For Immediate Release, November 22, 2016
Army Corps Urged to Move Quickly With Plan to Restore Everglades,
Save Endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Dr. Stuart Pimm, and former Park Service Scientist Sonny Bass today sent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a letter urging it to take steps proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to benefit Everglades restoration and recovery of the Cape Sable seaside sparrow. For years the flooding of western Everglades National Park has threatened the endangered sparrow with extinction. A new Service proposal calls for action to move more water to the east along its historic path in northeast Shark River Slough — a primary goal of Everglades restoration.
“This new proposal provides a clear path forward for both Everglades restoration and the survival of this endangered bird,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center. “Getting the water right for the sparrow means getting the water right for the Everglades.”
The Service’s proposal resulted from Endangered Species Act consultation over the Corps’ implementation of the Everglades Restoration Transition Plan. For the past few decades, the Corps has annually flooded extensive areas of western Everglades National Park during the sparrow’s breeding season. These releases do not follow the natural, historic flow and have resulted in loss of more than half the sparrow’s population.
The proposal highlights measures to protect the sparrow, including maximizing flows in the eastern most structures draining WCA 3A into Everglades National Park, lengthening closures on these structures during the breeding season and diverting more water to northeast Shark River Slough through the L-29 Borrow Canal under the One-Mile Bridge. These measures both meet the overarching goal of moving more water to the east and maintaining the right dry and wet periods for the survival and recovery of the sparrow.
“We will be monitoring the Corps’ implementation of the Service’s proposal closely. It is the best hope for Everglades restoration and the Cape Sable seaside sparrow,” said Bass.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.