=========== CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL
ALERT #195 7-27-99 ===========================
§ GOV. JOINS SUIT TO PROTECT SALAMANDERS, FROGS,
PLANTS AND BUTTERFLY FROM MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT
§ GROUPS OPPOSE DELISTING OF ENDANGERED
COLUMBIAN WHITE-TAILED DEER IN OREGON
§ MEDIA: MORE $$ NEEDED TO STUDY OWL DECLINES
§ POLL: VAST MAJORITY SUPPORT ENDANGERED
GOV. JOINS SUIT TO PROTECT SALAMANDERS, FROGS,
PLANTS AND BUTTERFLIES FROM MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT
On 7-21-99, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Guadalupe-Coyote
Resource Conservation District, a political subdivision of the state of
California, filed suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to halt a
575 acre development in San Jose and Santa Clara counties. The developer,
Presley Homes Inc., plans build 528 homes and an 18 hole golf course
(Ranch at Silver Creek/Cerro Plata Residential Development) in one
the few remaining habitats for the California red-legged frog,
Bay checkerspot butterfly, California tiger salamander, Metcalf Canyon
jewelflower, and the Santa Clara Valley dudleya.
The Army Corps of Engineers exempted the project from
environmental review under a "nation-wide"permit, even though
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service demanded the project go through
a full review, including clearance for endangered species under the
Endangered Species Act.
A preliminary injunction motion is pending. Plaintiffs are
represented by San Francisco attorney Mark Wolfe.
GROUPS OPPOSE DELISTING OF ENDANGERED
COLUMBIAN WHITE-TAILED DEER IN OREGON
On 7-13-99, the Center for Biological Diversity and Umqua
Watersheds Inc. filed comments with the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service opposing a plan to delist the Columbian
white-tailed deer from the Endangered Species Act. The
agency claims it has met official recovery plan objectives
calling for a population of 500 deer on 5,000 acres of habitat
dedicated to its protection. A close inspection of the data,
however, revealed that while over 500 deer do exist, the
land they occupy is far from protected. One supposedly
"secure" tract was just taken over by a developer, another
is slated for logging by Douglas County, the BLM is
planning to put cattle on the largest deer habitat area,
even though overgrazing is a major threat to deer calves.
The BLM has admitted moreover, that it plans to increase
logging in Douglas County once the deer is delisted.
The Columbian white-tailed deer is one of many species
being pre-maturely proposed for delisting by the Clinton
administration. Others include the American bald eagle,
grizzly bear, and wolf. Always willing to sacrifice
endangered species to politics, Clinton believes that
creating media-driven "success" stories will help his
career and the Endangered Species Act, even if it
means falsifying biological data.
The Columbian white-tailed deer is endemic to coastal
and foothill floodplains of Washington and Oregon.
Formerly ranging from Puget Sound to southern
Oregon, the species has been reduced to just two
isolated populations: one in a group of unstable islands
in the mouth of the Columbia River, and another in
Douglas County, OR. The delisting proposal only
includes the latter.
MEDIA: MORE $$ NEEDED TO STUDY DECLINING
CALIFORNIA SPOTTED OWL
The editors of the Sacramento Bee recently published an editorial
responding to an announcement by the Center for Biological
Diversity and the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign of a
pending petition to list the California spotted owl as an Endangered
Species. The editorial acknowledges that recent studies
documented serious declines in the Sierra and calls for more
funding of research into owl biology and conservation needs:
Counting owls: Is the Sierra's population declining, and why?
Sacramento Bee editorial, 7-19-99
Government scientists believe that populations of California
spotted owls throughout the Sierra are declining. But it is
frustratingly unclear why. That makes it all the more difficult for
government to decide what, if anything, to do about it, particularly
when it comes to logging. The emerging owl debate exemplifies
the importance of funding basic research to shed light on complex
and controversial resource issues.
Owl policies for the entire Sierra are now based on studies in five
comparatively small parts of this vast forest. Physically counting
every last bird everywhere in the range is obviously impractical, so
extrapolation techniques are used for regions within the Sierra, El
Dorado and Lassen national forests, as well as sites within Kings
and Sequoia national parks.
These extrapolations suggest that owl populations in recent years
have been declining at a rate of 5 percent to 10 percent a year.
That, say many environmental groups, is dramatic proof of the
impact of logging, proof that the owl merits listing under the federal
Endangered Species Act....It's too much to ask of science to find a
consensus among humans who have philosophical differences about
appropriate uses of the forests. But science should be able to help us
answer what is happening to the owls in the Sierra. And why. It
behooves all sides of the forestry debate to support efforts to come
up with these answers, and to recognize the limitations of today's
POLL: VAST MAJORITY SUPPORT ENDANGERED
According to an independent scientific poll just published in the
Journal of Society and Natural Resources (12:469-479), 84% of
Americans support maintaining or strengthening the Endangered
Species Act. Only 16% want to weaken or repeal protection
of endangered species and their habitats. Though Eastern senators
and representatives are generally much more supportive of the
E.S.A. than Western politicians, the poll shows that the
majority western people also support the E.S.A.
Results of Poll
Repeal Weaker Same Stronger
West 10% 10% 40% 41%
East 3% 11% 33% 53%
Total 5% 11% 35% 49%
Combined 16% 84%
So why do Western congress men and women generally vote
to weaken or override the E.S.A.? Clearly not because the
people want it. Domenici (R-NM), Kyle (R-AZ), Skeen (R-NM),
McCain (R-AZ) and others vote against endangered species
because mining, logging, and development companies give them
enormous amounts of money to do so.
"Until we ourselves are ready to become vegetarians and to stop
eating of meat, it is hardly fitting for us to brand the Goshawk
'murderer' and 'blood-thirsty wretch.'"
J.B May, The Hawks of North America, 1935
Kierán Suckling email@example.com
Executive Director 520.623.5252 phone
Center for Biological Diversity 520.623.9797 fax
http://www.sw-center.org pob 710, tucson, az 85702-0710