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Don't Let Wolves Lose Their Lifeline -- Give Today

Gray wolfThe future of America's wolves is at a critical turning point: The Obama administration just announced that it's stripping Endangered Species Act protections from nearly all wolves in the lower 48 states. That means gutting 40 years of wolf conservation and recovery.

And when wolves lose federal protections, they die. It means more hunting, more trapping and more of the same ruthless persecution that nearly drove them extinct a century ago. It also means that wolves -- absent today from 95 percent of their historic habitat in the continental United States -- are virtually guaranteed never to fully recover in places like the Northeast, California, and most of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest.

The Center for Biological Diversity is going all out to stop the Obama administration's plans to abandon wolves.

We need your help. A generous member is matching all emergency gifts to our Wolf Defense Fund until Sunday, June 16 at midnight. Please give today.

Alabama Shad to Be Considered for Protection

Alabama shadAlready listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the foremost global authority on species conservation, Alabama shad -- rare, silvery schooling fish -- have yet to receive any federal protection at home. Now, finally -- in response to a petition and lawsuit by the Center -- the fish will be considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Once abundant in rivers from Florida to Oklahoma, the shad is now rare because of dams, pollution and habitat destruction.

In 2010 the Center petitioned for Endangered Species Act protection for 404 species dependent on southeastern rivers and streams, including the shad. But for the shad, the National Marine Fisheries Service rejected protection even before a status review was conducted. The Center challenged that determination in federal District Court, which led to the settlement agreement announced this week, giving the agency 90 days to issue a new finding regarding the need for a status review.

"The Alabama shad was once common enough to support a major commercial fishery,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida staff attorney with the Center. "That fishery is now dead, and the shad is on the brink of extinction. But there's still hope -- shad can rebound fairly quickly if we give them a little help and remove the obstacles to their recovery.”

Check out our press release.

Oakland, St. Petersburg Vow Action Against Climate Chaos -- Make Your City Next

St. Petersburg beachMore than 60 communities have now joined the Center's national Clean Air Cities campaign urging action against the climate crisis.

Oakland, Calif., and St. Petersburg, Fla., are the latest two big cities to pass resolutions backing the Clean Air Act as a vital tool for reducing CO2 and fighting the climate crisis. Because of climate change, coastal communities like Oakland and St. Pete are in grave danger from sea-level rise. St. Pete also faces threats from wacko weather changes like superstorms that damage homes, businesses, key city infrastructure -- not to mention beaches and other environmental treasures. California is expected to see 3 feet of sea-level rise (or twice as much, if an earthquake strikes) within this century.

Also in the past couple weeks, Fairfax, Calif., Hartford, Conn., and Key West and West Palm Beach, Fla., have joined our Clean Air Cities campaign.

But we need more. See our campaign page to get your city involved and take action as a Clean Air Advocate.

Speed Limit for Ships Will Help Prevent Deaths of Right Whales

North Atlantic right whaleOcean roadkill doesn't get much press, but massive commercial ships plowing at high speeds through ocean waters take plenty of victims. The bodies of big whales are often spotted floating in cargo ships' wake or found stuck to their prows. It's a good thing, then, that last week the federal government proposed to keep new speed limits in place along the U.S. East Coast, instead of letting them expire in December, to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. The decision is partly in response to a 2012 petition by the Center and allies.

Fewer than 500 right whales are left in the world, and ship strikes are one of the top threats to North Atlantic right whales' survival. The good news is, an April 2013 scientific report found the speed limits have successfully reduced the number of vessel-related right whale deaths by 80 percent to 90 percent.

In addition to protecting right whales, the National Marine Fisheries Service's speed limits will reduce collisions with other protected whales, including humpback, fin and minke. And slower ships produce less noise and air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions.

Check out our press release.

Protect Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat From Destruction -- Take Action

Lesser prairie chickenLesser prairie chickens, a rare grouse species with a unique and spectacular breeding dance, urgently need your help. Because of threats from oil and gas development, agriculture and grazing, wildfires, climate change and drought, these birds are rapidly losing their homes across Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

These birds have been on the waiting list for Endangered Species Act protection since 1999 -- and were finally proposed for protection last fall. But, in what seems like a purely political move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now pushing a "special” rule for lesser prairie chickens that will allow many habitat-destroying activities to continue. The Service may even allow this bird to be hunted.

Take action now to tell Fish and Wildlife that lesser prairie chickens are a rare and important species that should be protected as endangered -- we can't let the agency allow habitat destruction or hunting of a listed species. Then read more in the Alamogordo Daily News.

EPA Takes Historic Step Against Ocean Acidification

Great Barrier ReefOne small petition by the Center, one giant leap toward addressing an unprecedented crisis for our planet's seas: ocean acidification.

The EPA has announced that, in response to a Center petition, it's beginning an in-depth study on combating ocean acidification and reducing the pollution that's causing it. In fact, within the next six months, the EPA will convene a panel of scientists and policymakers to discuss our petition, which asks the agency to publish water-quality guidance to help coastal states determine if their waters are impaired by acidification. This is the first time the EPA has launched a formal workgroup to identify national water-quality standards that can be used to determine ocean acidification's effects on marine life.

