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About the New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council

NMRPTC Overview

The New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council (NMRPTC) is composed entirely of volunteer botanists who donate their time and expertise on rare plants. The Council's primary goal is to develop an internet version of a rare plant inventory with information on the basic biology and conservation status of New Mexico's approximately 193 rare plants. Photographs, line drawings, and distribution maps accompany the written reports. The reports are edited to preclude inclusion of sensitive information, such as detailed location data, which might further endanger rare species.

Council members work with various private, state and Federal agencies to gather and share information on rare plants. The Internet is used to communicate between members and web pages are set up on the Council's server at the University of New Mexico Herbarium. The Council meets annually to review progress on web site development and discuss matters of mutual interest to the group.

Brief History of the Council

The NMRPTC is in part a reconstruction of the former "New Mexico Native Plant Protection Advisory Committee," formed in the early 1970's in response to needs generated by the Endangered Species Act, and which produced the book "A Handbook of Rare and Endemic Plants of New Mexico (1984)." As it became understood that there was continuing need for up-to-date information by land managers, agencies, and the general public the new Council was formed. Some members of the earlier Committee remained active in the newly formed Council; other botanists newly trained or new to the state also joined the committee. The need for the Council, and its development, was particularly promoted by Bob Sivinski of the New Mexico Forestry Department, and Charlie McDonald, then of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and later of the U.S. Forest Service.

1998

  • First organizational meeting- Bob Sivinski, first Chair of the Council
  • Patricia Barlow-Irick, first Secretary of the Council
  • Meeting at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) to discuss rare plant list and assign reports
  • 1999

  • Meeting at the SNWR to discuss website construction for field guide
  • Server and slide scanner purchased with funding from the Native Plant Society of New Mexico and the State Land Office
  • Council members write taxon reports
  • 2000

  • Selection of slides for inclusion on the website
  • Ongoing request for permission to use illustrations, scanning proceeds, illustrations drawn
  • Distribution maps created
  • Ongoing reports written, checked by editorial team
  • 2001

  • Charlie McDonald, Chair of the Council
  • Nancy Kastning, Co-Chair of the Council
  • New website goes online
  • 2002-2003

  • Ongoing completion of reports, editing, photos, illustrations, and mapping for website
  • 2004

  • Fourth Southwestern Rare and Endangered Plant Conference (March 22-25, 2004) New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico- Organized by Charlie McDonald and Patricia Barlow-Irick
  • 2005

  • Natural Heritage New Mexico develops database for website that improves site maintenance. The Institute of Natural Resource Analysis and Management (INRAM) funds the project.
  • 2007

  • The New Mexico rare plant list is reviewed. Six taxa are dropped and eleven are added. Members volunteer to write reports for new taxa.
  • 2008

  • Twenty-two taxa were reviewed. Five taxa will be added to the list of New Mexico rare plants. Five taxa were considered and rejected as not meeting Council criteria for designation as rare. Two new species were discussed. They will be added to the rare plant list once named. Decisions on ten taxa were deferred pending further research and field study. Members volunteered to write reports for new taxa, write justifications for rejected taxa, and do research on the deferred taxa.
  • 2011

  • Thirty-five taxa were reviewed. Eight taxa will be added to the list of New Mexico rare plants. One taxon will be removed from the list of New Mexico rare plants. Four taxa were considered and rejected as not meeting Council criteria for designation as rare. Eight taxa were determined to need editorial updates to their existing rare plant reports. Decisions on 14 taxa were deferred pending publication of scientific names, further research, and/or field study. Members volunteered to write reports for new taxa, write justifications for rejected taxa, and do research on the deferred taxa.
  • 2013

  • Seventeen participants attended the 2013 NMRPTC meeting including representatives from state, federal, and local government agencies, as well as private individuals. Thirty-four taxa were reviewed. Eleven taxa will be added to the list of New Mexico rare plants. Two taxa will be removed from the list of New Mexico rare plants. Six taxa were considered and rejected as not meeting Council criteria for designation as rare. Three taxa were determined in need of editorial updates to their existing rare plant reports. Five taxa on the rare list were considered for dropping will be kept until additional information becomes available. Two taxa had already been addressed prior to this meeting. Decisions on five taxa were deferred pending publication of scientific names, further research, and/or field study. Members volunteered to write reports for new taxa, write justifications for rejected taxa, and do research on the deferred taxa. In addition we discussed updating our ranking criteria for rare plants and consolidating ranking systems with Natural Heritage NM. A subcommittee was formed to discuss and establish a better ranking system to help prioritizing conservation actions. The group discussed increasing the functionality of the website and making it more user friendly for the webmaster as well as the end user. A subcommittee was designated to discuss design elements and needed updates as well as to brainstorm the best way to accomplish this goal. We also discussed adopting an official policy on how the NMRPTC should approach hybrids of rare plants. A general policy of our approach will be added to the ‘Criteria for Inclusion’ on the website.
  • 2015

