Subject: FW: SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #149

      ____________________________________________________
      \       SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #149          /
       \                    8-26-98                     /
        \                                              /
         \ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY  /
          \        http://www.sw-center.org          /
           \________________________________________/

1. TWO TIMBER SALES APPEALED IN NEW MEXICO AND ARIZONA

2. SOUTHWEST CENTER GEARS UP TO PROTECT HABITAT FOR 38 CALIFORNIA
   ANIMALS

3. BABBITT RESISTS ESA PROTECTION FOR RIO GRANDE CUTTHROAT TROUT

   ****     *****     *****     *****

TWO TIMBER SALES APPEALED IN NEW MEXICO AND ARIZONA

The Southwest Center has appealed two timber sales. The Prescott
Basin "Vegetation Management Project" would log approximately five
million board feet on the Prescott National Forest in the Bradshaw
Mountains. Although only approximately 3% of the area contains
remnant stands of large trees, the sale would still log thousands of
trees over 16" in diameter. In addition, the analysis area contains
one of several newly discovered populations of the endangered
Hualapai Mexican vole, a species which had only one confirmed
population when listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1987.
Unfortunately, and in violation of the ESA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and the Forest Service are inexplicably denying protection to
the new populations, instead of using this important opportunity to
recover an imperiled species.

The Quemado "Salvage and Sanitation" Sales would authorize hundreds
of small timber sales across the Quemado and the former Luna Ranger
District on the Gila National Forest. Approximately 100,000 of the
Districts' 250,000 acres of ponderosa pine habitat, a staggering 40%,
would be opened to logging. Despite this fact, and despite the
presence of many threatened, endangered, and Forest Service sensitive
species, the Forest Service claims these sales may proceed under a
Categorical Exclusion (CE), a regulatory exemption to NEPA. CE's are
designed for routine administrative activities such as lawn mowing or
repaving a parking lot, not controversial "salvage" timber sales in
endangered species' habitat.
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SOUTHWEST CENTER GEARS UP TO PROTECT HABITAT FOR 38 CALIFORNIA
ANIMALS

The Southwest Center has notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
of intent to sue over the agency's failure to designate critical
habitat for 38 animal species found throughout the State of
California. A successful critical habitat lawsuit for these species
will result in a prohibition against "destruction or adverse
modification" of ecosystems throughout the State ranging from vernal
pools to rivers, redwoods to sage scrub, and sand dunes to estuaries.

Recent cases indicate a strong likelihood of success in this lawsuit.
The Service in three recent cases has been ordered to reconsider
bogus conclusions that critical habitat is "not prudent" for 245
Hawaii plants and the California gnatcatcher. For these species, and
many of those listed in the Center's recent notices, the Service has
bizarrely maintained that critical habitat designation would do more
harm than good without providing any documentation in support of this
conclusion.

The Center is represented in this case by Brendan Cummings

Species included in recent Center notices include:

San Clemente loggerhead shrike * San Clemente sage sparrow
California least tern * Tidewater goby
Coho Salmon * Steelhead trout
Lost River Sucker * Shortnose Sucker
Laguna Mountains skipper butterfly * Quino checkerspot butterfly
El Segundo blue butterfly * Bay checkerspot butterfly
Behren's silverspot butterfly * Callippe silverspot butterfly
Myrtle's silverspot butterfly * Kern primrose sphinx moth
Zayante band-winged grasshopper * Alameda whipsnake
Island night lizard * Southwestern arroyo toad
California red-legged frog * San Diego fairy shrimp
Riverside fairy shrimp * California freshwater shrimp
Shasta crayfish * Conservancy fairy shrimp
Longhorn fairy shrimp * Vernal pool tadpole shrimp
Delhi Sands flower-loving fly * Stephan's kangaroo rat
San Bernardino kangaroo rat * Pacific pocket mouse
Giant kangaroo rat * Tipton kangaroo rat
Point Arena mountain beaver * Morro shoulderband Snail
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BABBITT RESISTS ESA PROTECTION FOR RIO GRANDE CUTTHROAT TROUT

At a meeting last week in northern New Mexico, Secretary of Interior
Bruce Babbitt publically announced plans to avoid listing the
cutthroat as an endangered species, stating "I am hopeful that
increasingly in the future that we can defer listing as a result of
conservation efforts that are underway."

Though current conservation efforts, such as those being conducted by
Turner Ranches,
are commendable, they are no substitute for the rangewide protection
provided by the ESA, which is required to protect the trout against
further habitat degradation from livestock grazing and logging.
Babbitt wishes to avoid listing of the Rio Grande as an endangered
species not because this will best conserve the species, but because
he wishes to avoid political backlash from the ranching and timber
industries.

In February of this year the Southwest Center, Southwest Trout,
Carson Forest Watch, Biodiversity Legal Foundation, and Ancient
Forest Rescue petitioned the Secretary to list the cutthroat trout as
an endangered species. The cutthroat, which is the state fish of New
Mexico, formerly occurred throughout the higher elevations of the Rio
Grande river basin from southern New Mexico (and possibly Texas) to
southern Colorado. It has disappeared from 95% of its range because
of overgrazing, logging, water diversions, and
competition/hybridization with introduced game trout.