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Southeast Sedge Plant Gets Habitat Protection

Due to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, one of North Carolina's rarest and most beautiful plants -- the endangered golden sedge -- earned a lifeline this Monday in the form of 202 acres of protected "critical habitat."

First discovered by scientists in 1991, the golden sedge is a yellowish-green, grasslike plant with spiky, bright-yellow female flowers that survives in just eight populations on North Carolina's sandy-soiled coastal plain. The remaining plants face a long list of dangers, including fire suppression, development, mining, wetlands draining, herbicides and highways. We filed suit to protect the plant's habitat in 2007.

Read more in our press release and learn about our campaign to save the golden sedge.

EPA Report Refutes Congressional Clean Air Act Attacks

New scientific data out this week pokes significant holes in arguments used by those attacking the Clean Air Act and using economic scare tactics to limit its use. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday provided fresh evidence that the Act saves both lives and money. In 2010 alone the Act's programs to reduce particle and ozone pollution prevented more than 160,000 deaths, 130,000 heart attacks and 1.7 million asthma attacks, while the economic benefits of those programs will reach about $2 trillion by 2020. Adding to these findings, a Center for Biological Diversity report released last week details why the Clean Air Act must be harnessed to its fullest extent to significantly address climate change.

Unfortunately, the Clean Air Act is under fire in Congress as you read this. The House of Representatives recently voted to strip funding from EPA programs aimed at reducing carbon pollution. Our staff are working around the clock to make sure the latest science confirming the importance and cost-effectiveness of the Act finds its way into the overheated rhetoric on Capitol Hill.

Read more in The New York Times. Then sign our petition to save the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws and become a Clean Air Advocate.

Remembering the Last Jaguar, Mourning the Eastern Puma

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the death of Macho B, the last known wild jaguar in the United States, who was euthanized after being snared by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in a reckless live-capture attempt for radio-collaring. Firsthand descriptions of jaguars, or "tygers" as they were often known, ranged from the Carolinas to California in the 1700s and 1800s. Though Macho B was the last known American jaguar, thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity's longstanding campaign the Fish and Wildlife Service is now writing a jaguar recovery plan and will designate jaguar "critical habitat."

Jaguars shared the landscape with the smaller puma, which remains widespread in the West. But the Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday announced that the eastern cougar is officially extinct and will thus be taken off the endangered species list. The last confirmed eastern cougar was killed in Maine in 1938, and now only one puma subspecies remains in the entire U.S. East: the Florida panther, whose sole breeding population (pegged at 120 to 160 animals) is besieged by sprawl in South Florida. While the Center is in court to earn critical habitat for that population, we're also petitioning for panther reintroduction along the Georgia-Florida border -- vital for saving this unique big cat and conserving its ecosystem.

Learn more about our campaign for the jaguar and read about the eastern cougar in the Boston Herald.

Bluefin Brigade's Tuna Tour a Success -- Watch Videos and Spread the Word

Bluefin tuna remain on the brink of extinction. Unfortunately, they also remain on the menu in some sushi restaurants. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity's Bluefin Brigade took to the streets of San Francisco last week in search of sushi restaurants willing to sign our pledge not to serve this imperiled fish. With eye-catching tuna hats and matching T-shirts, our team trudged through the rain to visit six restaurants near Union Square. Three pledged their support by promising not to serve bluefin tuna; two restaurants earned big "boos" from the Brigade by standing by their bluefin-serving practice; and one wouldn't sign our pledge even though bluefin wasn't on the menu that night.

Those that did sign the Center's pledge joined more than 28,000 people and nearly 100 restaurants that have voiced their support since our boycott bluefin campaign launched late last year. It's all aimed at cutting the demand for bluefin, which are overfished around the world and suffered a huge blow when last year's oil spill fouled their spawning grounds in the Gulf of Mexico. "We were happy to find such supportive restaurants," said the Center's Catherine Kilduff. "It gives hope that if we get the word out to the public, more restaurants will join the Bluefin Brigade."

Help us spread the word now by taking our pledge and sharing it with all your friends through Facebook and other social media sites. Then watch our Bluefin Boycott videos, visit the website and read this World Journal San Francisco article.

Help Protect Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining -- Take Action

The Obama administration has announced a draft plan that could protect 1 million acres of the spectacular Grand Canyon watershed from destructive uranium mining -- but only if the administration takes the right path outlined in the plan. Fortunately, you have a say. Federal agencies are taking public input till April 4.

These agencies need to hear from you that the new uranium mining boom in the Grand Canyon area threatens to industrialize local iconic wildlands, damage wildlife habitat, and pollute and deplete critical water sources. The Center for Biological Diversity has defended the canyon from uranium since 2008 -- in court and beyond. Now we need your help.

