For Immediate Release, October 5, 2015
Contact: Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Plant Facing Habitat Destruction, Sea-level Rise Gets Endangered Species Act Protection
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Following a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected the Florida bristle fern today under the Endangered Species Act. The fern is a rare Florida plant with only a handful of known populations on the Miami Rock Ridge in Miami-Dade County and limestone boulders in Sumter County. The fern’s habitat has been fragmented and destroyed by urban development, agricultural conversion and drainage projects, and now also faces sea-level rise.
“The Florida bristle fern is a stunning example of Florida’s resiliency, but it needs our help,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Endangered Species Act listing will help ensure the fern survives sea-level rise.”
The dainty fern has no roots and grows in moist, shady areas of exposed limestone. Its Miami-Dade rockland hammock habitat has been dramatically degraded due to population growth, and the plant’s populations are now highly susceptible to further habitat loss and inundation by sea-level rise. In Sumter habitat degradation from development and agricultural activities persist. The fern has been a candidate for listing since 2009.
In 2011 the Center and Service reached a historic settlement agreement to speed protections for all species on the candidate waiting list as of 2010, as well as a host of other species previously petitioned for protection. To date 151 plants and animals have received protection as a result of the agreement and another 65 have been proposed for protection.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.