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Slickspot peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) is a native desert flower, found only in small parts of southern Idaho within the sage-steppe ecosystem. As its name suggests, this flower grows only where puddles or small pools form after rains or snow, and then dry up in the hot arid climate. Populations of this rare desert flower have been reduced to a fraction of its former range, and federal and state scientists have documented the primary threats to this flower as livestock trampling and grazing, off-road vehicles, agriculture developments, and other human activities.
The health of Slickspot peppergrass is a bellwether for the survival of the entire sage-steppe ecosystem.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has known since 1990 that this species warrants protection under the ESA. In 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2006, experts within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed to protect this species under the Endangered Species Act. Each and every time, the political appointees within the Bush Administration have discarded the scientific evidence, and rejected the recommendations of botanists and other scientists.
Slickspots are small depositional patches of soil within shrub-steppe which exhibit high concentrations of clay and salt with little organic matter or nutrient.