\ SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #164 /
\ 12-15-98 /
\ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY /
\ http://www.sw-center.org /
1. MORE GILA RIVER GRAZING PERMITS CHALLENGED- SUIT TARGETS
500,000 ACRES ON TONTO N.F.
2. SW CENTER TO CHALLENGE FOREST SERVICE ON 950 GRAZING PERMITS
3. SCIENTISTS, ACTIVISTS CHALLENGE SAN DIEGO MULTIPLE SPECIES
4. GROUPS ALLOWED TO INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF ENDANGERED WOLVES
5. NM STATE SENATOR TO PROPOSE ELIMINATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES
PROTECTION BY STATE
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MORE GILA RIVER GRAZING PERMITS CHALLENGED- SUIT TARGETS
500,000 ACRES ON TONTO N.F.
On 12-16-98, the Southwest Center filed suit against the Tonto
National Forest for refusing to protect endangered species from
the impacts of cattle grazing on 25 grazing allotments. Though
livestock are endangering the Gila topminnow, Bald eagle,
Southwestern willow flycatcher, Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl,
Arizona hedgehog cactus, Razorback sucker, and Mexican spotted
owl, the Forest Service has refused to formally consult with the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the management of grazing on
the 500,000 acres targeted by the suit.
Part of a larger campaign to restore wildlife and water quality in
the Gila River Basin, this suit follows two previous Southwest
Center suits against 139 grazing permits on the Gila, Apache-
Sitgreaves, Tonto, Coronado, Prescott, and Coconino National
Forests, and a third suit against all grazing on the BLM's Safford
Resource District. A fourth suit by Forest Guardians added 60
additional permits to the total.
The new suit is being argued by Jay Touchton of EarthLaw.
SW CENTER TO CHALLENGE FOREST SERVICE ON 950 GRAZING PERMITS
The Southwest Center informed the U.S. Forest Service on 12-15-98
that it will challenge the agency's claim that livestock grazing
will not jeopardize the continued existence of numerous
endangered birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. In
response to suits by the Southwest Center and Forest Guardians,
the Forest Service issued "effect determinations" on 950 grazing
allotments, claiming that only one was likely to jeopardize
endangered species. In order to avoid further jeopardy
determinations, the agency illegally limited its review to a 1-3
year period, even though permits last for 10 years. This is akin to
a doctor telling a terminally ill cancer patient that all is fine
because he won't die in the next three months.
SCIENTISTS, ACTIVISTS CHALLENGE SAN DIEGO MULTIPLE SPECIES
On 12-10-98, a coalition of eight conservation groups led by the
Southwest Center filed suit against a massive and deeply flawed
plan to allow San Diego area developers to kill endangered
species and destroy their habitats in return for vague mitigation
promises. Though the groups did
not secure a temporary restraining order barring the destruction of
66 vernal pools, the suit extends to potentially hundreds of
development projects to be authorized under San Diego's
Multiple Species Conservation Plan.
Ill planned development has already destroyed 95% of southern
California vernal pools. Far from conserving those that remain,
the Plan would allow the destruction of 12%. Affidavits in support
of the suit were filed by two of southern California's most
renowned vernal pool ecologists, both of whom have worked with
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the recovery of endangered
vernal pool species.
The suit is being argued by Neil Levine of EarthLaw, Dan Rohlf
of the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, and Tara Mueller
of the Natural Heritage Institute.
GROUPS ALLOWED TO INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF ENDANGERED WOLVES
A Federal judge has allowed Defenders of Wildlife, the Southwest
Center and a dozen other environmental groups to intervene in a
lawsuit brought by the livestock industry to stop the Mexican gray
wolf recovery plan. The industry claims that the wolves should be
removed from the Gila Headwaters Ecosystem, because wild
wolves already exist there, and because the introduced wolves are
coyote/wolf hybrids. Federal and academic scientists dispute both
claims. As interveners, we will be able to independently defend
the recovery program.
Defenders of Wildlife is representing the intervening groups.
NM STATE SENATOR TO PROPOSE ELIMINATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES
PROTECTION BY STATE
Perenial foe of environmental protection, NM State Senator Tim
Jennings (D-Roswell), will introduce legislation this January to
eliminate the state's endangered species act (the NM Wildlife
Conservation Act) and the state's Conservation Services Division.
The latter houses a technical guidance group that comments on timber
sales, mines, grazing permits, etc., and the state's Endangered
Species Program. New Mexico has 119 state listed species (47
endangered, 72 threatened), including 23 fish, 6 amphibians, 14
reptiles, 33 birds, 16 mammals, 25 mollusks, and 2 crustaceans.
Kierán 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