From: owner-swcbdmembers@envirolink.org on behalf of Kieran Suckling [ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org]
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 11:23 PM
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: BIODIVERSITY ACTIVIST #275
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             CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

           <www.biologicaldiversity.org>      5-22-01      #275
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§ 500 MILES OF NEW MEXICO STREAMS FOUND ELIGIBLE FOR
   PROTECTION UNDER THE WILD & SCENIC RIVERS ACT

§ 27 MILLION ACRES OF BEAUFORT SEA MAY BE DESIGNATED AS
   CRITICAL HABITAT FOR ENDANGERED BOWHEAD WHALE

§ SUIT BREWING TO PROTECT ARIZONA BALD EAGLES FROM
   SPRAWL

§ FEDS FAIL TO MONITOR PEREGRINE FALCON POPULATION YET
   PERMIT TAKING OF 5% OF ALL WESTERN NESTLINGS                                 

500 MILES OF NEW MEXICO STREAMS FOUND ELIGIBLE FOR
PROTECTION UNDER THE WILD & SCENIC RIVERS ACT
In keeping with a court ordered legal settlement with the Center for
Biological Diversity and Amigos Bravos, four New Mexico National Forests
have declared that 500 miles of streams and rivers within their boundaries
qualify for protective status under the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. This
eligibility determination is the first step toward full designation under the
Act which requires an act of Congress.

The nation’s preeminent river protection law, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act
is intended to protect free flowing rivers from dam building, logging,
mining, and cattle grazing. Similar to “wilderness study areas”, rivers
declared “eligible” for protection must be managed to maintain their
eligibility until Congress makes a final decision on their fate.

The Center and Amigos Bravos brought suit against the Forest Service in
1997 because the Gila, Lincoln, Cibola, and Carson National Forests
failed to inventory rivers within their boundaries for protective status nearly
30 years after the Act was passed. Though over 10,500 miles on 150 river
segments have been protected under the Act nationwide, to date very few
New Mexico rivers have been included: the east fork of the Jemez River,
Rio Chama, the Pecos River, and segments of the Rio Grande and Red
River.

Rivers found eligible through our litigation process include:

  Gila National Forest: East, Middle and West Forks of the Gila River,
     Negrito Creek, Tularosa River, Animas Creek

  Cibola National Forest:  Las Huertas Creek, Tajique Creek, Canadian
     River.

  Lincoln National Forest: Rio Peñasco, Sacramento River

The case was argued by Matt Bishop of the Western Environmental Law
Center (Taos).
     __________________

27 MILLION ACRES OF BEAUFORT SEA MAY BE DESIGNATED AS
CRITICAL HABITAT FOR ENDANGERED BOWHEAD WHALE
Responding to a formal petition submitted by the Center for Biological
Diversity, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced on 5-22-01
that the designation of approximately 26.5 million acres of the Beaufort
Sea as critical habitat for the endangered bowhead whale may be
warranted. The area identified as essential for the bowhead’s survival and
recovery by the Center include the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's North Slope
between Point Barrow and the Canadian border, from mean high tide to
approximately 170 kilometers offshore. Once designated, critical habitat
areas are protected from all federal actions, including oil drilling, which
may destroy or degrade them.

Bowheads were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century, and have
been listed as an endangered species since 1970.  Large-scale industrial
development has proliferated within the proposed critical habitat area,
exposing bowheads to disruptive noise, oil spills, and deadly collisions with
ships. The Fisheries Service finding is particularly timely in the face of the
Bush administration's reckless plan to line the pockets of his gas & oil
campaign contributors by drilling for oil along Alaska's North Shore.

A final decision on the petition is expected within 12 months. To see a
copy of the petition
<www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/bowhead/petition.pdf>

The Center also has a petition pending to designate critical habitat for the
northern right whale in Alaska’s Bering Sea
<www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/right/nprw1.html>

Previous Center actions have resulted in the designation of 26.1 million
acres of Alaskan shoreline and ocean as critical habitat for the Steller’s
and spectacled eider
<www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/eiders/index.html>
     _________________

SUIT BREWING TO PROTECT ARIZONA BALD EAGLES FROM
SPRAWL
On 5-8-01, the Center for Biological Diversity and Concerned Citizens
About Responsible Environment formally notified the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers that we will sue over the agency’s approval of the Vista Verde
development in northeast Maricopa County. The 856-acre Vista Verde
development would place hundreds of houses and 36 golf holes within a
mile of the Verde River and an active bald eagle nest. Over the objections
of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Army Corps denies any negative
impacts to the eagles.

Listed as a federally threatened species, the bald eagle has achieved
remarkable recovery in many areas of the country, yet only 40 breeding
sites exist in the Southwest.  Due to its precariously low numbers,
dependence upon human intervention to breed successfully, and
continuing threats to its riverine habitat, the Center opposes the proposed
delisting of the Southwestern population of the bald eagle from
Endangered Species Act protection.
     ___________________

FEDS FAIL TO MONITOR PEREGRINE FALCON POPULATION YET
PERMIT TAKING OF 5% OF ALL WESTERN NESTLINGS
On 5-22-01, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife,
Portland Audubon Society, Headwaters, and the Klamath-Siskiyou
Wildlands Center formally notified the Department of Interior that it will file
suit over the agency’s failure to monitor the population status of the
American peregrine falcon.

The falcon was declared recovered and removed from the endangered
species list in August, 1999. To ensure such species continue to recover,
the Endangered Species Act requires that they be monitored for at least
five years. Yet nearly two years later, the agency has still not drafted or
implemented a comprehensive monitoring plan.

Despite ongoing habitat threats, poor reproduction in some regions, and
lack of a monitoring plan, the Department of Interior announced last week
that it is authorizing the take of 5% of all peregrine nestlings in the western
states each year for falconry purposes. Without monitoring, the agency will
not even know how many falcon nests exists, much less whether 5, 10, or
20 percent of the nestlings are being taken. Because it lacks monitoring
data, the department is “assuming” the number of falcon nests and
productivity of each nest is the same as it was in 1998.


Kierán Suckling                           ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org
Executive Director                        520.623.5252 phone
Center for Biological Diversity        520.623.9797 fax
<www.biologicaldiversity.org>        POB 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710