Franklin County, Wash., officials will announce the results of genetic testing of the White Bluffs bladderpod plant today.
Franklin County commissioners host a press conference at 1 p.m. Monday in the commissioners board room at the Franklin County Courthouse in Pasco, Wash.
County officials and agricultural stakeholders have expressed concerns over potential listing of the plant as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. They are concerned about the potential impact on private property that could be designated as critical habitat and agricultural land nearby.
If the DNA test results show the plant is a unique species of bladderpod, then protection may be appropriate under federal law. If the results show the bladderpod is the same as other bladderpods in other locations, there is no need for federal protection, according to a press release from the county.
Testing was conducted by the Laboratory for Evolutionary, Ecological and Conservation Genetics at the University of Idaho.
The Franklin County Natural Resources Advisory Committee arranged for the collection of plant samples under a federal permit and funded the testing.
Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck, advisory committee chairman Kent McMullen, Washington State Agriculture Legal Foundation executive director Toni Meacham and agricultural consultant Stuart Turner will make comments during the press conference.