4,400 Acres Saved From Oil and Gas Hydrofracking
In a victory for clean air, safe climate, wilderness, and wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies have stopped a 4,400-acre oil and gas drilling plan on West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest. The plan would have trashed a proposed wilderness area, threatened brook trout, and put additional pressure on a nearby population of endangered bats suffering from white-nose syndrome.
The plan might well have allowed the use of hydrofracking -- also known as hydraulic fracturing -- which cracks deep underground rocks with high-pressure water pumps, threatening to pollute streams and aquifers.
Read more in the Charleston Gazette.
Suit Prompts Stream Restoration
Due to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the city council of Santa Clarita, California has announced it will finance restoration of the Bouquet Canyon Creek, the area's last natural creek. The project will prove that natural creeks work for flood control; right now, most creeks in the Santa Clara River Valley are lined with concrete. In fact, said the president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment (our ally in the case), the creek is really the only place left in the city that's not concrete.
Our original lawsuit was filed over a car dealership that was too close to the Santa Clara River. The Santa Clara River system, including the Bouquet Canyon Creek, is home to numerous endangered species, from the arroyo toad to the least Bell's vireo to the marvelous unarmored threespine stickleback (a fish).
Read more in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
Habitat Refuge Sought for Endangered Abalone
To save one of the West Coast's most unique and imperiled invertebrates, this Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Obama administration to force federal habitat protection for the endangered black abalone. This edible shellfish, once common throughout Southern California tide pools, has plummeted in numbers by 99 percent since the '70s, initially due to overfishing; the species is still severely threatened by climate change, ocean acidification, coastal development, poaching, and the spread of a fatal disease called withering syndrome. After a Center petition, the species was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2009. But the administration still hasn't set aside protected "critical habitat" as required under the law.
"Critical habitat protections have a proven track record helping endangered species to survive," said Catherine Kilduff, a staff attorney at the Center. "Black abalone is on the cusp of extinction, and further delay of habitat protection may seal the species' fate."
Check out our press release and learn more about the black abalone.
Tell the EPA to Clean Up Our Oceans
After a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, this week the Environmental Protection Agency took a big step forward in requesting public input on how to confront ocean acidification -- and the agency needs your letters now. The EPA seeks information on how it can use the Clean Water Act to guide states to monitor and identify coastal waters that are threatened or impaired by ocean acidification, so action can be taken to protect those waters through limits on CO2 pollution. Right now, the oceans absorb about 22 million tons of CO2 every day, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels -- which is causing seawater to become more and more acidic. Corrosive waters hinder the ability of marine life to build protective shells and skeletons -- which affects the entire ocean food chain.
Related to the Center's lawsuit forcing the EPA to address ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act, the Center has petitioned every coastal state to declare its ocean waters impaired under the Act. Now, by speaking out to the EPA, you can join our campaign to save all ocean life from one of the worst threats it's ever faced.
Check out our press release, learn more about ocean acidification, and take action now to help us stop it.
Feds Put Politics Over Science Against Southwest Eagle (Again)
In the continuing saga of politically tainted decisions threatening one of Arizona's most endangered but least acknowledged birds, the Center for Biological Diversity has just obtained documents indicating that the feds shunned science-- again -- in deciding not to protect Arizona's desert nesting bald eagle. An August 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo, which summarizes bald eagle experts' consensus position from the past 30 years, states that the unique Southwest population of bald eagle is "discrete and significant" to the national bald eagle population. In a December 2009 response, a political superior dismissed the experts' opinion, declaring that Service staff would "work with" the memo-writing scientist on a "revised version of the finding." Then, on February 25, the Fish and Wildlife Service removed Endangered Species Act protection from the desert nesting bald eagle. The situation mirrors the Service's attempts in 2006 and 2007 to withhold special federal safeguards for the desert eagles -- attempts that were thwarted by a federal judge's order to continue protection, resulting from Center lawsuits.
Only about 160 individuals and 60 breeding pairs of this population survive, all threatened by increasing development, dams, grazing, and other threats. The Center submitted a scientific petition to increase protection for the desert eagle in 2004; we've been working to save the population since 1989.
Check out our press release and learn more about the desert nesting bald eagle.
Report: Dwindling Delta Fish Deserve Water-pumping Limits
Late last week, the National Academy of Sciences released a report confirming that measures to protect endangered fish in the San Francisco Bay-Delta -- particularly restrictions on water pumping -- are scientifically justified and necessary. The report backs up statements made by federal agencies under the Endangered Species Act that required reduced Delta water diversions to prevent the extinction of delta smelt, Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, and green sturgeon. Despite the research of federal agencies -- which had gone through five reviews by the scientific community -- area agricultural interests pushed for more scientific evaluation of the situation. Well, now they have it.
