For Immediate Release, November 3, 2008
Contact: Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, (702) 249-5821
State of Nevada Finally Moving Forward With Protections for
Critically Imperiled Las Vegas Buckwheat
LAS VEGAS— After years of delay, the State Forester of Nevada on Tuesday will announce public hearings on new proposed regulations under the Nevada Administrative Code to protect the Las Vegas buckwheat as “critically endangered and threatened” under Nevada State law. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the State Forester in March to establish protections for the imperiled plant. The hearings will be held in Carson City, Elko and Las Vegas. The Las Vegas hearing will take place Tuesday, November 4th, 9-11 a.m. at the Nevada Division of Forestry office, 4747 Vegas Drive.
“Unfortunately and tragically, voluntary, proactive conservation measures to protect and conserve the Las Vegas buckwheat have done too little to protect the species. Extinction is an all too real possibility,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist and conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.
The Las Vegas buckwheat is a unique subspecies found only in small areas of Clark and Lincoln counties in Nevada. Its habitat of gypsum-rich soils and “badlands” topography has largely been lost to the unchecked, rampant growth in the Las Vegas Valley. Some of the largest remaining concentrations of the plants are found in the Upper Las Vegas Wash and Area III of Nellis Air Force Base – both imminently threatened by residential, commercial, and energy-related development.
Other threats to the species are unmanaged off-road vehicle use on federal public lands, mining, climate change, and utility corridor and energy developments.
In April, the Center for Biological Diversity also petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade the priority status for listing the Las Vegas buckwheat under the Endangered Species Act. It is anticipated that the Service will make a decision on the federal petition in December.
“The Las Vegas buckwheat is a genuine Las Vegas native and deserves better than to be paved over by shortsighted development or crushed by off-road vehicles users,” Mrowka said. “The State Forester has a moral and ethical responsibility to this and future generations of Nevadans to enact the regulations to protect the scant remaining populations of the buckwheat.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit conservation organization with 200,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.