LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Bureau of Land Management said it is starting an environmental review for a Nevada lithium mine that they said jeopardizes an endangered flower. As a result, a 30-day scoping comment period that will span through the holidays has kicked off.

The announcement came less than a week after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the rare Nevada wildflower, Tiehm’s buckwheat, an endangered species because of the threat posed by the Rhyolite Ridge Mine.

“Rhyolite Ridge Mine poses an existential threat to Tiehm’s buckwheat, and we’re gearing up for a fight,” Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity said. “The recent endangered species listing gives us the most powerful tool in the conservation toolbox to prevent the extinction of this rare, beautiful wildflower.”

Tiehm’s buckwheat (Eriogonum tiehmii). Photo credit: Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity.

Early plans for Rhyolite Ridge Mine called for the complete destruction and removal of most Tiehm’s buckwheat plants.

The Australian mining company, Ioneer’s, current proposal almost completely surrounds most of the buckwheat with open-pit mining operations, leaving a 12-foot buffer between the mining pit and the endangered species.

In the Endangered Species Act listing for Tiehm’s buckwheat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that Ioneer’s plan would “disturb and remove up to 38% of the critical habitat for this species, impacting pollinator populations, altering hydrology, removing soil, and risking subsidence.”

“Ioneer’s ‘Buckwheat Island’ scenario would spell doom for this sensitive little flower,” Donnelly said. “The Endangered Species Act is designed to protect not just plants and animals but the ecosystems those species depend on. We’re going to fight tooth and nail to stop Ioneer from destroying Tiehm’s buckwheat’s ecosystem.”