To collect & maintain reliable & comprehensive data on
Montana’s native botanical species….
6847 8660 10101 10967
5600 6410 7015 7475 6301
376 458 489 525 502 502
2008 2009 2010 2011 2014 2015
All Botanical Observations
Number of SOC/PSOC
MONTANA IS HOME TO…
2013 Checklist of Montana’s Vascular Plants
2,571 vascular species
“STATUS UNDER REVIEW”
417 PLANT SPECIES
• Disputed State rank or not ranked
• Status is not common, not rare, but is unknown
• Reviewing 42 plants (10% of back-log)
• Funding: Department of Agriculture
• Project is bringing in data, populating field guide
• Project creates a defensible State rank
Coefficient of Conservatism (C-)
• Funding: MTDEQ
- reflects plant’s tolerance to
disturbance & affinity to a
specific, unimpaired habitat.
- basic unit to compare land
parcels, gauge restoration, &
monitor wetland projects.
1,412 plants assigned C-value
312 plants to be assigned
skills in identifying
2015: 5 classes
2016: 3 beginner
Spalding’s Catchfly - Threatened
2015: data on 6 populations to build long-term trend monitoring for CSKT
Shoshonea pulvinata – G2G3, S2, BLM Sensitive
Long-Term Demographic Monitoring:
• 7 years of monitoring between
1991 – 2015
• Trend Report due late Feb. 2016
Funding: Swan Ecosystem Center
& Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program
• Synthesize data on
220 Water Howellia ponds
• Analyze long-term monitoring studies
• Analyze persistence in
context of manmade disturbances
• Produce a peer-reviewed scientific paper
& summary report for USFS Management
Water Howellia - Threatened
Populating Moss Field Guide & Botany Database
Photographs & Species’
Profiles populated for:
• 58 of 328 mosses (18%)
• 19 of 71 SOC / PSOC
Consortium of PNW
• 6,127 Montana
Moss & Liverwort
MTNHP Database: 639 spp
Documented in MT: 1,074 spp
• Update MTNHP checklist
• Update nomenclature
• Begin bringing in data
• 152,073 MTDEQ diatom
• 87 Didymo observations
• Herbarium observations
Hello, I am Andrea Pipp, the Botanist at the MTNHP.
For 30 years the mission of the Botany program has remained the same…to collect & maintain reliable & comprehensive information on Montana’s native botanical species.
-mosses, liverworts, and hornworts
In my short presentation, I want to touch base and tell you how the Botany program is fulfilling its mission.
I’ll speak on all taxa together and then address each botanical group.
In speak of tasks completed, projects in progress, proposals, and future endeavors.
This graph shows the number of data in our botany database from 2008 to 2015.
The green columns represent the number of observations for all botanical species, common and rare. Keep in mind that an observation reflects time as well as location. An observation can report a new plant location or it can report yearly updates of the same plant location.
* The Botany program is striving to bring in data on all species, in order to better track which species are common and which are becoming rare.
* When someone reports on a rare plant they often provide the common species that grow with it. In 2014 these associated common species were added to the database and caused a
huge jump in observations.
* In 2015, over 2,000 more records were entered. This is partially due to acquiring data from other organizations.
-We did a plant data exchange with the USFS.
-From the Consortium of PNW Herbaria I obtained more than 242,000 observations of Montana plants.
The herbaria data is being entered slowly as I am trying to verify the quality of the data before we it goes into the database
The red column is the number of occurrences for Species of Concern or Potential Species of Concern.
An occurrence is a discrete area where a rare species grows.
For the rare species, observations that occur close together of the same species get lumped into a single occurrence or polygon.
The blue column is the number of species that are ranked as Species of Concern or Potential Species of Concern.
In 2015 the number has stayed the same.
In 2016 this number will change as I will be ranking many species.
Vascular Plants…They provide the majority of our food, they cycle carbon dioxide into the oxygen that we breathe, they provide our shelter, medicine, and contribute to the beauty of our Earth.
The Heritage Program is the keeper of Montana’s Vascular Plant checklist.
Our current checklist is from 2013.
I will be working to update this checklist in the coming year.
There are species to remove, species to add, and more information to provide on who is exotic and who is native.
I will touch on some of the significant projects with vascular plants.
There are 417 vascular plants categorized as Status Under Review.
These plants have either a disputed State rank or have never been ranked.
These plants are neither rare nor common, but simply their status is unknown.
* A grant from the Department of Agriculture is allowing me to review the status of at least 42 plants, which is 10% of the back-log.
I am half-way done with this project.
This project is bringing forth observation data, photographs, and other information that is being populated on the field guide and will lead to a defensible State rank.
In 2015 and 2016, funding from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is supporting the need to develop Coefficient of Conservatism values for plants listed on the COE Wetland Indicator lists.
For a given geography, like Montana, each plant species is assigned a Coefficient of Conservatism Value, or C-value. The C-value reflects the plant’s tolerance to natural or human disturbance and its affinity to a specific, unimpaired habitat. These values used in Floristic Quality Assessments to make comparisons among different pieces of land, to monitor restoration, to set conservation priorities, and to restore habitats. C-values are a basic tool used by government agencies and consultants.
In 2015, I brought together a panel of expert botanists and ecologists to follow a certain method in roder to assigned C-values to 1,412 vascular plants, which were mostly wetland species.
In 2016, funding will allow me to use this panel to develop C-values for another 312 species, which are mostly the upland species listed on the COE Wetland Indicator lists.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is funding me to teach classes on helping people improve their plant identification skills.
