Subject: FW: SW Biodiversity Alert

Subject: SW Biodiversity Alert


Southwest Center for Biological Diversity

The Southwest Center has filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of
Reclamation in an effort to prevent complete filling of Roosevelt
Lake behind the recently raised Roosevelt Dam in central Arizona.
Filling of the lake behind the dam would flood extensive
cottonwood/willow riparian habitat home to 40% of Arizona's breeding
population of southwestern willow flycatchers. The suit alleges
inadequate NEPA analysis and violation of the Endangered Species Act. 

The Gila National Forest has announced plans to offer a timber sale
within the Eagle Peak roadless area burned by last summer's HB Fire.
Located between Reserve and Mogollon, New Mexico, in the southwest
corner of the State, the HB Sale is offered under the logging without
laws salvage rider. Old growth mixed conifer and ponderosa pine forests
in the area represent one of the largest intact old growth forests remaining
in the southwest. Substantial concentrations of Mexican spotted owls
and other old growth dependent species are found within the sale area.
During the recent scoping process, the Southwest Center proposed the
Natural Recovery Alternative (NRA) for consideration. Under this
alternative, the Gila NF would remove livestock from the area,
discontinue all fire suppression activities, and initiate intensive
monitoring of forest recovery. Activists are already planning for
woods action should this sale slip through the current moratorium on
cutting in MSO habitat.

A survey of rural residents in southwestern New Mexico counties found
a majority favored re-introduction of the Mexican wolf. Of 204 adults
queried, 52% supported the re-introduction proposal while 34% were
opposed. The poll also found statewide support for the proposal
running at 62%. The state had previously stated that it opposed any
wolf re-introduction efforts because it believed support in affected
rural counties was "practically nonexistent."

In yet another example of a federal agency proposing to turn the
reins of regulation over to resource-hostile county agencies, the
Army Corps of Engineers is fielding a proposal to allow "management"
of the upper Gila River in New Mexico by the Soil and Water
Conservation Districts of Grant and Hidalgo Counties and private
parties. The proposal itself is extremely vague; while the
Conservation Districts are the applicants, it appears that anyone
with a D-9 could actually participate without Corps oversight.
Current plans entail extensive river channelization, and dike and
levy construction. This stretch of the upper Gila still supports
many species which have already been extirpated from the rest of
the Gila basin including the loach minnow and spikedace, and the
largest remaining population of southwestern willow flycatchers. The
Southwest Center is already planning litigation should a permit be
issued for this project.

For more information please contact us at P.O. Box 17839, Tucson,
AZ, 85731, (520) 733-1391.