Feds set on restoring rare California plant near prison and a space base

By Michael Doyle | 02/27/2024 01:38 PM EST

It could take decades and millions of dollars to get the Vandenberg monkeyflower off the endangered species list.

A yellow flower, the Vandenberg monkeyflower, against a dirt background.

The Vandenberg monkeyflower has been listed as endangered since 2014. John Chestnut/CNPS San Luis Obispo Chapter/Wikimedia

A 10-inch-tall plant that shares a California neighborhood with a federal prison and a rocket-launching Space Force base will take many years and millions of dollars to bring back from the risk of extinction, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

In a new draft recovery plan presented for public review, the federal agency estimated that it will cost upward of $20 million to get the Vandenberg monkeyflower off of the list of endangered species. The agency estimates it will take 10 years to downlist the flower to threatened and another 10 years to delist it altogether.
draft recovery plan

“Our strategy is to systematically increase the monkeyflower’s population and ability to withstand potential threats until it is able to become self-sustaining throughout all of the areas where it is found,” Kristie Scarazzo, a botanist with the Ventura office of the FWS, said in a statement.


Scarazzo added that “we are committed to working with our partners to effectively manage the populations adaptively” throughout the plant’s small habitat range.