\ SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #138 /
\ 6-29-98 /
\ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY /
1. VICTORY AT BALLONA!
JUDGE STOPS SPIELBERG'S WETLANDS NIGHTMARE-WORKS
2. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE REFUSES TO LIST GOSHAWK AS ENDANGERED-
5th SUIT TO FILED OVER IMPERILED OLD GROWTH RAPTOR
3. SKEEN TO CONVENE CONGRESSIONAL PANEL ON UNRANCHING ACTIVITIES-
PROPOSES ANOTHER $400,000 RANCHING SUBSIDY
4. NEWLY DISCOVERED FUNGUS MAY BE HARMING AMPHIBIANS WORLD-WIDE
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VICTORY AT BALLONA! JUDGE STOPS SPIELBERG'S WETLANDS
Just weeks after the Army Corps of Engineers admitted that it did
not consider the effects of the massive Playa Vista/Dreamworks
development on all endangered species dependent upon Ballona
Wetlands, a federal judge has ordered the Corps to stop
construction until a full Environmental Impact Statement is
completed. On 6-26-98, Judge Ronald Lew found that the Corps
illegally piecemealed the development into separate parts to mask
the impact of the project as a whole, and that it illegally
concluded that the development would have no "significant effect"
in order to avoid having to conduct an Environmental Impact
Ballona Wetlands is one the last remaining coastal wetlands in the
Los Angeles area. Steven Spielberg and host of developers want
to build 10,000 condos and five million feet of commercial
business on it. Thanks to Wetlands Action Network, Cal PIRG,
and Ballona Wetlands Lands Trust for years of perseverance. The
plaintiff were represented by Steve Crandall.
FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE REFUSES TO LIST GOSHAWK AS ENDANGERED-
FIFTH SUIT TO BE FILED OVER IMPERILED OLD GROWTH RAPTOR
For the 3rd time, the Fish & Wildlife Service has bowed to
political pressure, refusing to list the northern goshawk as an
endangered species in the western U.S. It has already lost two
lawsuits over previous denials. The agency lost a 3rd lawsuit over
its refusal to list the Queen Charlotte goshawk as endangered in
the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska.
The Southwest Center, Sitka Conservation Society, Biodiversity
Legal Foundation, and Northwest Ecosystem Alliance are already
in court over the Queen Charlotte goshawk decision and the
Southwest Center has pledged to build another coalition to sue
over this most recent northern goshawk decision as well.
Despite being taken to task by a federal judge for refusing to
work with the Southwest Center over controversial issues in its
last illegal denial, the Fish & Wildlife Service admitted that
it did not read a 75 page comment letter by the Southwest Center.
It also refused to read a recent report by a University of
Arizona ecologist proving the goshawk is endangered, or an
affidavit by a University of Montana biologist showing Forest
Service management plans are failing the goshawk. Instead, the
agency put Richard Reynolds, a Forest Service biologist, on its
status review team, asking him to judge the adequacy of a
management plan which he himself wrote!
SKEEN TO CONVENE CONGRESSIONAL PANEL ON "UNRANCHING ACTIVITIES"-
PROPOSES ANOTHER $400,000 RANCHING SUBSIDY
In a 6-25-98 press release, Representative Joe Skeen (R-NM)
announced that a July 15, 1998 congressional hearing "to discuss
secret agreements between the Forest Service and the Southwest
Center for Biological Diversity has been tentatively approved."
Both he and Pete Domenici (R-NM) are concerned about recent
settlements between the Southwest Center, Forest Guardians and
the Forest Service, temporarily removing cattle from National
Forest streamsides. Rather than admit they don't like the results,
they claim to be concerned about the process. They have inserted
language into the Interior Appropriations Bill stating:
"The Committee expresses strong reservations over the process
used to obtain a stipulated agreement entered into between the
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity and the Forest Service
regarding endangered species management issues in the Southwest
This is ironic since both Domenici and Skeen have fought hard to
keep the public out of decisions to graze cattle on public lands.
Both want to hand the NM ranching industry a $400,000 subsidy
to build fences and upland waters to implement our agreements.
Remember the argument that public lands ranching fees are cheap
because the ranchers pay for all the infrastructure costs?
NEWLY DISCOVERED FUNGUS MAY BE HARMING AMPHIBIANS WORLD-WIDE
According an article in the New Scientist, a rare fungus which
may be responsible for world-wide crashes in amphibian
populations. A newly discovered, as yet unnamed genus of
chytrids, has been found to coat the underside and legs of
imperiled amphibians in Panama, Australia and southern
California. It has been implicated in decline of 10 different
amphibian species and is thought to be suffocating the animals.
Chytrids have not been previously been known to harm
Scientists are still not sure whether the fungus is wholly
responsible, or whether it works in tandem with UV radiation,
polluted water, habitat loss, etc.
Kieran Suckling email@example.com
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