13 rare species undergoing review

Experts are determining what threats may exist

Published: Monday, Sept. 14 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

"Plants just don't get that much attention," said Frates, who coordinates the group's rare plant guide. Utah, in fact, has one of the highest number of listed plant species in the country (with 24) outpacing most of its neighbors because of the state's wide-ranging topography.

"There is an incredible wealth of biodiversity in Utah. … The bottom line is that we have barely scratched the bucket of things we should be looking at."

While a possible listing of a plant species as threatened or endangered may cause alarm for private landowners, Frates said the worry is not warranted.

"Unlike animals, plants have no rights on private lands. This should not cause angst for any private landowner and actually, landowners can get incentives. These are not project stoppers."

Although uncommon and obscure in some cases, England and Frates said it's important to take steps to minimize harm to the plants, the mollusks and the chub.

"Plants are indicators of the ecosystem," Frates said. "These things are sort of a tapestry of life without which our world would be incredibly less inhabitable. Who knows what secrets are locked in these species?"

e-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

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