Magazine article Endangered Species Bulletin

A Rare Plant Returns to San Francisco Bay

Magazine article Endangered Species Bulletin

A Rare Plant Returns to San Francisco Bay

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

Suaeda californica, or California sea-blite, is a rare perennial subshrub in the goosefoot family. The Fish and Wildlife Service listed this plant as an endangered species in 1994. The species historically grew along high tide lines in salt marshes of Morro Bay and central and south San Francisco Bay, often on salt marshes bordering sand or shell beach edges.

The species had been absent from San Francisco Bay since about 1960 when several years ago two failed attempts were made to reintroduce it to the San Francisco Bay's western shoreline. Seed dispersal from one of those failed reintroduction attempts resulted in successful spontaneous seedling establishment of Suaeda californica nearby. Those plants are now robust and producing abundant seed. In historic East Bay habitat, though, the species remained absent until coastal plant ecologist Peter Baye and I reintroduced it earlier this year near Emeryville, California, in partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and with funding through the Service's Sacramento Office.

In March 2007, we introduced 14 transplants along the high tide line of EBRPD's Eastshore State Park in Alameda County. We backfilled each transplant site with a mixture of sand and partly decomposed leaf/macroalgal litter from nearby drift-lines, then watered with commercial fertilizer. No significant rain fell after the transplanting and a week of warm, dry weather followed. A visit in April revealed the death of only four transplants, presumably from insufficient moisture. …

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