Federal agencies are trumpeting their 25-year successful program to bring back a Utah desert flower from the brink of extinction. The Maguire daisy has been removed from the government’s endangered species list. Protection began in 1985 after the flower’s survival was said to be threatened by livestock grazing and mining.
This is a good story if you share the views of federal scientists and environmentalists that preservation of seemingly insignificant species is a vital priority in the longterm protection of fragile ecosystems. There wasn’t much controversy over the flower’s rehabilitation because it didn’t have much of a detrimental effect on grazing and mining operations. Plus, most of the ground the flower clings to is federal land.
However, Utah’s delicate daisy is lucky it got into trouble a quarter of a century ago and had time to be saved. With the current climate in Washington of slashing government spending and promoting mining and energy development, saving desert flowers in the future probably won’t get much support. It will be more like, “Damn the flowers – drill, baby, drill.”