Lakefront Owners Help Protect a Botanical Rarity: 2018 Update
Due to your stewardship and conservation efforts, the Tahoe Yellow Cress was removed from the Federal List of Endangered Species in 2015. But that doesn't mean we should stop caring. This unassuming little plant is found only on the sandy and rocky beaches of Lake Tahoe - nowhere else in the word is this unique plant found!
With two years of high lake levels and increased public access on limited beaches, our nomadic Tahoe Yellow Cress (TYC) is struggling to find protective shoreline sanctuaries. Through continued collaborative the TYC Conservation Strategy Stewardship Program recognizes the critical role of private lakefront owners in ensuring the long-term survival of TYC.
TLOA is a signatory to the collaborative TYC Conservation Strategy which includes a goal to work toward streamlined permitting and mitigation. The TYC Stewardship Program is a key part of the conservation strategy that recognizes the critical role of private landowners in ensuring the long-term survival of TYC. The program was developed to address the concerns of private lakefront owners and provide a formal way to participate by implementing strategies that respect private property rights and help conserve this unique plant. Lakefront landowners may choose from a range of conservation measures including use of TRPA- approved signage and other protection, habitat restoration, and monitoring to create a completely customized plan for TYC on their property.
Stewardship Plans are voluntary, and information is confidential. TRPA will consider Stewardship Plans in the permitting process for private landowners with a project that occurs in the shorezone.
In 2018, efforts for TYC conservation will focus on mitigation of the increased threat of sustained high lake levels. Sustained high lake levels are known to reduce TYC populations, as beaches are inundated by the rising lake and beach goers are concentrated into smaller spaces. Under these conditions, TYC is more likely to get trampled. In September of 2017, after the epic winter, TYC private and agency partners conducted a lake-wide survey for TYC and reported a decline in TYC; only 43% of surveyed sites were occupied, compared to 80% in 2016 when the lake was several feet lower. In 2018, the lake level will remain high throughout most of the summer. What does this mean for conservation of TYC? The Stewardship Program will encourage planting of container grown TYC, if available, on private sites. TYC-friendly beach raking guidelines will be promoted to help minimize damage to TYC stems or habitat. Increased public outreach efforts will concentrate on the non-motorized paddle and boat community to increase awareness to avoid trampling TYC populations in popular boating spots. Quarterly meetings of the conservation strategy partners will continue, and the group will conduct a lake-wide survey for TYC the first week of September.
Tahoe yellow cress (Rorippa subumbellata ; TYC) is a rare plant that occurs only on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada and nowhere else in the world. TYC is endangered in both California and Nevada. In 1999, after a period of sustained high lake levels in which suitable beach habitat was inundated, he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed TYC as a candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act. In response, a stakeholder task force of public and private interest groups, including the TLOA, was formed to develop a Conservation Strategy to promote the recovery of TYC. The collaborative taskforce has been meeting quarterly since 2002 to manage TYC and to develop tools for avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating impacts to TYC and its habitat on public and private lands.
The Fish and Wildlife Service removed TYC from the candidate list in October 2015, citing the success of the TYC Conservation Strategy and the long-term, proactive and collaborative conservation demonstrated by partner organizations to significantly reduce threats to Tahoe yellow cress. The decision was hailed in the Lake Tahoe region as an important conservation success.
For more detailed information on Tahoe yellow cress conservation and Tahoe yellow cress monitoring, visit the following websites: https://monitoring.laketahoeinfo.org/YellowCress, and www.tahoeyellowcress.org.
NEVADA RESIDENTS: Become a Steward of Tahoe Yellow Cress
Are you a Nevada lakefront homeowner? There is currently an opportunity for Nevada lakefront homeowners to participate in the Tahoe Yellow Cress Stewardship Project. The Stewardship Project, established in 2010 in cooperation with the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District (NTCD), has provided numerous lakefront homeowners with information and recommendations on plant protection. Participation in this program is entirely voluntary, non-regulatory, and confidential, thus the project is completely stewardship based. All suggestions provided by NTCD can be implemented at your own discretion. Join the NTCD in protecting this unique piece of Tahoe! Contact Dana Olson at 775-586-1610 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in this stewardship opportunity.