AP

Rare wetland plant found in Arizona now listed as endangered

Jun 10, 2022, 3:36 PM | Updated: 4:02 pm

A rare plant that depends on wetlands for survival is now on the federal endangered species list, a designation that environmentalists say will boost efforts to protect the last free-flowing river in the desert Southwest.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the decision Friday in the federal register to list the Arizona eryngo as endangered and set aside nearly 13 acres (5 hectares) in southern Arizona as critical habitat.

The decision comes years after environmentalists petitioned and then sued to gain protection for the plant with cream-colored spherical flower heads. Only two populations are known in Arizona — near Tucson and in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The eryngo grows in ciénegas, a type of wetland fed by natural springs that come from the deep aquifer and nourish the San Pedro River. The plant’s habitat and the flow of the San Pedro River have been threatened by over-pumping of groundwater in the region, climate change and drought.

“This gives us a new ability to protect it,” Robin Silver of the Center for Biological Diversity said of the river. “Protecting plants protects the aquifer itself.”

The plant also is found in the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. It historically grew in southwestern New Mexico at Las Playas Springs but hasn’t been documented there since 1851, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

The critical habitat in Arizona lies in Pima and Cochise Counties and doesn’t include another location where efforts have failed to reintroduce the eryngo. The agency said development still can occur in the areas, but anything that relies on federal funding or federal permits has to be analyzed to ensure it doesn’t impact the eryngo’s habitat.

“Partnerships will be central to addressing the threats to the Arizona eryngo and putting it on the path to recovery,” Amy Lueders, the Southwest regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a statement.

The agency didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday afternoon from The Associated Press.

The Arizona eryngo is part of the carrot family and can grow more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall. It relies on pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds, to reproduce. Conservation efforts are underway to establish more populations of the eryngo.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

4 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

5 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

7 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

11 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

21 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Rare wetland plant found in Arizona now listed as endangered