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Environment & Science

Plant native to Montana and Wyoming considered for federal protection

Physaria-pachyphylla_Lauren_Sinclair_WY_2020_02.jpg
Lauren Sinclair
/
Montana Natural Heritage Program
A Thick-leaf Bladderpod in Wyoming.

A plant species native to Montana and Wyoming is under consideration for federal protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating a status review of the Thick-leaf Bladderpod, a scraggly plant that sprouts yellow flowers and grows in the Pryor Mountain Desert of south-central Montana and the Big Horn Basin of north-central Wyoming.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Montana Native Plant Society, and Pryors Coalition petitioned the federal government to permanently conserve the species by listing it as endangered or threatened. The groups say proposed gypsum exploration in the Pryor Foothills could harm the plant’s habitat, introduce invasive species and kill plants directly.

FWS will study the Thick-leaf Bladderpod over the next year to determine if the plant merits federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.