  • Twenty-seven participants attended the 2015 NMRPTC meeting including representatives from state and federal government agencies, non-government agencies, and private individuals. Twenty-three taxa were reviewed, including those not processed since the 2013 meeting. Five new taxa will be added to the list of New Mexico rare plants. One taxon will be considered for removal from the list of New Mexico rare plants, pending results of current taxanomic analysis. Members volunteered to write reports for new taxa and do research on the deferred taxa. In addition we got updates from Natural Heritage NM on the pilot project for using the Heritage ranking calculator for 30 rare plant species and having the UNM library host and updgrade the NMRPTC website. A roundtable discussion provided opportunity for all participants to talk about rare plant related projects and issues and provided a platform for communication and information exchange.



  • Group Photos of NMRPTC Members at Council Meetings

    25 February 2011

    2011 Council participants
    Back Row (L-R): Esteban Muldavin, Jon Stewart, John Anderson, Tim Lowrey, Ken Heil, David Bleakly, Paula Rebert, Mile Howard, Chick, Keller, Andrea Hazelton, Jim McGrath
    Middle Row (L-R): Yvonne Chauvin, Charlie McDonald, Nancy Kastning, Dana Price, David Ferguson, Jim Nellessen, Sheila Williams
    Front Row (L-R): Bob Sivinski, Eric Hein, Laura Hudson, Phil Tonne, Gene Jercinovic, Philip Melnick

    7 November 2008

    2008 Council participants
    Back Row (L-R): Donovon Bailey, Ken Heil, Kelly Allred, Tim Lowrey, David Bleakly, Bob Sivinski, Mike Howard, Tyler Johnson, Steve Shoup, Phil Tonne
    Front Row (L-R): David Ferguson, Daniela Roth, Wendy Weckesser, Dana Price, Yvonne Chauvin, Sheila Williams, Charlie McDonald, Patrick Alexander, Jane Mygatt

    30 March 2007

    2007 Council participants
    Back Row (L-R): Bob Sivinski, Tim Lowrey, Mike Howard, Ken Heil, David Jamieson, Jim Nellessen, Les Lundquist, Jim McGrath, David Bleakly, Jon Stewart, Yvonne Chauvin, Jane Mygatt
    Front Row (L-R): Patrick Alexander, John Anderson, Ron Hartman, Gene Jercinovic, Dave Ferguson, Rich Spellenberg, Steve Shoup, Nancy Kastning, Phil Tonne, Charlie McDonald

    4 March 2005

    2005 Council participants
    Back Row: Jim Nellessen, Donovan Bailey, Julie McIntyre, ?, Yvonne Chauvin, Jane Mygatt, Ron Hartman, Tim Lowrey, David Bleakly, Bob Sivinski, Kelly Allred, Jim McGrath, Patrick Alexander
    Front Row: Charlie McDonald, Nancy Kastning, David Ferguson, Phil Tonne, Jon Stewart, Rich Spellenberg

    2003 Council participants
    Left to right: Jane Mygatt, Nancy Kastning, Phil Tonne, Richard Worthington, Charlie McDonald, Jim Nellesen, Paul Knight, Bob Sivinski, Patricia Barlow-Irick, Bill Reid
    2002 Council participants
    Back Row: Bob Sivinski, Bill Norris, Jim Nellesen, Chuck Huff, Rich Spellenberg, Tom Todsen, Tim Lowrey, Phil Tonne, Charlie McDonald
    Front Row: Richard Worthington, Jack Carter, Jane Mygatt, Donna Stevens, Cheryl Dyer, David Bleakly, Nancy Kastning, Patti Gegick
    98-99 Council participants
    Back Row: Barney Wegener, Tim Lowrey, Jack Carter, Juanita Ladyman, Paul Knight, Robert DeWitt Ivey, Denis Kearns, Bob Sivinski
    Front Row: Tom Todsen, Jim Stewart, Richard Worthington, Jane Mygatt, Jack Carter, Ron Hartman, Charles Galt, David Ferguson, Yvonne Chauvin, Charlie McDonald, Patricia Barlow-Irick

    Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
    Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
    Design: J. Mygatt; Copyright © 1999-2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council