From: Kieran Suckling [ksuckling@sw-center.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 1999 11:59 AM
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: BIODIVERSITY ALERT #207
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                CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

                 www.sw-center.org           10-21-99 #207
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   -- Report from the MARINE PROTECTION PROGRAM:

§ WHITE ABALONE MOVES TOWARD FEDERAL PROTECTION
§ CALIFORNIA'S STEELHEAD TROUT TO BE PROTECTED
§ PETITION FILED TO PROTECT BELUGA UNDER ALASKA
   ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
§ SUIT TO BE FILED OVER HUMBOLDT BAY OIL SPILL

     *****    *****    *****

WHITE ABALONE MOVES TOWARD FEDERAL PROTECTION
Responding to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, the
National Marine Fisheries Service has taken an initial step toward
listing the White abalone as the first endangered marine invertebrate.
On 9-25-99 it issued a plosive 90-day finding on Center's petition.

Producing up to 10 million eggs per individual, White abalone were
once extremely common on the California coast. It has declined
by 99.9% in the last 30 years. As few as 600 may exist today.
No successful reproduction has been recorded since 1966, making
all the remaining abalone very old. They can live 35-40 years.
_________________________

CALIFORNIA'S STEELHEAD TROUT TO BE PROTECTED
The Center for Biological Diversity and a coalition of environmental
and fishing groups has settled a lawsuit over the refusal of the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to issue regulations
banning the harming or killing of Steelhead trout in California's
Central Valley, central coast, and south-central coast. Under the
terms of the settlement, NMFS will issue proposed regulations
banning "take" by 12-15-99, and a final rule by 6-19-00.

California's steelhead populations were listed under the ESA in
August, 1997and March 1998. Dams, water diversions, logging,
grazing, and gravel mining have reduced their numbers from millions
in the Central Valley, south and south-central coasts to about
150,000 by the 1960's. There are currently less than 20,000.

The coalition includes Center for Biological Diversity, Alameda Creek
Alliance, Pacific Coast Federation of Flyfishers, Northern California
Council Federation of Flyfishers, California Sportfishing Protection
Alliance, Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, South Yuba
Citizen's League, and the Coastside Habitat Coalition. It is
represented by Brendan Cummings (Berkeley) and Larry Sanders
(Nevada City).
_________________________

PETITION FILED TO PROTECT BELUGA UNDER ALASKA
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
On 10-19-99 the Center for Biological Diversity and a coalition of six
environmental groups filed a petition to list the Cook Inlet beluga whale
as an endangered species under Alaska state law. Once numbering
over 1,000 animals, the population has dropped to fewer than 300 in
recent years. Though the causes of decline are not fully known, hunting,
entanglement in fishing nets, toxics and offshore oil development are all
taking their toll. Since offshore oil development in Cook Inlet is largely
state managed, listing under the state endangered species act could
have a large impact on future oil development in the Inlet.

The Center, Trustees for Alaska, the Center for Marine Conservation and
others petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) earlier
this year to list the beluga under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
The agency has issued an initial positive finding and must decide whether
to propose listing by March, 2000. On 10-19-99, however, NMFS
proposed to list the beluga as "depleted" under the Marine Mama
Protected Act. Though the listing does increase protection, it is no
substitute for listing under the ESA. NMFS may be proposing the
lesser listing as a substitute for full protection under the ESA, which
includes designation of critical habitat and federal review of all
projects which "may affect" the imperiled whale.
___________________

SUIT TO BE FILED OVER HUMBOLDT BAY OIL SPILL
The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) and the Center
for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Army
Corps of Engineers and the Bean Dredging Corporation on 10-14-99 for
a series of oil spills which have fouled Humboldt Bay and killed
thousands of birds and marine animals.

Over 40 miles of pristine North Coast beaches have been polluted,
including Clam Beach, a popular recreation area. Marbled murrelets,
California brown pelicans, and Western snow plovers- all endangered
species- have been killed. Though the National Marine Fisheries
Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service warned the Corps that its
dredging project could kill endangered species and violate the Endangered
Species Act, the Corps refused to formally "consult" leading to the current
crisis.

The Center and EPIC seek to force a complete clean up, prevent any
additional spills, and ban any further pollution and habitat destruction
from the dredging operations.
_____________________________________________________________

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