Finding a new home for an endangered plant species isn’t easy. Especially when that tiny plant prefers to live in a cozy pool on a granite monadnock. In early December, Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve began an excavation to create new granite pool habitats for two critically imperiled plant species: the federally threatened pool sprite (Amphianthus pusillus) and the federally endangered black-spored quillwort (Isoetes melanospora).
Currently these plants are vulnerable to extinction and the protected habitat at DAMNP is vital for the recovery of these two species. The goal of this project is to more than double the worldwide population of both plant species.
Trained staff from the Georgia Botanical Gardens removed samples of both plants from Arabia Mountain. The samples are being carefully tended until their new habitats are ready for them to be transplanted. Five new pools have already been excavated using heavy equipment; however they must be carefully monitored over the next 6 to 12 months to make sure they mimic natural solution pits and retain water after each rain storm. You can see the process here.
In time, the pool habitats will be protected from disturbances by a low fence and educational signage will highlight the program’s value in protecting these species. Keep any eye on your inbox to learn when the new areas are open for visitors.
This project is funded through a $10,000 grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which will provide technical advice and oversight. The DAMNP just received confirmation that funding for this project will be extended for at least one more year.