Bernal Heights Considered as Refuge for Endangered Plant

We have a credo here in the Dominion of Bernalwood: “Give me your rare, your beleaguered, your endangered plant life yearning to grow free.”

In that spirit, the SF Appeal brought news last week that Bernal Heights is being considered as a refuge for Franciscan manzanita, a native shrub in need of a good home:

Federal authorities on [Sept. 4] announced that a rare shrub has been listed as an endangered species and proposed to establish areas in San Francisco as a critical habitat for the plant.

The Franciscan manzanita, an evergreen ground cover shrub, was thought to be extinct until one was discovered in 2009 during a road renovation project. The plant has been moved into the Presidio for protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced the listing of the plant as endangered, is working with conservation groups to help the plant recover as a species.

As part of the efforts, the agency has proposed setting aside about 318 acres at 11 sites around in San Francisco for the plant, including at Fort Point, Immigrant Point and Inspiration Point in the Presidio.

Other sites include Twin Peaks, Mt. Davidson, Bernal Heights and Diamond Heights, according to the agency.

Here’s a little more backstory from the Wikipedia:

A. h. franciscana – Franciscan manzanita – native to the city of San Francisco and thought to be extinct in the wild until one specimen was discovered in 2009. Less than a month later, Caltrans transplanted this specimen to make way for the Doyle Drive Replacement Project. As of September 4, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to designate Franciscan manzanita as an endangered species.

Fellow citizens, if asked, are we not ready to provide shelter and succor to the struggling Franciscan manzanita?

PHOTO: Franciscan manzanita, California Academy of Sciences

10 thoughts on “Bernal Heights Considered as Refuge for Endangered Plant

  1. As both a plant lover and proud resident of Bernal Heights, I know we can provide a safe and loving habitat for the endangered Franciscan manzanita. Let’s green Bernal Hill in the best way possible!

  2. Not so fast… The danger we face when something like this occurs is that our park, or significant portions of it, becomes a nature preserve… Off limits to us.
    Whenever I hear that acreage is being “set aside” for some purpose, I get worried. Remember, Bernal Hill is a park. If you don’t want to be looking at it from the outside of a chain link fence, you best not be too enthusiastic about this.
    The linked document – (!documentDetail;D=FWS_FRDOC_0001-0864. ) – does not appear to exist anymore.

  3. Before going all in with support for planting this manzanita in your park, it might be worthwhile to consider the implications. We at SFForest are still working them out, but we’re concerned.

    But for those who love native plants, and would like to have one of this species in their backyard, you’ll be happy to know you can buy one online (not the same actual plant, of course, but the same species/ subspecies) from a nursery that specializes in native plants for $16 for the one-gallon container.

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