|Through a $23,200 federal
Recovery Land Acquisition (RLA) grant matched with $75,000 in state funding, a 15-acre
tract of land near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that contains the rare plant is
now in state ownership and will be managed to help ensure the species’
"We are pleased to be able to partner with the Fish and Wildlife
Service to protect the habitat of this globally rare plant species,"
said Reggie Reeves, director of TDEC's Division of Natural Heritage.
"Funding provided to the state under the Endangered Species Act has
proven to be the most consistent and effective means of conserving
rare species through a range of conservation based activities
including life history studies, field inventories, writing and
implementing recovery plans, habitat management, land acquisition and
establishing new populations. Without the Act and the funding it
provides it is doubtful that we would be able to accomplish much
toward the recovery of rare species."
Another population of the ground plum has been protected at nearby
Flat Rock Cedar Glade and Barrens State Natural Area, owned and
managed jointly by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and TDEC.
Pyne's ground-plum is known to occur only in Rutherford County and
nowhere else in the world,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional
Director of the USFWS. Protecting one-third of the species' total
habitat that harbors a healthy population of 250 to 300 plants will
be a great step toward its recovery.
In addition, two new populations of Pyne's ground-plum have been
introduced. One population has been established at Stone's River
National Battlefield through a cooperative project involving the
National Park Service, USFWS, Missouri Botanical Garden and TDEC's
Division of Natural Heritage. The efforts to establish this new
population, as well as new populations of the federally-endangered
Tennessee Coneflower, led to a 185-acre portion of the battlefield
being designated as a state natural area in 2003. A second population
has been established at Sunnybell Cedar Glade State Natural Area
through a cooperative project involving TNC, Missouri Botanical
Garden and TDEC's State Natural Areas Program. Sunnybell Cedar Glade,
owned by The Nature Conservancy, was designated as a state natural
area in 1995.
The Southeast Region of the USFWS awarded almost $5 million in grants
to Southeastern state agencies in 2002 under the RLA Grants Program.
This program is part of the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund for
grants to states that is authorized under the Endangered Species Act.
The RLA Grants Program provides funding to states for acquisitions of
habitat that support approved recovery plans for federally-listed
species. This program addresses one of the primary threats to
federally-listed plants and animals nationwide - the loss of habitat
- by protecting habitat important to the recovery of federally listed
The proposals submitted under the RLA Grants Program were evaluated
in a competitive regional review process. Nationally, over $17
million in funding to states was available through the program. This
funding is one of several ways the USFWS works in partnership with
states to conserve federally-listed and other declining species.
Tennessee was one of only four Southeastern states to receive one of
the competitive RLA grants in 2002 and 2003. The TDEC received
funding in 2001 to acquire habitat for the federally-listed
endangered Tennessee coneflower at Couchville Cedar Glade State
Natural Area in Davidson County, a plant that occurs in a small area
of Rutherford, Wilson, and Davidson Counties and nowhere else in the
world. The 2003 grant will aid in the recovery of the Pyne's
ground-plum. Acquiring the site under this project will protect not
only the second of three known wild populations of the Pyne's
ground-plum but also a unique and rare community type, a pristine
cedar glade, containing several other state listed plant species.