CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> 5-18-01 #274
§ VENTURA MARSH MILK-VETCH LISTED AS "ENDANGERED"-
FIRST LISTING OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION
§ 23,903 ACRES PROTECTED FOR CHECKERSPOT BUTTERFLY
§ GLOBAL WARMING TOLL ON BIODIVERSITY MOUNTS:
PETITION FILED TO LIST ALASKA SEABIRD AS "ENDANGERED"
§ LIVESTOCK DECISION STRUCK DOWN TO PROTECT ARIZONA
§ SCIENTISTS: MEXICAN WOLF RECOVERY WORKING, BUT IS
WEAKENED BY LIVESTOCK COMPROMISES
VENTURA MARSH MILK-VETCH LISTED AS "ENDANGERED"-
FIRST LISTING OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION, ONLY 26 YEARS LATE
In keeping with an agreement negotiated by the Center for Biological
Diversity, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the Ventura Marsh
milk-vetch (Astragalus pycnostachyus var. lanosissimus) as an
endangered species on 5-18-01.
The Ventura Marsh milkvetch occurs on less than half an acre of private
land near Oxnard, CA slated for development. It formerly occupied coastal
wetlands in Ventura, Orange, and Los Angeles counties, including the
much fought over Ballona Wetlands.
The milkvetch is one of many thousands of the Department of Interior's
Dickensian stepchildren. It was petitioned for Endangered Species Act
listing in 1975 by the Smithsonian Institution. Since then it has bounced
around the federal listing bureaucracy like Oliver Twist from orphanage to
orphanage. At one point the only known plants were found among
lawnmower clippings at a state park. The single remaining population was
rediscovered in 1997. The only reason the site was not developed is
because it has been used as a dump for petroleum products. Coastal land
prices has escalated so much that even this site is now slated for condos.
The milkvetch is the first Endangered Species Act listing of the Bush
Administration which in it's first hundred days set a record in listing no
endangered species while denying federal protection to four. It is also the
first listing in the nation since the Department of Interior announced a
moratorium on endangered listings just days after the presidential election.
The Center has won endangered species listings for 116 species since
23,903 ACRES PROTECTED FOR BAY CHECKERSPOT BUTTERFLY
In keeping with a legal settlement obtained by the Center for Biological
Diversity, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designated 23,903 acres of
critical habitat in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, CA for the
endangered Bay checkerspot butterfly on 5-2-01. By law, critical habitat
must include all areas necessary for the survival and full recovery of the
The Bay checkerspot depends on host plants which grow primarily in
grasslands on serpentine soils, a bluish-green soil type that is naturally
highly mineralized, high in magnesium, and low in nitrogen and calcium.
This specialized soil system is very valuable biologically because it
supports a high percentage of California's endemic species.
Unfortunately, the majority of the checkerspot's serpentine soil habitat in
San Mateo and Santa Clara counties has been destroyed. It is virtually
certain to go extinct if its remaining habitat is not protected.
Throughout the West, the Center has won over 39.2 million acres of
critical habitat since 1995. It's "Golden State Biodiversity Initiative" has
won over 5.8 million acres of critical habitat in California, including over
1,000 miles of river. To find out more about the Golden State program:
GLOBAL WARMING TOLL ON BIODIVERSITY MOUNTS:
PETITION FILED TO LIST ALASKA SEABIRD UNDER E.S.A.
On 5-10-01, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sitka Conservation
Society, the Coastal Coalition, Eyak Preservation Council, and Lynne
Canal Conservation filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service to list Kittlitz's murrelet as endangered under the Endangered
This small, diving seabird breeds only in certain regions of coastal Alaska
and to a limited extent in the Russian far east. It is sometimes called the
"Glacier Murrelet" because during the breeding season it forages almost
exclusively at the face of tidewater glaciers or near the outflow of glacial
streams. It nests in alpine areas in bare patches in the ice and snow.
This intimate association with glaciers is unique among seabirds, and
makes Kittlitz's murrelet especially vulnerable to global warming. The
Bush Administration's current energy policy virtually guarantees the
extinction of this imperiled species. In order to ensure the continued
survival of the Kittlitz's murrelet in the wild, reductions in greenhouse
gases must be achieved in the very near future.
Marine oil pollution, vessel disturbance, and near shore gill-net fishing
have also helped to cause dramatic population declines over the past
decade. To see photos, read the petition and find out more about Kittlitz's
murrelet visit our website at
LIVESTOCK DECISION STRUCK DOWN TO PROTECT WILDERNESS
The Center for Biological Diversity, Sky Islands Alliance, and the Sierra
Club won our appeal of a decision by the Coronado National Forest to
allow cattle, bulldozers, and stock tanks in the Rincon Wilderness. The
regional office of the Forest Service overturned the Forest's decision,
saying that wilderness protection values and the impacts of intensive
livestock development must be given more consideration.
The Rincon Wilderness has not been grazed since 1994 and is just now
showing signs of recovery from decades of abuse. Cattle should not be
permitted back in. Nor should we allow bulldozers and stock tanks in
designated wilderness areas.
The appeal decision is available at:
SCIENTISTS: MEXICAN WOLF RECOVERY WORKING, BUT IS
WEAKENED BY LIVESTOCK COMPROMISES
A team of independent scientists convened to review the Mexican gray
wolf reintroduction program has declared that the federal/state effort is
working, should continue, but is being weakened by too many
unbiological compromises with the livestock industry. Their preliminary
report is part of a mandated federal review of the reintroduction program.
The scientists recommended:
- Allowing wolves be allowed to move outside the currently designated
recovery area. The area is too small and not adhered to by wolves.
- Only recapturing wolves if they threaten human life. Wolves are now
routinely recaptured if they come too close to cattle. Too much
handling by humans counteracts efforts to acclimate them to the wild.
- Reintroduce wolves directly into New Mexico. Currently wolves must
first be introduced into Arizona, rounded up after cattle conflicts, then
be moved to New Mexico.
- Remove cattle carcasses from public lands. Leaving dead cattle
encourages wolves to prey on live cattle.
- Increase efforts to condition wolves to avoid humans.