Target: Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Encourage use of the Endangered Species Act to protect Georgia rockcress
Georgia rockcress is a perennial herb that grows only in Georgia and Alabama. Various threats have reduced this species’ wilderness population to around 5,000 plants. Georgia rockcress has been a candidate for federal protection for several years. Encourage U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe to finally grant this plant the protection it needs in order to survive.
According to the FWS, the few remaining Georgia rockcress plants live “on steep river bluffs with shallow soils overlaying rock or with exposed rock outcroppings,” and their survival is seriously threatened by habitat degradation caused by “timber harvesting, road building, quarrying, grazing, and hydropower dam construction” as well as by competition from invasive species like Japanese honeysuckle. Georgia rockcress has been a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act since 1999. However, in September, 2013 the FWS “proposed listing the rockcress as threatened with critical habitat,” a designation meant to “ensure that federal agencies and the public are aware of the habitat needs of the Georgia rockcress.”
The FWS is responsible for the conservation of our nation’s various wilderness plants. This agency must do what it can to ensure that our plants do not dwindle into extinction. Sign the petition below to encourage Director Ashe to give the Georgia rockcress the federal protection it needs to survive.
Dear Director Ashe,
I was happy to hear that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had recently proposed that the Georgia rockcress be listed as threatened with critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act. In recent years, the Georgia rockcress has suffered due to competition from invasive species like the Japanese honeysuckle as well as from habitat deterioration caused by numerous industrial and agricultural activities like logging and grazing. It is estimated that only 5,000 of these perennial herbs remain in the wild in Georgia and Alabama. Without federal protection, these plants will most likely fall into extinction.
I am writing to request that, as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you do everything within your power to ensure that the Georgia rockcress does indeed get the protection it needs in order to survive.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michelle Elmore at The Nature Conservancy