Gratiola amphiantha (Granite Pool Sprite or Little Amphianthus) is a federally threatened plant species found in solution depressions formed on granite outcrops of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. In Alabama, its distribution has recently been reduced from 3 to 2 counties along the eastern border in 8 small pools totaling less than 10 square meters. This study was initiated to monitor population numbers in Alabama, identify new populations, and make recommendations for the conservation of this species. Counts of individuals and pools were made in 2012 and 2013 at Penton (Chambers County) and Almond (Randolph County); a third site at Wehadkee Creek (Randolph County) was added in 2016. Numbers of individuals per pool differed dramatically; Pool P-3 dropped 72% from 2012 to 2013 before recovering partially (to -36%) in 2016. Densities were calculated for the larger pools, with Pool A-1 reaching 32.41 plants per 10 cm2 in 2016. Because of habitat loss due to human disturbance—quarrying, recreational use, and dumping—G. amphiantha are close to extirpation in Alabama. A recovery plan, featuring the purchases of key properties, removal of competing vegetation, and the transferring of seed banks to additional pools, should be immediately implemented.
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Vol. 16 • No. 1