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Two rare Nevada wildflowers move toward endangered species protection

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 19:26:09-04

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that two imperiled Nevada wildflowers may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency initiated a one-year review for Tiehm’s buckwheat and the Las Vegas bearpoppy.

The finding comes in response to petitions submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2019.

Tiehm’s buckwheat lives on just 10 acres in western Nevada and could be wiped out by a proposed open-pit lithium mine. The Las Vegas bearpoppy in Southern Nevada is experiencing a dramatic, ongoing loss of habitat due to urban sprawl and mining.

Tiehm’s buckwheat lives only in the Silver Peak Range on highly mineralized soils. An open-pit lithium-boron mine has been proposed for the area that would destroy the vast majority of the plant’s habitat.

The Las Vegas bear poppy once lived in gypsum-rich soils across the valley bottoms of Clark County. But urban sprawl from Las Vegas, gypsum mining and poorly managed off-highway vehicle use has hurt the species badly.

Over the past 20 years, the rare flower has disappeared across more than half of its range in Nevada’s Clark County, and dramatically decreased across nearly 90% of its remaining habitat.