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2013 was a phenomenal year for protecting endangered species and fighting some of the most important environmental battles of our age, including fracking, climate change and the Keystone XL pipeline. The Center for Biological Diversity won new Endangered Species Act protection for 55 animals and plants around the country, including the streaked horned lark, Florida bonneted bat and Jollyville Plateau salamander. We also secured protections for 750,000 acres of wildlife habitat -- and gained proposed protection for another 29.7 million.

Read on for more of the year's highlights. You can also see much of the Center's work throughout 2013 on this cool interactive map.

You helped us succeed in 2013 -- now please consider giving generously today to ensure more Center victories in 2014. Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar to do twice the good.

Historic Species Protections

Yellow-billed cuckooSince the Center signed our historic 757 species agreement in 2011, it's already brought final protection for 105 species and proposed protection for another 33, including the wolverine, yellow-billed cuckoo, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, Jollyville Plateau salamander, fuzzy pigtoe mussel and Florida semaphore cactus. This year alone we won final Endangered Species Act protection for 55 species -- like streaked horned larks, Florida bonneted bats and Acuña cacti.

Also in 2013 we obtained international trade protections for three U.S. turtles and secured an injunction on logging Oregon state forests to protect the marbled murrelet, a dainty seabird. We published a groundbreaking report highlighting the disastrous impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline on wildlife in its way.

And there's more: We stopped the capture of gray wolves arriving from Mexico, ensured finalization of a proposal to let wolves roam more widely in the Southwest, sued to protect Florida panthers and Big Cypress from off-road vehicles, and organized scores of rallies, letter-writing and mass-petition campaigns against a federal plan to strip protection from most wolves in the lower 48.

And this 40th year of the Endangered Species Act, we generated dozens of letters to the editor and op-eds supporting our most successful wildlife law.

Learn more about our Endangered Species program and our Wild Success campaign celebrating the Act.

Preserving Habitat

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlingThe Center secured final critical habitat designations for 18 species in 2013, covering more than 750,000 acres. Along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, 739 miles of habitat will be protected as nesting beaches and marine foraging areas for loggerhead sea turtles because of our advocacy.

Final habitat protection was achieved this year for a wondrous array of other species, from cave-dwelling beetles, snails and crustaceans to plants called "milk vetches," and "bladderpods" to the beautiful southwestern willow flycatcher.

We also snagged proposed protection for an additional 26 million acres for lynx and 2 million acres for yellow-legged frogs and Yosemite toads -- plus 1.7 million proposed acres for the splendid Gunnison sage grouse. Other species winning proposed habitat this year include the Santa Barbara monkeyflower, found in just one California county; other rare flowers in California, Nevada and the Southeast; Oregon spotted frogs; Florida butterflies; the Zuni bluehead sucker (a Southwest fish); and jaguars.

Check out our Maps page, featuring many maps of protected habitat and threats.

Curbing the Climate Crisis

FrostpawThis year, as the climate crisis worsened, we fought tooth and nail against some of the worst threats to a livable planet. The Center scored a landmark legal triumph on fracking that halted (for now) oil and gas leasing on Bureau of Land Management lands in California and brought heavy pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown to institute a state fracking moratorium. We even took out an eye-catching billboard in Los Angeles. We also exposed offshore fracking in California's coastal waters and presented evidence of this dangerous practice to the California Coastal Commission.

The Center issued a major report finding 233 federally protected species in 23 states threatened by rising sea levels, and we expanded our Clean Air Cities campaign -- through which cities call for national action on climate change -- to almost 80 communities, coast to coast.

Much of our focus was on holding President Obama accountable for dealing with the climate crisis. This year that included sending Frostpaw the Polar Bear -- and our strong anti-Keystone message -- to shadow him at the White House, fundraisers, and even his Hawaii vacation.

Learn about the Center's Climate Law Institute.

Saving Sea Life

Staghorn coralIt was a precedent-setting year for the Center's energetic, innovative Oceans program. Our action pushed the EPA to commit, for the first time in history, to assessing a plastic-polluted area as a potential Superfund cleanup site. This area is a Hawaiian island, near the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In other firsts, we persuaded the EPA to launch an in-depth study of the need for better, more effective water-quality standards to protect shellfish, corals and other marine life from ocean acidification. We filed suit against the agency for failing to address ocean acidification that is killing oysters and hurting other marine life in Oregon and Washington; and we won a settlement requiring the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop recovery plans for elkhorn and staghorn corals, hit hard by climate change.

Fewer endangered whales are dying from entanglement in fishing nets off California thanks to emergency regulations we secured. And because of a Center settlement, toxic oil-dispersing chemicals used in California waters will now do less harm to sea turtles, whales and other threatened animals and habitats. From now on dispersants' safety for endangered species will be studied before the chemicals are used -- not afterward, as occurred during 2010's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

We also hope our anti-offshore-fracking campaign launched this year will spur a ban on the practice -- thus stopping toxic fracking ocean pollution.

Learn more about our Oceans program.

Protecting Public Lands

JaguarThe Center did our public lands proud this year. We saved habitat for unique black-backed woodpeckers -- soot-colored birds that eat wood-boring insects in burned trees -- by blocking logging on thousands of acres of their post-fire habitat. Plus, a Center petition earned an in-depth study that may protect these woodpeckers in three states.

We helped bring forest-dwelling Pacific fishers back toward protection, spurring a status review for these charming yet ferocious porcupine-eaters threatened by logging and development. We finally forced the feds to fully analyze how snowmobiles affect woodland wildlife and plants in five California national forests, and our legal work stopped logging on 20,000 acres of old growth in Oregon, Alaska and Arizona for Alaskan wolves and two subspecies of owls.

