Center for Biological Diversity

Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly

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2 Texas Salamanders, 4,400 Acres Win Protection

Austin blind salamanderGood news for two fascinating critters from Texas (including one without eyes): The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday finally gave Endangered Species Act protection to Jollyville Plateau and Austin blind salamanders. The salamanders are also getting 4,400 acres of protected "critical habitat" in central Texas, where they cling to life in the state's few remaining clean, well-oxygenated springs.

The protections follow the Center for Biological Diversity's historic 2011 agreement with the Service to speed Endangered Species Act decisions for 757 species.

Austin blind salamanders lack image-forming eyes and have feathery external gills and long snouts, while Jollyville Plateau salamanders have big eyes and blunt, rounded snouts. But both creatures are fully aquatic and depend on clean water from Texas's Edwards aquifer -- water that's becoming scarcer and dirtier as the state's population grows.

Read more in the Austin American-Statesman.


122 River Miles Protected for Diamond Darters in Southeast

Diamond darterThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected 122 miles of river habitat Wednesday for the diamond darter, a small, sparkly fish that has been wiped out of the vast majority of its range by dams and water pollution to such an extent that only 125 individual fish have been seen over the past 30 years. The darter is a beneficiary of the Center's 757 species agreement, and its protected habitat includes 28 miles on the lower Elk River in West Virginia and 95 miles on the Green River in Kentucky.

Water pollution, small population size and isolation are the main factors endangering the fish; coal mining, oil and gas development, erosion, timber harvesting and poor wastewater treatment threaten and degrade water quality in the Elk River watershed.

"Fish and people both need clean water," said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist at the Center. "Protecting the diamond darter's habitat will help make sure these rivers stay healthy for future generations."  

Get more from the Courthouse News Service.


More Than 600,000 Call on Obama to Ban Fracking on Public Lands

Karen Ferridun of Gas Truth with the 600,000 commentsHere's hoping President Obama checks his mail and messages: This week, more than half a million people called on the president to halt fracking on public land.

Earlier today a coalition of environmental and consumer organizations, including the Center, delivered more than 600,000 comments opposing public lands fracking -- like the fracking that occurs on 700 million acres controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (where nearly 90 percent of all wells are fracked). Activists with the Center and allies flooded the White House switchboard with the same message on Wednesday.

Our message is urgent and unmistakable: Americans want President Obama to protect our beautiful public lands and communities. Fracking contaminates air and water and disrupts our climate. The president has a duty to protect all of these precious goods by standing up to the oil and gas industry.

Thanks to all of you who spoke out, especially those who took a moment to call the White House.

Learn more about our work to protect lands and wildlife from fracking.


Become a Member Today

Lawsuit Challenges Water Permit for Arizona's Rosemont Mine

Santa Rita MountainsThe Center and allies have filed a lawsuit aimed at overturning a water permit issued by the state of Arizona for Rosemont's proposed open-pit copper mine near Tucson. The permit, as approved, does little to protect the region's water, wildlife and people from mining pollution.

It was appealed last year, but the state's Water Quality Appeals Board upheld it even though board members admitted they hadn't thoroughly reviewed the appeal or the science supporting it.

So now the Center and the Save the Scenic Santa Ritas coalition are going to court. The Rosemont mine would have major impacts on the region's air and water quality and habitat for wildlife -- including endangered jaguars.

"This is a classic example of an arbitrary and capricious rubber stamp," said the Center's Randy Serraglio.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.


Everglades Butterflies Proposed for Safeguards

Florida leafwing butterflyTwo Florida butterflies -- and 17,546 acres for them to flutter in -- are now slated for federal protection thanks to the Center's 2011 agreement to move 757 species toward Endangered Species Act safeguards.

The Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly is mostly gray with subtle, elegant dashes of white and rusty brown; the Florida leafwing butterfly's wings are orange on top, but with its wings folded up it looks just like -- well, a dead leaf. Cool camo, dude.

Both butterflies live in South Florida's Everglades National Park -- the only remaining home of the leafwing, while Bartram's scrub-hairstreak also lives in Big Pine Key and other parts of Miami-Dade County. The insects have been hurt by habitat destruction from development and other factors in fast-growing Florida; now they face very dire danger from sea-level rise caused by global warming, which could flood an astounding 96 percent of Big Pine Key.

