In California, a Historic Law on Wildlife Crossings
After unflagging efforts by the Center for Biological Diversity and our partners — which led to bipartisan support for the measure in the state’s legislature — the Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act was signed into law Friday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
This crucial law directs state agencies to include wildlife crossings when building or improving highways. It will help reduce vehicle collisions that can be deadly for wildlife like mountain lions, elk and deer — and people, too.
“This legislation is proof that public safety and wildlife protection can go hand in hand,” said J.P. Rose, policy director at the Center’s Urban Wildlands program. “For decades we’ve been building roads that slice through habitat and block animals’ movement. Now we know better, and we’re finally taking the necessary steps to improve connectivity and make roads safer for people and wildlife alike.”
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Help Save North Atlantic Right Whales
Famous Snail Darter Swims to Safety
On Tuesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed a small fish called the snail darter from the endangered species list because it no longer risks extinction.
Snail darters gained fame in a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case pitting conservationists, farmers and the Cherokee Tribe — who sought to protect the fish and their free-flowing Tennessee River habitat — against political forces bent on building the controversial Tellico Dam. The dam was primarily for recreation and a luxury city that never got built.
The court upheld the just-passed Endangered Species Act, temporarily halting the dam, and biologists helped establish new populations of darters. Now the little fish swim in four southeastern states.
“This landmark law is more important than ever for saving imperiled species, from little darters to blue whales,” said the Center’s Tierra Curry.
Habitat Protection Proposed for Louisiana Pinesnakes
In response to a Center lawsuit, on Wednesday the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed protecting 209,520 acres of critical habitat for Louisiana pinesnakes in central Louisiana and east Texas. Rarely seen in the wild, these snakes are among the rarest in North America and have lost most of their habitat — old-growth longleaf pine forests — to logging and development. Pinesnakes spend most of their time underground and are harmless to people.
“Longleaf pine forests used to blanket the Southeast but now only occur in small pockets,” said the Center’s Noah Greenwald. “Saving the unique and beautiful Louisiana pinesnake means saving a little bit more of these forests too.”
The Planet Is About to Hit 8 Billion People
Scientists predict that by Nov. 15, the Earth will host 8 billion people — twice as many as 50 years ago. There’s no denying that the pressure of our growing human population has hurt animals, plants and the ecosystems they’re part of. But many environmentalists won’t talk about it.
Sarah Baillie, with the Center’s Population and Sustainability program, isn’t one of them.
Read her new article about the issue’s complicated intersections with racism, injustice and capitalism and why we need inclusive, gender-equity-based solutions. Then check out our guide on how to navigate it all.
Ian Underscores Phosphogypsum Road-Fill Dangers
Following Hurricane Ian’s path of destruction across Florida, demolished roads and collapsed bridges highlight the danger of proposals to use toxic, radioactive phosphogypsum waste as road-building material. For years lawmakers have tried to allow this dangerous practice — and all along the way, we’re fighting it.
“The pulverized roads and bridges left by Hurricane Ian leave no question that it would be foolish and dangerous to fill Florida’s roads with radioactive waste,” said Center attorney Ragan Whitlock. “The destruction Floridians face from intensifying storms is bad enough without the fear of unleashing toxic waste in our communities.”
That’s Wild: Fat Bear Election Time
It’s Fat Bear Week at Katmai National Park, Alaska. People around the world will help decide which of 12 brown bears are doing the best job stuffing themselves with salmon to get ready for hibernation. Online voters decide who should move ahead each day until the grand finale: Fat Bear Tuesday on Oct. 11.
Will it be Chunk? Holly? 747? Or will it be Otis … again? The inaugural champion in 2014, Otis also won in 2016, 2017 and 2021.
You won’t be surprised after watching this video of him eating 42 salmon — about 150,000 calories — in one sitting.
Want to participate in Fat Bear Week yourself? Vote now.