Subject: FW: BIODIVERSITY ALERT #204

************* CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY *************
                 http://www.sw-center.org
                    ALERT #204 9-24-99

CENTER FILES SUIT TO PROTECT RARE WASHINGTON PLANT

CENTER WINS HABITAT PROTECTION SETTLEMENT FOR BIGHORN, FAIRY
  SHRIMP

CENTER FILES SUIT TO GAIN PROTECTION FOR TEN IMPERILED
  WILDLIFE SPECIES THROUGHOUT WEST

CENTER HELPS FUND MEXICO BIOSPHERE RESERVE PROTECTION
_____________________

CENTER FILES SUIT TO PROTECT RARE WASHINGTON PLANT

The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit 9/20/99 in
Portland, Oregon to compel Secretary of Interior, Bruce
Babbitt, to take final action to list the Wenatchee
Mountains checker-mallow as an endangered species under the
Endangered Species Act.

The Wenatchee checker-mallow (Sidalcea oregana var. calva)
is a plant in the mallow family (Malvaceae) that is endemic
to meadows that have surface water or saturated soil in the
spring and early summer at middle elevations in the
Wenatchee Mountains of Chelan County, Washington. Conversion
of land to residential development and orchards, and
associated habitat modifications such as alterations in
hydrology, increased nutrient loads into the meadow from
septic systems, introduction of non-native grasses, access
road construction, trampling by people and off-road
vehicles, lack of adequate protective regulations and other
factors, have resulted in the plant's extirpation from
numerous historical locations and the restriction of the
species' current population to only five sites.

This case is represented by attorneys Geoff Hickcox of Kenna
and Hickcox of Durango, Colorado, and Marianne Dugan of
Facaros, Dugan & Ross of Eugene, Oregon.
_____________________

CENTER WINS HABITAT PROTECTION SETTLEMENT FOR BIGHORN, FAIRY
SHRIMP

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to reconsider
its decision to withhold habitat protection for the
endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep and San Diego fairy
shrimp of southern California. The agreement stems from
settlement of two lawsuits filed by the Center against the
wildlife agency in 1998 seeking mandatory Endangered Species
Act habitat protections for the species.

Both the bighorn and fairy shrimp have declined as urban
sprawl chews up their last remaining habitats in San Diego
and Riverside counties. The bighorn are today found along
the eastern escarpment of the Peninsular ranges of southern
California and are endangered by golf resort and residential
development around Palm Springs. San Diego fairy shrimp live
only in mesa-top ephemeral wetlands near San Diego known as
vernal pools, a habitat reduced by 97% in California.
Habitat designation could significantly scale back
development in important areas.

In its decision to withhold habitat protection, Fish and
Wildlife had presented the position that critical habitat
would increase threats to both species. The same excuse has
been used by the agencies for hundreds of other species
since 1996 and essentially serves as an informal policy to
thwart habitat protection mandates of the ESA. The agency's
settlement serves as a tacit agreement that its previous
decisions were arbitrary and unsupported by internal agency
documents.

The Center was represented in the bighorn and shrimp cases
by attorneys Neil Levine and Jay Tutchton of Earthlaw,
Denver, Colorado, and attorney Brendan Cummings of Berkeley,
California.
_____________________

CENTER FILES SUIT TO GAIN PROTECTION FOR TEN IMPERILED
WILDLIFE SPECIES THROUGHOUT WEST

The Center for Biological Diversity filed another lawsuit
9/21/99 in Federal District Court in San Francisco,
California to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) to make a final determination to protect ten
wildlife species under the federal Endangered Species Act
(ESA).

The ten species involved in the suit are Cagle's Map Turtle
(Texas), the Great Basin population of the Columbia Spotted
Frog (Idaho, Oregon, Nevada), the West Coast population of
the Oregon Spotted Frog (Washington, Oregon, California),
the California Tiger Salamander (California) and six species
of springsnails (New Mexico).
       
The ESA mandates the USFWS to make a final determination on
whether to add a species to the protections of the ESA list
within two years of the submission of a petition to list a
species.  In the cases of all ten species which are the
subject of the suit, the USFWS has illegally delayed making
a final determination to protect the species.  The USFWS has
claimed that the species warrant protection under the ESA,
but that their protection is precluded by other higher
priority actions.  For some of the species, the illegal
listing delay has been 15 years.

This case is represented by attorneys Brendan Cummings and
Sharon Duggan of Berkeley, California.
_____________________

CENTER HELPS FUND MEXICO BIOSPHERE RESERVE PROTECTION

The Center has secured funds for the Reserva de la Biosfera
Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado (Upper
Gulf of California and Colorado River Biosphere Reserve) of
Mexico to assist in protective management. The funds will
narrow the gap of government funding shortfalls and will be
used to purchase fuel for boat patrols to enforce a fishing
ban and a new run of educational Reserve brochures.

The Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Biosphere
Reserve was established by the Mexican government in 1992 in
an effort to reverse a decades long decline in upper Gulf
fisheries and protect riparian and marsh habitats scattered
throughout the former terminus of the Colorado River.
Increased funding is necessary to fully implement protective
Reserve management. Even more important, the U.S. and Mexico
must establish a new international water allocation
agreement so that the Colorado River may once again flow to
the sea.


___________________________________________________________
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