plants

National Parks and public lands in the West are having trouble with cactus poachers. But some park rangers are fighting back by micro-chipping their cacti.

MILFORD, Utah — The San Francisco Mountains in southwestern Utah were once home to one of the richest silver mines in the world. When it comes to mining today, they stand mostly quiet — for now — with only a handful of rock mines operating in the area.

The Trump Administration has declined to extend federal protections for two plants native to the Mountain West.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted a list of 13 species from around the country it recently considered - but decided to not include - on its endangered and threatened species lists. The list includes the Utah's Frisco Buckwheat and Wyoming's Fremont County Rockcress.

According to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund, recent low crop prices mean some ranchers are shifting their lands from crops back to grassland for cattle.


In an open field in Longmont, Colorado, about a dozen people crouched in the tall grass, moving slowly and deliberately through mud that squelched underfoot. Some carried huge, serrated knives called hori-hori, a Japanese tool made specifically for gutting weeds. Others wielded gardening shears, saws or chemical sprays as their weapons of choice.

US Fish and Wildlife Service-Mountain Prairie Region

After less than 20 years on the list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing the removal of a flowering plant from the list of threatened species. The pink and white Colorado butterfly plant grows up to three feet tall and along waterways in southeast Wyoming and Colorado’s Front Range but urban encroachment nearly wiped it out.

Melodie Edwards

  

Laramie gardener Amy Fluet admits it. She’s a bit of a hoarder.

“I take up a huge amount of the space in the refrigerator with seeds,” she says, laughing. “It's an embarrassment, and I hide them in the back so my family doesn't realize how much space it takes up.”

She stores seeds in the fridge to trick them into thinking its winter until she's ready to plant them.