Agency Says Two Desert Plants are Threatened

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to list two plants, Umtanum desert buckwheat and White Bluffs bladderpod, as threatened, under the Endangered Species Act.
     Both species occur as single populations in narrow, linear bands on bluffs above and on opposite sides of the Columbia River along the Hanford Reach in Washington State.
     The buckwheat is threatened by wildfire, nonnative plants, seed predation, small population size, limited geographic range and low recruitment. Approximately 344 acres are proposed as critical habitat for Umtanum desert buckwheat in Benton County, Washington.
     The bladderpod is threatened by wildfire, irrigation-induced landslides and slope failure, harm by recreational activities and off-road vehicle use, nonnative plants, small population size and limited geographic range. Approximately 2,861 acres are proposed for designation as critical habitat for White Bluffs bladderpod in Franklin County, Washington.
     A draft economic analysis of the proposed designation and a required determinations section of the proposal also are available.
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