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No. 1218, November 9, 2023
Support West Coast Pond Turtles
Despite their name, pond turtles live in rivers and lakes as much as in ponds — and they can spend more than 200 days out of the water altogether. Sadly these unique freshwater dwellers are declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation from urban development, agriculture and dams. They’ve also been hit hard by disease, invasive species and climate change.
The Center for Biological Diversity has fought for more than a decade to save northwestern and southwestern pond turtles from extinction. Thanks to our legal action, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is finally proposing to protect them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
But for recovery — the Act’s ultimate goal — these versatile reptiles need habitat protection.
Tell the Service you support protecting pond turtles and their homes by designating critical habitat.
Suit Targets Grazing Damage to Arizona Bird Habitat
The Center and allies just sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service for not protecting the home of two endangered birds — southwestern willow flycatchers and western yellow-billed cuckoos — from cattle in Arizona. Livestock grazing has destroyed up to 92% of both species’ federally protected habitat along the Gila River. But even after we warned we’d sue, neither agency has stepped in to save the birds.
“This destruction has to end before more wildlife slides into extinction,” said the Center’s Southwest Director Taylor McKinnon. “Our lawsuit will force the feds to follow their own rules and finally protect fragile habitat.”
Help us fight for species in the Southwest and beyond with a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund. Do it now and get your gift matched.
Two New Endangered Species Act Success Stories
Biodiversity Briefing: Our Newest National Monument
The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument harbors sacred sites, like Red Butte, and its diverse ecology includes federally protected animals like California condors and an array of species found nowhere else on Earth. The monument encompasses the ancestral homelands of several regional Tribes and is the culmination of many years of their efforts — with support from allied organizations like the Center — to permanently protect the iconic rimlands flanking the Grand Canyon.
In our latest quarterly “Biodiversity Briefing” presentation, Southwest Director Taylor McKinnon discusses how this newest national monument in the United States was designated, plus where the fight to protect the Grand Canyon (and other lands) goes from here.
The live briefings, which include an in-depth Q&A session, are available to all members of the Center’s Leadership Circle and Owls Club.
Our Finalist for the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award
Jean Su, senior attorney and director of the Center’s Energy Justice program, was recently named a finalist for the Rachel’s Network 2023 Catalyst Award. The award celebrates women of color who are building a healthier, safer and more just world.
“At the heart of this award is the conviction that caring for movement leaders, particularly those who’ve been marginalized, is vital environmental work,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “We are thrilled to recognize this years’ awardees and finalists who are organizing around climate justice, working for the sovereignty of Native land and water, growing a better food system, advocating for biodiversity, and so much more.”
Jean leads a dynamic team here at the Center that wages strategic campaigns advancing a just, renewable, and antiracist energy future.
Saving Oregon Salmon With a Giant Fish Vacuum?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a $1.9 billion plan to save salmon stuck behind dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley: Build a powerful, football-field-sized floating vacuum to suck up tiny young salmon; then flush them into massive storage tanks, load them onto trucks, drive them downstream, and dump them back into the water.
Grand Ronde Tribes and other fish-vacuum critics (like the Center) say there’s a much simpler way to protect salmon: Open dam gates and let the fish ride the current as they would a wild river.
Learn more from ProPublica.
Revelator: Climate Grief Helps Climate Action
Rising temperatures and sea levels, more frequent and severe superstorms and wildfires, so many species disappearing forever. You may not remember the numbers, but you know the bad news hurts.
The good news? Climate activism is most effective when it taps into the pain of grieving instead of repeating statistics that overwhelm people into numbness.
Learn more in this optimistic essay in The Revelator.
That's Wild: Two New Species in “Margaritaville”
When Jimmy Buffet died in September, he left more than just songs to remember him by. Scientists named two new species in his honor this year, one after him and the other after his music — and preferred beverage.
Shortly before his death, researchers documented a 3-millimeter parasitic crustacean and named it Gnathia jimmybuffetti (with his approval). The other Buffet-inspired species, Cayo margarita, is a bright yellow worm snail who lives in corals, named a month after his passing for the tequila cocktail and the snail's home in the Florida Keys, where Buffett wrote his famous “Margaritaville” song.
Buffet cofounded Save the Manatees, one of the Center’s longtime Florida allies.
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Photo credits: Western pond turtle by Yathin S. Krishnappa/Wikimedia; southwestern willow flycatcher courtesy USDA; Alex Olivera screenshot from Unreported World; Santa Cruz Island dudleya courtesy USFWS; Biodiversity Briefing screenshot courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Catalyst Award finalists courtesy Rachel's List; spring Chinook salmon by Michael Humling/USFWS; sunrise via Pixabay; Cayo margarita by R. Bieler et al, Gnathia jimmybuffetti courtesy University of Miami, Jimmy Buffet by Surfsupusa/Wikimedia.
Center for Biological Diversity
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