Balancing us and the fairy shrimp

The state Department of State Lands plans a meeting with the public tonight to talk about vernal pools and rare plants and creatures in the Agate Desert.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the conference room at Rogue Valley Sewer Services, 138 W. Vilas Road, White City. It’s a collaboration of the Department of State Lands, Jackson County, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Environmental Protection Agency.

Officials will review plans for improving conservation in the area, northwest of White City, while streamlining wetland requirements for the pools.

They contain the threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp and a rare water flea as well as two endangered plants. Development has altered nearly 60 percent of the original desert, leaving 10 to 20 percent of pools intact and ecologically functional.

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