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For Immediate Release, August 1, 2013

Contact:  Rob Mrowka, (702) 249-5821

Rose Found in California and Nevada Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection
With 2,011 Acres of Protected Habitat

RENO, Nev. Following an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed decisions on protection of 757 imperiled species across the country, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to protect a flower in California and Nevada under the Endangered Species Act, along with 2,011 acres of “critical” habitat. Webber’s ivesia is a small yellow flower in the rose family that only grows in special soils that can take 1,000 years to form.

Webber's ivesia
Webber's ivesia photo by Sarah Kulpa, USFWS. This photo is available for media use.

“Endangered Species Act protection will ensure that this rare desert rose is around for future generations to enjoy. Protecting it will also protect a very special type of irreplaceable habitat,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist at the Center.

The rose only grows in rocky, clay-based soils that are wet in spring and that shrink and swell with drying and wetting. The soil occurs in areas with sparse vegetation associated with low sagebrush. The five counties where the rare flower is found are in the transition zone between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert.

There are only 16 surviving populations, some of which may already be extirpated. The primary threats to the flower are invasive plants and wildfires that are more frequent and more intense than in the past. It is also threatened by off-road vehicles, roads, development, livestock grazing and climate change.

The habitat proposed for protection is found in northeastern California in Plumas, Lassen and Sierra counties, as well as in northwestern Nevada in Washoe and Douglas counties. The critical habitat being proposed to protect the plant will require federal agencies to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service before funding or permitting projects that could harm the flower’s habitat.

Webber’s ivesia has been on a waiting list for federal protection since 2002. The Center petitioned for federal protection for the flower in 2004. In 2011 the Center and the Service reached a landmark agreement that will ensure all the species on the federal waiting list for protection as of 2010 will get decisions within the next four years.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is making excellent progress in working through the backlog of species in dire need of federal protection. Now Congress needs to step up to the plate and designate the funding the Service desperately needs to move these endangered species toward recovery,” said Mrowka.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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