About this project
The San Mateo County Parks Foundation seeks funding to continue the restoration of the endangered San Mateo thornmint population. Previous grants have expired and securing funding for future years is in process, but a gap in funding may mean that the December 2013 seeding window will be lost. The Citizinventor community can bridge this gap, offering the plant a helping hand!
The San Mateo thormint Acanthomintha duttonii is a federal and state endangered annual mint. As various plant populations have been lost in the past decade, it is now found only in Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve in San Mateo County, CA. The exact location of this population is secret in order to protect it. This one population has been in decline for years. Pavlik and Espeland (1998) estimated over 53,000 plants in 1994 but only 249 individuals were counted in 2008.
Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve is known for its biological diversity and amazing wildflower displays. A popular park for hiking and running, it also is home to many threatened and endangered species. San Mateo County Parks and its partners, the Friends of Edgewood, California Native Plant Society and the San Mateo County Parks Foundation work together on a variety of restoration activities. These activities are a core message in the docent-led educational walks for the general public and school groups and at the recently constructed educational center.
The San Mateo thornmint restoration project began in 2008 and includes conducting habitat enhancement experiments at the existing site, adjacent habitat suitability surveys for potential introductions, collecting and banking seed from the existing population, and initiating a seed increase program that is in its fifth year. A major highlight of this project has been two years of seeding at Edgewood, resulting in a population high of 3,450 on May 24, 2011. In order to test the effectiveness of various techniques, no seeds, beyond those released naturally by the plants, were sowed in 2011 and 2012. Due to low rainfall in 2012 and 2013 at the critical time in the plant’s lifecycle, the number of plants counted dropped to 934 in 2012 and 875 in 2013.
But restoration at Edgewood is about more than just helping special species survive. Because loss of habitat at Edgewood is complicated by nitrogen deposition from vehicular exhaust and by non-native invasive species, on-going habitat restoration is required. Integrating research monitoring the effectiveness of a variety of restoration techniques into the restoration activities yields important information on how to effectively use funding and volunteer efforts. While this helps focus resources at Edgewood, the scientific knowledge is also shared so that other park agencies can use the information to guide their management and restoration practices.
Funding for future years has been identified but is not yet available. We must raise funds now in order to take advantage of the December 2013 seeding opportunity. This will help us boost the population and provide additional data.
$5,000 provides funding for scientists’ seeding, monitoring and reporting activities this year. Donate today to help us continue the restoration of the endangered San Mateo thornmint population!
Seed collection devices in the UC Botanical Garden
Volunteer and rangers prepare the site for seeding
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