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Rare Southwest Wildflower now protected under Endangered Species Act

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 07:58:45-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A wildflower native to Arizona is now protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The Arizona eryngo thrives in southwestern wetlands called ciénegas. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, 95% of ciénega habitats in the region have been lost due to groundwater pumping and only four populations of the plant remain in Arizona and Mexico.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service additionally designated 13 acres of habitat for the eryngo east of Tucsonat La Cebadilla and at Lewis Spring in the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area.

The eryngo, which can grow to more than five feet, is considered one of the most endangered plants in the state according to the Arizona Native Plant Advisory Group.

“I’m so glad these big, beautiful plants and the rare cienega habitats where they live are getting these badly needed protections,” said Robin Silver, a co-founder and board member at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The eryngo gives us one more reason to save the San Pedro River.”

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Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing anne.simmons@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram or LinkedIn.