Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance

Cooper Breeden and Dwayne Estes, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative / TPCA

In Fall 2019, conservation partners from across the southeast began to convene on a monthly call to discuss how to tackle the complex problem of improperly managed roadsides—roadsides that are either being sprayed or mowed to death to the detriment of rare and unique plant species and communities. This update will include a summary of roadside protection efforts in Tennessee. We will briefly review recent changes in the state’s management policy and its implications on conservation. In addition, we will review a new project we have started in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. This project includes a status assessment of roadside pollinator and grassland habitat, the development of a roadside management plan, and the installation of a demonstration prairie.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Margi Hunter, Tennessee Naturalist Program, Cooper Breeden, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance

The lack of funding and resources necessary to conserve many of our most imperiled species and communities is a ubiquitous problem. In the absence of traditional support, more grassroots and citizen-led efforts are essential to ensure the survival of rare populations and habitats. In Tennessee, one citizen science-initiated and -led project has demonstrated the impact these grassroots efforts can have on our rare flora. We will present on the safeguarding efforts surrounding the running glade clover, Trifolium calcaricum. It is only known from 6 populations, only 1 of which in Tennessee is protected. With encouragement from the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas, a citizen volunteer initiated contact with a private landowner, secured permission to propagate plants from the site, and established 18 different reintroduction sites in nearby parks and state natural areas. In addition, a subset of plants were given to a local botanic garden to create an interpretive rare plant display. Future plans for this project include a suite of ecological and experimental studies to examine the effect of multiple factors on Trifolium calcaricum demographics on both introduced and natural populations.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, March 4, 2020