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Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly
Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly

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Southern California Wildfires: Change Needed to Protect People and Nature

As mega-fires raged this past week in Southern California, Dave Hogan, conservation manager with the Center, braved the blaze along with hundreds of thousands of other San Diegans. Though losses in the region have been tragic, ultimately, said Hogan, "The fundamental cause of harm from the fires is rampant subdivision and home building that puts people in harm's way."  Hogan advocates for change in a series of steps necessary for better protection of people and nature from wildfire in southern California. Foremost among these steps is discouraging development in fire-prone natural lands.

You can read more of Hogan's necessary steps here, and read the Science vs. Myths About Southern California Fire and Chaparral. Also, check out this story in Sign On San Diego.

Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Gets Second Chance

In response to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, on October 24 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would again consider endangered species protection for the Bonneville cutthroat trout. The trout has been eliminated from the majority of its range and continues to be threatened by a combination of habitat loss related to water withdrawals, livestock grazing, urbanization, nonnative trout, and increasingly, climate change. A second consideration will give the trout another shot at endangered species protection.

The Bonneville cutthroat trout is primarily found in isolated, high-elevation streams in Utah and eastern Nevada. It is the official state fish of Utah.

Rapid Action Plan to Save the Polar Bear Unveiled

On October 17, the Center for Biological Diversity unleashed a "Rapid Action Plan" to address global warming and its effect on the Arctic. Kassie Siegel, director of the Center's Climate, Air, and Energy Program, took the action plan to Washington, DC, where she testified at a House Committee on Science and Technology hearing about the impacts of global warming on Arctic sea ice and the polar bear. "The rapid melting of the Arctic should be seen as an early warning of the broader climate crises to come if the U.S. and the world do not respond to global warming with the necessary urgency," warned Siegel.

Step It UpThe plan, titled "Not Too Late to Save the Polar Bear: A Rapid Action Plan to Address the Arctic Meltdown," outlines immediate actions that need to be taken on CO2 emissions, methane, and black carbon. Take a look at the Rapid Action Plan — excellent classroom talking-point material — and watch Siegel's testimony here.

Also, remember to check out your local Step it Up event on Saturday, November 3. People across the nation will be rallying to put pressure on our political leaders and candidates to act now to address the threat of global warming. Is your congressperson or favorite candidate planning to attend?

Emergency Listing Sought for Checkerspot Butterfly

On Friday, October 16, Forest Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity took the first step in a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its failure to respond to a petition to protect the Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly as an endangered species. Occurring on only 1,319 acres near Cloudcroft, New Mexico, the butterfly is threatened by sprawl, pesticide application, and climate change.  The conservation groups' efforts have already paid off by encouraging the Village of Cloudcroft to delay spraying pesticides targeted for a different insect until the butterfly is in diapause and no longer feeding.

In Search of Polar Bears: Center Attorneys Travel to Churchill, Manitoba

Center attorneys Kassie Siegel and Brendan Cummings will venture to Canada's Churchill, Manitoba ("the polar bear capital of the world") to observe firsthand how polar bears are faring in the wild. Along with a biologist and a photographer, Siegel and Cummings will be accompanying a documentary film crew from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Starting Monday, November 5, you can read all about their travels and polar bear observations at the Center's MySpace page,

Step it Up photo © Craig Quirolo/Reef Relief.
Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly photo © Eric Hein.  

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