Subject: FW: SW biodiversity alert #7

Subject: SW biodiversity alert #7


Southwest Center for Biological Diversity
pob 17839, tucson, az 85731

The Southwest Center has appealed
the Walnut Allotment Management Plan on the Coronado National
Forest.  The Forest Service proposed to change grazing on the
sprawling allotment in the Peloncillo Mountains of southern New
Mexico and Arizona, from 3 months/year to year-round.  They also
proposed to allow grazing in the currently  ungrazed Whitmire Canyon
which is in a Wilderness Study Area.  The allotment contains the
best riparian and aquatic habitat in this very arid region,
including Skeleton Canyon (where Geronimo last surrendered) and Pine
Canyon.  It also contains two active goshawk territories.

On behalf of the Southwest Forest Alliance, the Southwest Center has
issued a study entitled "Forest Health and Forest Fraud: U.S. Forest
Service Report Hides the Disappearance of Old Growth in the
Southwest."  The study shows that the Forest Service intentionally
misrepresented its own data in order claim 1) there has been little
of no decline in "large" trees, 2) that endangered species
protection has caused forest health problems, and 3) that increased
logging, including clearcutting, is necessary. 

The Forest Service's own data, however, indicates that large trees
in the SW have declined by 48% in the last 20 years alone.  The
Forest Service came to its unlikely conclusion by redefining a
"large" tree to be 17 inches dbh, when the *average* tree size in
the SW historically was 19 inches dbh for pines and 24 inches dbh
for firs!  The Forest Service's claim that protection for the
Mexican spotted owl has caused thickets to take over the forests, is
absurd since their report considered only the years prior to owl
conservation measures.  Lastly, the report misrepresented its own
data in order to hide the documented ill effects of overgrazing on
forest health.

For a copy of the report, contact

The Cooper Ornithological Society has passed a resolution
calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to finalize
designation of critical habitat for the Southwestern willow
flycatcher.  As usual, bad people at the FWS have refused to do so
are currently being sued by the Southwest Center.  The flycatcher
has delined to about 500 pairs in southern CA, AZ and NM due to
destruction of riparian forests by overgrazing, dam construction,
and water pumping.  To more info on the flycatcher, check out

The Society also passed resolutions opposing riders and legislation
weakening the ESA, and the Salvage Rider.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is
proposing to reintroduce the condor (as experimental, non-essential
of course) to its ancient habitat in Northern Arizona near the Grand
Canyon.  Public hearings have generally been supportive, but could be
held up by small group of ranchers claiming the reintroduction may
harm their public and private grazing operations.  This claim is
non-sensical, but could delay or cancel the reintroduction.  Or it
could result a special rule guaranteeing ranchers that at no time
will condor protection efforts affect their land uses- a further
degradation of the ESA.

A small group of ranchers can not be allowed to hold as important
and popular program as condor reintroduction.  There are too few
birds left for them to be classed as experimental, non-essential.
Please contact: Sam Spiller, USFWS, 2321 W. Royal Palm Rd. Suite
103, Phoenix, AZ 85021 (602.640.2720).

At the request of Republican congressmen, the
GAO is conducting an investigation into 1) the inability of the
Service to project future timber harvests due to environmental laws,
2) to the cost and complexity of NEPA implementaion, and 3)
conflicting environmental laws.  The obvious intent is to justify
the dismantle "conflicting and counterproductive" environmental

Call Chester Joy at the GAO (202/512-8157).  Tell him that 1)
environmental laws are not contradictory, 2) the environmental and
economic cost of implementing NEPA is far higher than not
implementing it, and 3) the Forest Service's inability to adequately
project timber volumes is based on their refusal to use rational
models based including environmental safeguards.