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N.L. plan to protect endangered herb delayed

An endangered herb believed to have medicinal properties will have to wait another six months for the Newfoundland and Labrador government to complete a strategy to protect it.

Crowded wormseed mustard, which the province last year designated as an endangered species, is generally found on cliffs and gravel beds and its population in the province was last estimated in the mid-1990s to be down to about 100 mature plants.

A recovery team was struck in February and given about nine months to draft a recovery plan for the plant, but the team is unable to finalize its report yet “because of unforeseen circumstances,” acting Conservation Minister Clyde Jackman said in a release Wednesday.

Under the province’s Endangered Species Act an extension may be permitted for up to six months, if the recovery plan for an endangered species is not completed within the timeframe specified. In this case, Jackman has granted the full six-month extension.

The Act also requires the minister to notify the public of the reason for the delay, but the province’s press release did not give a specific reason and ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

All that said, “there are no immediate threats to this species over the next six months and it should not be put at further risk because of this delay,” Jackman said in the release.

“It is important that due diligence be done for this unique and extremely rare part of our native biological diversity.”

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