2011 AP file photoThe Franciscan manzanita was believed extinct  after not being seen in the wild since the 1940s. The plant was found growing in the Presidio four years ago during the Doyle Drive rebuild project.

2011 AP file photoThe Franciscan manzanita was believed extinct after not being seen in the wild since the 1940s. The plant was found growing in the Presidio four years ago during the Doyle Drive rebuild project.

SF lands identified for endangered Franciscan Manzanita habitat

In what some environmentalists consider a key step toward the recovery of an endangered plant species in San Francisco, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated approximately 230 acres as critical habitat for the Franciscan manzanita.

The federal agency officially announced Thursday that it has identified the habitat in five areas within the Presidio and six other areas citywide, such as Twin Peaks and Bayview Park. Agency spokeswoman Sarah Swenty noted that the locations were selected primarily based on their type of soil and as areas considered suitable for the establishment of new plant populations.

The land designation comes about four years after a botanist spotted a Franciscan manzanita growing in an area being cleared for the Doyle Drive rebuild project. The plant was presumed extinct after not being seen in the wild since the 1940s. An effort was initiated to replant the specimen and tons of soil around its roots in a protected Presidio location.

The plant was listed as endangered by the agency in fall 2012.

“I think it’s one of the most exciting rediscoveries of our age,” Swenty said. “To find a plant that everyone thought was extinct in the wild, that no one had seen for over 50 years. It really was a very exciting find and a very worthwhile thing to protect.”

Swenty stressed that habitat designations for endangered species do not take away land or close off the sites. Only about 35 acres of the designated habitat are currently occupied by the species, she said.

The total estimated cost of the designation is approximately $31,435 over the next 20 years, according to the wildlife service.

Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute, which petitioned the federal agency to protect the manzanita under the Endangered Species Act, said the habitat identification will help lead to the ultimate goal of being able to take the plant off the list so federal protections are no longer needed.

“It’s this fantastic opportunity to bring back this member of our community that’s been missing for many, many years,” Plater said.Bay Area NewsEndangered Species ActFranciscan ManzanitaU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Second grader Genesis Ulloa leads students in an after-school community hub in a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF parents face school year with hope, trepidation and concern

‘Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it’

Health care workers in the intensive care unit at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, with Alejandro Balderas, a 44-year-old patient who later died. Even in California, a state with a coronavirus vaccination rate well above average, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
Why COVID took off in California, again

‘The good news is: The vaccines are working’

Lake Oroville stood at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
A kayaker on the water at Lake Oroville, which stands at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Oroville, Calif. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
Facing ‘dire water shortages,’ California bans Delta pumping

By Rachel Becker CalMatters In an aggressive move to address “immediate and… Continue reading

Most Read