Conservation Efforts Protecting Tahoe Yellow Cress

Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV – Collaborative conservation efforts are successfully protecting Tahoe yellow cress and have allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine that the plant does not require additional protections under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Tahoe yellow cress is a flowering perennial plant in the mustard family that grows on Lake Tahoe’s sandy shorelines and nowhere else in the world.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday announced its decision to remove the plant from the Endangered Species Act candidate list. The decision followed an extensive review that found previously identified habitat threats no longer pose significant risk to the health and persistence of the species.

Habitat threats have been successfully managed and reduced by a consortium of federal, state, local, and private sector partners working together as the Tahoe Yellow Cress Adaptive Management Working Group. The group protects the plant and its habitat with a proactive, comprehensive conservation strategy first developed in 1999.

In June 2013, working group members updated the conservation strategy to continue work to protect Tahoe yellow cress for 10 more years. Members of the working group include California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Lands Commission, California State Parks, California Tahoe Conservancy, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada Division of State Parks, Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Tahoe Lakefront Owners’ Association, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“The efforts of the Lake Tahoe area working group and its technical team and the partnership they’ve built over the past decade to protect this unique plant have truly exemplified the most basic function of the Endangered Species Act – to protect and conserve ecosystems and the species that depend upon them,” said Ted Koch, Reno Fish and Wildlife Office Field Supervisor. “They have continued to raise the standards for the next generation of conservation and convinced us that Tahoe yellow cress has a bright future on the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe.”

Protecting Tahoe yellow cress and its habitat is a goal of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program, the collaborative program that TRPA manages to restore Lake Tahoe’s environment and improve recreational opportunities. More than 50 public and private partners work together to prioritize and implement projects through the Environmental Improvement Program.

“This decision by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows public-private partnerships are working to protect this wildflower species at Lake Tahoe,” said Mike Vollmer, Environmental Improvement Program Manager at TRPA. “TRPA and other partners on the Tahoe Yellow Cress Adaptive Management Working Group are committed to continuing to work together so Tahoe yellow cress continues to thrive at Lake Tahoe.”

More information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision is available online at http://www.fws.gov/cno/.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Tom Lotshaw, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.

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