U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates plant on Oregon dunes as threatened species

To survive, the plant will require continuous removal of gorse and European beachgrass, which was introduced to stabilize the dunes. Rising sea levels caused by climate change are expected to exacerbate the spread of invasive plants, resulting in additional habitat loss, the wildlife service said.

The designation comes nine years after the center – along with Oregon Wild, Friends of Del Norte, Oregon Coast Alliance, the Native Plant Society of Oregon, the California Native Plant Society, the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the plants.

“It shouldn’t have taken nine years for Fish and Wildlife to take action, but hopefully it’s not too late,” Miller said.

In 2020, the center filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, calling for protection for 241 species. Miller said about half of the cases are now resolved. It takes the agency about 10 years on average to make a designation, and in some cases it doesn’t act for decades, he said.

And sometimes protection comes too late.

“At least 47 plants and animals have gone extinct while awaiting protection,” Miller said.

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