Subject: FW: BIODIVERSITY ALERT #191

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            CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
                            http//www.sw-center.org
   6-29-99                                                             #191
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§ SCIENTISTS: BIG CHANGES NEEDED TO SAVE SAN
   PEDRO RIVER- INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT SIGNED

§ ENVIROS & FISHERMEN SUE TO PROTECT
   CALIFORNIA'S THREATENED STEELHEAD TROUT

§ SUIT TO SAVE WESTERN FROGS, SALAMANDERS,
   TURTLES AND SNAILS FROM EXTINCTION

§ SCIENTISTS: COWS DAMAGE WESTERN RIVERS

     *****     *****     *****    ******

SCIENTISTS: BIG CHANGES NEEDED TO SAVE SAN
PEDRO RIVER- INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT SIGNED
In response to a petition filed under Article 13 of the North American
Free Trade Agreement, the Commission on Environmental
Cooperation published on 6-15-99, its final draft report on the status
of the San Pedro River in southeast Arizona and northern Mexico.
The Center filed the petition in order to obtain an objective, international
assessment of the river's impending demise and the steps necessary
to save it. The San Pedro study represents the first time the NAFTA
panel has agreed to study a U.S. environmental problem.

The the international team of hydrologists and biologists determined
that the San Pedro River supports the largest remaining Southwest
broadleaf riparian forest in existence and is critical to millions of
migratory songbirds and endangered species such as the Southwestern
willow flycatcher, Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, jaguar, and
Huachuca water umbel. The river supports two-thirds of all North
American bird species (400), has the world's second highest
diversity of mammals (82 species) and is home to 43 species of
reptiles.

According to the team, the San Pedro Basin is being overdrafted by
7,000 acres feet per year and the river will eventually dry up unless
major water policy changes are made soon. Though the military's
Fort Huachuca is the largest single water user in the basin, the
NAFTA panel bowed to politics and refused to recommend closing
or scaling back the base. It instead proposed retiring
agriculture, buying out development rights, dewatering the lower
river to save the upper portion, and possibly importing water from
other river basins to mitigate impacts of moving wells from the
upper to the lower basin.

On 6-22-99, the U.S. and Mexico signed a vague agreement to
protect the river from its headwaters in Mexico through the
U.S. to its confluence with the Gila River. The Department of
Interior pledged to help buy out agriculture and development
rights.

To learn more about the San Pedro River see our website:
   http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/activist/sanpedro.html

To read the full NAFTA report:
 http://www.cec.org/english/new/experte.cfm?format=1
     _____________________

ENVIROS & FISHERMEN SUE TO PROTECT
CALIFORNIA'S THREATENED STEELHEAD TROUT
On 6-22-99, the Center For Biological Diversity and a coalition
of fishing and conservation groups, filed suit in federal court in
San Francisco against the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) for failing to protect California's threatened steelhead
trout. While NMFS listed the steelhead as a threatened species
under the Endangered Species Act, it has not yet outlawed the
killing, harming or harassing of the fish. Without such an order,
the listing of the steelhead under the ESA is essentially
meaningless. Unlike NMFS, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
has outlawed the taking of all threatened and endangered
species under a blanket policy. NMFS issues a separate ruling
for each species, but has failed to do so for the steelhead trout.

The coalition filing suit included the Alameda Creek Alliance, the
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, the
Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, the
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the Turtle Island
Restoration Network, the South Yuba River Citizen's League,
and the Coastside Habitat Coalition.

While NMFS has illegally delayed in applying ESA protection,
steelhead statewide continue to be killed by diversion of water from
streams, and habitat critical to their recovery continues to be
destroyed.  The lawsuit documents abuses and fish kills which
have occurred in over 30 streams. From Arroyo Grande Creek in
San Luis Obispo County to the Russian River in Sonoma County,
water flows necessary for steelhead migration, spawning, and
rearing are being diverted. From the Carmel River in Monterey
County to the Yuba River in Yuba County, interruption of stream
flows resulting in large fish kills have been documented. From
Gazos Creek in San Mateo County to Lagunitas Creek in Marin
County, steelhead habitat has been bulldozed or degraded.

The suit is being argued by Brendan Cummings (Berkeley) and
Larry Sanders (Nevada City).
     _______________

SUIT TO SAVE WESTERN FROGS, SALAMANDERS,
TURTLES AND SNAILS FROM EXTINCTION
On 6-15-99, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a formal
notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for
failing to list and protect ten imperiled aquatic species under the
Endangered Species Act. The agency determined that all of the
species warranted listing under the ESA, but did not list them
because of alleged higher priorities. Many of the species have
languished in this state of geo-political purgatory for over a
decade as their habitat and numbers continue to dwindle.

The suit will include:

-- Southwest Species --             -- Northwest Species --
Pecos assiminea snail (NM)       Columbia spotted frog (WA, OR,
Gila springsnail (NM)                    ID, CA, NV)
Roswell springsnail (NM)           Oregon spotted frog (WA, OR)
Chupadera springsnail (NM)
Koster's Tryonia  (NM)              -- California Species --
Cagle's Map Turtle   (TX)           California tiger salamander (CA)
New Mexico hot-spring snail (NM)                                       
     _________________

SCIENTISTS: LIVESTOCK DAMAGE WESTERN RIVERS
The Journal of Soil and Water Conservation has published an
article by Dr. Joy Belsky, staff ecologist for the Oregon Natural 
Desert Association, and A. Matzke and S. Uselman summarizing
over 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers on the effects of
livestock grazing on western rivers and riparian areas, and the
species dependent upon them.

The more than 100 research papers cited in the review found that
livestock grazing reduced water quality, increased sedimentation,
altered stream hydrology, compacted and disturbed riparian soils,
denuded streambanks, reduced spawning rates and survival of
salmon and other cold-water fish, and led to the local extinction of
riparian wildlife. Although some grazing techniques were found to be
less detrimental than others, all were damaging compared to
non-grazing.

Nearly 100% of the research papers reported that livestock
damaged western streams and rivers.  The few papers not
reporting adverse effects suggested that the studies had been too
short or that other factors such as floods or rodents had interfered
with the results.  No positive effects of grazing were found.

To see the full study, check out ONDA's website:
http://www.onda.org/rippaper.html

_________________________________________________________________

Kierán Suckling                               ksuckling@sw-center.org
Executive Director                          520.623.5252 phone
SW Center for Biological Diversity   520.623.9797 fax
http://www.sw-center.org                 pob 710, tucson, az 85702-0710