Monday, February 4, 2013

FWS Ecologist helps recover threatened plant and restore north Puget Sound Prairie

In December 2012, FWS Ecologist Ted Thomas carefully transported over 3,000 golden paintbrush seedlings (Castilleja levisecta) from the Center for Natural Lands Management nursery in Olympia, WA to the San Juan Island National Historical Park in northwest Washington. Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, golden paintbrush provides food, shelter, and habitat to a variety of prairie species in western Washington.
Jerald Weaver and Raena Parsons, National Park Service staff helping to move seedlings from truck to site.
A group of local volunteers from the National Park Service and the San Juan Island community helped plant over 2,000 golden paintbrush seedlings in the park and approximately 1,000 seedlings at a cooperating private land location. The plantings at American Camp are the first plantings of golden paintbrush on a National Park Service unit. Ted, the local volunteers, and NPS staff plan to plant more seedlings after prescribed burns have been implemented to restore additional prairie lands.

NPS and local volunteer's planting golden paintbrush at American Camp, San Juan Island.

This planting is also the first reintroduction of golden paintbrush on Federal lands in the north Puget Sound, following earlier plantings on William Finley National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The species was historically more widespread, but human development, changes in vegetation, and invasive species have reduced the population to approximately 10 native plant locations in Washington and British Columbia. We are now working to restore the species to its former range, including in Oregon, where plants can be seen blooming for the first time in over 70 years.   

    Local San Juan Island volunteers planting golden paintbrush seedlings on conserved private lands.
To learn more about golden paintbrush restoration or how you can get involved please visit

To view more photos of this project visit

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