Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Only 12 populations of Schweinitz's sunflower remain in North Carolina. Threats to the species include destruction or degradation of its habitat due to residential and industrial development, mining, encroachment by exotic vegetation, highway construction and improvement, roadside and utility right-of-way maintenance, and loss of natural disturbance from fire and native herbivores. Approximately two-thirds of the remaining populations are on roadsides or utility line rights-of-way, where they are vulnerable to accidental destruction.
The Nature Conservancy has purchased one site and part of another where the species occurs, and is currently managing the sites with prescribed burning. The Nature Conservancy has signed a management agreement with the owners of a third site, securing at least temporary protection. Cutting of competing woody vegetation began at this site in 1992 and will be followed by prescribed burning in 1993, along with continued monitoring. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program initiated a cooperative effort with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to prevent mowing or grading of roadside populations during the plant's reproductive period. Although initial attempts were unsuccessful, efforts to prevent inadvertent mowing have doubled, and explicit signs have been posted at the boundaries of all roadside populations. An informal section 7 consultation is under way with the Federal Highway Administration on the widening of State Highway 16 near Charlotte, where the species occurs on the right-of-way. In addition, seed is being collected by the North Carolina Botanical Garden from all North Carolina populations.
Necessary recovery actions include continued use of growing season burns to stimulate growth and reproduction, continued seed collection and reintroduction of propagules, and continued monitoring of all populations.
In FY 1991, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's Plant Conservation Program received $5,000 to monitor, manage, and protect Schweinitz's sunflower at all occupied sites in the State.
North Carolina Department of Agriculture's Plant Conservation Program: In addition to its section 6 activities, the Department has carried out annual monitoring and provided technical assistance on management.
North Carolina Natural Heritage Program: This agency, in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's Plant Conservation Program, has carried out annual monitoring and provided technical assistance on management. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program has also developed a draft recovery plan for the species, under contract with the Service.
North Carolina Department of Transportation: In cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, this agency has posted roadside populations of this sunflower to prevent mowing or grading during the species' reproductive season.
The Nature Conservancy: The Conservancy has purchased one site and part of another for this species, and has negotiated a management agreement with the landowners of a third. The sites are being managed by cutting and controlled burning.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte: Botanists with the University are assisting with monitoring and management of the species at North Carolina sites.
Duke Power Company and Carolina Power and Light Company: These utility companies are working with conservation agencies to protect populations located on rights-of-way.
North Carolina Botanical Garden: The North Carolina Botanical Garden has begun seed collection and propagation for Schweinitz's sunflower.
Technical draft plan.