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Extinction of Rare Plant Could Harm NC Ecosystem

By Maggie Martin

Wilmington, NC – North Carolina conservationists say they're concerned the extinction of a rare plant native to the state could cause a ripple effect in the ecosystem.

The golden sedge is an inconspicuous, grassy plant with a small, spiky, yellow ball. It's one of the rarest plants in the state and can only be found in Pender and Onslow counties.

About 80 percent of the golden sedge population is protected by the state and nature conservancy.

Richard LeBlond is a retired botanist leading golden sedge conservation efforts.

"Like most plants, we only have a small idea of the role that they play but of course we know that they do because there's been so many instances where you've removed something from a habitat and you can see the place start to unravel," says LeBlond.

LeBlond is receiving an award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his work to conserve the golden sedge.

He described the golden sedge as a new species in 1994 before the Service listed it as an endangered species in 2002.

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