Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 31, 2018

Contact:  Jeff Miller, (510) 499-9185,

Rare Southern California Alpine Flower Declared Recovered

Hidden Lake Bluecurls Are an Endangered Species Act Success Story

LOS ANGELES— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the recovery of the Hidden Lake bluecurls, a rare alpine wildflower from Southern California, and the removal of the plant from the endangered species list.

This small mint plant with blue flowers is found only on the shores of a single high-elevation, seasonal lake in the San Jacinto Mountains of Riverside County and nowhere else on Earth.

“The Endangered Species Act has saved another unique species from extinction,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Thanks to this highly effective law, the beautiful Hidden Lake bluecurls can thrive and continue to grace the San Jacinto Mountains.”

The single population of Hidden Lake bluecurls is on the margins of Hidden Lake, a small montane vernal pool in Mount San Jacinto State Park. The plant was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1998 because of its extremely limited range and trampling of flowers by hikers and equestrians. With protection the habitat and flower have recovered.

The watershed area where the flower grows is now managed as a natural preserve to protect rare plants and wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Parks and Recreation have developed a long-term monitoring and management plan to ensure the flower is protected into the future. Hidden Lake bluecurls seeds have been secured in a seedbank to reintroduce the plant if a catastrophic event were to deplete the natural population.

Because of its highly limited range and dependence on wet conditions, climate change poses a potentially dire threat to the flower by increasing the likelihood of severe drought or altered precipitation patterns. Future management and monitoring of the plant is designed to detect potential threats due to changing climate.

The Hidden Lake bluecurls joins a growing list of species that have recently recovered with protection under the Endangered Species Act. Since 2016, at least 13 species have been recovered. These include four subspecies of island foxes from California’s Channel Islands, two humpback whale populations, Kentucky's white-haired goldenrod and the Kirtland’s warbler in Michigan and Wisconsin. Additional species proposed for delisting or downlisting from endangered to threatened status include the black-capped vireo, the Tobusch fishhook cactus in Texas, the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus in New Mexico, and the Hawaiian goose or nene.

Listing a plant or animal as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act leads to science-based measures tailored to prevent its extinction. The Act has been successful in saving more than 99 percent of species placed under its care, despite significant underfunding of the law’s vital measures and political attacks maligning the Act itself.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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