CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> 9-9-00 #250
§ 5.4 MILLION ACRES TO BE PROTECTED FOR RED-LEGGED FROG
§ ENVIROS CALL FOR MORE WOLVES IN NEW MEXICO
§ WATER-POWER HOGS TRY TO DERAIL COLORADO RIVER
§ CENTER OPPOSES PERMIT TO KILL ENDANGERED SPECIES IN
SAN DIEGO AREA
5.4 MILLION ACRES TO BE PROTECTED FOR RED-LEGGED FROG
Obeying a federal court order, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued a
proposed rule to designate 5.4 million acres of "critical habitat" for the
federally threatened California red-legged frog on 9-8-00. The Jumping
Frog Research Institute, Center for Biological, Pacific Rivers Council, the
Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, and Responsible Consumers of
the Monterey Peninsula filed suit to obtain the designation on 3-24-99,
winning a court order on 12-20-99. The suit was argued by Kristen Boyles
and Jan Hasselman of Earth Justice.
The proposal includes portions of 31 counties stretching from the
Mexican border into northern California. About 2.2. million acres are on
public lands including 1.2 million acres of National Forest (Cleveland NF
40,768 acres, Los Padres NF 524,388, Los Angeles NF 93,132, El
Dorado NF 36,786, Plumas NF 115,474, Lassen NF 87,054, Stanislaus
214,792, and Mendocino NF 60,996) and several hundred thousand
acres of Yosemite and other National Parks. In accordance with the court
order, the final designation must be completed by 12-29-00.
The California red-legged frog was listed under the Endangered Species
Act in 1996. Historically common from Point Reyes National Seashore,
inland to Redding and southward to northwestern Baja California,
Mexico, it has been extirpated from 70% of its range. Its population has
declined by at least 90%. It currently occupies coastal drainages in
central California and scattered streams in the Sierra Nevada. A single
population remains in Southern California. Range-wide, only four
populations contain more than 350 adults.
The California red-legged frog was once major food source in the San
Francisco Bay area and the Central Valley. About 80,000 frogs were
consumed annually in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
As the population declined, bull frogs were exported from the East Coast
to keep the "froggery" going. Bull frogs, however, are voracious
predators. They helped drive the red-legged frog (and many other
species) lower yet. Habitat loss to logging, wetland draining, water
diversions, dams, cattle grazing, pesticides, urban sprawl, and
agricultural expansion also decimated the species. California has lost
90% of it historic riparian areas and wetlands.
The largest native frog in the western United States, the California
red-legged frog ranges from 1.5 to 5 inches in length. Mark Twain knew
the species well, securing his literary reputation with a short story
entitled "The Celebrated Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County".
To read Twain's story, see maps of the proposed critical habitat areas
and lawsuit documents, and to learn more about the California red-legged
frog, check out the Center's red-legged frog page
ENVIROS CALL FOR MORE WOLVES IN NEW MEXICO
Environmental groups have asked the Secretary of Interior to develop
plans to introduce wolves directly into New Mexico's Gila National Forest.
Under current policy, wolves can only be placed in New Mexico if they
are first introduced to Arizona, then re-captured, then moved to New
Mexico. This relocation process is difficult, slow, expensive, and causes
tremendous stress to the wolves. It has contributed to the dissolution of
two packs, the death of several pups, and a terrible re-capture accident
in which an alpha female lost her foot. Re-locating wolves directly to the
Gila Wilderness make more sense for everybody.
The request was sent to Secretary Babbitt on 9-6-00 by the Center for
Biological Diversity, former director of the wolf recovery program David
Parsons, Animal Protection of New Mexico, National Audubon Society,
National Parks Conservation Association, New Mexico Wilderness
Alliance, Sierra Club, Sinapu, Southwest Environmental Center,
Southwest Forest Alliance, Turner Endangered Species Fund, The
Wildlands Project, and Wildlife Damage Review.
The letter also requested that the Department of Interior rescind a policy
requiring that wolves which leave the designated "recovery area" be re-
captured. No other wolf recover program in North America contains such
provisions limiting the travel pattern and territory establishment of wolves.
The recovery of the Mexican gray wolf will only succeed if they are
allowed to naturally establish territories and packs. It is biologically and
politically disastrous to demand that wolves stay within arbitrary human
WATER-POWER HOGS TRY TO DERAIL COLORADO RIVER
Sunbelt water and power agencies have filed a motion to intervene in a
lawsuit brought by Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological
Diversity to protect endangered species and reform water policy on the
Colorado River and its delta on the Gulf of California. The suit is intended
to secure guaranteed water flows to restore the dwindling Colorado River
Delta and the wildlife-rich Cienega de Santa Clara.
The California-based Metropolitan Water District, Imperial Irrigation
District, Coachella Valley Water District, and San Diego County Water
Authority, the Arizona-based Central Arizona Water Conservancy District
and Salt River Project, and Nevada-based Colorado River Board and
Southern Nevada Water Authority have previously rejected all
conservation compromise proposals. They are now attempting once and
for all to crush any possible delta conservation.
The suit to protect the delta was filed in June 2000 by a binational
coalition of eight environmental groups led by the Center and Defenders.
So much water is dammed and diverted from the Colorado River for
urban and agricultural use in the U.S., that it often runs dry before
reaching the Delta and Gulf of California in Mexico. Lack of fresh water
inflow has severely degraded what used to be one the world's great
estuaries. Its wetlands have decline from some 1.9 million acres to just
150,000. Native peoples as well as fish, birds, mammals and mollusks
have all been impacted, as have fisheries in the northern gulf. The
Cienega de Santa Clara is also threatened by government plans to
divert its water source for use in the U.S.
The suit is being argued by Katherine Meyer of Meyer & Glitzenstein
(Washington, D.C.) and Bill Snape of Defenders of Wildlife.
CENTER OPPOSES PERMIT TO KILL ENDANGERED SPECIES IN
SAN DIEGO AREA
The Center is opposing a potential city-wide permit to kill federally listed
endangered species and destroy habitat in the northern San Diego
County City of Carlsbad. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which has
jurisdiction over threatened and endangered species, is currently
deciding on whether to grant the permit.
The Carlsbad permit, otherwise known as the "Carlsbad Habitat
Management Plan," would authorize significant additional losses
of California gnatcatcher coastal sage scrub habitat, southern maritime
chaparral and critically endangered vernal pools, 97% of which have
already been destroyed by southern California development. Some
important vernal pool habitat documented in past resource surveys is
not even mentioned in the plan, thereby ensuring its future destruction.
The plan also capitulates to developers by giving take permits up front
while merely promising to prepare a management plan for set-aside
habitat fragments at some later date.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Science and Policy Director 520.623.5252 phone
Center for Biological Diversity 520.623.9797 fax
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> POB 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710