400 Acres of Ancient Redwoods Saved
More than 400 acres of old-growth redwood forest on the northern coast of California are now protected. Over the past two years, the Center for Biological Diversity has been challenging logging plans that would have destroyed some of California's last remaining old forest. The area most recently in danger, known as the Noyo River Canyon in Mendocino County, has just been bought by the preservation organization Save the Redwoods League -- meaning the Center won't have to stay in court to protect these amazing trees. The area will continue to provide safe habitat for many years to come for numerous threatened and endangered species, including the marbled murrelet, a shy, seafaring bird that relies on old-growth forest for nesting.
Read more in the Martinez News-Gazette and San Francisco Chronicle.
Flying Squirrel Wins Back Protection
The West Virginia northern flying squirrel once again has the protection it badly needs. A federal judge recently restored Endangered Species Act protection for the flying squirrel after a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies. This nocturnal, treetop-to-treetop-gliding forest mammal is endangered by habitat destruction from logging, development and now global warming, which threatens to detrimentally alter the West Virginia mountaintop forests it calls home. But without the backing of sound science, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the squirrel's federal protections in 2008. The court recently ruled that the agency didn't follow its own recovery plan -- and ordered that the squirrel be returned to the endangered list until science proves it has recovered.
Read more in Mountain Xpress.
Deadly Bat Disease Sweeps Into New Territories
The bat-killing disease known as white-nose syndrome continues to spread quickly. Biologists have now found evidence of white-nose syndrome in Ohio and a second Maryland county, as well as Canada's New Brunswick province. The disease outbreak -- considered the worst wildlife catastrophe in the United States -- has killed more than 1 million bats, including endangered bats, and the fungus associated with the disease has now been found in bats in 17 states and three Canadian provinces. The latest news came just before the release of a scientific report on the impact of bat losses to agriculture -- which estimates the value of bat-provided U.S. pest-control services at between $3.7 billion and $53 billion per year.
For more than two years, the Center for Biological Diversity has been working to make the feds finally address this crisis head-on with sufficient research funds to study the disease and widespread cave closures to stem its deadly spread. There's no more time to waste; our ecosystem and our farms can't afford to lose more bats.
Read more in Digital Journal, check out the pest-control report [PDF] and take action to save our bats.
Protection Sought for Tiny Seahorse Hit by Gulf Oil Spill
With pollution persisting almost a year after the calamitous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Center for Biological Diversity yesterday petitioned to protect the dwarf seahorse under the Endangered Species Act. This inch-long seahorse -- the smallest in U.S. waters -- lives in Gulf of Mexico seagrass beds and is threatened with extinction due to pollution from the BP spill, disappearing seagrass habitat and commercial collection. One of the most intriguing creatures in the ocean -- whose male becomes pregnant and gives birth -- this tiny fish was already declining before the BP spill contaminated much of its remaining habitat.
Read more in The Miami Herald.
Rare Southeast Fish Swims Toward Safeguards
In response to a scientific petition and notice of intent to sue by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced that Alabama's spring pygmy sunfish may deserve a spot on the endangered species list. The striped, two-inch sunfish is barely holding on in just a few springs in the Tennessee River watershed, driven to the brink of extinction by rampant human development, pollution and water pumping. It's already twice been thought extinct since it was first discovered in 1937.
Read more in the TimesDaily.
Clean Air Act Still in Danger -- Take Action
The Clean Air Act took a big hit earlier this afternoon with the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of a bill to hobble the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to stave off the worst effects of climate change. The House approved a bill by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that would repeal steps the agency has already taken to reduce carbon pollution from refineries, power plants and other big polluters. (A bill, not surprisingly, that was drafted after a closed-door meeting with polluters.)
The bill now moves to the Senate, where, yesterday, lawmakers rejected a series of amendments aimed at stopping the EPA from wielding its authority to curb dangerous greenhouse gas pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
But with Upton's bill now in play, it's up to the Senate and the president to save the Clean Air Act and protect our air, health and climate. Take action now to tell the Senate and president to stand up for the Clean Air Act -- and share our alert on Facebook. Then become a Center for Biological Diversity Clean Air Advocate.
Warming-threatened Insect Denied Protection
The mist forestfly, also known as the meltwater lednian stonefly -- a tiny, shiny-winged insect found only in Montana's Glacier National Park -- won't get Endangered Species Act status to protect it from global climate disruption, the Obama administration announced this week. Instead, it will be the 260th species added to the "candidate list," a fast-growing catalog of endangered animals and plants whose federal protections have been delayed indefinitely.
Known to inhabit only 11 alpine streams formed by melting snow, the beautiful forestfly will likely become extinct by 2030, the year by which all of Glacier National Park's glaciers are predicted to disappear due to global warming. The species' protection was first petitioned for by WildEarth Guardians.
Read more in The Daily Inter Lake.
Historic Action Opportunity -- Save 67,000 Acres From Mountaintop Removal
A vast expanse of Appalachia could get protection from one of the most destructive mining practices ever -- and you can help. The state of Tennessee has petitioned the Office of Surface Mining to set aside more than 67,000 acres of Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains as "unsuitable" for mountaintop-removal coal mining, preserving habitat for rare species and protecting drinking water for humans. This is the first time in history a state has tried to safeguard public land in this way.
But powerful coal companies are fighting the set-aside -- and it needs a lot of public support to succeed.
Take action now to tell the Department of the Interior to protect the Cumberlands today. Then learn about the Center for Biological Diversity's campaign to end mountaintop removal.
Rattlesnake-killing Permit Protested in Georgia
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies this Tuesday wrote Georgia wildlife officials opposing a permit issued for the Claxton Rattlesnake Roundup in Evans County. "Rattlesnake roundups" are contests urging participants to bring in as many snakes as they can catch to be milked for venom, butchered and then sold for meat and skin. Georgia gave the Claxton roundup a wildlife-exhibition permit that's supposed to be used solely for educational purposes -- while in fact, the roundup displays snakes largely for entertainment. Rattlesnake roundups and habitat loss have already depleted the Southeast's eastern diamondbacks.
Read more in our press release and learn about the Center's campaign to outlaw rattlesnake roundups.
Winter Sea Ice Hits Chilling New Low
Troubling new data shows that Arctic ice continues to disappear at a record rate -- and that spells bad news for species that live there and rely on it for their survival. The National Snow and Ice Data Center recently announced that Arctic sea ice has reached its maximum extent for the winter -- and that maximum is the smallest (tied with 2006) since its first-ever recording around the turn of the 20th century. Arctic sea ice in December, January and February also reached record lows as winter temperatures across much of the region were abnormally warm. The rapid arctic meltdown shows we must curb greenhouse pollution to slow global warming now -- for the sake of polar bears, walruses, ice seals and the planet.
Get more from The Washington Post.
Sensitive San Pedro River Shrinking -- Watch Video
Southern Arizona's beautiful San Pedro River watershed harbors some of the highest diversity of mammals in the United States, and its lush corridor is vital for native birds and those just passing through during migration. It's also home to several imperiled species, from the Gila chub to the southwestern willow flycatcher.
But due to unsustainable groundwater pumping for surrounding development, the San Pedro is shrinking fast -- and some day, its life-giving water flow could disappear altogether.
The plight of the San Pedro was the focus of a new Assignment Earth video featuring the Center for Biological Diversity's Randy Serraglio. Watch the video and then learn more about our campaign to save the San Pedro.
No Joke: Gulf Spill Oil Co. Rewards Execs for Safety
At first we thought it was a belated April Fools' gag, but no: Transocean Ltd. -- the company that operated the now infamous Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and launched the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- has called 2010 the company's "best year in safety performance." And it gets more surreal: The company is actually giving its top executives huge pay raises, including a $200,000 salary boost for its CEO.
The Center for Biological Diversity has sued Transocean and BP for $19 billion for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of oil and other pollutants. Our case, now making its way through the courts, aims to put Big Oil's cash where it should go: toward helping save the Gulf's species, habitat and local economy.
Get more from NPR.
Center Wins Top Props in Green Choice Campaign -- Thanks!
After overwhelmingly positive reviews rolled in from our supporters, this month the Center for Biological Diversity took a top spot among 128 environmental groups competing in this year's Green Choice Campaign, a contest by GreatNonprofits to peg the best-reviewed green groups in the country. According to input from people like you, the Center is "unrivaled in its successful protection of imperiled species" and "gets more bang for the buck than any other environmental organization." Many called us the best eco-group they follow. We're so glad to hear that -- and your praise keeps us going. Thank you.
Read the reviews -- and write one yourself -- on our GreatNonprofits page.
Wild and Weird: The Season of Beachgoing Fish
Thinking of heading to the sandy shoreline for a good time this spring or summer? So are thousands of tiny, amazing fish -- for them, now's the time for spawning on the beach.
If you live in Southern California or elsewhere along the Pacific Coast, you might already know about grunions: sardine-sized fish that actually strand themselves en masse on the beach to spawn, three or four nights after the highest tides during the spring and summer. A female grunion will ride a far-reaching wave onto the beach, accompanied by as many as eight males, and then drill herself into the sand, where a male wraps himself around her and fertilizes her eggs. Later, fish and eggs alike return to the ocean with another wave.
Watch a National Geographic video of grunions spawning and learn how these amazing fish are threatened by humans.
Photo credits: dwarf seahorse (c) Jeff Jeffords, divegallery.com; marbled murrelet by Rich MacIntosh, USGS; northern flying squirrel courtesy Flickr/Brad Barrett; Indiana bat courtesy USFWS; dwarf seahorse (c) Jeff Jeffords, divegallery.com; spring pygmy sunfish courtesy Conservation Fisheries, Inc.; smokestacks courtesy NASA; meltwater stonefly by Joe Giersch, USGS; mountaintop removal in eastern Kentucky courtesy Flickr/ilovemountains; eastern diamondback rattlesnake courtesy Flickr Commons/Sophro; polar bear courtesy USFWS; San Pedro River (c) Robin Silver; Gulf disaster courtesy U.S. Coast Guard; top-rated logo from GreatNonprofits; California grunion courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Eric Wittman.
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