CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> 12-14-00 #261
§ 55,000 ACRES PROPOSED TO SAVE KANGAROO RAT
§ PETITION FILED TO LIST PACIFIC FISHER AS ENDANGERED
§ SUIT FILED TO EXPAND RANGE OF ENDANGERED STEELHEAD,
TAKE ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DAMS
§ SUIT FILED TO PROTECT TEXAS SPIDERS AND BEETLES
§ EMAILS NEEDED TODAY TO ENSURE DESIGNATION OF
"SONORAN DESERT NATIONAL MONUMENT"
55,000 ACRES PROPOSED TO SAVE KANGAROO RAT
In keeping with a legal settlement negotiated with the Center for
Biological Diversity and Christians Caring for Creation, the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service published a proposal to designate 55,408 acres of
"critical habitat" for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat on 12-8-00. The
proposal includes six areas in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It
will be finalized on 12-1-01 following a public comment period and
economic impact analysis.
The kangaroo rat is beautiful, unique part of California's natural heritage.
In addition to it's amazing jumping ability and desert survival skills, it is
one of a number of species that lives in the sand and young vegetation
left behind by seasonal flooding. Channelization, water diversions,
floodplain mining, dams, sprawl, and flood control projects have
eliminated natural flooding regimes throughout most of southern
California. Without floods, the k-rat has nowhere to go when its habitat
eventually becomes overgrown. It historic habitat has decline by 95%.
About 13,700 acres remain, with the kangaroo rat occupying only 3,250
acres in seven locations, isolated from each other by urban development.
To find out more about the San Bernardino kangaroo rat and see maps
of the proposed critical habitat areas
PETITION FILED TO LIST PACIFIC FISHER AS AN ENDANGERED
SPECIES IN CA, OR, AND WA
On 11-28-00, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Nevada Forest
Protection Campaign, NRDC and other groups filed a formal petition with
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the fisher as a federally endangered
species in its West Coast range, including the Sierra Nevada, the Klamath-
Siskiyou, and the westside forests of Oregon and Washington.
A relative of the mink and otter, the fisher is absent or severely reduced in
most of the west coast. Only three small, isolated populations of the fisher
remain, including native populations in northern California and the southern
Sierra Nevada and a reintroduced population in the southern
Oregon Cascades. The fisher is closely associated with old-growth forests
and has become rarer as old growth has declined by 60-85% across
California, Oregon and Washington.
In a related development, the U.S. Forest Service has temporarily halted
all logging in the Sierra Nevada in response to a lawsuit by the John Muir
Project, Forest Conservation Council, and the Tule River Conservancy.
The groups argued that continued logging under an expired interim plan
would harm the fisher and the California spotted owl.
To read the petition and find out more about the pacific fisher:
The Center has also petitioned to list the California spotted owl as an
SUIT FILED TO EXPAND RANGE OF ENDANGERED STEELHEAD,
TAKE ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DAMS
On 12-11-00, seven conservation and fishing organizations filed suit
against the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Services and U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service over the agencies' failure to fully protect endangered
steelhead trout in southern California. Rather than giving Endangered
Species Act protection to all Southern California steelhead habitat, the
agencies arbitrarily excluded steelhead streams above dams and south of
Steelhead are a unique form of rainbow trout. Like salmon, they spent
most of their adult life in the ocean, but spawn in freshwater streams and
rivers. Tens of thousands of the prized sport fish used to return to
southern California streams every year. Dams, urban development, and
livestock grazing have decimated steelhead runs and today only a few
hundred fish make the yearly pilgrimage.
Studies conducted by the Fisheries Service's own biologists and
independent scientists demonstrate the importance of spawning habitat
upstream of dams. They also found that the species used to inhabit
streams as far south as northern Baja California, Mexico. Indeed,
steelhead were recently discovered in San Mateo Creek in San Diego
County. Without removal of unnecessary and antiquated dams, steelhead
runs will never return to their full abundance. Without recovery south of
Malibu Creek, they will remain forever absent from a large portion of their
Groups filing the lawsuit include the Center for Biological Diversity,
California Trout, Environmental Defense Center, Friends of the Santa
Clara River, Heal the Bay, Institute for Fisheries Resources and the
Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations. They are
represented by Tanya Gulessarian of the Environmental Defense Center
and Neil Levine of EarthJustice.
SUIT FILED TO PROTECT TEXAS SPIDERS AND BEETLES
On 11-1-00, the Center filed suit against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to
list nine Bexar County, Texas spiders and beetles as endangered species:
Rhadine exilis (no common name)
Rhadine infernalis (no common name),
Batrisodes venyivi (Helotes mold beetle),
Texella cokendolpheri (Robber Baron Cave harvestman)
Cicurina baronia (Robber Baron cave spider),
Cicurina madla (Madla's cave spider),
Cicurina venii (no common name),
Cicurina vespera (vesper cave spider),
Neoleptoneta microps (Government Canyon cave spider)
All nine inhabit karst features (limestone formations containing caves,
sinks, and fissures) near San Antonio, Texas. Threats to the species include
destruction and/or deterioration of habitat by construction, filling of
caves, loss of permeable cover, and contamination from septic effluent,
sewer leaks, runoff, and pesticides.
The species were the subject of a formal listing petition in 1992, but the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has illegally delayed making a decision about
their fate. The agency is now 6 years overdue in listing the species.
The Center is represented by Geoff Hickcox of Kenna & Hickcox.
EMAILS NEEDED TODAY TO ENSURE DESIGNATION OF "SONORAN
DESERT NATIONAL MONUMENT"
The Sonoran Desert is one of the largest and most pristine desert
ecosystems in North America. Yet this biologically rich area is fragile, and
increasingly under siege from a variety of threats, including development,
off-road vehicles, and mining.
Responding to pleas from conservationists, Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt is now considering recommending that the President protect about
500,000 acres of public land as the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
The area includes three designated wilderness areas -- the North and
South Maricopas and Table Top Mountains -- and the biologically rich
This landscape also includes the Sand Tank Mountains, which have not
suffered the incompatible land uses of mining, livestock grazing, or cross-
country vehicle travel for more than 50 years while under management of
the Department of Defense. As a result, the wildlife habitat in the Sand
Tank Mountains is rare in its diversity and in the health of the native plant
communities found there. The Pentagon will give up management of the
Sand Tank Mountains and also of the Sentinel Plain (which has also been
off-limits to mining, grazing, and ORV use for a half-century) next
November at the latest. This management change will place these sensitive
areas at risk to development and environmental damage.
The best way to protect these fragile areas and the incredible biological
diversity they contain is for the President to designate a Sonoran Desert
With only seven weeks left in office, President Bill Clinton needs to hear
from you NOW in order to make this monument a reality.
To learn more about the monument proposal - and to send an automatic,
personalize-able email to President Clinton and other political leaders: