In 2021, CPC contracted San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.
Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, San Diego Zoo Global holds 3 accessions of Orcuttia californica in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 70068 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.
Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 7 accessions of Orcuttia californica in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 178148 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.
Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, San Diego Zoo Global has collected 3 seed accessions of Orcuttia californica from 2 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 159 maternal plants
Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 5 seed accessions of Orcuttia californica from 5 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 32 maternal plants
This vernal pool endemic is variable in number from year to year. It is only known from southern California and adjacent Baja. Many sites, if not most, are extirpated. A few sites are located on the Santa Rosa Plain owned by TNC or affiliates. Additional sites, further south, need protection. Threats over the years that have helped extirpated the plant include development, agriculture, OHVs, border patrol use, and roads.
More than 90% of the original vernal pool habitat has been destroyed by urbanization and agricultural development. Other threats include mowing, livestock grazing, off-road vehicle recreation, trash dumping and invasion of weedy, non-native plants.
The California Department of Fish and Game labels this species as declining throughout its range (CDFG 2002).
In 1993, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden created 30 small vernal pools as part of their plant display as well as part of a long term gene flow study by the Garden's Research Department and Endangered Species Program. Artificial vernal pools have also been created by the University of California's Botanic Garden. Because these pools require careful tending it has been concluded that recreated pools are not self-sustaining and therefore not a viable option to replace the loss of naturally occurring vernal pools.
Research in germination has shown that Orcuttia californica is less dependent upon anaerobic conditions than another annual grass, Tuctoria greenei (Keeley 1988) and has also indicated that fungi may play an important role in stimulating germination (Griggs 1976, Keeley 1988).
In July 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to map critical habitat for 15 endangered and threatened species that are dependent on vernal pool wetlands in California. The critical habitat designation will add protection to California's remaining vernal pool habitat.
Population monitoring and reproductive/seed ecology will benefit conservation efforts.
All remaining populations should be protected
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