No. 305, May 23, 2002

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CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Biodiversity Activist No. 305
May 23, 2002
www.biologicaldiversity.org
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FEDS AGREE TO PROTECT HABITAT FOR GUAM BIRDS AND BATS

PETITION FILED TO PROTECT RELICT LEOPARD FROG IN AZ, NV, UT

LAWSUIT PLANNED TO PROTECT KOOTENAI RIVER IN ID & MT

MILITARY LAND TRANSFER IN SAN PEDRO RIVER BASIN STOPPED

JOIN US FOR HANDS-ON CONSERVATION ON WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS IN
CA

LETTERS NEEDED FOR PROTECTION OF CARSON WANDERING SKIPPER IN CA
AND NV

SUBSCRIBE TO FREE ONLINE HERP CONSERVATION NEWSLETTER

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FEDS AGREE TO PROTECT HABITAT FOR GUAM BIRDS AND BATS

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Marianas Audubon
Society have negotiated a legal binding agreement with the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service to designate and protect critical
habitat areas for six endangered Guam species by 6-01-03. The
Marianas fruit bat, little Marianas fruit bat, Marianas crow,
Guam Micronesian kingfisher, Guam broadbill, and Guam bridled
white-eye are just of few of the hundreds of endangered species
threatened by habitat loss and exotic species (especially the
brown tree snake) in the Pacific Islands. Of the six, only the
Mariana crow and Marianas fruit bat still occur naturally in the
wild where they are restricted to the few remaining mature
forest stands.

Over 2,000 bird species -- 20% of all avian species on Earth --
have been driven to extinction on Pacific islands, including 800
species of flightless rail. On Guam, 11 of the 12 native bird
species are extinct or endangered.

For more information:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/activist/guam.html

The suit was argued by David Henkin of the Earthjustice Legal
Defense Fund (Honolulu).

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PETITION FILED TO PROTECT RELICT LEOPARD FROG IN AZ, NV, UT

The Center for Biological Diversity and Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on 5-02-02
to protect the relict leopard frog under the U.S. Endangered
Species Act. Thought extinct until the 1990's, small populations
at eight springs in two locations were rediscovered in the Lake
Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. Since then, they have
disappeared from two of the springs. It is teetering on the edge
of extinction with less than 1,100 adults in the entire
population.

The relict leopard frog originally occurred in springs and
wetlands within the Virgin, Muddy, and Colorado River drainages
in UT, NV, and AZ. They have been extirpated from 91% of their
range, including all of UT and AZ. Habitat destruction from
damming, urban and agricultural development, recreational impact
from visitors to Lake Mead, and predation and competition from
exotic species such as bullfrogs, crayfish, and introduced
invasive plants threaten the remaining populations.

The damming of the Colorado River and the formation of Lake Mead
in 1935 and Lake Mojave in 1951 flooded relict leopard frog
habitat, reduced connectivity between the remaining populations,
and altered the water systems necessary to maintain leopard frog
habitats.

For more information:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/relictfrog/index.html

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LAWSUIT PLANNED TO PROTECT KOOTENAI RIVER IN ID & MT

On 5-7-02, the Center for Biological Diversity, Ecology Center
and Idaho Conservation League formally notified the Army Corps
of Engineers of their intent to sue the agency for refusing to
implement required conservation measures necessary to save the
endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon from extinction. The
landlocked sturgeon occurs nowhere else on earth except the
Kootenai River where it has thrived for tens of thousands of
years. It has not successfully spawned, however, since Libby Dam
became operational in 1974. The dam has disrupted natural
flooding regimes, eradicating large spring floods, allowing
gravel riverbeds to become silted in, and altering water
temperatures. Fewer than 500 mature females remain in the aging
population. If natural flooding regimes are not soon returned to
the river, they will become too old to spawn.

In 1995 and again in December 2000, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service declared that Libby Dam is driving the sturgeon extinct.
In both instances it established required changes to the
management of Libby Dam to save the sturgeon. Those changes
involve increasing spring water releases to more closely mimic
the spring flood that occurred prior to the dam's creation.
Though the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to implement the
measures, they have consistently refused to do so since 1995.

