Lincoln's first nature preserve has rare plants

September 02, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - More than 260 acres of Lincoln County farmland have recently become the protected home of some of Kentucky's rarest plant species - Eggleston's Violet and Hairy False Gromwell.

The first Lincoln County State Nature Preserve was purchased for the Kentucky Nature Preserve Commission in August and will be dedicated Sept. 8, to be restored to natural conditions favored by the several rare native grasses.

The endangered plants were found on the properties located on Mockingbird Farm Road and Preachersville Road, since named Bouteloua Barrens by the commission.

"The property has a number of rare species that we're still studying," before a habitat restoration, said Joyce Bender, branch manager for the national preserves and natural areas. Plants that have sparked the interest of the group include Hairy False Gromwell, an endangered flowering plant with tiny hairs covering each leaf.


"When we see this furry little plant out there, we get pretty excited," Bender said with a laugh. Other endangered specimens found on the properties include Eggleston's Violet, a flowering native only found in eight counties in Kentucky, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Hence the property is very valuable to the state, Bender said. Kentucky had very few grassy plains areas to begin with, but the recent burst of development throughout the Bluegrass/Central Kentucky region is depleting what little remained and taking rare species with it.

"You don't find natural grass lands in Kentucky, a lot of them have been converted to fescue, and different pasture uses, and farming," Bender explained.

Donald Dott, Nature Preserve Commission executive director, agreed both Bouteloua Barrens and another recent land purchase in Hardin County, Springhouse Barrens, will bring much to the nature preserves commission's portfolio of 19,000 protected acres state-wide.

"We are very excited to add two new preserves... The Bouteloua Barrens and Springhouse Barrens preserves will help ensure the survival of several populations of rare plants and we expect to find other rare species as we further study these sites," Dott said in a recent press release.

The Finance and Administration Cabinet purchased Bouteloua Barrens for the nature preserves commission for approximately $234,000.

The dedication of the new preserves will take place during a public meeting of the commission, 10 a.m. Sept. 8 at the Lincoln Trail Area Development District Office, Elizabethtown.

"It's a new opportunity for us and Lincoln County. Its our first preserve there," and very exciting for the commission, said Bender.

A complete list of the endangered plants of Kentucky can be found on the KSNPC Rare Plant Database web site at

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