CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.sw-center.org> 2-24-00 #227
§ SUIT PUTS NEAR EXTINCT CALIFORNIA PLANTS PUT ON
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
§ ENVIRO/CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE PROTECTS IMPERILED
§ FEDS AGREE TO RECONSIDER HABITAT PROTECTION FOR
RARE FISH, BUTTERFLY, AND SHRIMP
§ SW WOLVES NEED HELP: PLEASE ATTEND PUBLIC
HEARINGS, SEND EMAILS, LETTERS TODAY
SUIT PUTS NEAR EXTINCT CALIFORNIA PLANTS PUT ON
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
Fulfilling a federal court order obtained by the Center for Biological
and the California Native Plant Society, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
this month listed two plants -- Baker's larkspur (Delphinium bakeri) and
yellow larkspur (Delphinium luteum) -- as endangered species. The plants
live in coastal prairie, coastal scrub, and chaparral in Sonoma and Marin
counties, northern California. Urban development, agricultural land
conversion, livestock grazing and road construction have destroyed much
of their habitat and wiped out many populations. Baker's larkspur has
been reduced to just 35 individual plants in one population. The yellow
larkspur has only 100 individuals spread across two populations.
Though the plight of these extremely imperiled plants has been known
for decades (the Smithsonian Institute petitioned the government to list
both in 1975) the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service let them languish as
"candidates" for listing with no protective status for 25 years until they
were sued and ordered to take action by a federal judge. The larkspurs
are just two of ten California plants involved in the suit: on 2-9-00, the
agency listed the Kneeland Prairie penny-cress as endangered. It has
until 3-15-00 to make a listing decision for the Santa Cruz tarplant, La
Graciosa thistle, Lompoc yerba santa, Gaviota tarplant, and two species
of Purple amole.
The Center's "Golden State Biodiversity Program" has successfully
petitioned and litigated to place 84 California species under the
Endangered Species Act since 1993. The Center and CNPS were
represented in this case by Brendan Cummings (Berkeley) and Jay
Tutchton of Earthlaw (Denver, Palo Alto).
ENVIRO/CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE PROTECTS TWO IMPERILED
In response to a formal notice of intent to sue under the Endangered
Species Act by the Center and Christians Caring for Creation, the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service listed two San Joaquin Valley mammals as
"endangered" on 2-23-00. The Riparian brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani
riparius) and the Riparian (or San Joaquin Valley) woodrat (Neotoma
fuscipes riparia) have both declined to just a single remaining population
in Caswell Memorial State Park in San Joaquin County.
The Riparian brush rabbit and Riparian woodrat once ranged throughout
the extensive riparian forests of the northern San Joaquin Valley. In the
last 150 years, however, California has lost 90% of its streamside
forests to logging, overgrazing, mining, dams, agricultural clearing, and
urban sprawl. The remnant population of each subspecies is confined
to a 258 acre forest fragment on the Stanislaus River.
The Center and Christians Caring for Creation were represented by
Brendan Cummings (Berkeley).
FEDS AGREE TO RECONSIDER HABITAT PROTECTION FOR RARE
FISH, BUTTERFLY, SHRIMP
U.S. Federal District Court Judge Samuel Conti has approved a legally
binding settlement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service to protect three imperiled species. Under the
terms of the settlement, the federal agency must withdraw its earlier
decision not to designate and protect specific "critical habitat" areas for
the Quino checkerspot butterfly, Arkansas River shiner, and Riverside
fairy shrimp; and issue a new decision by March, 2001.
The Center filed suit to overturn the agency decisions in July, 1999. The
suit charged that the Fish & Wildlife Service has systematically engaged in
an illegal pattern of refusing to designate Critical Habitat for hundreds of
species listed under the ESA. From 1-1-96 to the present day, over 200
species have been listed under the Endangered Species Act, yet not a
single one was granted "critical habitat" except under court order.
The Quino checkerspot butterfly was listed under the ESA on 1-16-97.
Formerly one of the most abundant butterflies in southern California, only
seven or eight populations remain today. Of these, all but three contain
fewer than 5 individual butterflies. The Riverside fairy shrimp was listed
under the ESA on 8-3-93. Its wetland habitat (southern California vernal pools)
have been decimated by urban sprawl and agricultural clearing. It has been
reduced to a scattering of pools near Temecula (Riverside County), Mirimar
Naval Air Station, and Otay Mesa (San Diego County). The Arkansas River
shiner is a small fish found in the Canadian River in New Mexico, Texas and
Oklahoma, and the Cimarron River in Oklahoma and Kansas. It was listed
under the ESA on 11-23-98. It is threatened by excessive groundwater
pumping, water diversions, and pollution.
The Center was represented by Brendan Cummings (Berkeley) and Geoff
Hickcox of Kenna & Hickcox (Durango).
SW WOLVES NEED HELP: PLEASE ATTEND PUBLIC HEARINGS,
SEND EMAILS, LETTERS TODAY
Following a plan developed by the Center over a year ago, the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service is poised to reintroduce endangered Mexican gray wolves
into the Gila Wilderness on the Gila National Forest in southwest New
Mexico. The Gila's vast network of remote, roadless country -- much of it
without livestock -- will provide a safe haven for wolves which have been
threatened, and sued since being reintroduced to the wild last year. The
livestock industry is pulling out all the stops to pressure the feds into
abandoning the reintroduction program. We need your help today to save
the Mexican gray wolf:
CARPOOL TO THE HEARINGS
Public hearings are being held in Reserve, NM (March 1st) and Silver
City, NM (March 2nd). Car pool rides are available from Phoenix,
Tucson, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Socorro, and Las Cruces: Please call
520.623.5252 x 303 to catch a ride or find out more.
SEND EMAILS SUPPORTING WOLVES TODAY
This link will take you to our web page where you can easily send
an email message to the Fish & Wildlife Service supporting the
release of wolves into the Gila Wilderness.
SEND A LETTER: The deadline for written comments is 3-15-00
Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 1306
Albuquerque, NM 87103
Correction to earlier wolf post: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is
NOT trying to capture the Gavilan pack yearling which escaped to
the Gila National Forest on his own.
ENDANGERED TOTEMS. Ten of the eleven western states have imperiled species
for their state fish: New Mexico (Rio Grande cutthroat trout), Arizona
(Apache trout), Colorado (Greenback cutthroat trout), Utah (Bonneville
cutthroat trout), Nevada (Lahontan cutthroat trout), California (Golden
trout), Oregon (Chinook salmon), Washington (Steelhead trout), Idaho
(Cutthroat trout), and Montana (Cutthroat trout).
Kierán Suckling firstname.lastname@example.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