it relates to the Department of Ecology’s Wetland Rating System. Final products will include an updated database on Natural Heritage Wetlands in western Washington, a more detailed and transparent documentation and reporting of the Natural Heritage values present within each wetland, and inclusion of information on the Department of Natural Resources’ web site. This project will provide important information about locations of Washington’s most significant wetlands to those responsible for wetland permitting decisions and land use planning. Our long-term goal is to identify wetland conservation priorities for the entire State.
Development of Ecological Integrity Assessments for Washington’s Ecological Systems
The Washington Natural Heritage Program is working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop Ecological Integrity Assessments (EIA) for Washington’s Ecological Systems. The EIA is a systematic approach for measuring ecological condition at a variety of spatial scales. The three level approach provides flexibility in terms of the amount of information needed (or available) for a particular assessment of ecological condition. The EIA will aid conservation planners and managers in establishing and meeting land management goals. For more details on Ecological Systems and EIA please visit: http://www1.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/communities/ecol_systems.html
San Juan National Historical Park Vegetation Classification & Mapping
Under contract with the U.S. National Park Service, the Washington Natural Heritage Program is classifying and mapping vegetation types at San Juan Island National Historical Park (Park). We are using the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC) as the classification standard for the project and NVC units will serve as the basis for map units. The NVC is supported by the Federal Geographic Data Committee, NatureServe, and the Ecological Society of America, along with other partners, as the federal standard for vegetation classification. The final product will include a classification and map of existing vegetation types found in the Park which will aid in future planning and management of the Park’s natural resources.
Vegetation Mapping and Rare Plant Monitoring at Fairchild Air Force Base
We are mapping the vegetation of Fairchild Air Force Base within the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) hierarchy. In 2010 we also completed year three of a four year project to monitor the federally threatened Spalding’s catchfly and several species of rare plants found in vernal pool habitats. These projects will assist in management of the base's conservation values and include a protocol for developing a range of conservation, management or restoration strategies. The project also helps the Natural Heritage Program and the US Fish and Wildlife Service evaluate the status of Spalding’s catchfly.
Rare Plant Inventory
Our program's rare plant botanist is conducting inventories for rare plants in several ecosystems around the state, often as part of projects funded under the Endangered Species Act. Species inventory efforts include Kincaid’s lupine and Bradshaw’s lomatium in remnant south Puget Trough prairies, showy stickseed and Wenatchee Mountain checkermallow in the Wenatchee Mountains, Ute lady’s-tresses in the Columbia River riparian areas, pale blue-eyed grass and obscure buttercup in the Columbia Hills, Umtanum desert-buckwheat and White Bluffs bladderpod in the Hanford Monument, and Spalding's catchfly in the Palouse. We continue to work with many partners on the recovery of golden paintbrush in the Puget Sound area.