Southern Tarplant and the Metro C Line Extension to Torrance
The Metro C Line Extension Project proposes to extend Metro C Line from Redondo Beach to Torrance’s new Transit Center on Crenshaw at 208th St near Old Torrance. The Project may impact southern tarplant, of which there are only two reported (possible two remaining) populations left in the City of Torrance. In 2014, to mitigate for impacts to 350-400 southern tarplant, the Torrance Transit Center project – led by City of Torrance – established a two acre Southern Tarplant Preserve to be protected in perpetuity, which is indicated in yellow outline in the above picture.
Neil Uelman and Tony Baker confirm that there are two southern tarplant populations in the city of Torrance. Tony writes,
…I believe that is the only other site in Torrance for Centromadia parryi ssp. australis besides Madrona Marsh. Madrona’s population is robust and should be outstanding this year  since it is an annual that thrives when the seeds have been inundated for a period of time. I am familiar with the [Crenshaw] site but have not observed it for several years due to it being fenced off by the City of Torrance. …
When I went out there before any development…, there were many thousands of the plant (numbers can vary considerably with the vagaries of rainfall), I collected seed of the tarplant for a presumed soon to be restoration that did not happen then and the seed deteriorated due to no follow up of cleaning and storage. I don’t know if the site is accessible without permission but I suspect that the part of it that they say will be Reserve is back in the far corner behind the developed area.
The site was heavily impacted by industries next to it and a vernal pool would have been filled in, but water ran off due to severe compaction and pooled in a couple of areas and actually supported willows.
CalFlora identifies the Madrona Marsh and one other, which appears to be the site in question: https://www.cch2.org/portal/collections/individual/index.php?occid=896699
(one of the tabs is a map in the foregoing link). Calflora also hosts many photos of tarplant, which looks like this:
The Daily Breeze discusses the conundrum in 2015:
Torrance is seeking a $500,000 state grant so the city can create a 2-acre preserve to protect a “seriously endangered” plant at the site of the proposed Regional Transit Center at 208th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard.
The preserve for the Southern Tarplant — listed by the state at the highest threat level possible before it’s considered extinct, city officials said — will require four years of monitoring and maintenance by an experienced restoration team.
“It wasn’t something we really wanted to do,” Mayor Pat Furey said. “It wasn’t one of my dreams to do a tarplant preserve in the city of Torrance, but since we’re going to do one we may as well do it the correct way. The correct way, I guess, was to do it on the budget of the state of California.”
A November 3, 2014 Biological Resources Letter Report stated that there were NOT any special status plants (other than southern tarplant), animals, or wildlife corridors that were unique to the area.
Quoted text from HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc., Nov 3, 2014, “Biological Resources Letter Report for the Torrance Transit Park and Ride Regional Terminal Project”
Previous surveys of the project site reported in Cooper (2014a) confirmed the presence of
southern tarplant, which is a non-listed rare plant designated by the CNPS as having a CRPR of
1B.1. This species was observed during the July 2014 survey. Figure 7 depicts the approximate
locations of southern tarplant on the project site based on previous survey mapping data (Cooper
2014a). An estimated 350 to 400 individuals have been reported as occurring on the site, with the
highest number and largest concentrations occurring in the central and northern portions (Cooper
2014a). No other sensitive plant species have the potential to occur within the project site due to
lack of suitable habitat; inappropriate soil conditions; inappropriate elevations; existing
disturbances; and prevalence of non-native plant species.
Year 2014 protocol-level dry season fairy shrimp sampling was completed for the project by
HELIX and D. Christopher Rogers (Attachment G). Fifteen plots, covering two distinct areas
were sampled for the presence of fairy shrimp cysts (Figure 10). Branchinecta cysts were present
in 14 plots. No other species, including Streptocephalus sp. cysts, were observed in any of the
sampled plots. Plots containing Branchinecta cysts included plots 1 and 2, and 4 through 15. Of
the plots containing Branchinecta cysts, only the non-listed versatile fairy shrimp (Branchinecta
lindahli) was cultured from the hatching effort.
No San Diego fairy shrimp, Riverside fairy shrimp, or any other special-status fairy shrimp
species were found during the dry season sampling effort. Special-status fairy shrimp species are
currently presumed to be absent from the project site.
No wildlife corridors or linkages occur on or in the immediate vicinity of the site. The project
site is surrounded on all sides by highly urbanized land. It is locally and regionally isolated and
separated from undeveloped land by expansive development. The site does not support habitat
that would contribute substantially to the assembly and function of any local or regional wildlife
corridors or linkages. The habitat that exists is relatively low in quality and is disconnected and
isolated from better quality habitat in the local and regional area. The site is enclosed with
perimeter fencing. Animal species that require direct or less-constrained habitat connectivity
along their travel routes would be challenged to find access to the habitat within the site and