|August 18, 2005
The U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service is removing Eggert’s sunflower from its current
listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, because
recovery efforts have led to new populations being identified and
other populations being secured. The plant, which is more adaptable
than scientists previously realized, was listed as threatened in
1997. The Service is also seeking public comments on the
post-delisting monitoring plan for this plant.
Eggert’s sunflower is a member of the Aster family, known by its
Latin name as Asteraceae. The plant is known to exist only in
Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It has large yellow flowers and
grows up to eight feet tall. It prefers rolling-to-flat uplands in
full sun or partial shade and is often found in open fields or
thickets along wooded borders and with other tall plants and small
trees. It persists in, and may even invade, roadsides, power line
rights-of-way, or fields that have suitable open habitat. Eggert’s
sunflower was listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened
on May 22, 1997.
Unlike the common sunflower an annual grown for ornamental uses, seed
production and oil production Eggert’s sunflower is a perennial that
is not grown commercially. Eggert’s seeds have recently been
collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine if they
contain genetic traits that can be used to improve seed and oil
production in commercially grown sunflowers.
At the time of listing, there were 34 known Eggert’s sunflower sites.
These sites occurred in one county in Alabama, five counties in
Kentucky and eight counties in Tennessee.
Presently, there are 287 known Eggert’s sunflower sites that form 73
· 10 sites form 7 populations that span 3 counties in Alabama;
· 33 sites form 18 populations that span 9 counties in Kentucky; and
· 244 sites form 48 populations that span 15 counties in Tennessee.
Of these, approximately 126 sites form 27 populations occurring on
public lands or on land owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). All
sites on federal lands and the site owned by TNC are covered by
active management plans that will provide for extended conservation
of the species. The recovery goal of 20 secured poputations of
Eggert’s sunflower has been exceeded.
Once Eggert’s sunflower is removed from the List of Endangered and
Threatened Wildlife and Plants, federal agencies will no longer need
consult with the Service to ensure that any action they authorize,
fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued
existence of this species. The Service has worked with the states
where the sunflower occurs to develop cooperative management
agreements so that the species continues to be monitored and
protected upon it is removal from the Endangered Species list.
While federally listed fish and wildlife species that occur on
lands may receive more protection under the Endangered Species Act
than they receive under State law, federally listed plants found on
private lands do not receive additional protection under the Act. The
Act also does not prohibit take of listed plants on private lands,
but landowners must still comply with state laws protecting imperiled
A complete description of the final delisting rule is being published
in the Federal Register today. Copies of the rule are available by
contacting Timothy Merritt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal
Street, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501; phone 931-528-6481, ext. 211.
The rule will take effect on September 19, 2005.
In a separate Federal Notice, also published today, the Service is
proposing a post-delisting monitoring plan for this plant. Copies of
the proposal are available by contacting Timothy Merritt at the
address provided above. The Service will consider comments and
information received by September 19, 2005. Written comments and
information on this proposal should be mailed, faxed, or delivered in
person to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Timothy Merritt, 446
Neal Street, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501; Fax: 931-528-7075, or sent
by electronic mail to