Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region

Flowers' Beardtongue
Frisco Buckwheat
Frisco Clover
Hamilton Milk-vetch
Ostler Pepperplant

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) was petitioned to list as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act five plants native to Utah.

Flower's beardtongue (Penstemon flowersii)
Flower's beardtongue

Frisco buckwheat (Eriogonum soredium)
Fisco buckwheat

Frisco clover (Trifolium friscanum)
Frisco clover

Hamilton milk-vetch (Astragalus hamiltonii)
Hamilton milk-vetch

Ostler pepperplant (Lepidium ostleri)
Ostler pepperplant

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that that the Frisco buckwheat, Ostler pepperplant, and Frisco clover warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, but that proposing the plants for listing is delayed at this time by the need to address other high priority actions.

We have also determined that the Hamilton milkvetch and Flowers’ beardtongue do not warrant protection under the Act because we found no factors that cause these species to be endangered or threatened.

The Frisco buckwheat, Ostler pepperplant, and Frisco clover are perennial herbs endemic to Beaver and Millard counties in southwestern Utah. All three species are located on Ordovician limestone substrate, which is mined for limestone and precious metals. The Service determined that the primary threat to all three species was habitat loss and fragmentation from activities related to mining. Other threats included nonnative invasive species, inadequate regulatory mechanisms, and small population size.

The Hamilton milkvetch and Flowers’ beardtongue are perennial, herbaceous plants found only in the northeast corner of Utah in the Uinta Basin. In our analyses, we found no evidence that any factor affects these plants to such a degree that either species meets the definition of threatened or endangered under the Act.

The Frisco buckwheat, Ostler pepperplant, and Frisco clover have been added to our list of candidate species and we will review their status annually. While candidate species receive no statutory protection under the Act, inclusion on the candidate list promotes cooperative conservation efforts for these species. Our ultimate goal, which is shared by many state wildlife agencies, private organizations and individuals, is to intervene and successfully address the needs of candidate species so that listing is no longer needed.

For example, we provide technical assistance and competitive matching grants to private landowners, states and territories undertaking conservation efforts on behalf of candidate species. We also work with interested landowners to develop Candidate Conservation Agreements. These voluntary agreements allow citizens to manage their property in ways that benefit candidate species, in some cases precluding the need to list the species. These agreements can also be developed to provide regulatory certainty for landowners should the species become listed under the Act.

Addressing the needs of candidate species before the regulatory requirements of the Act come into play often allows greater management flexibility to stabilize or restore these species and their habitats. In addition, as threats are reduced and populations are increased or stabilized, attention can be shifted to those candidate species in greatest need of the Act’s protective measures.

Last updated: March 4, 2011