WASHINGTON — Numbering at just seven plants 25 years ago, the Maguire daisy found in Utah's Emery, Wayne and Garfield counties has now blossomed into a healthy population of 163,000 plants.
That conservation effort and recovery has led federal officials to delist the plant species from the Endangered Species Act — making it the 21st species to be delisted due to successful recovery.
A member of the sunflower family, the Maguire daisy is a perennial herb with dime-sized white or pink flowers. About 99 percent of its 10 populations occur on federal land that have adopted substantial protective measures, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
But Tony Frates, conservation co-chair of the Utah Native Plant Society, has expressed concerns that threats have been adequately analyzed when it comes to the daisy, which occurs only in Utah.
Impacts caused by grazing, tar sands development and strip mining should be thoroughly explored, he said. And while the plant has made strides over the last two plus-decades, Frates said he wonders at the agency's definition of recovered.
"Found to be more abundant, etc., is not the same thing as recovered," he said.
The final monitoring plan calls for a minimum 10-year-period in which information will be collected on population trends and potential threats. Should a decline be detected at any point, the agency will work with other groups to determine what preventative measures can be put into place.
The final rule about the Maguire daisy will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Information is also available by contacting the Utah Field Office at 2369 W. Orton Circle, West Valley City, Utah, 84119.
To listen the audio podcast on the Macguire daisy click here.