Wildlands Engineering continues to protect the dwarf-flowered heartleaf
In April of this year, Wildlands’ Double Rock Mitigation Project wrapped up construction, completed by Wildlands Construction. Located in the Catawba River basin, a unique aspect of this project is the presence of a rare species of plant called the dwarf-flowered heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora)!
The dwarf-flowered heartleaf species is only found in several counties across North and South Carolina and is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. However, in 2021, the USFWS proposed to de-list it. When the dwarf-flowered heartleaf was initially put on the endangered species list in 1989, there were only 24 known populations, distributed across North and South Carolina. Since then, through the combined efforts of various non-profits, land conservation organizations, and private landowners, the dwarf-flowered heartleaf has made a tremendous comeback. There are currently over 120 known populations, of which several of these sites are thriving with more than 1,000 plants, many are found on protected conservation lands.
Wildlands has had the opportunity to partner with many organizations, as well as private landowners, to create, implement, and preserve these stable habitats for endangered species such as the dwarf-flowered heartleaf. The organizations that have played a key role in conserving this species are: Foothills Land Conservancy, Catawba Lands Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, Broad River Greenway, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Duke Energy, private landowners, State of North Carolina.
In 2023, Wildlands scientist identified and delineated the dwarf-flowered heartleaf population alongside USFWS within our project area. Wildlands worked closely with Wildlands Construction team to avoid any impacts to the population and conserve 3 acres of the dwarf-flowered heartleaf population and habitat that will be protected in perpetuity within the conservation easement. Wildlands is thrilled to be a part of the dwarf-flowered heartleaf’s conservation effort through the implementation of the Double Rock Mitigation Project.