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Rare Nevada Wildflower Is Saved -- For Now

buckwheat.jpg

Jim Morefield (Nevada Natural Heritage Program) 13 May 2008

The Tiehm’s buckwheat is a rare wildflower. And it grows on just 21 acres of public land in Esmerelda County.

That’s the same place that an Australian company wants to mine for lithium, the stuff electronic cars need for batteries. 

So, as happens when rare plant life meets development, there was a lawsuit. 

But last week, the Nevada Center for Biological Diversity dropped its suit after the Bureau of Land Management agreed to limit the mining company, Ioneer. This is just a temporary agreement, though. 

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Patrick Donnelly with the Center for Biological Diversity told KNPR's State of Nevada that under the agreement, neither side walked away the clear winner.

“Well, the agreement, for now, is that exploration activities will not continue at the moment, and that we will be notified about future exploration activities so that we can engage at that time,” Donnelly said.

But because the Bureau of Land Management already let the company work on the land, some of the flower's habitat has been disturbed. Donnelly said there is no way to know how that has "limited the biological opportunity for the plant."

Donnelly said biodiversity is the building blocks of life on the planet and if that is not maintained, the full mosaic of life is not possible.

“By trying to save Tiehm's buckwheat, we’re really trying to save ourselves,” he said.

He also noted that Ioneer's plans were laid out over thousands of acres, but the plant only sits on 21 acres, which he believes indicates there is a way for it to get around disturbing the plant and threatening its extinction.

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Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director, Center for Biological Diversity

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