A rare, red-listed plant has been found in the wetland in Lower Rossland.
Eva Cameron, of the Rossland Society for Environmental Action, has been coordinating the City of Rossland’s Centennial Wetland Restoration Project and was excited to discover a red-listed plant in the wetland. A species that has been red listed is “any indigenous species or subspecies that have, or are candidates for, Extirpated [no longer exist in BC, but do exist elsewhere], Endangered, or Threatened status in British Columbia.”
“I found a group of plants while doing seed collection, which I recognized as an unusual native in the Mallow family,” says Cameron.
The plant was identified as Oregon checker-mallow — or Sidalcea oregana var. procera — by local botanist Valerie Huff, who’s been doing plant inventory for the restoration project, and Richard Hebda, the curator of botany and earth history at the Royal BC Museum.
Cameron says the Oregon checker-mallow has been reported in only two other other areas in BC. Because it is so rare, members of the public are advised not to pick its flowers or seed if they see it.
The discovery has altered plans for the restoration project somewhat, as Cameron now has to plan for a study and conservation of the mallow.
“The progressive encroachment and infilling of campsite development is an imminent threat to this population,” says Cameron. “The City of Rossland is now enforcing boundaries with the campground managers to ensure there is no more infill. I plan to apply for funding to do a study of the Oregon checker-mallow population to determine next steps for conservation, including an invasive management and treatment plan.”
The Centennial Wetland Restoration Project has been made possible with support from the BC Wildlife Federation’s National Wetland Conservation Funding, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and the Columbia Basin Trust.