Subject: FW: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #125

       ------ SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #125 ---------
       \                    4-6-98                      /
        \                                              /
         \ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY  /
           ------------------------------------------
         
1. SOUTHWEST WETLAND PLANT PROPOSED AS THREATENED SPECIES-
   AFTER TWO PETITIONS, ONE LAWSUIT AND 23 YEAR DELAY

2. SOUTHWEST CENTER SPONSORS "ARIZONA EXPEDITION TEAM" HIKE ALONG THE
   ARIZONA TRAIL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

3. REDROCK CANYON COUNTRY IN COLORADO ENDANGERED- LETTERS NEEDED TODAY!

                ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

SOUTHWEST WETLAND PLANT PROPOSED AS THREATENED SPECIES...
AFTER TWO PETITIONS, ONE LAWSUIT AND 23 YEAR DELAY

On 4-1-98, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the
Chiricahua dock as a threatened species under the E.S.A. The imperiled,
high elevation, wetland plant is limited to a handful of sites in northern
Sonora, the Sky Island and Gila Headwaters ecosystems in southern AZ/NM,
the Lincoln National Forest and the Santa Fe National Forest. It is
threatened by logging, overgrazing, road construction, and overgrazing.

It was petitioned for listing by the Smithsonian Institute in 1975, but
ignored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Southwest Center
re-petitioned to list it in 1996, but was also ignored. We filed suit in
1997 (represented by Kenna & Hickcox (Durango)). The agency finally proposed
listing in April to avoid an imminent court decision. The agency's own
biologist called the delays "appalling".
     ______________________

SOUTHWEST CENTER SPONSORS "ARIZONA EXPEDITION TEAM" HIKE ALONG THE ARIZONA
TRAIL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

On Saturday April 4th, the Arizona Expedition Team began a continuous 750
mile trek across some of the most rugged and untraveled land in Arizona.
Beginning at the Coronado National Monument on the Mexico border, the hike
follows the central corridor of the Arizona Trail. The team will reach the
Utah border east of Fredonia four months later.

Sponsored by the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, the hike will
focus attention on environmental education and responsibility. Events are
scheduled around basecamps where the team has an opportunity to speak with
schools and the public about habitat preservation, the Arizona Trail, and
long distance hiking. It will also provide the public with traveling
information and a vision of Arizona's diverse wildlands. The team leader,
Greg Jones, will post weekly updates through our website at
http://www.sw-center.org. Special events for both the general public and
Southwest Center members are also scheduled.

All hikers and backpackers are encouraged to share in this experience with
the Arizona Expedition Team. For more information contact Megan Southern at
520.623.5252 x.303 or tortuga@sw-center.org.
     ______________________

REDROCK CANYON COUNTRY IN COLORADO ENDANGERED- LETTERS NEEDED TODAY!

<From the folks at the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies>

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just released a review of the
roadless status of six western Colorado public land areas--some 188,000
acres--proposed for wilderness. THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENT IS THURSDAY,
APRIL 9!  A sample letter is attached.  Please email your own version to
her today at amorgan@co.blm.gov.

BLM's findings that these areas are largely roadless comes after years of
effort by Colorado conservationists to get BLM to recognize the wild
qualities of these special places.  Now, the BLM must decide whether these
lands are adequately protected under existing management plans - plans which
currently allow oil and gas leasing, mining, and ORVs.  We need your help,
since the off-road vehicle and oil/gas/mining interests are fighting hard
against any protection for these areas.

These areas contain some of the finest landscapes and wildlife habitat
western Colorado has to offer:  river canyons rich with wildlife; vast
rolling hills of pinyon, juniper, and sage; stunning badlands; and high
country aspen hillsides.  The following are descriptions for the six areas
reviewed by the BLM:

Vermillion Basin (92,809 acres):  This expansive basin northeast of Dinosaur
National Monument hosts numerous rare plant species, some of Colorado's most
spectacular petroglyph panels, and the dramatic Vermillion Bluffs -- a
1,700-foot escarpment of brilliant red and white shale badlands.

Yampa River (15,879 acres ):  This flatwater stretch of the river, west of
Craig near Duffy Mountain, is popular with canoeists and rafters.  Bald
eagles winter in proliferation among the river's cottonwoods.

South Shale Ridge (33,400 acres):  This ridge near Grand Junction is a
steep, multicolored escarpment of vivid purples, oranges, and reds,
including a ghostly collection of gray, eroded hoodoos.

Bangs Canyon (21,477 acres):  The several wild canyons that make up this
area provide remarkable backcountry recreation near Grand Junction.  Eons of
water cutting down through the flanks of the Uncompahgre Plateau formed
these wild, quiet hideaways.

Pinyon Ridge (20,936 acres):  The area's rolling hills overlook a broad
basin of high mesas and deep arroyos north of the White River near Rangely.
A wide variety of wildlife use the area, including eagles and other birds of
prey that nest along the ridge outcrops.

Castle Peak (3,996-acre addition):  Volcanic buttresses give rise to Castle
Peak's name as it towers amidst expansive beaver ponds and a spruce forest
near Eagle.  Some, but not all, of Castle Peak already a Wilderness Study
Area; this addition will provide more complete protection for its wild values.

The State Director of the BLM needs to hear from you that wilderness is
important to Colorado, the BLM review process should proceed, and the areas
determined to be roadless should be given protection.  Without your help, we
may lose these wild areas forever.

+++++++ SAMPLE LETTER ++++++++

                                                        April 3, 1998

Ms. Ann Morgan
Colorado State Director
Bureau of Land Management
2850 Youngfield Street
Lakewood, CO  80215
email: amorgan@co.blm.gov

        Re:     BLM Must Protect Roadless Wildlands in Western Colorado

Dear State Director Morgan,

        I am writing in strong support of the Bureau of Land Management's decision
to review the wilderness character of some 188,000 acres in Colorado.

        All of the roadless lands in northwest Colorado recently reviewed by BLM,
including Bangs Canyon, Castle Peak, Pinyon Ridge, South Shale Ridge, Yampa
River, and Vermillion Basin, are roadless, have outstanding wilderness
qualities and deserve interim protection as Wilderness Study Areas.  BLM's
current management does not adequately protect the roadless character and
wilderness values of these areas.

        The lands at stake are among the last unprotected roadless lands in
Colorado.  They make up less than 2% of the 8 million acres managed by BLM
in this state, where now 93% of BLM lands are open to oil and gas leasing.

        I strongly urge BLM to continue the current process and to begin resource
management plan amendments to protect the wilderness values of these six
areas until Congress can act to provide permanent protection.

                                                Sincerely,



_____________________________________________________________________________

Kieran Suckling                               ksuckling@sw-center.org
Executive Director                            520.623.5252 phone
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity     520.623.9797 fax
http://www.sw-center.org                      pob 710, tucson, az 85702-710