State may protect wildflower from mining

buckwheat
Tiehm’s buckwheat (Eriogonum tiehmii). (Photo credit: Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity.)
buckwheat
Tiehm’s buckwheat (Eriogonum tiehmii). (Photo credit: Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity.)

On Monday, the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) announced that the agency would review expanded protection for a rare Nevada buckwheat wildflower species. 

The review comes after the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition last year urging the state to put the rare wildflower Tiehm’s buckwheat for protection under the state’s endangered plant statute.

“It’s wonderful that the state of Nevada is taking the first steps to protect this beautiful little flower,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump is giving away our public lands to mining companies so they can bulldoze rare species like Tiehm’s buckwheat into extinction. We look forward to working with everyone who loves Nevada’s biodiversity to make sure this rare wildflower isn’t snuffed out.”

Until recently, the species did not face any significant threats due to its remote location, however, increased interest in mining around the state for minerals like lithium which are found in the buckwheat’s habitat may put the plant at risk, according to the division.

“Tiehm’s buckwheat is one of the most endangered plants in the United States because of imminent threats from mining,” said Dr. Naomi Fraga, director of conservation programs at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. “The botanical community agrees that this special plant needs to be protected.”

In light of these developments, NDF will be hosting two public workshops and gather input on the status of the Tiehm buckwheat and discuss the possibility of adding the species to Nevada’s List of Fully Protected Species of Native Flora.

Jeniffer Solis
Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.