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Kristopher Lah 847-381-2253 x 215

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Releases Final Recovery Plan for Mead's Milkweed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final plan outlining measures needed to recover the Meadís milkweed, a federally threatened plant found in eastern Kansas, Missouri, south central Iowa, and southern Illinois. The final recovery plan describes actions that are necessary to achieve recovery of this plant.

The Meadís milkweed, associated with rapidly disappearing prairie habitats, was designated a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1988. The Act requires the Service to develop recovery plans that describe management actions needed to achieve a speciesí recovery, objective, measurable criteria for when the species no longer needs protection of the Act, and an estimate of the time and costs needed to achieve recovery.

The plan to recover the Meadís milkweed outlines steps that should be taken to prevent further decline of the plant and ensure a distribution of healthy, viable populations. Steps proposed in the plan include protection and management of habitat, identification of new populations or potential habitat for introduction, and research on restoration, management and introduction techniques.
Meadís milkweed is found at 171 sites in 34 counties in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. It has disappeared from Indiana and Wisconsin. Most populations occur in the Osage Plains of Kansas and Missouri.

Meadís milkweed usually begins its seasonal growth in mid to late April. It has a single slender stalk, 8 to16 inches high with greenish ivory/cream colored flowers, which appear in late May and early June. Young green fruit pods appear by late June; as these pods mature, they darken, and the hairy seeds borne within are mature by mid-October.

Meadís milkweed occurs primarily in tallgrass prairie, especially areas that have not been plowed and only lightly grazed. Remaining patches of tallgrass prairie continue to be lost throughout the Midwest to agriculture and residential development. Meadís milkweed can grow in hay meadows, but periodic mowing prevents milkweed plants from setting seed.

The recovery plan for the Meadís milkweed can be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chicago Illinois Field Office, 1250 South Grove, Suite 103, Barrington, Illinois 60010-5091 or telephone 847-381-2253. TTY users may contact the Chicago Field Office through the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339. The plan is also available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceís website at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.





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