From the Lewiston Tribune
Gwen Smith, the department's public involvement coordinator, said the plant was immediately uncovered and the highway right-of-way area around it was cordoned off. She declined to say where the plant was found to help ensure against people visiting the site.
"It looks to me like we blew the whistle on ourselves," Smith said. She said a contractor working on the project wasn't aware of the plant's location and put some top soil on it. The soil was removed with a shovel, said Smith.
While work around the plant was halted to correct the mistake, Smith said construction continued in the area. She said environmental studies continue throughout the construction area, including the seven miles between Thorn Creek Road and Moscow where construction is yet to begin.
"If it had been right in the roadway," said Smith, "I suspect we'd have to put the road in a different area."
The Spalding's catchfly was first listed on Oct. 10, 2001. It is currently designated as threatened in its entire range including Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Smith said environmental officials, including the Fish and Wildlife Service, were notified immediately when the plant was covered and mitigation plans continue to be studied.
Spalding's catchfly, a long-lived perennial herb, is a member of the carnation family. The plant has green-white flowers, lance-shaped leaves and grows from 8 to 24 inches tall. The name refers to its sticky foliage that tends to catch insects.