Don’t Forget Your Plant Species Survey! Swamp Pink Season is Approaching

Brian Breissinger By: Brian Breissinger

Feel like you’re forgetting something? Don’t let it be your plant species survey! The survey season for Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata) is quickly approaching.

Swamp Pink is federally-threatened and state-endangered in Virginia and Maryland, and state-threatened in North Carolina. Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Federal agencies must ensure that no federally-authorized activities will jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species, and this must be determined by a formal consultation process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as well as the appropriate state agencies. This means that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) cannot issue a wetland permit unless it is clear that a federally-listed species will not be harmed by the authorization.

When Should My Survey be Conducted?

Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata) surveys conducted during the optimal time frames between April 15 – May 31 (in flower or fruit) or June 1 – September 30 (basal leaves present) generally produce reliable results that will be accepted during environmental review.  Surveys conducted outside of these periods may allow for identification of suitable habitat, but are not sufficient to confirm that these species are absent within suitable habitat.

Who Should I Contact About My Survey?

The USFWS maintains a list of qualified individuals approved to conduct Swamp Pink surveys. The agency generally will not accept these surveys (or any federally-listed plant or animal surveys, for that matter) which have been conducted by unapproved or unqualified professionals.  We are available to assist you with habitat surveys, detailed surveys, or any issues that may arise regarding these plant species.

If you have any questions about whether you need a threatened or endangered plant species survey (detailed or habitat), please contact Brian Breissinger, at 804.200.6500 or