Nevada reviewing mining threat to rare desert wildflower

Tiehm buckwheat. Photo by Jim Morefield /Nevada Natural Heritage Program.
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RENO, Nev. (AP) - The state of Nevada is launching a comprehensive review of the status of a rare desert wildflower in Esmeralda County that isn't known to exist anywhere else in the world.

The move comes after conservationists filed a lawsuit last month to try to block mining exploration they say would wipe out the Tiehm's buckwheat.

The Center for Biological Diversity also has filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the flower as an endangered species.

The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says state officials have been monitoring the status of the plant since it was discovered in the Silver Peak Range in 1985.

Department Director Bradley Crowell says it hadn't faced significant threats in the past, but that's changed with new interest in mining exploration for lithium deposits in the area.

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