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For Immediate Release, December 8, 2009

Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 654-5943 or (323) 490-0223

4,000 Acres of Habitat Proposed for Rare Southern California Lily
Better Than Under Bush But Still Less Than Needed

LOS ANGELES— Responding to a legal challenge by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today re-proposed critical habitat for a rare Southern California lily threatened with extinction. The thread-leaved brodiaea is only found in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties. At 3,786 acres, the new proposal is greater than a final designation by the Bush administration of 597 acres, but still fails to include habitat protection for 49 percent of the existing populations of plants. 

“We’re glad the thread-leaved brodiaea will get more protection than the Bush government proposed, but we’re worried that the new proposal still fails to include 33 of the 69 locations of this very rare lily,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Also, this proposal wants to remove protection for 16 more locations.” 

The brodiaea is threatened by a combination of urban development, off-road vehicles, grazing, and plowing for fire clearance and agricultural conversion. During the Bush administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially proposed 9,403 acres for protection but ultimately designated only 597 acres as critical habitat in 2005. Since the plant was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1998, entire populations have been extirpated.

“This lovely lily exemplifies the beauty and uniqueness of Southern California landscapes,” said Anderson. “Anything but an expansion of final critical habitat is a recipe for extinction.” 

The Center for Biological Diversity has been actively working to overturn Bush-era decisions limiting protection for endangered species, including suing to overturn decisions affecting 54 species. To date, this campaign has been highly successful, with the Obama administration agreeing to reconsider 45 of the 54 decisions, including the critical habitat designation for the thread-leaved brodiaea.

Public comments will be taken until February 8, 2010.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 240,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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