For Immediate Release, June 2, 2014

Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 654-5943

Rose Found in California, Nevada Protected Under Endangered Species Act

2,170 Acres Designated as Protected Critical Habitat in Plumas, Lassen and
Sierra Counties in California, Washoe and Douglas Counties in Nevada

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 today protected a flower in California and Nevada under the Endangered Species Act, along with 2,170 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.

“Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, this rare desert rose and its unique habitat have a shot at survival,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist 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 more frequent and intense wildfires. It is also threatened by off-road vehicles, roads, development, livestock grazing and climate change.

The habitat now protected 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. To date, a total of 117 species have gained protection under the agreement and another 25 have been proposed for protection.

“We’re grateful this beautiful plant is finally getting the protection it so desperately needs to survive,” said Anderson.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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