Federal authorities on Tuesday announced that a rare shrub has been listed as an endangered species and proposed to establish areas in San Francisco as a critical habitat for the plant.

The Franciscan manzanita, an evergreen ground cover shrub, was thought to be extinct until one was discovered in 2009 during a road renovation project. The plant has been moved into the Presidio for protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced the listing of the plant as endangered, is working with conservation groups to help the plant recover as a species.

As part of the efforts, the agency has proposed setting aside about 318 acres at 11 sites around in San Francisco for the plant, including at Fort Point, Immigrant Point and Inspiration Point in the Presidio.

Other sites include Twin Peaks, Mt. Davidson, Bernal Heights and Diamond Heights, according to the agency.

“Adding the Franciscan manzanita to the federal Endangered Species List is a critical step to ensure the last wild specimen is protected and the species has a secure opportunity to recover,” said Susan Moore, field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sacramento office.

“It now has room to grow,” Moore said.

Comments on whether any or all of the sites should be established as a critical habitat for the plant will be accepted until Nov. 5.

Comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS_FRDOC_0001-0864.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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