In 1993 the US government declared the Marsh Sandwort (Arenaria paludicola) an endangered plant. There were only 10 left in the world, all located in the same area; San Luis Obispo County, California.
Biologists collected seeds from the plant and grew new plants at a lab. Now they are ready to re-seed this plant to bring it back from the brink of extinction.
Before it’s habitat was degraded by invasive species, drought, development and drilling this plant grew in marshes and riparian areas on the pacific coast from Los Angeles to Washington state. Now they will re-seed it in the Marin Headlands.
One of the areas where the Marsh Sandwort grew in abundance was Fort Point, south of the Golden Gate Bridge but now that area is too built up to support it so officials are looking across the Golden Gate to Fort Cronkhite. Alison Forrestel, a vegetation ecologist for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said “The habitat is very similar at the two sites and they are close by”.
Earlier this month a team of biologists from the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of California & several Non-Profits worked together and planted more than 800 Marsh Sandworts in several locations. They feel that the Marin Headlands is an extremely good habitat for the plant, they expect it to take hold well and that it should thrive. In the past they have been successful in re-establishing this plant in Morro Bay and at Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz, however all other efforts have failed. Needless to say they will be watching this planting very closely.
Nature lovers may as well wait til spring to get a glimpse. At this time of the year they look like little green lumps, in the spring however the blooms should begin and will continue right through until the end of August.