For more information:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/sturgeon/index.html

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MILITARY LAND TRANSFER IN SAN PEDRO RIVER BASIN STOPPED

Fort Huachuca has canceled a decision to transfer 203 acres of
military land outside of Sierra Vista in the wake of objections
by the Center for Biological Diversity and a recent federal
court order declaring that its vague "conservation plan" is not
adequate to prevent the extinction of the endangered
Southwestern willow flycatcher and Huachuca water umbel. Fort
Huachuca is the single biggest water user in the upper San Pedro
River Basin. It's growth and growth inducing actions is one of
the primary reasons the river is drying up. The river baseflow
has declined by 67%, and in some areas may dry completely unless
strong water conservation plans are put into action.

The land transfer would bring approximately 2,400 new people to
San Pedro River Basin.

For more information:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/activist/sanpedro.html

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JOIN US FOR HANDS-ON CONSERVATION ON WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS IN
CA

The Center for Biological Diversity will be participating in
working field expeditions with the Ventana Wilderness Alliance
and Forest Service to explore the Big Sur River and Ventana
Wilderness Area and Sisquoc River. Participants will learn more
about riparian ecology, and manually remove exotic plants from
wild and scenic river corridors.

On June 8-9, we will stay over at Ventana Camp on Saturday to
enjoy the wilderness, learn more about the ecology of this wild
and scenic river, and meet other individuals who care for
California's wild and scenic rivers. Ventana camp has one of the
most beautiful swimming holes in the entire Ventana Wilderness.
We will leave Big Sur Station at 9 AM on Saturday and return by
mid-day Sunday. Please contact Steve Chambers, Ventana
Wilderness Alliance at: kestrel@cruzio.com to reserve space,
directions, and for details on what to wear/bring.

On June 24-27, join the Center and Kevin Cooper, a wildlife
biologist with the Forest Service at the Sisquoc River. The
expedition will focus on removing exotic species from a rugged
and remote area while learning about the ecology of wild and
scenic rivers with experienced and knowledgeable individuals.
Please contact Brent Plater at: bplater@biologicaldiversity.org
for more details and to reserve space. RSVP by June 7th.

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LETTERS NEEDED FOR PROTECTION OF CARSON WANDERING SKIPPER IN CA
AND NV

The Carson wandering skipper butterfly received an emergency
listing as an endangered species in November 2001 because of a
listing petition by the Xerces Society, and a negotiated
settlement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the
Center for Biological Diversity. The Service has proposed to
make the listing permanent, but is being opposed by Lassen
County where the butterfly resides. A new comment period has
been initiated to allow the county and others to voice their
opinion.

The Carson wandering skipper is currently known from only two
populations, one in Washoe County, Nevada, and the other in
Lassen County, California. There was another population near
Carson City, Nevada, which recently was lost due to development
activities at the site. According to two reports authored by
Peter Brussard, a professor at University of Nevada, Reno, the
butterfly is at tremendous risk of extinction at its two
remaining sites due to livestock grazing, off road vehicle
activity, encroaching development, changes in the water table,
and pesticide drift.

Please write a letter today, supporting complete Endangered
Species Act protection for the Carson wandering skipper. The
comment period closes June 6.
If you choose to write an email, please write "Carson wandering
skipper Endangered Species listing" in the subject line.

Robert D. Williams
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1340 Financial Boulevard, Suite 234,
Reno, Nevada 89502
fw1renoskipper@r1.fws.gov

Sample letter:

Dear Mr. Williams:
Thank you and the Fish and Wildlife Service for your emergency
listing action for the Carson Wandering Skipper, Pseudocopaeodes
eunus obscurus. We support formal listing of this species under
the Endangered Species Act.

The Carson wandering skipper is currently known from only two
populations, one in Washoe County, Nevada, and one in Lassen
County, California. Two recent reports by Peter F. Brussard
clearly show that the current status of the butterfly warrants
an Endangered Species listing and all the protection that would
provide. Extinction of this butterfly could occur from naturally
occurring events or other threats due to the small, isolated
nature of the remaining populations. The sites where viable
populations are still found are at risk due to livestock
grazing, OHV activity, encroaching development, changes in the
water table and pesticide drift.

I believe the Carson wandering skipper should get full
protection under the Endangered Species Act and a recovery plan
should be developed that will recover the species. Critical
habitat should also be designated for protection of the species.

For more information: http://www.xerxes.org , or contact Scott
Hoffman Black (503) 534-2706 or sblack@xerxes.org.

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