Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places of western North America
and the Pacific through science, policy, education, and environmental law.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Martin Taylor, Center for Biological Diversity
(520) 623 5252 ext 307
More Information: Grazing Campaign


A analysis done by the Center for Biological Diversity has found that four National Forests in Arizona are delinquent in meeting mandatory terms and conditions that protect nine threatened or endangered species from the harm caused by livestock grazing.

The analysis identified 43 non-compliant grazing allotments in the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado and Tonto National Forests. 32 of the allotments are in the Coronado National Forest. The allotments cover approximately 736,400 acres of habitat for the threatened or endangered fish Loach Minnow and Spikedace, Little Colorado River Spinedace, Razorback Sucker, Gila Topminnow, Sonora Chub, as well as the Mexican Spotted Owl, Lesser Long Nosed Bat and New Mexico Ridgenose Rattlesnake.

The Center has sent a letter warning the Forest Service to either come into compliance or go to court. Illegal "take" or unnatural death of these imperiled species may now be going on as a result of poorly controlled livestock grazing.

The Center sued the Forest Service in 1997 to stop damage by livestock grazing to endangered species on hundreds of allotments throughout the southwest. Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service biologists found that grazing in a large number of allotments on southwestern National Forests would still result in take for these species. In 1999 as a result of this suit, the Fish and Wildlife Service set strict conditions for control of grazing so as to minimize take. By failing to meet those conditions, the four National Forests are in violation of the Endangered Species Act for illegal take of a protected species.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service did not ask for grazing to be stopped on these allotments but they did set legally binding conditions to mitigate the damage done." said Martin Taylor, coordinator of the Grazing Reform Program, and author of the analysis. "The Forest Service seems to be incapable of meeting even these conditions. We are in the same position we were in 1997. It seems that irreparable harm to these species is still going on because of unchecked livestock grazing." he concluded.

The analysis by the Center found pervasive failure to monitor populations of the nine species, failure to monitor livestock impacts and to remove livestock in a timely fashion, and failure to monitor for improvements in ecological conditions as required by the Fish and Wildlife Service. In the case of the Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests mandatory annual reports were not even produced.


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