Western Watersheds Project is pleased with today's news that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reaffirming its 2009 finding that slickspot peppergrass is threatened and merits Endangered Species Act protection and expanded critical habitat designation!
Slickspot peppergrass protection has been thwarted by political meddling since 1990. WWP has been working with Todd Tucci at Advocates for the West since 2007 to get the plant the protection it deserves.
After the most recent listing decision in 2009, the State of Idaho sued and the U.S. District Court of Idaho ruled that the agency had failed to define "foreseeable future." Such semantic wrangling notwithstanding, slickspot peppergrass gets trampled by livestock and run over by off-road vehicles, and the "slickspots" on which it depends for habitat (miniature clay soil playas) are increasingly disturbed by human activities. The plant only grows in southwest Idaho's sagebrush steppe landscape.
The comment period on the reconsideration of the final listing rule and the revised proposed critical habitat is open until March 14, 2014. WWP will be submitting comments; if you have specific concerns or questions, feel free to be in touch.
It isn't every day that WWP gets to celebrate a good proposal– join us in cheering the news that slickspot peppergrass might actually get what it needs this time around!