SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
o JUDGE ENJOINS FILLING OF CALIFORNIA DAM TO SAVE WILLOW FLYCATCHER
o LATEST ARMY PLAN TO DEWATER SAN PEDRO RIVER KILLED
o SUIT FILED TO PROTECT IMPERILED CUCKOO, TROUT, FROG AND PLANT
Overturning of National Policy Against Species Protection Sought
o OUTSIDE MAGAZINE: SW CENTER ONE OF NATION'S MOST EFFECTIVE GROUPS
JUDGE ENJOINS FILLING OF CALIFORNIA DAM TO SAVE WILLOW FLYCATCHER
On 3-31-99, Federal Judge Lance Burell issued an injunction barring
the Army Corps of Engineers from inundating the South Fork Wildlife
Area behind Isabella Dam on the Kern River north of Bakersfield, CA.
Noting that the Corps is nearly two years behind on its promise to
mitigate habitat loss for the endangered Southwestern willow
flycatcher, Burell ordered the agency to reinitiate consultation with
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and desist from destroying the
flycatcher's habitat until the Service issues a new finding on the
case, and until the promised mitigation of 1,000 acres is complete.
The Southwest Center was represented by Neil Levine of EarthLaw and
LATEST ARMY PLAN TO DEWATER SAN PEDRO RIVER KILLED
The Arizona National Guard ended a two year battle with the Southwest
Center, announcing on 4-2-99 that it will not move its 118th Cavalry
Unit to Fort Huachuca. The southeast Arizona army base is the largest
single water user in the upper San Pedro River basin, and is heavily
responsible for the drying of the river and the impending destruction
of the BLM's San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area.
In 1997, the Southwest Center learned that Fort Huachuca was illegally
building facilities for the National Guard without an environmental
review. We forced the base to suspend construction, but it eventually
conducted the required review, concluding that there would be no
significant impact to increasing its size even though an international
team of scientists has determined that the river will dry up unless
human population pressure decreases. The Center challenged the adequacy
of the review in November, 1998, alerting the Army and National Guard
that it would file suit if necessary to stop the expansion. Realizing
its odds were not good, the military cancel the move this month.
The National Guard, however, is but one facet of Fort Huachuca's impact
on the river. The SW Center is continuing to challenge the fort's failure
to conduct a systematic review of all its impacts to the San Pedro River
and the imperiled wildlife which depend on it, including the Southwestern
willow flycatcher and Huachuca water umbel.
SUIT FILED TO PROTECT IMPERILED CUCKOO, TROUT, FROG AND PLANT
Enviros Seek to Overturn National Policy Against Species Protection
On 3-22-99, the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, the
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Oregon Trout, Oregon Natural Desert
Association, the Montana Native Plant Society, the Maricopa Audubon
Society and others filed suit in a Portland federal court to list four
species as endangered and overturn a Clinton era national policy against
protecting imperiled species.
The Clinton administration has refused to issue decisions on whether the
yellow-billed cuckoo, southern California mountain yellow-legged frog,
redband trout and Spaulding's catchfly should be listed and protected as
endangered species. The plaintiffs have asked the federal judge not only
to order a decision on the species, but to throw out a 1996 Clinton
policy which overrides the mandates of the Endangered Species Act.
The "Listing Priority Policy" states that the Fish & Wildlife Service
should disregard the Endangered Species Act if it does not have
sufficient resources to list species as endangered. Upon adopting the
policy, however, the Clinton administration slashed its own listing budget,
thereby manufacturing a false budget crisis in order to avoid having to
list politically contentious species as endangered. In 1998, for example,
Clinton requested less money for processing species listings than did George
Bush in 1992.
All four species are critically imperiled and continue to decline. The
southern California mountain yellow legged frog has been reduced to
approximately 100 individuals. Even so, the Fish & Wildlife Service took
two years to issue a positive 90-day finding and is now 2.5 years late on
the proposed rule. For more information on the Clinton policy and the
status of the four species, check out our web page at:
The case is being argued by Neil Levine of EarthLaw, and Dan Rohlf of the
Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center.
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE: SW CENTER ONE OF THE NATION'S MOST EFFECTIVE GROUPS
The April, 1999 edition of Outside Magazine has an extensive story by Jack
Skow on the Southwest Center which he calls "one of the most effective
regional environmental groups in the country, and certainly the most
in-your-face...With its brawling, lawsuit-brandishing, no-compromise approach
to battle, the highly successful Southwest Center for Biological Diversity
earned as many critics as victories. Meet the regional firebrands who
that extremism in defense of the environment is no vice."
The full story can be read at:
Kierán Suckling firstname.lastname@example.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