Take action by telling the Obama government to choose the right alternative in its "mineral withdrawal" plan, and if you're in Arizona or Utah, attend a meeting about the plan. Then get more on the Grand Canyon uranium threat from the Guardian.

Ocean Acidification Ramping Up Threats to Corals

The peril of the world's coral reefs has acquired new urgency, according to a report by the World Resources Institute. The study, Reefs at Risk Revisited, updates the group's 1998 estimate that 60 percent of coral reefs globally were in danger of dying -- raising that number to a whopping three-fourths of all reefs. In addition to threats like coastal development and destructive fishing, the new report factors in global threats from the CO2 being spewed into our atmosphere -- namely, climate change and ocean acidification. If greenhouses gas emissions and other threats continue unchecked, the report found, more than 90 percent of reefs will be at risk by 2030.

The Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting to save corals from warming and ocean acidification for years, including earning federal protection for elkhorn and staghorn corals in 2006 and taking legal action in 2010 seeking protection of 82 other coral species.

Read about the report in The New York Times and watch an in-depth lecture about ocean acidification recently given by the Center's Oceans Program Director Miyoko Sakashita.

San Francisco Sued for Harming Endangered Frogs and Snakes

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies on Wednesday filed suit against the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department for continuing to kill endangered species at Sharp Park golf course. Operations at the course kill and harm California red-legged frogs and the brilliantly striped San Francisco garter snake, sometimes called "the most beautiful serpent in North America." The California red-legged frog, the hero of a Mark Twain story, is critically imperiled and has lost 90 percent of its habitat. But the Park Department has opposed restoration efforts for both these species at the golf course.

Sharp Park is a financially troubled, city-owned course within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Pacifica. It harbors wetlands critical for the survival and recovery of the snake and frog, yet the Park Department continues activities that harm both herps, including wetland draining that kills frog eggs. A recent science-based restoration report sponsored by the Center has increased momentum to remove the golf course and restore the wetlands for the sake of the frog, the snake, people and the economic well-being of San Francisco.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Read All About It: New Op-eds Page Features Fish, Wolves, Warming

Want to hear more than just a sound bite from the most effective endangered species group in the country? Now you can read in-depth op-eds by Center for Biological Diversity staffers about today's most pressing environmental issues, from wolves and polar bears to climate change and bats. Check out our brand-new Web page devoted to Center-staffer opinion pieces published in papers and online across the country.

The latest op-ed, by Center biologist Ileene Anderson, explores the plight of the three-inch, olive-gray Santa Ana sucker, a California fish that's lost 95 percent of its habitat -- and earned more than 9,000 acres of protected "critical habitat" last December due to Center litigation.

Check out our Perspectives and Op-eds page now.

Help the Center Save Species -- Vote for Us Now

Here's an easy way to help earn money for the Center for Biological Diversity: the free click of a button.

Each year, the philanthropy-minded company Working Assets and its CREDO Mobile branch donate a portion of their members' charges to a select group of progressive organizations like ours. We're excited to be on the ballot, but the amount of money we receive at the end of the year will depend on how many of you vote for us. If you're not a Working Assets or CREDO customer, all you have to do is sign up as a CREDO action member, which lets you take online action with CREDO on important environmental problems and other issues. Then you can go to the Working Assets voting page and assign maximum points to the Center. It's easy, quick and very helpful to our cause of saving species, from the great polar bear to the tiny Miami blue butterfly.

Please support us -- sign up and vote here now. Then tell your friends to do the same.

Wild and Weird: Baby Fox Ascends Britain's Tallest Building

A tiny fox recently towered over all of London. Last week, a fox cub was found at the very top of Britain's tallest building, the 945-foot Shard tower (still under construction). Estimated at only six months old, the courageous canine had apparently been living up there for at least two weeks on scraps of food left by workers. Officials figure the fox must have had to climb 71 flights of stairs -- plus one old-fashioned ladder -- to reach its sky-scraping perch.

Eventually, it was caught (lured by chicken carcasses) and brought to an animal sanctuary, later to be released.

Get more from MSNBC.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: San Francisco garter snake courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/GeneHsu; golden sedge courtesy USDA-NRCS plants database; coal-fired power plant courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Arnold Paul; Macho B courtesy Arizona Game and Fish; Boycott Bluefin logo (c) Center for Biological Diversity; Grand Canyon courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Mordac; staghorn coral courtesy NOAA; San Francisco garter snake (c) Gary Nafis; Santa Ana sucker by Paul Barrett, USFWS; Miami blue butterfly by Jaret C. Daniels, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera Biodiversity; red fox courtesy Wikimedia Commons/GDallimore.

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