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Imperiled Alpine Plants: Fernald’s bluegrass

BY Stephanie Coppola

Fernald's bluegrass

The New York Natural Heritage Program has identified highly imperiled plants across New York State, including several found in the Adirondack High Peaks region. ADK’s summit stewards help protect twenty-seven imperiled and highly imperiled plant species. Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to five plant species at high risk of extirpation in New York State. These 10,000 year old native plant species would cease to exist anywhere in the state if it wasn’t for the work of the summit stewards.

Coming in at number three is Fernald’s bluegrass. As few as ten tufts of this flowering alpine meadow grass exist in all of New York State. Unfortunately, the location of this plant is very close to the trail near the summit of Mt. Marcy, placing it in extreme peril. Globally rare, this plant is at risk of extinction.

3 things you can do to protect imperiled plants in New York State:

  1. Teach others to travel and camp on durable surfaces. On the summits, stewards ask people to “Do the Rock Walk.”
  2. Encourage people hiking in the High Peaks to “Carry a Rock” to the summit of Marcy, Algonquin, Wright or Colden, where stewards will place them for restoration work.
  3. Support ADK’s Summit Stewardship Program. Volunteers and donations make the difference for all the imperiled plants. http://www.adk.org/summitsteward2016

Without Summit Stewards, some of the most vulnerable plants on New York’s highest summits could become extinct.