Tiehm’s buckwheat added to endangered species list

Tiehm buckwheat.  Photo by Jim Morefield /Nevada Natural Heritage Program.
Tiehm buckwheat. Photo by Jim Morefield /Nevada Natural Heritage Program.(KOLO)
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 8:53 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Tiehm’s buckwheat has been added to the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday.

The wildflower grows on just 10 acres of public land in the Silver Peak Range of Nevada’s Esmeralda County and is currently threatened by a proposed lithium mine in the area.

Australian mining company Ioneer proposed the mine.

“I’m thrilled that Tiehm’s buckwheat now has the protections it so desperately needs for survival,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Lithium is an important part of our renewable energy transition, but it can’t come at the cost of extinction. The Service did the right thing by protecting this precious wildflower.”

910 acres of protected critical habitats for the plant were also finalized Wednesday morning, including a 500-meter buffer zone surrounding them.

In a statement, Ioneer said it welcomes the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying it provides further clarity for the project’s development.

Ioneer Managing Director Bernard Rowe said:

“Ioneer fully supports the listing of Tiehm’s buckwheat as an endangered species and critical habitat designation. We are committed to the protection and conservation of the species and have incorporated numerous measures into our current and future plans to ensure this occurs. Our operations have and will continue to avoid all Tiehm’s buckwheat populations.

“We continue to work in partnership with the FWS and the BLM to ensure the long-term conservation and viability of the plant population at Rhyolite Ridge. Through these various efforts, coupled with the existing scientific understanding of the plant, Ioneer remains highly confident that Tiehm’s buckwheat and the Project – a critical asset to ensure a sustainable planet for all species – will successfully co-exist.”