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2 locations are first in WVa program to protect rare species

DAVIS, W.Va. (AP) — Two West Virginia locations have been added to a new program to protect rare plant and animal species.

Bald Knob and the Canaan Valley wetlands are the first sites in the West Virginia Natural Areas Program, the state Division of Natural Resources said in a news release.

The program places extra protection on areas with significant conservation needs under the agency’s administration.

Both areas are within the Canaan Valley Resort State Park. The areas include more than 2,200 acres of rare conifer swamps and red spruce forest with more than 40 rare plants, 12 rare invertebrates and several animals unique to the area, the agency said.

“These two areas have the state’s highest concentration of federally listed species and species of greatest conservation need and this designation is going to give us the awareness and resources we need to make sure they are properly managed,” said Scott Warner, the division’s assistant chief of wildlife diversity.