Endangered Species Conservation Grants
The Wildflower Center chose seven organizations doing endangered species work to receive competitive grants administered by the Center that will benefit the Black-capped vireo, Navasota ladiesí tresses, Texas prairie dawn and Tobusch fishhook cactus. To date, a total $501,426 of has been awarded for conservation research and aquisition of habitat for these federally endangered species. The Wildflower Center was chosen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to administer the grant program based on the Centerís ongoing conservation efforts with endangered plant species. An additional 10 percent of the funds are retained by the Wildflower Center for grant administration and to support on-site programs to conserve rare and endangered species
- $39,478: Rich Kostecke, The Nature Conservancy and colleagues to count male and female vireos during their breeding season at multiple locations in Val Verde County. Bird surveys conducted at Dolan Falls Preserve and other conservancy-affiliated land along the upper Devils River will improve statewide statistics on the vireo. Studies to determine whether vegetation changes on this land over time shift the bird’s habitat are being performed.
Navasota Ladies’ Tresses
- $215,570: Dr. Fred Smeins and Dr. William Rogers, Texas Agrilife Research, to develop computer-based region-wide predictive models to identify critical areas of the native plant’s habitat that may be threatened. They †are working with local, federal and state agencies, landowners and a wide-variety of stakeholders to create a “Conservation Corridor” management plan for threatened and fragmented Navasota ladies’ tresses populations. In addition, they are studying genetic variation within and between Navasota ladies’ tresses populations throughout its geographic range.
Texas Prairie Dawn
- $78,000.Mary Ann Piacentini, the Katy Prairie Conservancy and colleagues to develop a conservation easement to permanently protect 511 acres of the plant’s habitat in western Harris County. They †are surveying †existing populations of Texas prairie dawn, which are primarily threatened by Houston-area growth. The response of this member of the aster family to various management techniques implemented with the funding is also being evaluated.
- $24,452. Anita Tiller, Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens and colleagues to collect seeds in the wild and review records and viability of seeds already banked at Mercer of Texas of prairie dawn and associated rare plant species found in East Texas. A plan is being developed to manage and reintroduce the wildflower into a new Harris County preserve.
Tobusch Fishhook Cactus
- $130,985. Charlotte Reemts, The Nature Conservancy, to study whether Tobusch fishhook cactus populations in Bandera and Real counties benefit from partial or full shade provided by nearby shrubs in terms of improved flowering or production of fruits.
- $43,968. Dr. Joytsna Sharma, Texas Tech University, to study the genetic composition of Tobusch fishhook cacti in eight Texas counties. The research sets out to determine whether two different subspecies of the cacti can be identified using DNA markers, whether the two subspecies share habitat if so, and whether one species is less susceptible to the deadly Tobusch weevil.
- $68,971: Dr. Brenda Molano-Flores, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and colleagues to conduct interviews and use published and unpublished data to develop an index to assess how vulnerable Tobush Fishhook Cactus and other endangered plant species are to climate change. In addition, the likelihood that these species will go extinct is being evaluated using data on factors such as the percentage of their habitat projected to experience climate change-related changes in temperature and rainfall.
An additional 10 percent of the funds will be retained by the Wildflower Center for grant administration and to support on-site programs to conserve rare and endangered species.