CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.sw-center.org> 3-22-00 #231
§ SEVEN MORE IMPERILED CALIFORNIA PLANTS PROTECTED
§ LAWSUIT CHALLENGES GRAZING ON 10.2 MILLION ACRES OF
CALIFORNIA DESERT TO PROTECT 24 ENDANGERED SPECIES
§ SUIT FILED TO OBTAIN GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS ON
CALIFORNIA DEVELOPMENT PERMITS
§ WOLVES RETURN TO THE GILA WILDERNESS AT LAST!
SEVEN MORE IMPERILED CALIFORNIA PLANTS PROTECTED
In accordance with a legally binding settlement agreement between the
Center for Biological Diversity, the California Native Plant Society, and
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, seven plants from California's central
coast bioregion were listed as threatened or endangered on 3-20-00.
The Santa Cruz tarplant, Purple amole, and Camatta Canyon amole were
listed as threatened species. The La Graciosa thistle, Nipomo mesa
lupine, Lompoc yerba santa, and Gaviota tarplant were listed as
endangered. In response to the same settlement, the Fish & Wildlife
Service listed three other California plants as endangered species
(Baker's larkspur, Yellow larkspur, and Kneeland Prairie penny-cress).
Though most of these species have waiting since 1975 for federal
protection, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service bowed to political pressure,
leaving them in bureaucratic limbo until sued by the Center and the Native
Plant Society in 1999. The Center's "Golden State Biodiversity Program"
has successfully petitioned and litigated to protect 90 California species
under the Endangered Species Act since 1993.
The Santa Cruz tarplant has been reduced to 20 populations in Monterey
and Santa Cruz counties. It is threatened by overgrazing, competition with
exotic plants, and expansion of the Watsonville Airport. The Purple amole
occurs only on the U.S. Army's Fort Hunter Liggett. The Camatta Canyon
amole occurs on private lands and within the Los Padres National Forest.
They are threatened by off-road vehicles, military training, cattle grazing,
and disruption of natural fire regimes. The La Graciosa Thistle and Nipomo
mesa lupine occur in the Guadalupe Dune area. They are threatened by oil
and water development. The Lompoc yerba santa, a shrub in the waterleaf
family, has been reduced to 4 populations in western Santa Barbara County.
Two are on Vandenberg Air Force Base, two others are on privately owned
oil fields. The Gaviota tarplant, a member of the sunflower family, is limited
to a narrow strip of coastal terrace between the Santa Ynez Mountains and
the ocean in Santa Barbara County. It is threatened by oil pumping,
suburban sprawl, and competition with invasive weeds.
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).
LAWSUIT CHALLENGES GRAZING ON 10.2 MILLION ACRES OF
CALIFORNIA DESERT TO PROTECT 24 ENDANGERED SPECIES
On 3-16-00, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and Public
Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed suit against the Bureau
of Land Management, charging that the agency has refused to reign in
overgrazing on 10.2 million acres of southern California desert, pushing
24 endangered species toward extinction.
Congress established the 10.2 million acre California Desert Conservation
Area in 1976, and ordered the BLM to develop a conservation plan to
protect its wildlife. The BLM developed a plan in 1980, but has not
implemented its conservation elements, and never reviewed its impacts
on endangered species. The Conservation Area stretches over 400 miles
from the US-Mexico border to Death Valley and the foothills of the Sierra
Nevada. It includes some of California's most scenic areas in Imperial,
San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern, Inyo and
Species involved in the suit include:
Desert tortoise Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep Mojave chub
Desert pupfish Desert slender salamander Bald eagle
Yuma clapper rail Parish's daisy Arroyo toad
Least Bell's vireo California condor
Cushenberry milkvetch Lane Mountain milkvetch
Inyo California towhee Southwestern willow flycatcher
Triple-ribbed milkvetch Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard
Ash Meadows gumplant Cushenberry buckwheat
Amargosa niterwort Cushenberry oxytheca
Coachella Valley milkvetch Peirson's milkvetch
The case is being argued by Brendan Cummings (Berkeley) and
Jay Tutchton of Earthlaw (Denver and Palo Alto). Species and habitat
photos and more case information is available at www.sw-center.org
under late breaking news.
SUIT FILED TO OBTAIN GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS ON CALIFORNIA
On 2-29-00, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers for refusing to release public information
regarding Clean Water Act permits for the filling of washes and
development in Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat and the filling and
development of southern California vernal pools. Despite the clear
requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, the Corps of
Engineers has delayed releasing the information necessary to
assess the cumulative impacts of its development permitting program.
WOLVES RETURN TO THE GILA WILDERNESS AT LAST
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has finally issued a decision approving
the release of endangered Mexican gray wolves directly into New
Mexico's Gila Wilderness. The Center developed a "Wolf Safe Haven
Plan" in 1999 to encourage the agency to introduce wolves to the Gila/
Aldo Leopold wilderness complex after five wolves were shot in eastern
Arizona. New Mexico's Gila Wilderness area has few roads or cattle,
but plenty of good wolf habitat and prey species. The plan and our
New York Times ad promoting its adoption is available at:
Most of the 9,000 comments received on the Fish and Wildlife Service
proposal supported reintroduction to the Gila.
Four wolves from the previously re-captured Mule Pack were scheduled
to be placed in temporary on-site acclimation pens in the Gila today
where they will be held for up to 30 days before being released into the
wild. The pack consists of a male, a pregnant female, and two pups. The
Pipestem pack will released in another portion of the Gila Wilderness
later this month. It consists of a pregnant alpha pair, three pups, and a
two year old female. The female may not be released as half her leg
was amputated during her ill-conceived recapture.
Additional wolves were also recently reintroduced to Arizona's Blue
Primitive Range. On 3-14-00, the Steeple Creek Pack, consisting of an
alpha pair and three pups, was placed in an acclimation pen. They will
be released into the wild before elk calves are born this spring. There are
currently 13 wolves in Arizona's Blue Range, including the Steeple Creek
pack of five, the Campbell Blue Pack of four, and the Hawk's Nest Pack of
four. A lone yearling from the Gavilan pack has crossed from Arizona into
New Mexico and has been repeatedly seen in northern portion of the Gila
ENDANGERED TOTEMS. Eleven of the twelve western states have adopted
imperiled species as 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, Montana and Wyoming (Cutthroat trout).
Kierán Suckling email@example.com
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