Neostapfia colusana - (Burtt-Davy) Burtt-Davy
Colusa Grass
Other Common Names: Colusagrass
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Neostapfia colusana (Burtt Davy) Burtt Davy (TSN 41958)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.130394
Element Code: PMPOA4C010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Neostapfia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Neostapfia colusana
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 13Apr2016
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Restricted to vernal pools in the Central Valley of California. Approximately 34 occurrences are currently considered extant, most of them located within a 200 km-long area, but few are considered to be in good condition. At least 12 populations have been extirpated. Vernal pool habitats in California's Central Valley have been greatly reduced from pre-European times; the remaining habitats are limited in extent, fragmented, and are facing on-going degradation and elimination due to numerous housing development projects and other types of urban development, agricultural activities and development, grazing, the invasion of non-native plant species, and other threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States California (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (26Mar1997)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to the Central Valley of California. Occurs in three Vernal Pool Regions: the Southern Sierra Foothills (eastern Merced Co. and eastern Stanislaus Co.), the nearby San Joaquin Valley (central Merced Co.), and the Solano-Colusa some distance to the north (southeastern Yolo Co. and central Solano Co., with one historical occurrence in Colusa Co.).

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: 62 mapped occurrences, though 15 are historical and 12 confirmed extirpated (CNDDB 2016).

Population Size Comments: The plant is an annual so population sizes can vary widely from year to year, sometimes over several orders of magnitude. Some individual pools have over a million plants in good years.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: 16 occurrences are ranked A or B (CNDDB 2016).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threat include agriculture, grazing, development, weeds, trampling, ORVs, and altered hydrology (CNDDB 2016).   The largest threat to California vernal pools is habitat loss and fragmentation. In general, habitat loss in this region is driven by urbanization, agricultural conversion, and mining. Habitat alteration and degradation is occurring as a result of numerous factors, including changes to natural hydrology; invasive species; incompatible grazing (including insufficient grazing for prolonged periods); infrastructure projects (e.g. roads, water storage and conveyance, utilities); recreational activities (e.g. off-highway vehicles and hiking); erosion; climatic and environmental change; and contamination. Habitat fragementation resulting from activities associated with habitat loss, especially new infrastructure projects, further threatens California vernal pool species.  For Neostapfia colusana specifically, the largest continuing threat is agricultural conversion, especially in Stanislaus County. Urbanization is the second greatest threat, particularly community development in eastern Merced County associated with the new University of California campus. Almost all extant occurrences are subject to livestock grazing, where inappropriate grazing practices are a potential threat. Invasive plant competitors are a threat at several sites, especially when combined with hydrology changes and inappropriate grazing practices.
Specific occurrences have also been described as threatened by the following factors: proposed construction of a new prison and a landfill; a proposed flood control project in eastern Merced County (four occurrences threatened with inundation), runoff alterations in Yolo County (two occurrences); inundation by poultry manure; damage by herbicide applications (Yolo County); contamination of groundwater by industrial chemicals; trampling near urban areas; and foraging grasshopper outbreaks.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: 20 occurrences are ranked C or D and 23 occurrences are confirmed extirpated (CNDDB 2016).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to the Central Valley of California. Occurs in three Vernal Pool Regions: the Southern Sierra Foothills (eastern Merced Co. and eastern Stanislaus Co.), the nearby San Joaquin Valley (central Merced Co.), and the Solano-Colusa some distance to the north (southeastern Yolo Co. and central Solano Co., with one historical occurrence in Colusa Co.).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Colusa (06011)*, Glenn (06021)*, Merced (06047), Solano (06095), Stanislaus (06099), Yolo (06113)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Sacramento-Stone Corral (18020104)+*, Lower Sacramento (18020163)+, Middle San Joaquin-Lower (18040001)+, Middle San Joaquin-Lower (18040002)+, Upper Merced (18040008)+*, Upper Tuolumne (18040009)+, Rock Creek-French Camp Slough (18040051)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An annual grass, up to 30 cm tall, with a robust inflorescence that resembles a small ear of corn.
General Description: Aquatic seedlings have only one or two juvenile leaves. In the terrestrial stage, multiple stems arise in clumps from a common root system. The 10-30 cm long stems are decumbent and have a zigzag growth form. Plants are pale green when young, but become brownish as the exudate darkens. Leaves are 5-10 cm long. Each stem produces a dense, cylindrical inflorescence 2-8 cm long by 8-12 mm broad. The spikelets are densely packed in a spiral arrangement and the tip of the rachis projects beyond the spikelets (USFWS 2005).
Diagnostic Characteristics: A member of the Orcuttieae tribe of grasses, which differ from other grasses in (1) having a pith-filled (vs. hollow) stem, (2) producing 2-3 different types of leaves (vs. a single type) during their life cycle: cylindrical juvenile leaves which form underwater clustered into a basal rosette, and terrestrial leaves with flattened blades distributed along the stem, (3) having terrestrial leaves that are broad throughout with the lower portion enfolding the stem only loosely (vs. leaves differentiated into a narrow, tubular sheath that clasps the stem tightly and a broader blade that projects away from the stem), (4) having leaves which lack a ligule, and (5) producing an aromatic exudate, which changes from clear to brown during the growing season (USFWS 2005).
Compared to other members of the Orcuttieae, Neostapfia colusana shows fewer adaptations to underwater life; for example, the aquatic seedlings have only one or two juvenile leaves. It also differs in having zigzag stems, cylindrical inflorescences, and fan-shaped lemmas, and in lacking glumes, whereas the other Orcuttieae genera have fairly straight stems and possess glumes. The genus Anthochloa, with which Neostapfia colusana was formerly affiliated, does not occur in North America, is perennial, does not have glands, does not have a cylindrical inflorescence, and has glumes on the spikelets (USFWS 2005).