In the Southwest we helped reintroduce bighorns to Arizona's Catalina Mountains and secured 19,095 more acres of proposed "critical habitat" for jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico -- including areas eyed for the planned Rosemont copper mine (which we've opposed for years). In the Eldorado National Forest, we reduced off-road vehicles on wetland meadows, and we ensured that solar and wind projects minimized wildlife impacts in California and Nevada -- making sure they're healthy for wildlife as well as the climate. Finally, our litigation just blocked a massive Las Vegas water grab that would have threatened dozens of species.

Learn more about our work on public lands.

Expanding Innovative Work on Population, Sustainability

Endangered Species CondomsThe Center's newly expanded Population and Sustainability program commissioned a headline-stealiing national poll this year confirming that the majority of Americans agree: Population growth is a driving factor in many of today's environmental crises. Our poll and population work was featured in media around the country, including the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, The Miami Herald and The Daily Beast.

We also brought national media attention to the 2nd birthday of the world's 7 billionth baby -- and all the environmental costs that come with adding more people and recklessly consuming resources and wildlife habitat. As 2013 drew to a close, our award-winning Endangered Species Condoms project reached a historic milestone: distribution of more than a half-million condoms since 2009. The condoms continue to be a proven attention-grabber -- both for people and the media -- and one of the best ways to start a conversation about population, consumption and sustainability.

Check out our revamped Population and Sustainability program and our Endangered Species Condoms.

Fighting for Urban Wildlands

Santa Ana suckerOur Urban Wildlands program, which fights to save wildlife habitat and water from sprawl and bad planning, notched important victories this year. One of the most potent was a legal win against plans to develop a steep and rugged part of the Tehachapi Pass area north of Los Angeles, winning a lawsuit against the Frazier Park Estates project and then celebrating when the developer sold the land to California State Parks.

We also successfully defended against an attack on federal protections for some of the last remaining habitat of the Santa Ana sucker in Southern California, fought to protect the Santa Clara River in northern Los Angeles County from the massive proposed Newhall Ranch development, and stepped up our long battle against efforts to privatize California's State Water Project in hopes of returning the world's largest underground reservoir to the public's hands.

We also challenged a colossal groundwater-mining scheme that would pipe water from the Mojave Desert to feed more suburban sprawl, worked to protect the San Francisco/San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its many endangered species, and ramped up our fight against destructive highway projects in Northern California.

Learn more about our Urban Wildlands program.

Aid for Alaska and the Arctic

Bearded sealLong before writing the petition that earned polar bears protection in 2005, the Center was winning yearly victories over grave threats to Alaskan and Arctic species. 2013 was no exception.

Yet again in 2013, we fought off offshore drilling companies eyeing Alaska waters. We overcame state and oil-industry attacks on bearded seals' protection and polar bears' critical habitat, and we secured a recovery plan for southwest Alaska's northern sea otters. We successfully sued over oil and gas exploration in Alaska's Cook Inlet, aiding the inlet's unique belugas -- of which only a few hundred remain -- and locked in a long-overdue recovery plan for North Pacific right whales, another of the world's most endangered whales. Along with these wins for some of the sea's greater mammals, we also earned more security for smaller ones when the feds responded to our petition to safeguard pinto abalones by announcing the animals may indeed need protection.

Ashore, we won a case requiring Alaska to consider oil and gas projects' snowballing impacts on state lands' precious habitat -- plus an affirmative reaction to our petition to protect the matchless freshwater seals of Iliamna Lake, threatened by the Pebble Mine. And in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, we halted a timber sale to defend imperiled Alexander Archipelago wolves.

Read more about the Arctic Meltdown and Arctic Oil Development.

Tackling Toxics

San Joaquin kit foxThis year the Center continued our work defending all species from toxics. We struck a pioneering settlement to better protect California red-legged frogs from seven highly toxic pesticides, and we led more than 250 groups in summoning the EPA to ban another dangerous pesticide: atrazine. Our litigation also prompted the National Academy of Sciences' report on needed reforms to the country's process of reviewing pesticides' endangered-species effects.

To protect California condors and other animals that eat lead-shot game, we rallied support to pass historic legislation banning poisonous lead ammo in California, while continuing to fight the NRA and other gun groups over enacting a national ban. Also in California we forced enhanced restrictions on rat poisons that can kill kit foxes, spotted owls, fishers and other imperiled animals. We helped convince officials to tighten up the Golden State's suction-dredge mining ban to protect water, wildlife and fisheries from pollution. And in the Bay Area, we forced a proposed power plant to cough up $2 million to help stave off pollution in local communities -- and stave off extinction for Lange's metalmark butterflies.

When it came to toxics in the air, we sued to limit soot pollution and prevailed in court to reduce airborne lead. Finally, we generated enough public pressure to nix approval of 97 percent of arsenic compounds in animal feed -- which harm all of us.

Learn more about our work to defend endangered species from toxics.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Polar bear cubs courtesy USFWS; yellow-billed cuckoo by Glen Tepke; loggerhead sea turtle hatchling courtesy Flickr/USFWS Southeast; Frostpaw by Beth Wellington; staghorn coral courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Nick Hobgood; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Olegivvit; Endangered Species Condoms courtesy Flickr/AIDS/SIDA NB; Santa Ana sucker by Paul Barrett, USFWS; bearded seal (c) Larry Master,; San Joaquin kit fox by Peterson B. Moose, USFWS.

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Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702