CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> 2-14-01 #266
§ 300,000 ACRES TO BE PROTECTED FOR CA BUTTERFLY
§ DEVELOPERS HALTED IN PYGMY OWL CRITICAL HABITAT AREA
§ NEW MEXICO TIMBER SALE STOPPED...AGAIN
§ PETITION FILED TO PROTECT TAHOE YELLOW CRESS
§ BARBARA KINGSOLVER BENEFIT FOR CENTER: TUCSON, 2-18-01
§ LETTERS NEEDED TO SAVE SALAMANDERS FROM COWS
300,000 ACRES TO BE PROTECTED FOR CALIFORNIA BUTTERFLY
In accordance with a legal settlement obtained by the Center for
Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed to
designated 301,010 acres of "critical habitat" for the endangered Quino
checkerspot butterfly on 2-7-01. Federal agencies are prohibited from
authorizing, permitting, or funding actions which destroy or "adversely
modify" critical habitat, including the issuance of development permits
on private land under the Clean Water Act.
As recently as the 1950's, the Quino checkerspot occurred on every
coastal bluff, inland mesa top and lower mountain slope in coastal
southern California and northern Baja California. Today it inhabits only
eight areas in southwestern Riverside and southern San Diego counties,
and four sites in Baja California. It was listed under the Endangered
Species Act on 1-16-97 in response to a lawsuit by the Center.
The Center was represented in this suit by Brendan Cummings
(Berkeley) and Geoff Hickcox (Kenna & Hickcox, Durango).
DEVELOPERS HALTED IN PYGMY OWL CRITICAL HABITAT AREA
Attempting to reign in the worst of Tucson's big-sprawl, Pima County is
refusing to issue building permits to large developments within or
adjacent to federally designated critical habitat for the endangered
cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, unless the developers first provide
written proof that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has approved the
development. At least 15 developments were brought to a halt by the
Culminating a long series of petitions and suits by the Center or
Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the pygmy
owl as an endangered species in March, 1997, and designated 731,000
acres of critical habitat in July 1999. The agency has been lax in
protection of the critical habitat area, prompting the county to take action
on its own. "To me, if your property is in critical habitat it makes sense
to talk to Fish & Wildlife and the county and come up with a mitigation
strategy," said Republican county supervisor Ann Day.
Developers have filed suit to strike down the policy. The Center may
intervene on behalf of the county and the owl.
NEW MEXICO TIMBER SALE STOPPED...AGAIN
In response to a formal appeal filed by the Center for Biological Diversity,
the U.S. Forest Service has for the second time withdrawn the Corner
Mountain fire "salvage" timber sale on New Mexico's Gila National
Forest. The sale would have clearcut 2 ½ million board feet of ponderosa
pine and Douglas-fir on 340 acres. The sale was stopped because the
Forest Service failed to respond to the Center's comments on the
proposed action. The comments included substantial evidence that
salvage logging increases erosion and sedimentation into rivers and
streams, damages soils, and adversely impacts numerous wildlife
species, including cavity-nesting songbirds.
The Corner Mountain timber sale threatened to undermine the Gila
National Forest's celebrated prescribed burn program - the most
aggressive in the country - by logging an area which burned two years
ago when the Forest Service lost control of a prescribed natural fire.
Prescribed burns are designed to restore natural forest processes by
slowly reintroducing fire into forested areas. Salvage logging in
prescribed burn areas undermines these restoration goals by impeding
forest recovery, damaging fragile soils, harming wildlife, and promoting
arson- a problem that has plagued the Gila in the past.
PETITION FILED TO LIST CALIFORNIA PLANT AS ENDANGERED
On 12-11-00, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Center for
Biological Diversity submitted a formal petition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service to list the Tahoe yellow cress (Rorippa subumbellata) as an
endangered species. A member of the mustard family, the yellow cress
has been listed as "endangered" by the state of California since 1982 and
"critically endangered" by the state of Nevada since 1980. Without federal
protection, however, the plant has continued to decline toward extinction.
Only ten of 48 historically known populations still exist.
The cress inhabits the seven foot "tidal" zone between the low and high
water lines of Lake Tahoe. This area is pounded by boat wake, dock
proliferation, housing sprawl, and uncontrolled recreation. Plans to raise
water levels in the lake and lift a moratorium on pier construction will
likely drive the plant extinct if action is not take soon.
BARBARA KINGSOLVER BENEFIT FOR CENTER- TUCSON, 2-18-01
In a benefit for the Center for Biological Diversity, Barbara Kingsolver
will be reading from and signing copies of her newest novel, Prodigal
Summer, on Sunday, February 18, 2-4 pm at Reader's Oasis. It is
located at 3400 E. Speedway, Suite 114, Tucson, Arizona. (Reader's
Oasis is located in the Wild Oats shopping plaza).
Reader's Oasis will donate 10% of sales from Prodigal Summer to the
Center for Biological Diversity. This event is free and open to the Public.
For more information, call Stephanie Buffum at 623-5252 ext. 305.
LETTERS NEEDED TO SAVE SALAMANDERS FROM COWS
A new species of salamander (Plethodon sp. nov.) and several new
species of invertebrates have been discovered in caves to the north of
Fort Hood, TX by Dr James Reddell, University of Texas, Austin. These
species have not yet been encountered elsewhere in the hundreds of
caves in the area that have been sampled. Like dozens of imperiled
species in the Southwest, they are imperiled by livestock grazing which
impacts water flow, erosion and water quality, or by direct impacts to
vegetation soils and shading at the entrance to the caves.
Continued livestock grazing of these areas is especially inappropriate
since it is not private land, or even "multiple-use" public land. It is a
military base, the Army's Fort Hood. Please write to Fort Hood, asking
the Army not to allow livestock to graze on the base. In addition to
military activities, the primary purpose of these lands should be
protection of ecosystem integrity and biological diversity, not private
The Fort Hood is accepting public comments until 3-06-01.
Written comments may be addressed to:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
DPW ENV DIV. NATURAL RESOURCES,
III CORPS AND FORT HOOD
4612 ENGINEER DRIVE, ROOM 76
FORT HOOD, TEXAS 76544-5028.
Phone or email comments:
Melissa.McDonald@hood.army.mil or call (254)287-2885