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WENATCHEE, Wash. -- The state Department of Natural Resources will be spending more than $5.3 million to buy land or conservation easements in Chelan County to protect rare plants.

The Wenatchee World reports the state plans include nearly $2.74 million to buy up to 1,960 acres to expand the Upper Dry Gulch Natural Area Preserve to protect the Whited s milkvetch, a rare plant. The preserve is about 13 miles southeast of Wenatchee. And more than $2.6 million to buy some 230 acres near Leavenworth to help protect a rare plant called the Wenatchee Mountains Checkermallow.

DNR spokeswoman Diana Lofflin says the agency has not yet identified the lands it hopes to buy, but all are within the 6,135 acres identified as critical habitat for the rare plant.

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