Only identified a few years ago, the Vandenberg monkeyflower is a rare annual herb whose green stalks and bright yellow flowers with red markings only grow in nine places on the sandy dunescape of Burton Mesa between Lompoc and Santa Maria. This week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed protecting the plant by designating 5,785 acres of critical habitat, 4,674 acres of which — including five of the nine plant populations — are already on state lands inside the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve and La Purisima Mission State Historical Park. There are also 796 acres on private lands, 38 acres on lands owned by other agencies, and 277 acres at the Lompoc Penitentiary. The four populations of the flower on Vandenberg Air Force Base are already protected under the property’s natural resources management plan. To learn more or issue comments, see fws.gov/ventura.