September 29, 2010 – The Center and the John Muir Project petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to protect the black-backed woodpecker as threatened or endangered throughout the state. As a result, the bird earned "candidate" status, receiving many of the same protections as state-listed species.
January 2012 – Without clear justification, the California Fish and Game Commission issued a regulation allowing the killing of these rare woodpeckers despite the fact that they had just been designated as a “candidate” for protection under the California Endangered Species Act.
May 2, 2012 – The Center and three other groups filed a petition under the federal Endangered Species Act to protect two small and genetically distinct populations of the black-backed woodpecker, one in Oregon/California and the other in South Dakota.
June 4, 2012 – A California superior court judge ratified a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the John Muir Project against the California Fish and Game Commission that restored California Endangered Species Act protections to black-backed woodpeckers, effectively overturning the January 2012 regulation issued by the California Fish and Game Commission.
January 6, 2014 – The Center and the John Muir project released Nourished by Wildfire: The Ecological Benefits of the Rim Fire and the Threat of Salvage Logging, a report about how natural forest fires can be good for species like the black-backed woodpecker — while salvage logging is actually a threat to their habitats.