No. 382, March 2, 2007

SUIT FILED TO PROTECT POLAR BEARS AND WALRUS FROM GLOBAL WARMING, OIL EXPLORATION

   

SUIT CHALLENGES DESTRUCTION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES PRESERVE

   

HABITAT LOSS AND ARIZONA CONTROVERSY LEAD TO BALD EAGLE LISTING DELAY

   
EMERGENCY PETITION FILED TO SAVE DELTA SMELT
   
A GOOD MONTH FOR SALAMANDERS
   

PYGMY OWLS DECLINING IN MEXICO

   

GRAZING PREVENTED IN WOLF COUNTRY

   

WHO KILLED THE POLAR BEAR? SEE THE CENTER’S FUN NEW ANIMATION VIDEO ON THE EXTINCTION CRISIS

   

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO KILL ANOTHER MEXICAN GRAY WOLF

 

 

 


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SUIT FILED TO PROTECT POLAR BEARS AND WALRUS FROM GLOBAL WARMING, OIL EXPLORATION

The Center for Biological Diversity, Pacific Environment and Earthjustice filed suit on Feb. 13 challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval of oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent coastal plains. The agency violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by refusing to examine how oil and gas activities interact with global warming to threaten polar bears and walrus.


SUIT CHALLENGES DESTRUCTION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES PRESERVE

The Center for Biological Diversity and San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society will soon file suit to stop a land exchange that will eliminate a 1,170-acre endangered species reserve on the March Air Reserve Base. The March Preserve supports one of the last, best populations of the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat. It was established as a permanent mitigation site for a highway expansion in 1990, and in 1996 was incorporated into the Long-term Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat Habitat Conservation Plan. Now developers want to destroy it too, with federal and local “conservation” agencies happy to approve the destruction.


HABITAT LOSS AND ARIZONA CONTROVERSY LEAD TO BALD EAGLE LISTING DELAY

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has delayed removing the bald eagle from the endangered species list until June 29 because of a brewing controversy over the protection of its habitat after delisting and the imperiled status of the Arizona population. While nationally the eagle has made a remarkable recovery — from 417 pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963 to about 10,000 pairs in 2005 — it is not doing so well in Arizona, where a geographically distinct population had just 39 breeding pairs in 2006. On January 5th, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon Society filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service for suppressing studies that show the Arizona population is not thriving.

Meanwhile scientists, conservationists and even the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have complained that the Bush administration is blocking rules necessary to permanently protect the eagle’s habitat after it is removed from the threatened list.


EMERGENCY PETITION FILED TO SAVE DELTA SMELT

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Bay Institute and NRDC filed a petition on Feb. 7 to list the delta smelt as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act. Found only in the upper San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the smelt was once one of the most abundant of the Delta’s open water fishes. Between 1993 and 2005, however, it declined by over 97 percent due to massive diversions of fresh water from the Delta and its tributary rivers, loss of habitat, and poor water-quality from pesticides and other pollutants.


A GOOD MONTH FOR SALAMANDERS

On December 12, 2006, a state judge ordered the California Game and Fish Commission to list the California tiger salamander as an endangered species. The Commission had denied the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition purely on political grounds, prompting the court to conclude that “the Commission misstated or ignored substantial evidence in the administrative record and relied on conflicting information of doubtful scientific value...no competent scientific evidence, let alone substantial evidence, in the administrative record supports a rejection of the [Center’s] petition.”

On January 12, a state judge ordered the California Department of Fish and Game to reinstate the Scott Bar salamander on the state’s endangered species list. The agency had removed the imperiled species’ protection based on an illogical technicality, drawing a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, EPIC, and the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

On January 19, a federal judge struck down a refusal by the Bush administration to list the Siskiyou Mountains salamander and the Scott Bar salamander as federally endangered species. Both species of salamander require mature and old-growth forests, which after a century of logging exist only in fragments today. The suit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, EPIC, and Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands Project and argued by the Western Environmental Law Center.


PYGMY OWLS DECLINING IN MEXICO

A new study by University of Arizona researchers shows that pygmy owls in northern Mexico declined by 26 percent between 2000 and 2006. The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are pushing the Bush administration to list the Sonoran pygmy owl, which occurs in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, as an endangered species.


COLORADO RIVER RESTORATION EFFORTS FAILING

Prior to the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon supported one of the most unique fish communities in the world — eight species that existed together nowhere else on earth. Today four are gone, one has not been seen since 1992, and another, the humpback chub, has declined to the brink of extinction. In September 2006, the Center for Biological Diversity, Living Rivers, and Glen Canyon Institute settled a lawsuit, requiring the agency to review its failing, politically dominated management plan and come up with a clear, measurable, scientifically-driven restoration agenda. In a 21-page letter, however, the Center and Living Rivers complain that the agency’s new review refuses to acknowledge, much less solve, the fundamental problems of the dam’s destructive impact.


WHO KILLED THE POLAR BEAR? SEE THE CENTER’S FUN NEW ANIMATION VIDEO ON THE EXTINCTION CRISIS

The Center for Biological Diversity, Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment, the Buckminster Fuller Institute and Free Range Studios present a new Flash movie: The (bio)DaVersity Code. Join Robert Penguin and Sophie Minnow as they explore the death of a polar bear at the Natural History Museum and find out about the "greatest lie ever told": that humans can live outside the web of life.


FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO KILL ANOTHER MEXICAN GRAY WOLF

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the killing of yet another endangered Mexican gray wolf. Bowing to pressure from the livestock industry, the agency has become one of the primary causes of wolf mortality and the primary cause of the recovery program’s unacceptably slow progress. The Fish and Wildlife Service killed one wolf last month and eight in previous years. More wolves have died as a result of the agency’s constant capture-and-relocation efforts.



Polar bear photo courtesy of USFWS

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