Northwest Baja California is home to many rare and endemic plants—species found nowhere else on earth. Several species—including Mexican flannelbush, San Diego thorn mint, and Orcutt’s bristleweed—have been reduced to just a few populations in California and Baja California and are at significant risk of extinction. Yet none of these species is currently protected by Mexican law.
Mexico’s environmental law (the Norma Oficial Mexicana or “NOM 059”) protects listed threatened and endangered species by requiring that certain projects assess impacts to listed species before they can proceed. The Mexican government, however, has failed to update its national threatened and endangered species list for nearly 10 years, which has made it impossible to extend much-needed protections to species at risk.
In 2008, Terra Peninsular submitted listing proposals for six endangered and endemic plants of northwest Baja, all highly threatened in Baja. Terra has recently learned that all six species have been published by the Mexican government as part of the draft revision to the NOM 059. We anticipate that these species will officially secure national protection, following a public comment period.
The six proposed plants are:
• San Diego Thorn Mint (Acanthomintha ilicifolia) - Endangered
• Manzanita (Arctostaphylos incognita) - Threatened
• Saltmarsh Bird’s Beak (Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. maritimus) - Threatened
• Mexican Flannelbush (Fremontodendron mexicanum) - Endangered
• Orcutt’s Bristleweed (Hazardia orcuttii) - Endangered
• California Orcutt Grass (Orcuttia californica) - Endangered
Given the long delays that have already occurred, we hope that the final listing process will proceed quickly. We will keep you informed as this process continues.