Subject: SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #96
SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #96
SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
silver city, tucson, phoenix, san diego
1. US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, AND BLM CONSPIRE TO MAINTAIN GRAZING STATUS QUO
2. SUIT FILED TO PRESERVE GILA BOX
3. CONGRESS STILL USING RIDERS TO PUSH PERSONAL AGENDAS - KYL/DOMENICI RIDER
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US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, AND BLM CONSPIRE TO MAINTAIN GRAZING STATUS QUO
A US Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion has concluded that cattle
grazing on hundreds of miles of Arizona streams and former grasslands does
not jeopardize the existence of 15 endangered species, if grazing conflicts
in riparian areas are removed. Although the FWS found that grazing on 36
allotments has destroyed SW Willow Flycatcher habitat it did not require the
BLM to make alterations to any specific allotments. Responding to the
Opinion, the BLM stated it will remove livestock from riparian areas on only
15 grazing allotments.
Eleven critically imperiled species were left out of the consultation
process entirely. Although no surveys were conducted the BLM determined
grazing has no effect on the masked bobwhite quail based on the presumption
that no quails occupy BLM lands. The same conclusion was reached for the
bald eagle, jaguar, ocelot, and fish such as the Yaqui sucker, chub, and
topminnow were dismissed because occupied streams are located off BLM lands.
Yet degraded BLM lands make up a significant portion of the watersheds
occupied by these species, and grazing on these lands has significantly
altered aquatic habitat conditions.
The Opinion concludes a lengthy consultation intended to head off a 1996
Southwest Center lawsuit. The Southwest Center is represented in BLM grazing
litigation by Geoff Hickcox of Kenna and Associates.
SUIT FILED TO PRESERVE GILA BOX
The struggle to bring real changes in management of the Gila Box riparian
area has been taken to the courts. Too busy working on mining plans, it has
been over five years since the BLM was charged with making alterations that
could ban cattle and off-road vehicle use in the congressionally protected
Gila Box Canyon.
Last week the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and
the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies filed suit to have the BLM finish the
management plan to protect the Gila Box, a process it started five years
ago. The draft management plan released in 1993 contains alternatives that
would eliminate cattle and off-road vehicle use in the ecologically
sensitive area, however nothing has been done since the draft. Off-road
vehicle use, and cattle continue to degrade the "protected area."
Gila Box Canyon is home to 174 kinds of birds, 45 reptiles, and amphibians,
42 mammals, and 21 fish. Among them are the endangered peregrine falcon,
southwestern willow flycatcher, razorback sucker, and bald eagle.
CONGRESS STILL USING RIDERS TO PUSH PERSONAL AGENDAS - KYL/DOMENICI RIDER
Despite the fact that anti-environmental riders led to a government shutdown
in previous years, Congress is back doing what it does best: making special
deals and handing out special favors for its friends from behind closed
doors. These riders are an affront to the public, which in the past has
plainly rejected Congressional efforts to roll back or undermine
environmental protections and to interfere in the management of public lands.
Fifteen anti-environmental riders found their way to the Interior
Appropriations Bill currently before Congress. From striping funds for the
Land and Water Conservation Fund to turning portions of the Lake Clark
National Park in Alaska over for corporate degradation, these riders are all
special deals that have not considered the public's point of view.
We have written a letter to President Clinton and Members of Congress urging
them to remove these riders and specifically the rider added by Senators Kyl
and Domenici. This rider removes the ability of the Forest Service to comply
with a current Court Order to stop all grazing activities which violate
current management plans. This injunction came about as a result of a suit
filed, by the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity and Forest
Guardians, to prevent activities in the Southwest National Forests which
violate current management plans. We have obtained over 40 organizations'
and many individuals' signatures to our letter.
Shane Jimerfield Tel: 520.623.5252, ext. 302
Assistant Director Fax: 520.623.9797
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity email: email@example.com
PO Box 710, Tucson AZ 85702-0710 http://www.sw-center.org