Local conservationists help recover Wenatchee Mountains checker-mallow

Submitted on Tue, 05/23/2023 - 16:40

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Wenatchee Mountains Checker-mallow Working Group received the 2022 Recovery Champion awards, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced Friday.

The group helped recover the endangered Wenatchee Mountains checker-mallow plant that only grows in a few meadows of Chelan County.

Two of the award recipients, Brad and Kathy Schmidt, conserved the second-largest population of checker-mallows at their Mountain Home Lodge, just outside of Leavenworth.

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest helped find suitable sites for outplanting. In addition, the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust provided useful monitoring data.

In 1999, the checker-mallow was placed on the endangered list with an estimated 3,300 plants in existence. Now, the checker-mallow has an estimated population of 40,000.

Members of the Checker-Mallow Working Group include:

  • Brad and Kathy Schmidt, Owners, Mountain Home Lodge
  • Brigitte Ranne, Forest Invasive Plant Program Manager and Acting Forest Botanist, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
  • Susan Ballinger, Conservation Fellow, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust
  • David Wilderman, Natural Areas Program Ecologist, Washington Department of Natural Resources
  • Susan Waters, Senior Research Ecologist, Quamash EcoResearch
  • Wendy Gibble, Program Manager, University of Washington Rare Plant Care & Conservation
  • Walter Fertig, Collections Manager, Marion Ownbey Herbarium at Washington State University
  • Keyna Bugner, Natural Areas Manager, Washington Department of Natural Resources
  • Joe Arnett, Rare Plant Botanist, Washington Department of Natural Resources (Retired)