The New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council (NMRPTC or Council) is a Working Group of the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Partnership, which is a coalition of conservation partners committed to the goals and objectives of the New Mexico Rare Plant Strategy, aiming to improve rare plant conservation practices in the state of New Mexico. The primary goal of the Council is to determine what species are rare in New Mexico and should be included on the provide detailed information for each species on the NM Rare Plant Conservation Strategy Plant List, and provide information on the basic biology, distribution, and conservation status of New Mexico's rare plants through the Rare Plant website. The NMRPTC is composed entirely of volunteer botanists who donate their time and expertise to research the status of rare plants. Council members work with various private, state and Federal agencies to gather and share information on rare plants. The Council meets annually to review species additions, deletions, and edits.
Brief History of the Council
The NMRPTC was originally a partial 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 Council was formed in 1998. 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. With the development and publication of the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy the NMRPTC became a Working Group of the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Partnership in 2019.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Charlie McDonald, Chair of the Council
- Nancy Kastning, Co-Chair of the Council
- New website goes online
- Ongoing completion of reports, editing, photos, illustrations, and mapping for website
- 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
- Natural Heritage New Mexico develops database for website that improves site maintenance. The Institute of Natural Resource Analysis and Management (INRAM) funds the project.
- The New Mexico rare plant list is reviewed. Six taxa are dropped and eleven are added. Members volunteer to write reports for new taxa.
- 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.
- 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.
- Daniela Roth, Chair of the Council
- 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.
- 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.
- Twenty-eight participants attended the 2017 NMRPTC meeting in Albuquerque, including representatives from state and federal government agencies, non-government agencies, and private individuals. The development of the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy was introduced to the RPTC. The Strategy will include a list of rare plants, a Scorecard, which will provide a conservation score for each species on the Strategy List, and a map depicting Important Plant Areas of New Mexico. The Strategy list have a broader definition than the RPTC of what constitutes a rare plant to ensure agency listed plants and other rare plants that do not qualify under the RPTC definition are included. The RPTC will continue to pursue a much needed upgrade and expansion of the Rare Plant website. Still seeking sponsors. Multiple RPTC members gave updates on their work with rare and endangered plants. Eight new species were added to the list, three species were dropped. Several other species were considered, but not added.
- The 2019 NMRPTC meeting was held in conjunction with the NM Rare Plant Conservation Strategy rollout meeting. It was decided that the NMRPTC should be one of 5 working groups of the Strategy and that the Strategy rare plant list should be merged with the RPTC list. Because the definition of rare was more comprehensive for Strategy species than the definition of rare under RPTC guidelines, it was decided to maintain the RPTC status (NMRPTC Rare) as a search function on the new website. It was also decided to retire the R-E-D code because no one used it and functioned only by adding another status to a rare species, which was considered redundant. Eleven new species were added to the Strategy list, 3 species were dropped.
- The New Mexico Rare Plant Website was upgraded to make it more user friendly and making it easier to update the site quickly with new information. This upgrade was accomplished through the combined efforts of the New Mexico Natural Heritage Program, the University of New Mexico Library, and the NM Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department's Forestry Division's Endangered Plant Program. The home page now provides an overview of the main features provided by the website, including links to the Rare Plant List search page, an explanation of the List, the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, and current events in Rare Plant Conservation. The Rare Plant List search feature now allows searching not only by common or botanical name and county, but also by conservation rank, agency status, and Overall Conservation Status based on the New Mexico Rare Plant Strategy. The Agency Status Table is linked into the NM Natural Heritage Program database and will update automatically.
- The NMRPTC held a virtual meeting on February 26 via Zoom due to Covid. Twenty-four participants attended the meeting. The primary focus of the meeting was to clear up issues surrounding what should be considered rare by the Council following the list merger with the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy list and reviewing a list of species to be added or deleted from the list. The Council decided to delete the 100-mile rule previously used to describe rarity in some circumstances, but otherwise keep the original NMRPTC definition of rare. The 100-mile rule omitted some agency listed species and was considered too restrictive. In addition, the Council voted to add a list of peripherals to the website, categories for inclusion will be proposed and decided during the next meeting and after internal discussions with the Heritage Program (rare in NM, more elsewhere). This would only be a list of species, not requiring abstracts. The list will likely include hundreds of species. 11 species were proposed for addition or deletion from the list. The Council voted to add 8 new species to the list (Ipomopsis wrightii, Berlandiera macvaughii, Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum, Erythranthe plotocalyx, Phemeranthus rhizomatus, Lechea mensalis, Muilla lordsburgana, Ipomoea gilana) and delete 2 (Rubus aliceae, Penstemon pseudoparvus). One was considered peripheral in the United States and therefore not added (Ageratina lemmonii). An additional 30 plant species were transferred from the Dropped List back to the Strategy List, due to lesser restrictions for inclusion on the Strategy List. Three were proposed for addition (Echinocereus x roetteri, Coryphantha scheeri var. uncinata, Asclepias uncialis), and 6 were voted to be added back to the Dropped List (Asclepias ruthiae, Grindelia decumbens var. subincisa, Grindelia havardii, Xanthisma viscidum, Perityle lemmonii, Escobaria orcuttii var. koenigii).
- During the March meeting an additional 26 species were reviewed. Sicyos glaber, Astragalus iodopetalus, Agastache mearnsii, Malaxis abieticola, Delphinium sapellonis, Heuchera glomerulata, Heterotheca sierrablancenis, Heterotheca cryptocephala, and Cuscuta draconella were added to the list of rare plants. 15 species were dropped from consideration, including Euphorbia strictior, Astragalus waterfallii, Rumex orthoneurus, Ipomopsis congesta ssp. matthewii, Cladium californicum, Epipactis gigantea, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, Rosa stellata var. mirifica, Eurybia horrida, Packera neomexicana var. metcalfei, Dalea scariosa, Sclerocactus papyracanthus, Anulocaulis leiosolenus var. gypsogenus, Physaria lata, and Stellaria sanjuanensis. Two species, Mentzelia holmgreniorum and Rosa stellata var. erlansoniae remain on the list of species to be considered until further information becomes available.
Group Photos of NMRPTC Members at Council Meetings
26 January 2017
25 February 2011
7 November 2008
30 March 2007
4 March 2005