Orcas Win in New Seattle Harbor Agreement
The Center for Biological Diversity just reached a legal agreement with the Port of Seattle that will help the area’s critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. Only 73 are left in the wild.
After we sued two federal agencies to defend the whales from a Seattle Harbor expansion plan, port authorities intervened. Now they’ve agreed to include more environmental protections.
“Saving Southern Resident killer whales from extinction requires monitoring and minimizing disruptions to feeding,” said the Center’s Catherine Kilduff. “By restoring salmon habitat, monitoring noise, and participating in a solution-seeking stakeholder group, the port is taking necessary steps on the pathway to recovering Seattle’s orcas.”
Help us save these orcas and other endangered species with a matched gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Take Action: Feathered Friends Need Your Help
On his way out the door, Trump gutted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal law passed in 1918 — in the wake of the massacre and extinction of the passenger pigeon — to prevent the extinction of certain other bird species. Thankfully Biden rescinded the Trump rules and has proposed new ones.
With the loss of 3 billion U.S. birds in the past 50 years, the proposed changes are badly needed. In the past the Act has been only sporadically enforced, in response to public outcry or high-profile crises like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. If it’s enacted and implemented well, the administration’s new proposal will ensure that industries that kill birds will reduce deaths and contribute to wildlife habitat protection.
Add your voice today to support the new rules and ask that they be strengthened even more.
Despite Climate Rhetoric, Biden Bats for Team Oil
The United Nations COP26 summit ended with Biden failing to make crucial commitments to addressing the climate emergency. Though he agreed to halt deforestation and cut methane emissions by 2030, he passed up global pacts to end coal and to phase out oil and gas.
Back at home, on Wednesday the administration held the largest U.S. oil-and-gas lease sale ever, auctioning off more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Biden can stop this, but instead he’s casting his lot in with the fossil fuel industry,” said Kristen Monsell, the Center’s oceans legal director.
That’s why the Center and allies sued this summer when the huge lease sale was announced. Stay tuned on how you can help.
Watch This: Wildlife and City Lights
Los Angeles is the world’s only megacity where mountain lions and humans live side by side. This video shows why the city’s proposed wildlife ordinance is important for cougars and other species threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.
Long-Sought Wins for Rare Flower and Mussel
Thanks to years of work by the Center, this month the Fish and Wildlife Service took big steps to save two unique, little-known species under the Endangered Species Act.
First, addressing a Center lawsuit, the agency proposed last week to protect bracted twistflowers, plus 1,606 acres of their habitat. Herbaceous members of the mustard family, these lovely lavender flowers have been waiting for protection since 1975 as development gobbled up their Texas habitat.
And this week, following a petition and two Center lawsuits, the Service protected Atlantic pigtoe mussels, designating 563 river miles of critical habitat in North Carolina and Virginia. These 2-inch-long, yellow to dark-brown freshwater mussels have vanished from more than 60% of their range due to water pollution from development, agriculture and logging. Their singular shells have a rhomboid shape and odd, cloth-like texture.
Ally Spotlight: Finding Foxes, Connecting to Nature
In 2012 a small volunteer organization called Cascadia Wild made a stunning discovery when one of its cameras captured a Sierra Nevada red fox — believed extinct in Oregon — on Mt. Hood. Since its 1998 inception, the group has made many such discoveries through its Wolverine Tracking Project, which sends volunteers to the Mt. Hood National Forest to track rare carnivores like the fox, gray wolves, Pacific martens and more (though they haven’t found wolverines yet). Cascadia Wild has connected thousands of people to nature, teaching tracking and naturalist skills. Check them out.
Revelator: Public Lands in a Warming World
Get in your hikes, camping and summer national-parks road trips while you can. A new study finds that over the next three decades, warming temperatures could mean big changes in how Americans use their public lands.
Read more in The Revelator and sign up for the weekly newsletter if you haven’t yet.
EPA: Two Pesticides Likely Hurt Most Endangered Species
The Environmental Protection Agency just admitted that two of the United States’ most widely used pesticides — atrazine and glyphosate — each probably harm more than 1,000 of its most endangered plants and animals.
“It’s no surprise these chemical poisons are causing severe harm to imperiled wildlife, since the United States uses more than 70 million pounds of atrazine and 300 million pounds of glyphosate every year,” said the Center’s Nathan Donley. “It’s long past time for atrazine to be banned, and the EPA needs to crack down on the reckless overuse of glyphosate, too.”
That’s Wild: Vanishing Whale Poop
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industrial whale hunting nearly annihilated the largest creatures ever to live on Earth. Humans hunted blue whales alone so intensely that their population dropped from 360,000 to around 1,000 — all within the lifespan of a single blue whale.
But the tragedy didn’t end with the loss of whales’ lives. All the lost whales — some 2 million baleen whales in a single century — created a food-web collapse that still lingers today. According to a new study, the absence of healthy whale populations left 430 million metric tons of krill uneaten every year, which meant millions of tons of iron-rich whale poop didn’t fertilize ocean ecosystems. All this has caused a kind of marine desertification.
Read more in The Atlantic.
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Photo credits: Southern Resident orca by Dirk Kirchner/Flickr; sandhill cranes by Patrick Myers/NPS; Gulf of Mexico oil rig by JournoJen/Flickr; deer screenshot from video courtesy Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife; bracted twistflower by Alison Northup; Sierra Nevada red fox by Keith Slausen/USFWS; Yosemite National Park by Rennett Stowe; monarch butterflies by Patrick Donnelly/Center for Biological Diversity; 19th-century whaling illustration in the public domain.
Center for Biological Diversity
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