Subject: FW: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #135

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      \       SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #135          /
       \                    6-5-98                      /
        \                                              /
         \ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY  /
          \__________________________________________/
         
1. PETITION FILED TO LIST RARE FROG AND FISH AS ENDANGERED-
   GROUPS DECLARE CAMPAIGN TO END CATTLE GRAZING ON SW RIVERS

2. TWO TIMBER SALES APPEALED TO PROTECT NORTHERN GOSHAWK

3. FOREST SERVICE AGREES TO E.I.S. ON GRAZING IN THE
   GILA RIVER BASIN- PLAN EXCLUDES MANY IMPERILED SPECIES
   PLEASE WRITE OR CALL ASAP!

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

PETITION FILED TO LIST RARE FROG AND FISH AS ENDANGERED-
GROUPS DECLARE CAMPAIGN TO END CATTLE GRAZING ON SW RIVERS
On 6-5-98, the Southwest Center and Sky Island Watch filed
formal petitions with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to
list the Chiricahua leopard frog and the Gila chub as
endangered species. Both species are endemic to the Gila
River Basin.

The Gila chub has been entirely extirpated from New Mexico. It
remains in less than 15 streams in Arizona. The Chiricahua
leopard frog used to occur in streams, pools, and ponds
throughout the Gila Headwaters, Mogollon Rim, and Sky Islands.
It is now reduced to about 90 highly scattered populations.
Overgrazing, dam building, water diversions, and exotic
species are the major causes of declines of both species.

The Southwest Center and Sky Island Watch simultaneously
announced a campaign to end all livestock grazing along streams
in the Gila Headwaters/Sky Island Bioregion and throughout the
Southwest. Overgrazing is the single most destructive force on
Southwest ecosystems today. It is the most common cause of
species endangerment in Arizona and New Mexico. Earlier this
year, the Southwest Center, Sky Island Watch, Southwest Trout,
and other groups petitioned to list the Rio Grande cutthroat
trout and the Yellow-billed cuckoo as endangered. Both are
threatened by overgrazing throughout their ranges.
   ______________________________

TWO TIMBER SALES APPEALED TO PROTECT NORTHERN GOSHAWK
The Southwest Center has appealed two Arizona timber sales which
threaten the northern goshawk. The Wiggins timber sale on the
Mogollon Rim in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests would
cut between 2.8 and 4.6 million board feet of ponderosa pine.
Since losing a 1995 suit to the Southwest Center for ramping up
the timber volume after signing a decision notice, the Apache-
Sitgreaves has refused to acknowledge how much timber they will
cut.

The Scott "Ecosystem Management Area" timber sale would log
1 million board feet of ponderosa pine on the southern boundary of
Grand Canyon National Park. This is the second attempt to
log the Scott Sale- in 1997 the Southwest Center successfully
appealed the sale because it lacked a reasonable range of
alternatives.

In both sales, the Forest Service is violating the Southwest
region's goshawk guidelines which prohibit cutting of large tree
when less than 40% of the timber area is in mature or old growth
forests. Both sales will cut thousands of trees over 18" dbh
although the surrounding area is extremely deficient in large
trees.
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FOREST SERVICE AGREES TO E.I.S. ON GRAZING IN THE GILA
BASIN- PLAN EXCLUDES MANY IMPERILED SPECIES- PLEASE WRITE OR
CALL ASAP!
On 6-1-98, the Forest Service announced it would conduct an
Environmental Impact Statement (E.I.S.) on the adequacy of its
plan to protect 14 riparian and aquatic species in
the Gila Headwaters/Sky Island Bioregion from livestock grazing.
The Southwest Center previously filed Endangered Species Act
petitions for six of the 14 species and threatened to sue the
Forest Service for failing analyze the cumulative effects of
grazing on the seven National Forests within and around the
bioregion on all 14. The agency previously announced it
would not do an EIS, but changed course after strenuous
objections that the plan is too weak and must be fully analyzed
through an E.I.S.

The E.I.S. seeks to codify a plan concocted by the Forest Service
and approved by the Fish & Wildlife Service. It would ban cattle
from all habitats for the Apache trout, Gila trout,loach minnow,
spikedace, razorback sucker, Little Colorado River spinedace,
Chihuahua chub, and Gila top minnow. It is very weak, however, on
protections for the Southwestern willow flycatcher, Cactus
ferruginous pygmy owl, Sonoran tiger salamander, and Pima
Pineapple cactus. Even worse, it completely ignores many
endangered and imperiled species including the Sonora chub, Canelo
Hills ladies' tresses, Huachuca water umbel, Yellow-billed cuckoo,
Chiricahua leopard frog, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, Huachuca dock,
and Gila chub.

Please write or call the Southwest Regional Forester. Tell her the
E.I.S. should address all endangered and sensitive species, and
should remove all livestock from all streams in the National
Forests in Arizona and New Mexico:

  Ellie Towns, Regional Forester
  U.S. Forest Service
  517 Gold Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM  87102
  505-842-3300 (phone)   505-842-3800 (fax)

_____________________________________________________________________________

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