Loch Lomond coyote thistle (Eryngium constancei) is a California endangered plant species, which means that killing or possessing the plant is prohibited by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The species is also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Loch Lomond coyote thistle is a spiny vernal pool plant with inconspicuous flowers that typically appear between April and June. There are three occurrences of the species listed in CDFW’s California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) and one additional population has been reported in the 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 5-year Review for Loch Lomond coyote thistle. One of the populations listed in the CNDDB occurs on CDFW’s Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve in Lake County. The other two populations recorded in the CNDDB are on private property in Lake and Sonoma Counties, and the fourth population, which is not recorded in the CNDDB, is in an unnamed pool near Cobb in Lake County.
Although the population of Loch Lomond coyote thistle at the Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve is protected from direct changes in land use, it is still threatened by routine highway maintenance, trash dumping and, to a smaller degree, fence vandalism, vehicle trespass, and trampling. A Draft Management Plan for the Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve has been prepared and should be implemented. The other recorded populations of the species all remain unprotected, and could be impacted by proposed agricultural conversion, development of a reservoir, or other activities proposed in the future. Changes in hydrology from road runoff, drainage ditches, culverts, diversion of springs, and larger-scale alterations from commercial development or timber harvesting could all threaten populations of Loch Lomond coyote thistle. In addition, plants with limited distributions, such as Loch Lomond coyote thistle, are at a greater risk of extinction from unpredictable events, and climate change could also negatively affect the species in the future. Further recommendations can also be found in the Recovery Plan for Vernal Pool Ecosystems of California and Southern Oregon, published by USFWS in 2005.
To protect Loch Lomond coyote thistle from extinction, vernal pool habitat supporting the species should be protected through conservation easements or the purchase of fee title. In addition, all known populations of the species should be surveyed to determine their current status, and a standardized monitoring protocol should be established. Seeds should also be collected from all of the remaining populations for long-term conservation storage.
CDFW may issue permits for Loch Lomond coyote thistle pursuant to CESA, and you can learn more about the California laws protecting Loch Lomond coyote thistle and other California native plants. Populations of Loch Lomond coyote thistle occur in CDFW’s North Central Region and Bay Delta Region. More information is also available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Species Profile for Loch Lomond Coyote Thistle.