Subject: FW: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #166


      ____________________________________________________
      \       SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #166          /
       \                      1-6-98                    /
        \                                              /
         \ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY  /
          \        http://www.sw-center.org          /
           \________________________________________/

1. 730,565 ACRES PROPOSED AS PROTECTED HABITAT FOR
   IMPERILED PYGMY OWL

2. SOUTHEAST ARIZONA WETLANDS AND STREAMS PROPOSED AS
   PROTECTED HABITAT FOR IMPERILED PLANT

3. JUDGE ORDERS AGENCY TO PROTECT SACRAMENTO SPLITTAIL-
   INVITES INVESTIGATION INTO NEEDED HABITAT PROTECTION

4. TWO MORE WOLF PACKS TO BE RELEASED IN ARIZONA NEXT WEEK

     *****     *****     *****

730,565 ACRES PROPOSED AS PROTECTED HABITAT FOR IMPERILED
PYGMY OWL
On 12-30-98, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed to
designate 730,000 acres of "critical habitat" for the
endangered Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl in southeast Arizona.
The proposal includes a complex of corridors connecting
habitat along the Mexican border, to habitat in northwest
Tucson, to habitat along the Gila and San Pedro Rivers.

The Southwest Center petitioned the Fish & Wildlife Service
to the list the pygmy owl as endangered in 1993 because of
loss of riparian forests and native Sonoran Desert
vegetation. Following three successful lawsuits, the tiny
owl was listed in 1997. Two additional lawsuits were
required, however, to make the Fish & Wildlife Service
designate critical habitat. We are represented by Geoff
Hickcox of Kenna & Hickcox in the latest suit.
     _______________________

SOUTHEAST ARIZONA WETLANDS AND STREAMS PROPOSED AS
PROTECTED HABITAT FOR IMPERILED PLANT
On 12-30-98, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed to
designate 34 miles of the San Pedro River and portions of
the Santa Cruz River, Sonoita Creek, Garden Canyon, and
other streams as "critical habitat" for the Huachuca water
umbel, an endangered, semi-aquatic plant.

The Southwest Center petitioned to list a suite of three
wetland species (the umbel, the Canelo Hills ladies'
tresses, and the Sonoran tiger salamander) as endangered
in 1993 because of massive losses in wetlands and
functioning river systems in southern Arizona. Following
two successful lawsuits, the all three were listed in 1997.
An additional suit was necessarly, however, to make the
Service designate critical habitat for the umbel.
     ___________________________

JUDGE ORDERS AGENCY TO PROTECT SACRAMENTO SPLITTAIL-
INVITES INVESTIGATION INTO NEEDED HABITAT PROTECTION
On 12-24-98, a San Diego Federal Judge ordered the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Sacramento splittail
under the Endangered Species Act by February 1, 1998. She
also ordered the agency to propose critical habitat for the
imperiled fish within one year and finalize it within two.

Historically found in large segments of the Sacramento,
San Joaquin, Feather and American Rivers, the splittail
has been extirpated from the vast majority of its range.
Today it is largely restricted to the San Francisco Bay
Delta, Suisun Bay, Suisun Marsh and Napa Marsh.

The judge invited the Southwest Center and the Sierra
Club to seek a "discovery" order allowing us to obtain
information and documents to prove the critical habitat
could be designated sooner.
     ________________________

TWO MORE WOLF PACKS TO BE RELEASED IN ARIZONA NEXT WEEK
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has announced it will
place two new wolf packs in release pens in the Blue
Range of the Apache National Forest within the Gila
Headwaters Ecosystem. The two packs, totalling nine
wolves will be released from the pens in March after
becoming acclimated.

Four Mexican gray wolves are currently in the wild: a
pair and single male and female which recently split
apart.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Kierán 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