Farmers in southeast Washington packed a County Commission hearing Tuesday morning in Pasco. They’re angry because a flowering desert plant called the White Bluffs bladderpod may be designated as a federally threatened species by next week.
It likes to live on high desert bluffs near the Columbia River. Since farming and development have taken over much of its desert habitat – the plant has become more rare.
Farmers and homeowners are fighting the federal government’s plans to protect the plant. They argue it could put their remote farms in jeopardy. Many farmers say they weren’t given enough notice to comment on the plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“With all of the property that is owned by the government, why haven’t you done a better job taking care of the plant?” area landowner Sally Cottrell asked at the hearing.
Ken Berg was the Fish and Wildlife officer taking comments and answering questions at the hearing. He says, the federal protection shouldn’t disrupt farming practices.
The listing for the White Bluffs bladderpod is planned to go into effect May 23rd.
On the Web:
Species profile: White Bluffs bladderpod - US Fish and Wildlife Service