By Jennifer Dobner SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) – State and county officials in Utah have devised a plan to protect a pair of rare desert wildflowers, in a move seen as potentially discouraging the federal government from listing the species as endangered and allowing development to proceed. A draft conservation agreement released this week suggests the Graham’s and White River beardtongue species could be protected despite oil and gas development in the region where they grow. The flowers are found only in a small area of eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin and in parts of western Colorado. Larry Crist, the field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Utah office, said the agency is still assessing the draft conservation agreement. “It’s not by any means a slam dunk,” he said.
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