Subject: FW: BIODIVERSITY ALERT #200

************* CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY *************
                 http://www.sw-center.org
                    ALERT #201 9-2-99

THE CENTER AND NEW WEST RESEARCH RELEASE TAXPAYER'S GUIDE
  TO SUBSIDIZED RANCHING IN THE SOUTHWEST

LAWSUIT FILED TO SAVE RARE HAWAIIAN SPECIES

CENTER TO SUE TO PROTECT WHITE ABALONE-SPECIES HAS
  DECLINED BY 99.9% IN THIRTY YEARS

MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION UPDATE

CENTER WINS FIRST ROUND IN SAN DIEGO SPECIES PLAN LAWSUIT
_____________________

THE CENTER AND NEW WEST RESEARCH RELEASE TAXPAYER'S GUIDE TO
SUBSIDIZED RANCHING IN THE SOUTHWEST

The Center for Biological Diversity and New West Research
published a comprehensive report which looks at the plethora
of tax breaks and subsidies for public lands ranchers in
Arizona and New Mexico. This report documents the existence
and impact of governmental support for grazing in the arid
Southwest. The ranching industry could not survive without
the vast array of tax benefits and subsidies hundreds of
millions of dollars per year that result from its
disproportionate influence. Particularly egregious, public
lands ranching is the most ubiquitous form of land
degradation in the region. More than 60 million acres of
federal and state public lands are currently grazed by
cattle in Arizona and New Mexico. This activity harms
wildlife, degrades watersheds, pollutes drinking water,
destroys riparian habitat, and denudes sensitive arid
grasslands and means yearly financial losses for every
American taxpayer.

The report empowers the public to know the details of the
elaborate support system our states and nation provide to
the ranching industry. This information offers a historical
lesson in the effects of political power when it proceeds
unchecked by citizen control. It also inspires us to take
action in manageable steps: each unfair program that is
revised through public action means a healthier economy and
a healthier ecosystem.

The report is available on our web site.
http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/grazing/taxguide.html
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LAWSUIT FILED TO SAVE RARE HAWAIIAN SPECIES

The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in federal
district court on 8/31 in Honolulu, Hawaii, against the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, to secure
protection for four rare Hawaiian species under the federal
Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Blackburn's sphinx moth,
Newcomb's snail, Kaua`i cave wolf spider, and Kaua`i cave
amphipod are found only in the Hawaiian Islands. Despite the
ESA's non-discretionary deadlines for adding species to the
endangered species list, the Service is long overdue in
listing these species.

All four species have been impacted by habitat degradation
and introduced species. For example, the Newcomb's snail is
a freshwater species that exists in only five streams on
Kaua`i, with approximately ninety percent of the surviving
snails concentrated in two populations. The Blackburn's
sphinx moth was believed to be extinct until it was
rediscovered on Maui in 1984. The sphinx moth is Hawai`i's
largest native insect, with a wingspan of up to 5 inches.

Unfortunately, the single remaining population identified in
the proposed listing rule includes an area used by the
Hawai`i National Guard for military training.

The Center is represented by attorneys David Henkin and
Kapua Sproat of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund in
Honolulu, Hawaii.
_____________________

CENTER TO SUE TO PROTECT WHITE ABALONE-SPECIES HAS DECLINED
BY 99.9% IN THIRTY YEARS

The Center for Biological Diversity formally notified the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on September 2,
1999 of its intent to sue for the agency's failure to take
action to protect the critically imperiled white abalone.
The Center filed an emergency petition in April to list the
species as endangered under the ESA. The ESA requires NMFS
to respond to the petition within 90 days. NMFS has yet to
respond.

The White abalone occurs from near Point Conception (near
Santa Barbara, CA) to Punta Eugenia, Baja California,
Mexico. It lives at a depth of 80-100 feet, feeds on marine
algae and can live up to 40 years. Within the lifetime of
single abalone, the entire species has been decimated by
overfishing. It has declined from between two to four
million individuals in the 1960s, to between 600 and 1,600
individuals today. Five years ago agency scientists
predicted the species would be extinct within a decade if no
action was taken. To date, NMFS has done nothing.

The white abalone is one of over a dozen California marine
species the Center has identified as warranting protection
under the ESA.
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MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION UPDATE

A celebration welcoming the Mexican gray wolf back to the
wilds of Arizona was held in Tucson this last weekend.
Twenty two of the endangered wolves are roaming the
wildlands of eastern Arizona and public support is
enthusiastic. The festivities included a film series
featuring "Death of a Legend" and "Never Cry Wolf," talks
with wolf experts, poetry by Michael Blake - the author of
"Dances With Wolves" - mask-making booths and, naturally, a
howling contest for kids.

Since the first release in Arizona, in January 1998, eleven
wolves have died. Five of the first 11 released into the
Apache National Forest died of gunshot wounds. Two are
missing and presumed dead. One died after it was struck by a
car, a pup was found dead in a holding pen earlier last
week, and two more pups were found dead Monday.

The first pup's body was shipped to the National Wildlife
Health Center in Madison, Wis., for a diagnostic necropsy, a
procedure similar to an autopsy. The pup was found to have
parvovirus a highly contagious and deadly disease that can
infect domestic and wild canines. They believe the other two
dead pups may also have contracted parvo.

Earlier last month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
captured the Pipestem Pack because the pack may have killed
two cows on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The pack
has been relocated to the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
south of Albuquerque, N.M. where the two relocated pups died
on Monday.
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CENTER WINS FIRST ROUND IN SAN DIEGO SPECIES PLAN LAWSUIT

A Judge in the Center's lawsuit against the City of San
Diego's Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) has
dealt a major setback to developers by ruling against their
request to intervene in the case. Several development
heavies, including Pardee Construction, Building Industry
Legal Defense Foundation, National Association of
Homebuilders, California Building Industry Association and
the Building Industry Association of San Diego had sought
leave by the court to participate in the lawsuit in defense
of the massive species plan.

Covering roughly 900 square miles, San Diego's MSCP is one
of the largest Habitat Conservation Plans, or HCPs in the
Country and has been held up by Secretary of the Interior
Bruce Babbitt as a "model for the nation." Under this
program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has essentially
transferred Endangered Species Act implementation authority
to the developer friendly City and County of San Diego while
failing to put in place habitat acquisition and management
safeguards to ensure recovery of critically endangered
animals and plants. Thirteen conservation groups joined the
Center in December of 1998 to sue the Service and the City
over the many failings of the MSCP.

The Center is represented in this case by attorneys Neil
Levine of Earthlaw, Tara Mueller of the Environmental Law
Foundation and Dan Rohlf of the Pacific Environmental
Advocacy Center.

___________________________________________________________
Shane Jimerfield
Assistant Director
Center for Biological Diversity
Tel: 520.623.5252, ext 302              Fax: 520.623.9797
PO Box 710, Tucson AZ 85702-0710        http://www.sw-center.org