News Releases

March 10, 2011

Three Plants Added to Vermont Endangered Species List

Three plant species have been added to Vermont’s Endangered and Threatened Species List, and one plant was removed from the list.

The cork or rock elm is known to exist in only five locations in the state, all in the Champlain valley. This tree can reach heights to 90 feet in the in the upper Mississippi Valley and Lower Great Lakes regions. In Vermont it typically grows on limy, rocky cobbles and is much smaller. Related to both the American and slippery elms, the cork elm is also susceptible to Dutch elm disease, which may have played a major role in its decline here. Although never common in Vermont, it has declined in the last 100 years. Vermont is the only state in New England to have cork elms occurring naturally. It is also rare in New York and Quebec.

Bog arrow-grass was first discovered in the state in 1998 during an inventory of the Lake Memphremagog Watershed. Bob Popp, botanist for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, recalls receiving a late night call from two very excited botanists who were contracted to do the inventory. The arrow-grass, which is not an actual grass, is known only from this single location in a boggy area along the Clyde River. The species is largely restricted to coastal areas in New England but is more common in Canada and the western U.S.

Pickering’s bent-grass is also known from a single location in the state. Originally found in 1877, it was not observed recently until 2000. It occurs on a boggy pond shore in the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Essex County and was discovered during an inventory when the property was acquired by the state. The bent-grass is also protected in ME, N.H. and MA and is uncommon in N.Y. where it occurs in alpine areas.

Torrey’s rush was removed from the list. This grass-like plant was found to be more common than originally thought following inventories associated with development projects in the Champlain Valley. Although it is short lived at any one site, it seems to persist as seed and is able to colonize new sites. It prefers wetlands that have been recently disturbed to create exposed muck, and it gradually diminishes over time as other vegetation gets established. Torrey’s rush is rare throughout the rest of New England.

All the changes were recommended by the Vermont Endangered Species Committee and approved by the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. Following notification of landowners and a public comment period, the listings were unanimously approved by the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: March 10, 2011 07:54:26