Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Restricted to small inland lakes at eight sites in central and northwestern Wisconsin: Waushara, Portage, and Bayfield counties. Historic populations in Bayfield and Waushara counties.
Catalog Number: US 1974866
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): N. C. Fassett
Year Collected: 1934
Locality: Lake Huron, Plainfield., Wisconsin, United States, North America
Comments: Open to partially shaded, sandy or gravelly shorelines of small landlocked seepage lakes. Apparently intolerant of competition and shading; not found in abundance where dense grasses, woody shrubs, or trees have become established. Dependent on lake level fluctuations to maintain an open habitat.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Comments: 8 extant populations, 10 total occurrences. All within central (majority) and northwestern Wisconsin.
Life History and Behavior
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to central and northwestern Wisconsin and restricted to the shorelines of inland lakes. Only 7 occurrences are known extant. The species' habitat is susceptible to a wide range of detrimental activities. The greatest immediate threat is probably lakeshore development and, to a lesser extent, all-terrain vehicle use of the shorelines. An emerging (and perhaps the greatest long-term) threat is the introduction of non-native weedy species such as spotted knapweed (Centaurea biebersteinii) and sweet clover (Melilotus ssp.), which could essentially "take over" locoweed habitat.
Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Date Listed: 09/28/1988
Lead Region: Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region (Region 3)
Listing status: T
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Oxytropis campestris chartacea, see its USFWS Species Profile
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Some historic populations have been lost to lakeside construction and other modifications of habitat. Prolonged elevated water levels might have had a detrimental effect on at least one occurrence. However, managment of extant sites has resulted in stabilized populations that fluctuate naturally depending on the water level (USFWS 2009).
Global Long Term Trend: Unknown
Comments: Fluctuations in water levels maintain habitat but also determine population size from year to year. In one year, unusually high water levels may reduce populations to only a few plants and in the next year, lower water levels may result in thousands of plants (USFWS 2009).
Comments: The present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of present habitat or range, use of motorized vehicles on shorelines, pesticide drift and fertilizer run-off, road run-off, excessive trampling, water-level drawdown, and destruction of habitat through grazing. Other potential threats include dredging of shoreline habitat by landowners or counties, digging of plants, competition from sweetclover and spotted knapweed, and the alleged allelopathic properties of an associate, orange hawkweed (Hieraceum aurantiacum).
Restoration Potential: The recovery potential of O. campestre var. chartacea is not fully known. Although it is likely that germination and transplantation of locoweed plants from greenhouse situations into the wild is not difficult, this alone may not guarantee survival of the taxon. It is increasingly obvious that habitat destruction appears to be a limiting factor. Recovery of Fassett's locoweed to such a level as to delist it from the Federal threatened status is not likely due to the unavailability of potential habitat.
Preserve Selection and Design Considerations: Protection must encompass the watershed within which the species occurs. Watershed protection should be sought to guarantee an unimpeded, yet controlled flow of clean water into the lake system. Water flow should mimic that which was found in nature or under which the Fassett's locoweed population was established. Lakeshore habitat should be protected from development and its associated physical disturbances (ATV use, etc.). Development pressure will also lead to water quality depression, a feature that could be detrimental to extant populations.
Management Requirements: The primary management need for O. campestris var. chartacea is the protection of its shoreline mudflat habitat from negative impacts. Curtailment and/or elimination of excessive use of occupied and potential habitat appears to be the primary management need for the species.
Maintenance of the natural water fluctuation regime during the typical drought/wet cycles is a necessity in order to provide and sustain available habitat. Construction of out-flow dams to artificially maintain water levels for recreational purposes may significantly threaten Fassett's locoweed.
Appropriate management of extant O. campestris var. chartacea sites requires the placement of development limits along shorelines and use restrictions within lakes and on exposed shoreline habitat. Only with efforts that are stringent and well-enforced will the future of this taxon be ensured.
Management Programs: At present, no known management programs are underway for Fassett's locoweed.
Monitoring Programs: Periodic monitoring of this federally threatened species is done at the remaining extant sites in central Wisconsin. The last survey, completed in 1988, consisted of searching all potential habitat for Fassett's locoweed, delineating and mapping boundaries of extant populations, identifying potential threats, and making population counts (Dobberpuhl 1988). Also obtained was information pertaining to the characterization of habitat, identification of plant associates, distance of the nearest and farthest locoweed plants from the existing waterline, total number of actual or estimated plants within the populations, and individual rosette diameters.
Due to the large size of the population at one site, a transect with contiguous quadrats was used to estimate population size. Within each quadrat, the following data were collected: (1) rosette diameter of flowering and non-flowering plants, (2) number of flower scapes produced by each plant, (3) percent cover of each plant, (4) percent cover by other plant species, (5) substrate type, and (6) associated plant species (Dobberpuhl 1988).
An in-depth monitoring project using three permanent 4 square meter plots was initiated by Dobberphul (1988) within the Plainfield Lake population. A massive germination event occurred as lake levels fell during the summer drought period. A wooden, 1-meter square frame [a modification of a design by Smith (1986)] was used to sample seedlings within each plot. The unique locations (exact point along the X-Y axis) of each seedling were mapped on a grid cell. Data concerning rosette diameter, number of leaves/rosette, length of longest leaf, number of growing points, and number of flower stalks are being recorded. Annual monitoring for 5-8 years should sufficiently follow the individual plants from seedling to death. Contact: June Dobberpuhl, Wisconsin Natural Heritage Program, Endangered Resources/4, Department of Natural Resources, 101 S. Webster Street, Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Telephone No. (608) 267-5037.
Management Research Programs: The Holden Arboretum of Mentor, Ohio, is currently conducting germination experiments on Fassett's locoweed under the guidance of the Center for Plant Conservation of Jamaica Plains, MA. Attempts at identifying the germination requirements and delineating the duration of seed viability are being made. Future research will be centered around the identification and introduction of rhizobial innoculants into cultivated plants. Contact: Brian Parsons, Holden Arboretum, 9500 Sperry Road, Mentor, OH 44060. Telephone No. (216) 946-4400.
Management Research Needs: Research should be centered on aspects of the life history of O. campestre var. chartacea. At present, very little is known about this aspect of the taxon. Specific research needs include pollinator identification, pollination success, seed germination requirements, duration of seed bank viability and growth requirements.
Biological Research Needs: Life history of Fassett's locoweed, pollinator identification, pollinator success, seed germination requirements, duration of seed bank viability and growth requirements. Groundwater studies are needed to determine susceptibility to draw-down of water tables through well pumping.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Stewardship Overview: Monitoring needs include the tracking of population trends, flower production, seed set and pollinator visitation frequency in all existing populations. Lakeshore development, lakeshore (beach) traffic, use and lake water quality should also be tracked. Research should be centered on aspects of the life history, pollinator identification, pollination success, seed germination requirements, duration of seed bank viability and growth requirements. Curtailment and/or elimination of excessive use of occupied and potential habitat appears to be the primary management need for the species. Removal of invasive species should be ongoing to reduce competition for available habitat.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: A distinct taxon.
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