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Peninsular Bighorn Sheep
Peninsular bighorn sheep, photo courtesy of Christopher Christie

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SCHWARZENEGGER GETS THE LEAD OUT!  CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR APPROVES HISTORIC CONDOR PROTECTION BILLL

Last month the California senate got the lead out for condors; this month, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got the lead out by approving the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act. On October 13, 2007, the governor signed the Act, requiring hunters to use non-lead ammunition for hunting big game and coyotes within the condor range in central and southern California. The legislation stands to significantly reduce lead poisoning of condors and is a positive step in getting lead out of the food chain. The Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act goes into effect July 1, 2008.

Read more about it at the Monterey County Herald online. You can check out the Center’s work with condors at http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/news-search-frameset.html.


BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO SLASH PROTECTED HABITAT FOR ENDANGERED PENINSULAR BIGHORN SHEEP

On October 10, 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in line with the Bush administration’s status quo for species non-protection, proposed severely restricting critical habitat for the Peninsular Ranges desert bighorn sheep. The new critical habitat proposal would reduce by nearly 55 percent the area that the agency determined in 2001 was crucial for the survival and recovery of this highly endangered animal. Joan Taylor of the Coachella Valley Sierra Club put it this way: “Nothing is different about bighorn biology since the original critical habitat determination, but the politics have changed. What the administration has basically done is to cave to special development interests, and the bighorn have taken the shaft in the process.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments on the new proposal until December 10, 2007. You can submit your comments regarding the severe restriction of Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep critical habitat by sending an email to fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov.


SETTLEMENT PROVIDES HABITAT PROTECTION FOR ENDANGERED ATLANTIC SALMON IN MAINE

A federal judge in Portland, Maine, approved a settlement agreement on October 3 requiring federal wildlife agencies to protect critical habitat for the endangered Gulf of Maine population of wild Atlantic salmon. The agreement, resulting from a lawsuit filed by the Conservation Law Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity in December 2006, requires the National Marine Fisheries Service to submit a proposed critical habitat designation for Maine Atlantic salmon by August 30, 2008, with a final designation due by April 30, 2009.

The critical-habitat designation will protect and ensure clean, unspoiled river habitat for this distinct population of Atlantic salmon. Species with critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as species without.


PETITION FILED TO CONTROL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS OF LARGE CARGO SHIPS

Also on October 3, the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Oceana, and Friends of the Earth petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set global-warming pollution rules for large, ocean-going marine vessels, including cargo and cruise ships.

An April 2007 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court clearly established that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA authority to address global warming. These petitions begin the process of imposing mandatory regulations on the marine transportation sector. The EPA has been asked to respond within 180 days. Read the New York Times story and check out the story in the L.A. Times too.


SAVE THE WHALES! CENTER PETITION SLOWS BOATS TO HELP ENDANGERED BLUE WHALES

In response to a Center for Biological Diversity petition, the Coast Guard has issued a warning to commercial shipping vessels to slow to 10 knots when traveling through the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of southern California. The Center filed its petition on September 25 after a rash of ship strikes killed three endangered blue whales.

Though the speed reduction is voluntary at this time, the Coast Guard’s notice is a positive first step toward a federally mandated 10-knot speed limit in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Center will continue to work to make the speed limits mandatory. Check out these stories at MSNBC and in the Contra Costa Times.


ALPINE “BOULDER BUNNY” JOINS POLAR BEAR IN RAGGED RACE AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING

On October 1, The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the American pika as an endangered species. Rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas pollution have already led to dramatic losses of pika populations; an endangered species listing for the species would protect the rabbit-like animal from the worst impacts of global warming and other threats to its high-elevation habitat. Because the Endangered Species Act requires all federal agencies to avoid actions that would threaten the survival of species protected under the statute, listing the American pika will provide further impetus for the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. More than a third of known pika populations in the Great Basin Mountains of Nevada and Oregon have gone extinct.


 

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