Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation - 2021

The Public Lands Foundation (PLF) presents Wendy Gibble with its 2021 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation.  The PLF grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

Colockum Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in the Spokane District was designated for the conservation of Astragalus sinuatus, a local endemic forb that is a BLM Sensitive and State Endangered species. The Colockum ACEC represents the only federal ownership of this rare species, which is found only within a six square kilometer radius in Chelan County, Washington.

Ten years ago Wendy kicked off a massive conservation effort for this struggling species. As Program Manager of the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care), she approached the BLM about increasing efforts to document and conserve this species, offering to use previously collected seed to grow out rare Astragalus seedlings for an out-planting project to determine viability of this method. Additionally, she offered to help BLM establish permanent monitoring transects in such a way that the data were compatible with that collected for the same species in an adjacent area managed by the state.

When fires burned over the area, she worked with BLM staff to adapt treatment plans to incorporate restoration efforts. This included developing new Financial Assistance plans to incorporate both rare plant and now common native plant re-introductions in the burned area, in addition to invasive plant removal.

Wendy has developed a strong public component to this effort. She has organized multiple events to conduct monitoring and conservation efforts using BLM staff and volunteers from both the Rare Care program and local Wenatchee chapter of the Native Plant Society. This has increased public outreach and education as well as leveraged more labor to accomplish conservation goals. By recruiting and training volunteers and staff for the Rare Care program, the Rare Care volunteers have been consistently monitoring ten or more rare plant populations annually, with minimal time needed from BLM staff for coordination. This effort is duplicated for the U.S. Forest Service as well. By engaging this volunteer army of enthusiastic botanists, the Rare Care program has increased the flow of up-to-date population information between public land managers and conservation organizations such as the Washington Natural Heritage Program and NatureServe.

Additionally, through data sharing, consultation, and outreach, BLM and Rare Care relationships with nearby private landowners, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Natural Heritage Program staff, and members of the Washington Department of Natural Resources have all been strengthened with a shared goal of preventing this species from being lost on the landscape.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present Wendy Gibble with its 2021 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Edward W. Shepard, President

September 15, 2021