And these effects are dire. When our oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (to the tune of 22 million tons a day), water becomes acidic and can impair sea creatures' ability to build protective shells. Already ocean acidification has caused massive oyster die-offs in the Pacific Northwest, sluggish coral growth in the Great Barrier Reef, and plankton growing weaker shells in high latitudes.

We mean to fight for ocean species -- and the EPA's announcement is promising news it will help.

Read more in E&E News and take action for our oceans.

Bloomberg Acts on Climate for NYC; Will Obama Follow?

New YorkJust months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week announced a sweeping plan to prepare the city for the dangers of the climate crisis and storms like Sandy. His $20 billion proposal plans for the inevitability of climate change impacts, including sea levels that could rise more than 4 feet in the coming decades.

Sandy is only a taste of what's ahead. Climate change loads storms with more energy and more water, and the risk of extreme weather is rising across much of the country. Storm surges, for example, are a huge threat to coastal cities: These devastating walls of water will become 10 times more frequent as the world warms, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Better infrastructure can reduce risks up to a point, but we must address the problem's root cause.

"As a scientist, I applaud the mayor for trying to protect New Yorkers from climate chaos," said Shaye Wolf, the Center's climate science director. "But who's looking out for the rest of America? It's hard to understand why President Obama isn't responding to the climate crisis with the same urgency displayed by the leader of our largest city.”

Read more in E&E News.

Global Outcry Intensifies Over Murder of Turtle Biologist

Leatherback sea turtleThe murder of Jairo Mora Sandoval, a young sea turtle biologist, remains unsolved -- and now conservation groups and concerned individuals are upping the reward to find his killers to $56,000. The Center and allies have been working intensely to raise the profile of this tragedy in Costa Rica, where Jairo was protecting nesting sea turtles from poachers.

Jairo, 26, was working on the Caribbean coast near Limón, an area that has seen an increase in sea turtle poaching. He was kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered by armed criminals on May 30. Four women -- three Americans and a Spaniard -- were also kidnapped but escaped unharmed.

Conservation groups also announced Wednesday that a memorial fund has been established. The Jairo Mora Sandoval Memorial Fund will help provide immediate assistance to Jairo's family and carry out conservation projects for sea turtles in Costa Rica in his name. The memorial fund currently stands at $7,000.

Take action now to demand justice for Jairo, and check out our brand-new press release.

Center Hires New Wildlands Director

Randi SpivakWe're pleased to announce we've hired a new wildlands director, Randi Spivak. Randi oversees the Center's Wildlands program, working to ensure that the country's wild places are managed for the benefit of species and ecosystems in a warming climate. Before coming to the Center, she was vice president for policy and government affairs for the Geos Institute, where she developed and promoted science-based land-management strategies to prepare forest ecosystems for climate change and safeguard sources of clean water and carbon stores.

Randi has extensive experience in public-lands policy, national campaigns and advocacy and has led successful efforts to protect hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat. As executive director of the American Lands Alliance, she helped unify the forest-protection community around specific conservation positions to educate U.S. policymakers.

After earning a B.A. in advertising and marketing at the Boston University School of Communications, Randi spent her early work life at a renowned advertising firm before devoting her life and career to conservation.

Welcome, Randi. You can reach her at

Wild & Weird: Facebook Billionaire Builds Fantasy Wedding Set in Redwoods

Redwood forestNapster cofounder and Facebook billionaire Sean Parker is taking media heat for his recent redwood forest wedding. Parker and his bride Alexandra Parker -- née Lenas -- exchanged vows on June 1 in a Big Sur faux-fairyland, allegedly built up with "ancient ruins,” ponds, exotic plants draped around giant sequoias, medieval bridges and a chimerical cottage, similar to the set of television drama Game of Thrones -- no word on whether any dashing dwarfs or white walkers were in attendance.

The construction of the grotesquely lavish wonderland was costly, both financially and, to all appearances, ecologically: Held in sensitive old-growth forest, the event was an unpermitted and destructive buildout, potentially putting habitat and species at risk. Parker conceded to fork out $2.5 million to the California Coastal Commission for ignoring regulations for the excesses of his epic-fantasy-style wedding, which already cost about $10 million (with varying estimates, sure -- but definitely a lot more than your average wedding price tag).

See photos of the wedding and read Sean Parker's rebuttal to the California Coastal Commission's report at The Atlantic.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: gray wolf from Oregon's Wenaha pack courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Metassus; Alabama shad art by Duane Raverz, commissioned by USFWS; St. Petersburg beach courtesy Flickr/MadAboutCows; Great Barrier Reef courtesy Flickr/Paul Toogood; New York courtesy Flickr/Thomas J. Matthews; leatherback sea turtle by Scott R. Benson, NOAA/NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center; Randi Spivak staff photo; redwood forest courtesy Flickr/Jason Hollinger.

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