Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 8, 2014

Contact:  Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190 or  

Imperiled South Florida Plant Threatened by Population Growth,
Sea-level Rise Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Following a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection today for the Florida bristle fern, a South Florida plant with only a handful of known populations on the Miami Rock Ridge in Miami-Dade County and in limestone boulders in Sumter County. The fern’s habitat has been fragmented and destroyed by urban development, agricultural conversion and drainage projects.

“This is great news for this important plant,” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida-based attorney with the Center. “Endangered Species Act protection well help ensure its survival in the face of increasing development pressures and sea-level rise.”

The dainty bristle fern has no roots and grows in moist, shady areas of exposed limestone. In Miami-Dade its habitat, rockland hammocks, has been dramatically degraded due to human population growth and development. And the plant’s populations are now highly susceptible to further habitat loss and inundation by sea-level rise. In Sumter habitat degradation has come from development and agricultural activities; these threats persist. The fern has been a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing since 2009.

In 2011 the Center and Service reached a settlement to speed protections for all the species on the candidate waiting list as of 2010, as well as a host of other species previously petitioned for protection. To date 138 plants and animals have received protection as a result of the agreement, and another 14 have been proposed for protection, including the bristle fern.

Read more about the Center’s 757 agreement and the Center’s sea-level rise campaign.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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