We're Suing to Save This Spectacular Ocean Monument

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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North Atlantic right whales
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Filed: Lawsuit to Save the Atlantic's First Ocean Monument

On Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump's June 5 executive order allowing commercial fishing in Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, created by President Obama in 2016.

The Antiquities Act lets presidents create national monuments to protect objects of historic or scientific interest, but not to revoke protections.

The still-new monument is a 4,900-square-mile marine protected area off New England harboring critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles, endangered North Atlantic right whales, sperm whales and numerous others — including fragile deep-sea corals that take centuries to grow.

We moved fast to push back on President Trump's illegal order, and we'll keep pushing.

Learn more and consider supporting this work with a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Six Nineteen logo

Defend Black Lives — Find a 'Six Nineteen' Event

This has been a remarkable month, as so many have stood up to confront racism and police brutality against Black people across the country.

But the fight has far to go — and we hope you'll participate this Friday, June 19, or over the weekend.

The Movement for Black Lives is organizing events around the country called Six Nineteen: Defend Black Lives. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. This weekend's events are both outdoors and digital — marches, speakers, protests, and a powerful, sustained call to end police violence and bring justice to Black communities.

Sign up for an event near you.

Black Lives Matter protest

Center Essays on the Importance of This Moment

Fighting injustice and oppression has been at the core of the Center's work for more than three decades — whether it's standing up for wildlife faced with extinction, litigating for clean air and water, or halting the destruction of public lands.

This moment calls on us to speak up for Black communities and push for the end of systemic racism and police brutality. Each of us has a chance to tip the scales toward justice, rise up, and be part of this critical, history-making movement.

This week Center staff published two powerful essays: The Justice Movement Includes the Environmental Movement by North Carolina State Campaigner Jovita Lee and We Have No Option But Radical Transformation by Jean Su, our Energy Justice program director.

Vaquita

Suit Filed to Save the Last Vaquitas

Vaquitas are small, blunt-nosed porpoises that live only in Mexico's Upper Gulf of California — and are now the world's most endangered marine mammals. Only about 10 individuals remain. The Center and allies have been fighting for their survival for 20 years, and this week we sued to force the Trump administration to take action on a petition we filed in 2014.

Our petition seeks sanctions against the import of all Mexican seafood due to the country's failure to end the poaching of totoaba — endangered fish prized in Asia for their swim bladders — that's driving vaquitas to extinction.

"The lawlessness being permitted right now can't continue," said Sarah Uhlemann, our International program director. "And we're truly facing extinction of a species if the Mexican government does not take action."

Read more at KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.

Southern Resident killer whale and calf

Take Action: Speak Up for West Coast Orcas

The alarming decline of endangered West Coast orcas continues.

Despite the fact that only 73 individuals are left — and another was recently declared missing and presumed dead — the U.S. Navy's moving forward with a plan for seven years of war games in their habitat. Its proposal calls for surface and underwater exercises, explosives, and bursts of sonar along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts.

These activities can deafen and kill marine mammals, as well as mask vital sounds needed for communication and feeding. In this case the Navy is seeking a permit to harm and harass these animals up to 2 million times over the next seven years.

Act now: Urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect West Coast orcas and other marine mammals from deadly war games.

Plastic pellets

Join Us for a Discussion on Plastic Pollution

More than 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year — drowning wildlife, polluting our beaches and wrecking ecosystems.

Join us later today to learn about our work to protect wildlife, communities and the climate by fighting plastic pollution at the source.

We'll talk about the plastic industry's plans to drastically increase production, what we're doing to stop it, and why we can't recycle our way out. By registering for this conversation, you'll also receive a link to watch the new documentary "The Story of Plastic."

The hour-long webinar will start at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. It's free, but you need to sign up.

Grizzly bear

Win in Idaho: Lawsuit Halts Border Road in Grizzly Country

In response to a suit filed by the Center and our partners, federal agencies have agreed not to reconstruct a road, just south of the Canadian border in northern Idaho, this summer.

Under the guise of "border security," the project would have increased traffic on nearby roads in crucial habitat for imperiled grizzly bears, mountain caribou, wolverines and other wildlife.

"We're pleased this lawsuit has pushed the Trump administration to hit pause on reconstructing an abandoned road in this pristine area where a fragile grizzly bear population is struggling to recover," said the Center's Andrea Zaccardi. "This is a great first step."

Learn more.

Borax Lake chub

Meet the Latest Endangered Species Act Success Story

The Borax Lake chub, a 2-inch fish found only in southeast Oregon's Borax Lake, has made a full recovery and no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Before receiving protection in 1980, the chub was threatened by the development-driven loss of freshwater streams that flow into its lake. More than 300 acres of habitat, including the lake itself, were permanently protected, and the ponds and natural marshes next to the lake were reestablished.

"The odds were stacked against this tiny little fish, but thanks to the Endangered Species Act, the Borax Lake chub escaped extinction," said the Center's Stephanie Kurose.

Get more from OregonLive.

Revelator: Permafrost, the Arctic's 'Climate Bomb'

Permafrost

Scientists estimate that as climate change heats up the Arctic's frozen soil, melting permafrost could release about twice as much carbon as is already in the atmosphere. We don't know permafrost's full potential to exacerbate climate change. But The Revelator just did an interview with biogeochemist Christina Schädel, who's spent the past nine years studying it — and believes it's an urgent issue.

Find out what else Schädel has to say and subscribe to The Revelator's weekly e-newsletter.

Giant water bug dad

Wild & Weird: These Water Bugs Deserve a #1 Dad Coffee Mug

Giant water bugs make dandy dads. After these insects mate, the females of some species cement their eggs to the males' backs and hit the road, leaving the dads as single parents. For two weeks the males diligently clean and aerate the eggs, fiercely defending them from a host of predators and other dangers till they hatch. One study found that female giant water bugs prefer males already carrying eggs on their back — meaning that evidence of skill in paternal care (#hott) is rewarded by female sexual selection.

Check out our new video on Facebook or YouTube to see these dads caring for their eggs in New Mexico's Gila River.

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Photo credits: North Atlantic right whales courtesy NOAA; Six Nineteen logo; Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C., by Jean Su/Center for Biological Diversity; vaquita by Barbara Taylor/NOAA; Southern Resident killer whale and calf courtesy NOAA; plastic pellets courtesy Sustainable Coastlines; grizzly bear by petechar/Flickr; Borax Lake chub photo by Bridget Moran/USFWS with graph by Center for Biological Diversity; permafrost by Brandt Meixell/USGS; giant water bug dad by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity.

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