Get more from Keys News.


A Stunning Look at the World's Troubled Coral Reefs

Great Barrier ReefIf you can't make it out to a coral reef in person anytime soon, try checking out a new collaboration between Google and ocean scientists that provides 360-degree panoramic views of some of the world's most stunning reefs.

The images are amazing, but this project has a larger purpose too: monitoring coral health and giving the public a chance to see -- and get invested in -- these deeply imperiled places. Scientists warn that, because of global warming and ocean acidification, the "rainforests of the sea" could disappear in just a few decades.

"Coral reefs are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a reef scientist at the University of Queensland, Australia, in Live Science. "I realized that if we formed a partnership, we could start to look at those images and understand why coral reefs are going downhill."

Check out the 360-degree images of reefs at Google Street View Oceans and then learn more about the Center's work to save coral reefs.


Take Action

43,000 Center Supporters Ask Mexico to Stop Killing Sea Turtles -- Thank You

Loggerhead sea turtleFisheries operating off Baja California Sur kill more than 2,000 endangered loggerhead sea turtles every year, risking the extinction of a vital population. Bycatch in Mexico reached a devastating record high in July 2012, when 483 loggerheads stranded along a single stretch of beach -- a 600 percent increase over previous years' averages.

This April, with our allies, we filed a petition seeking trade sanctions against Mexico if it doesn't stop its fishing industry from carelessly killing so many thousands of turtles, along with target species like halibut and shark. And just last week we and our supporters sent a letter -- wait, make that 43,000 letters -- to the Mexican government requesting the country take immediate action to reduce the slaughter.

The outstanding response to our action alert from people who care about turtles means that managers down south may finally take note of the international outcry and act to save these ancient creatures -- thank you.

Learn more about our campaign against unsustainable fisheries.


Stop Mining Destruction in West Virginia -- Take Action

West Virginia mountainsMountaintop-removal coal mining is just as bad as it sounds: Mountains are blown up to access coal seams, and then the toxic waste is dumped directly into streams.

In West Virginia the federal government has delegated authority over mining to state officials -- but the state has utterly failed to take action to protect human health and endangered species. Instead its regulators have catered to the mining industry, allowing rampant air and water pollution, flooding, and blasts that damage homes.

The Center and our allies, as a part of a new initiative called the Citizen Action for Real Enforcement Campaign, filed a formal petition asking the feds to take mining oversight away from the state. But now we need your help.

Take action now to urge the feds to withdraw approval of West Virginia's mining program and protect Appalachia's endangered species and public health.


Give Us a Leg Up: Write a Review

Great NonprofitsIt's time to showcase your wordsmithing skills on behalf of the Center. At GreatNonprofits.org, a review site like Yelp or Tripadvisor, you can tell others just how effective, passionate and hardworking you know we are. To qualify for the website's "top-rated" award -- which will help us spread the word about the wild world and our work to save it -- we need to keep getting good reviews through October.

So please, friends and supporters, lend us your pen -- er, keyboard -- and write us a rave review.


Wild & Weird: Lions, Coatis and Bears (Oh My) -- Watch Video

CoatiLast year, in hopes of spotting a jaguar, Center staff installed wildlife cameras in remote canyons in southern Arizona. Well, we haven't seen a jaguar yet, but plenty of other clients have posed for our cameras. We've edited a compilation of some of the photos and videos we captured. You'll see a coati stroll by, as well as a few mountain lions and deer; you'll also spot several bears so curious that they put their eyes, snouts and rear ends right up to the camera lens.

Watch our video now.


Kierán Suckling
Executive Director


Photo credits: Bartram's scrub hairstreak butterfly by Holly Salvato, USFWS; Austin blind salamander by Suzanne L. Collins; diamond darter by P. Rakes, Conservation Fisheries Inc.; Karen Ferridun of Gas Truth with the 600,000 comments by Rose Braz, Center for Biological Diversity; Santa Rita Mountains courtesy Flickr/Alex Derr; Florida leafwing butterfly by Holly Salvato, USFWS; Great Barrier Reef courtesy Reef HQ; loggerhead sea turtle courtesy USFWS; West Virginia mountains courtesy Flickr/Forest Wander; Great Nonprofits logo; coati courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department.

This message was sent to bhaskins@biologicaldiversity.org.

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