The saga over the effort to protect the rare and precious Franciscan Manzanita plant escalated on Tuesday when the San Francisco Wild Equity Institute filed a lawsuit against U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The group claims his agency failed miserably in protecting the plant that was magically discovered two years ago.
Readers might recall when a conservationist stumbled across the "extinct" plant at the Doyle Drive project in the Presidio in 2009. The plant was last seen in the wild in 1947, when legendary local botanist
James Roof ran in front of a mass of bulldozers to pluck a handful of the bushes just before they were ripped from the ground as the
former Laurel Hill Cemetery was converted into homes and buildings.
The plant had not been seen again until the 2009 discovery.
"When asked why, the Service has not been forthright," Plater said in a statement. "The Service has had over 60 years to get its story straight, and the Franciscan Manzanita simply cannot afford further delay."