From: owner-swcbdmembers@envirolink.org on behalf of Kieran Suckling [ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 12:59 AM
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: BIODIVERSITY ACTIVIST #279
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             CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

           <www.biologicaldiversity.org>      7-10-01      #279
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§ PETITION FILED TO LIST GREEN STURGEON AS ENDANGERED

§ ENVIROS CALL FOR REMOVAL OF LIBBY DAM TO SAVE
   ENDANGERED STURGEON AND KOOTENAI RIVER

§ 7,000 ACRES PROTECTED FOR RIVERSIDE FAIRY SHRIMP

§ 6,000 ACRES PROPOSED TO PROTECT RARE CALIFORNIA
   PLANT

§ SUIT TO PROTECT ARIZONA'S SAN PEDRO RIVER


PETITION FILED TO LIST GREEN STURGEON AS ENDANGERED
Sturgeon, one of the world’s largest and long-lived fish, are declining
around the globe. Half of North America’s eight sturgeon species
(shortnose, gulf, pallid, and Alabama sturgeons) are already listed as
endangered, as is the Kootenai River population of the white sturgeon
(see below). On 6-11-01, the Center for Biological Diversity, EPIC, and
WaterKeepers Northern California filed a formal petition to list a fifth
species under the Endangered Species Act: the North American green
sturgeon.

The green sturgeon is prehistoric looking, with a shovel shaped snout
and vacuum cleaner-like mouth. It can reach 7.5 feet in length, weigh up
to 350 pounds, and live as long as 70 years. It ranges in marine waters
from Alaska to Mexico, feeds in estuaries and bays from San Francisco
to British Columbia, and spawns in the mainstem of large rivers.

The only remaining spawning populations are in the Sacramento and
Klamath River basins (CA) and possibly in the Rogue River (OR). A
number of presumed spawning populations have been lost in the Eel,
South Fork Trinity, and San Joaquin rivers since the 1960's. Severe
population declines have occurred in northern rivers such as the Umpqua
(OR) and Fraser (BC) rivers. Each of the three remaining spawning
populations contain only a few hundred mature females.

The green sturgeon is threatened by water pollution and habitat loss from
dams, diversions, channelization, and urban and agricultural sprawl. It
has also been impacted by unsustainable fishing such as the 6,000 green
sturgeon taken from the Columbia River in 1986. The principal remaining
sturgeon fishing areas are in south coastal Washington and the Columbia
River estuary.

To see the petition and find out more about the green sturgeon:
www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/grnsturgeon/index.html

ENVIROS CALL FOR REMOVAL OF LIBBY DAM TO SAVE
ENDANGERED STURGEON, KOOTENAI RIVER
The Center for Biological Diversity, the Ecology Center, and the Alliance
for the Wild Rockies have called for the removal of the Libby Dam on the
upper Kootenai River in Montana to save the endangered Kootenai River
white sturgeon. The dam is also driving the bull trout, westslope cutthroat
trout, and burbot toward extinction by disturbing the entire Kootenai river
system from water temperature, to siltation buildup, to natural flooding
patterns, to changes in vegetation and prey species.

Though it thrived in the Kootenai River for over ten thousand years,
eventually evolving into a unique population, the Kootenai River white
sturgeon has not successfully reproduced since the gates of Libby Dam
were closed in 1975. The dam cut off the spring floods which cue the
sturgeon to swim upstream and spawn. Virtually all sturgeon in the river
are at least 25 years old and will eventually die of old age if the dam is
not removed or re-engineered to allow natural flooding patterns.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists have repeatedly called on
the Army Corps of Engineers to increase spring water levels by
releasing greater amounts of water from Libby Dam. Political intervention,
has repeatedly watered down these requests, and allowed the Corps of
Engineers to ignore even these.

In response to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Fish &
Wildlife Service proposed to designate 11 miles of the Kootenai River as
critical habitat for the sturgeon on 12-27-00. The Center, the Ecology
Center and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies are calling for the designation
of the entire watershed below Libby Dam as critical habitat, the return of
spring floods, and removal or re-engineering of the river-killing dam.

To learn more about the sturgeon and see our proposal:
www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/sturgeon/index.html

7,000 ACRES PROTECTED FOR RIVERSIDE FAIRY SHRIMP
In keeping with a court order obtained by the Center for Biological
Diversity, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designated 6,830 acres of
“critical habitat” for the Riverside fairy shrimp in Southern California on
5-24-01. The designation will protect isolated wetlands called “vernal
pools” in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Ventura
counties.

The agency had proposed to protect 12,060 acres, but in violation of
its own federal recovery plan, excluded virtually all wetlands on the
Marine’s Camp Pendleton and Miramar bases as well as occupied
pools threatened with development.

The fairy shrimp was listed as an endangered species 1993 in response
to a 1998 petition submitted by the San Gorgonio Chapter of the Sierra
Club. It is imperiled by urban sprawl, agribusiness, off-road vehicles,
livestock grazing, and wetland draining. Its habitat has been reduced to
just 25 vernal pool complexes.

The Center is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the exclusions and
protect all wetlands supporting Riverside fairy shrimp.

6,000 ACRES PROPOSED TO PROTECT RARE CALIFORNIA PLANT
In response to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and the
California Native Plant Society, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed
the designation of 6,630 acres of “critical habitat” to protect the threatened
Otay tarplant (Deinandra conjugens) in Southern California on 6-13-01.

The Otay tarplant is a member of the sunflower family and is dependent
on rare clay soils amidst grasslands in southern San Diego County and
northern Baja California. The Smithsonian Institution petitioned to list it as
endangered in 1975, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service failed to process
the petition, prompting a new petition by the Center in 1990. This petition
was also ignored, however, prompting a lawsuit and the listing of the
species in 1998, some 23 years after it was determined to be threatened
with extinction. But critical habitat was not designated and populations of
the rare plant continued to be destroyed, prompting another lawsuit to
designate critical habitat for it.

The proposed designation includes 3,865 acres in the Sweetwater/Proctor
Valley area, 515 acres in the Chula Vista area, and 2,249 in the Otay
Mesa/Big Murphy area.

SUIT TO PROTECT ARIZONA'S SAN PEDRO RIVER
On 7-2-01, the Center for Biological Diversity served notice against the
Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, and others to prevent the
issuance of development permits and insurance without consideration of
the overall effect of groundwater pumping on the San Pedro River.  Nearly
all of the San Pedro's stream flow during the driest times of the year is
already intercepted by the groundwater pumping. The local groundwater
deficit was 7,000 acre-feet per year in 2000.  It is expected to increase to
13,000 acre-feet per year by 2020.

The San Pedro River riparian area is internationally renowned for its
biological diversity. Nearly 45% of the 900 total species of birds in North
America utilize the San Pedro River at some point in their lives. The river
is essential for long term survival of many species including Southwestern
willow flycatcher, loach minnow, spikedace, Huachuca water umbel and
western yellow-billed cuckoo.




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