"The Academy of Sciences report confirms that freshwater flows are essential to endangered fish, the fishing jobs dependent upon healthy salmon runs, and the whole Bay-Delta ecosystem," said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. The Center has a long history of work to save the ecosystem and its endangered inhabitants, including winning greater protections for the delta smelt; federal protection for the longfin smelt; and protection, a recovery plan, and 8.6 million acres of safeguarded habitat for the southern green sturgeon.
Read more in our press release and learn about our work for the San Francisco Bay-Delta.
Help Save New Mexico Forests From ORVs
The Mountainair Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest, just southeast of Albuquerque, has long been a victim of too many off-road vehicles -- and now is our chance to end the area's suffering. After nearly a year of public input and environmental studies, the Forest Service has developed four alternative plans to manage ORVs in the district -- one of which actually comes close to protecting natural resources, from clean water and a quiet place to hike to endangered species like the Mexican spotted owl, southwestern willow flycatcher, and northern goshawk.
Take action now to tell the Ranger District to choose the right plan -- called "Alternative 4" -- for the Cibola. Then learn more about our campaign for responsible travel-management planning on national forests throughout the Southwest.
Earth Hour: Turn Off, Tune In, Stop Warming
Looking for an easy but awesome means to break away from the energy-wasting status quo? Unite with conservation-conscious people across the globe -- including, of course, the Center for Biological Diversity -- by participating in Earth Hour this Saturday, March 27, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time, wherever you live on Earth. By turning off your lights for a single hour, you can help make a statement that will enlighten leaders throughout the world on the need to take strong action against climate change now.
Last year, nearly 1 billion people in 87 countries participated in Earth Hour -- including 80 million Americans in 318 U.S. cities. Dozens of world landmarks went dark, from the Empire State Building and the Las Vegas Strip to the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong.
Visit the World Wildlife Fund's U.S. Earth Hour Web site -- where you can get involved, read details, and watch videos -- and learn more about the Center's Climate Law Institute.
Free Wildlife Ringtones Site Launched in Spanish
Calling all cell-phone users who speak Spanish and love wildlife: The Center for Biological Diversity has just created a Spanish version of our free endangered species ringtones site called LlamadasSalvajes.org (llamadas salvajes means "wild calls"). On the new site, Spanish speakers can personalize their ringtones with the mesmerizing calls of the jaguar, coquí guajón, Mexican gray wolf, harpy eagle, Mexican spotted owl, and 30 other endangered wildlife species spanning the globe, with a special emphasis on endangered species living in Latin America. The site offers information on the species, as well as opportunities to take action to help save them -- plus endangered species cell-phone wallpaper. And it's all absolutely free.
RareEarthtones.org, the Center's English version of the site, has been a big hit since its launch in 2006; now, that site offers almost 100 croaks, chirps, and songs as ringtones, and downloads have surpassed 375,000 all over the world.
Check out LlamadasSalvajes.org and RareEarthtones.org now. You can also read our press release in English and Español.
Puerto Rico: Use a Stopper, Save the Hopper
As with our ringtones site, word of the Center for Biological Diversity's Endangered Species Condoms project has reached beyond the continental United States -- in fact, hundreds of people from dozens of different countries on several continents have asked about distributing the condoms abroad. Many of these inquiries have come from Puerto Rico -- home to the coquí guajón rock frog, featured as one of the six species on the condom packaging -- thanks to the publication of an excellent article in Primera Hora, a prominent Puerto Rican newspaper. The coquí guajón is an iconic species on the island -- its secretive cave habitat and haunting call earned it an important place in the culture and indigenous lore of Puerto Rico. But it's now endangered by the pressures of overpopulation, including development, polluted runoff, and pesticides.
Read the Primera Hora article in English, download a free ringtone of the coquí guajón's call, and learn more about our Endangered Species Condoms project.
Photo credits: arroyo toad (c) Jason Jones; Laurel Fork courtesy Flickr/UnstrungPhoto; least Bell's Vireo courtesy USFWS; black abalone by Glenn Allen, NOAA; starfish (c) Paul Townend; desert nesting bald eagle by Tom Gatz, USFWS; Delta smelt by B. Moose Peterson, USFWS; northern goshawk by David Brinker, Maryland Dept. Natural Resources; Earth courtesy NASA; Mexican gray wolf pup courtesy USFWS; coqui guajon rock frog design by Lori Lieber, artwork donated by the Endangered Species Print Project.
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