Washington Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Region

Endangered Species Act Protection Affirmed for Two Hanford Plants


Umtanum Desert buckwheat (Photo: Tim McCracken, USFWS)   White Bluffs bladderpod (Photo: Carrie Cordova, USFWS)

Umtanum desert buckwheat
Photo: Tim McCracken, USFWS


White Bluffs bladderpod
Photo: Carrie Cordova, USFWS


Following an extended public comment period, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) affirmed its April 23, 2013, decision to list the Umtanum desert buckwheat and the White Bluffs bladderpod as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency also affirmed the designation of critical habitat for the Umtanum desert buckwheat.  The complete rule will take effect December 20, 2013.

As a result of new information provided by the public, including updated aerial photography from the National Agricultural Imagery Program and site visits with landowners, the Service revised the designation of critical habitat for the White Bluffs bladderpod to exclude state and private lands identified in an earlier proposal. The revised critical habitat for the bladderpod is limited to federal lands.

The Service did not receive new information that showed threats to the two plants have diminished or indicated the White Bluffs bladderpod is not a separate subspecies warranting ESA protection.

During the comment period, the Service received a study that looked at the White Bluffs bladderpod subspecies issue from a DNA review standpoint. A peer review from five subject and related field experts unanimously and independently concluded the analysis was insufficient to warrant a change to the current taxonomic status of the White Bluffs bladderpod.

Last updated: January 17, 2014
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