In 2015 I conducted 5 field-based classes in Billings, Butte, Condon, East Glacier, & Malta.
I taught about 100 people and we examined from 20-50 plants per class.
In 2016, I will teach 3 beginner classes, and for the first time offer 2 intermediate classes.
Spalding’s Catchfly is a listed by the USFWS as threatened.
The former Botanist developed a study to monitor population trends of Spalding’s Catchfly on the Flathead Reservation. The Reservation has one of the larger populations in northwestern US.
In 2015 I collected the first-year of data from the permanent transects at 6 sub-populations On the Reservation. Another 5 sub-populations were visited to check-in on their status.
In 2016 I will submit a grant to the USFWS. I hope to obtain funding to continue monitoring and actually build a dataset to examine population trends.
Shoshonea is rare, both globally and in Montana, and is listed as Sensitive by the Bureau of Land Management. It is endemic to a small area in Montana and Wyoming.
In 1991, permanent transects were installed to study Shoshonea’s life history, stability, and response to potential threats. The monitoring occurs on BLM managed land in the Beartooth and Pryor mountains of Carbon County. This project has been made possible by funding from the Bureau of Land Management.
In 2015, I collected data from the transects. I will be producing a trend report that includes all 7 years of monitoring data between 1991-2015.
This is an exciting project because few plants are demographically studied. With long-term data sets we can understand a plant’s life history which is the basic unit that helps managers do their job. It also provides us data to correlate changes with climate and particular disturbances.
Water Howellia is an aquatic plant that occupies vernal ponds and is listed as threatened by the USFWS, but is being proposed for de-listing.
Water Howellia occurs in the Swan Valley, which is one of the largest populations in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2015, funding from the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program has created a collaborative project with the Heritage Program, USFS, and Swan Ecosystem Center.
-This study is synthesizing information 220 Water Howellia ponds from 1978-2015.
-This study is analyzing several 10-year and 3-year monitoring studies that the USFS and
The Nature Conservancy conducted.
-It is analyzing persistence of Water Howellia in ponds where the adjacent vegetation has been disturbed, either with timber harvests, roads, grazing, and/or fire.
The goal is to produce a peer-reviewed scientific paper and a summary report to the USFS to guide them in management around the occupied ponds.
Mosses, Liverworts, & Hornworts stabilize soils, are part of the hydrologic cycle, provide habitat for numerous insects, and are harvested by Florists, Gardeners, and Crafters.
- For liverworts, our Montana expert, Dr. Won Shic Hong, has identified 132 species in Montana.
- A future goal is to acquire the data from his liverwort herbarium and determine which species are rare in Montana.
Information on Montana’s mosses and those classified as Species of Concern have been accumulating, but not brought forth to our users.
That was until I got a Botany Assistant!
Since September 58 of the 328 moss species now have photographs and species profiles; that is an improvement by 18%.
Of the 71 SOC mosses 19 now have photographs and species profiles; that is an improvement of 27%.
As we populate information on the Field Guide, we are also updating the taxonomy, our checklist, and are getting some specimens verified.
This is work is happening now and each week there are improvements to the field guide and to our database.
From the Consortium of PNW Herbaria we have obtained over 6,000 observation records for mosses and liverworts.
As we do quality control on the data, it will be entered into our botany database.
Lichens provide winter food for ungulates, habitat for numerous insects, some fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available to vascular plants,
biological soil crust are indicators of the health of rangeland, and lichens are used to monitor air quality at local, regional, and national levels.
- In 2014 Dr. Bruce McCune published the Montana Lichens: An Annotated List.
- Bruce McCune has documented 1,074 lichen species in Montana. Our database knows of 639 species.
Starting in January, I will have a part-time intern work to update our Lichen Checklist, the taxonomy, and begin to bring in observation data.
The goal is to accomplish as much work as possible in the 6 months that our intern will be available.
Diatoms are the base of the aquatic food web in freshwater habitats, through photosynthesis they produce 20-40% of Earth’s oxygen, they store photosynthetic energy as a type of carbohydrate and a lipid and therefore are of great interest as a source of biofuel. Diatoms are used to indicate or monitor water quality because particular species live in very specific conditions of pH, salinity, nutrients, sediment, flow, elevation, and/or human disturbance.
In 2016, the Heritage Program will be adding diatoms to the Botany database.
Diatoms have been actively collected by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, researchers from the University of Idaho, and our Montana Diatom expert Loren Bahls.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has generously shared their diatom database with us which consists of more than 150,000 diatom observations that have been identified by diatom experts.
Loren Bahls, our Montana diatom expert, has been actively publishing and depositing specimens at the University of Montana herbarium. I am working to acquire data from his collections.
A graduate student from the University of Idaho has generously shared with the Heritage Program her database on Didymosphenia geminata, known as DIDYMO.
Didymo is a native species, common and widely distributed. This species is of interest because under certain human-created conditions, the species grows abundantly, coats the rocks, and creates very slippery conditions.
The locations where Didymo is present, abundant, and becoming problematic can best be tracked by a single-sourced database.
My goal is for the botany database to be the source for all diatom data so that managers can request and receive complete and timely data.
I’ll wrap up with Algae and Fungi…
The MTNHP has very little information on the algae and fungi that occur in Montana.
I’m looking for experts and amateurs that specialize in surveying and studying these organisms in Montana.
Honestly, I have not spent much time seeking out people.
I would appreciate any references and contacts that you