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Action timeline

October 6, 1998 – The Center and the California Native Plant Society filed a lawsuit that forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Coachella Valley milk vetch and four other desert plants under the Endangered Species Act.

2001 – The Center and the California Native Plant Society filed a lawsuit against the Service challenging the agency’s failure to designate critical habitat for the milk vetch. The lawsuit resulted in a ruling that required the Service to designate critical habitat for the milk vetch and seven other imperiled plant species.

2003 – The Center joined with the Sierra Club in filing a lawsuit to overturn a plan to develop 460 acres of Coachella Valley milk vetch habitat outside of Palm Springs, California. The city had approved the project in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to prepare an environmental impact report.

December 14, 2004 – The Service proposed 3,500 acres as critical habitat for the Coachella Valley milk vetch. An additional 17,000 acres identified in the draft Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan were excluded from this proposal.

December 14, 2005 – The Service issued its final decision, which designated no critical habitat for the Coachella Valley milk vetch. The agency claimed such a designation would be redundant because milk vetch habitat is covered under other wildlife-protection plans.

August 28, 2007 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the Service a second time over its failure to designate critical habitat for the Coachella Valley milk vetch. The notice also addressed 55 other wrongful Endangered Species Act decisions.

January 14, 2009 – The Center filed suit against the Bush administration to overturn the Service’s decision to withhold critical habitat from the Coachella Valley milk vetch.

February 12, 2013 – Responding to our lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service finalized protection of 9,603 acres of critical habitat for the Coachella Valley milk vetch. The new proposal included four areas within the greater Coachella Valley in Riverside County, California, near Palm Springs.

Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Game