Reproduction Comments: Local seed dispersal is by water, which breaks up the inflorescences (USFWS 2005).
Riverine Habitat(s): SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous, Playa/salt flat
Habitat Comments: Occurs in Northern Claypan and Northern Hardpan vernal pools (Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf 1995) within rolling grasslands. Sites are located on the rim of alkaline basins in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, as well as on acidic soils of alluvial fans and stream terraces along the eastern margin of the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent foothills. Soils include clay, silty clay, silty clay loam, and gravelly loam. Impermeable layers underlying occupied pools range from claypan to lime-silica or iron-silica cemented hardpan and tuffaceous alluvium. Occupied pools range in size from 0.01 to 250 hectares (median size 0.2 hectares); the species also occurs in the beds of intermittent streams and in artificial ponds. Typically grows in the deepest portion of the pool or stream bed, although it may also occur on the margins. This species appears to require a longer period of inundation than its relatives (Tuctoria and Orcuttia) in order to germinate; this requirement is most likely to be met by deeper pools and stock ponds. Usually grows in single-species stands. Other plants that occur in different zones of occupied pools include Orcuttia inaequalis, Orcuttia pilosa, Tuctoria mucronata, Chamaesyce hooveri, Atriplex persistens, and Astragalus tener var. tener. Other associates include Frankenia salina and Distichlis spicata (saline-alkaline sites) and Eryngium spp., Eremocarpus setigerus, and Plagiobothrys stipitatus (acidic sites). 5 - 105 m.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 13Apr2016
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Maybury, K., rev. K. Gravuer (2009); rev. G. Davis (2012), rev. R. Bittman (2016)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB). 2016. RareFind Version 5.1.1. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento.

  • Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed 2017.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Sawyer, J.O. and T. Keeler-Wolf. 1995. A Manual of California Vegetation. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2005. Recovery Plan for Vernal Pool Ecosystems of California and Southern Oregon. Portland, Oregon. xxvi + 606 pages. Online. Available: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/060614.pdf

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1997. Determination of endangered status for three plants and threatened status for five plants from vernal pools in the Central Valley of California. Federal Register 62(58): 14338-14352.

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