We’re Thankful for the Wild — and for You

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Polar bears by Marko Dimitrijevic/Flickr
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A Note of Thanks for the Wild — and for You

We're grateful each day for the wild creatures that bring grace and beauty to our world — from polar bears and wolves to sea turtles and monarch butterflies.

As always, the Center for Biological Diversity is fighting tirelessly to save these species from extinction. Your dedication makes it possible, and we’re also thankful for you.

It feels more important than ever, in this horrible year, to savor each conservation victory: wins that pushed rare Southeast fish closer to federal protection; the rejection of a plan to suck 18 billion gallons yearly from Utah’s Green River; the recent halting of the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline in the East. And just yesterday, we won two proposals to protect more than 6,000 square miles of habitat for 12 coral species.

These are just a few of the fights we’ve been able to take on because you’ve supported us. As the year draws to a close, please consider a gift to help us keep the wild alive.

And take a moment to read this important New York Times piece on what today means for Indigenous people across the United States.

Sickle darter courtesy Conservation Fisheries Inc.

After a Decade, Two Southeast Fish Will Get Federal Help

In response to a 2010 and 2015 petition by the Center, two little fishes in the embattled freshwater ecosystems of the Southeast have finally been proposed for Endangered Species Act protection. 
 
The sickle darter of Tennessee and Virginia is named for the sickle-shaped streak beneath its eyes. Also found in Tennessee — and Georgia too — the frecklebelly madtom is a small, stout catfish that likely got the “madtom” moniker for its habit of poking people’s fingers with its poisonous spines. 

Southern Resident orcas by Miles Ritter/Flickr

Appeal Challenges Approval of Puget Sound Fish Farm

The Center and allies went back to court this week to challenge a decision greenlighting a Puget Sound fish farm without requiring an adequate environmental review of its impacts on the ecosystem — including endangered Southern Resident orcas. We first sued in February to halt this project, pushed by seafood conglomerate Cooke Aquaculture, pending a full review. But the judge deferred to the expertise of the agency we challenged.

“Fish factory farming has no place in Puget Sound,” said Center lawyer Sophia Ressler. “Doing the work to fully understand how this project could harm our waters and endangered wildlife is absolutely vital to protecting our state waters.” 

Win: Utah Rejects Massive Water Grab

Razorback sucker, Melanie Fischer, USFWS

After legal protests by the Center and allies, Utah’s state engineer just nixed a developer’s application to pump nearly 18 billion gallons of water each year from Utah’s Green River over the Rocky Mountains to Colorado’s Front Range. The pumping was proposed in a part of the river that’s critical to the recovery of razorback sucker and other endangered fish.

“This decision is a big win for the Green River, as well as the people and endangered fish that depend on it,” said the Center’s Taylor McKinnon.

Mount Charleston blue butterfly by Sky Island/Flickr

Saving a Butterfly’s Last Hillsides From Coasters and Trails

Outside Las Vegas the ethereal-looking Mount Charleston blue butterfly is threatened by plans to build out a ski resort for summer sports — with zip lines, alpine coasters and high-speed bike trails through its habitat. Yet the resort owner, whose motto is “Play Forever,” claims to be an environmental steward. 

“Powdr Corp may well drive the Mount Charleston blue butterfly extinct,” said the Center’s Patrick Donnelly. “We hope the company will step up and follow through on its good-citizen promise by doing what’s needed to save this little creature.”

This month we filed suit to stop the butterfly’s extinction.

Pacific walruses by Sarah Sonsthagen/USGS

Trump Wants to Weaken Offshore Safety Rules in the Arctic

Trump is pushing to weaken offshore-drilling safety rules designed to protect the Arctic’s hazardous, remote waters.
 
It’s this administration’s third major rollback of offshore safety regulations created by the Obama administration after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
 
“Demolishing offshore safety rules on the way out the door shows the Trump administration’s ugly contempt for workers and wildlife,” said the Center’s Kristen Monsell. “Ignoring the Arctic’s harsh and unforgiving conditions will lead to disaster. There’s no way to make offshore drilling safe. But these reckless rollbacks will make it much more dangerous.”

No Need to Shop — Just Give a Gift Membership

Gray wolves, Shutterstock

For those in your life who love the wild as much as you do, consider a gift membership to the Center. They’ll have the satisfaction of knowing their membership has helped fund the Center’s important work to protect the wildlife and wild places they care about. And that’s priceless.

Revelator: How Renewable Energy Can Power Your State

Solar panel by Argonne National Laboratory/Flickr

A new report by the Institute for Local Self-reliance found that almost every U.S. state could meet 100% of its energy needs from instate renewable sources. In fact some states could produce 10 times the electricity they need.

Read this Revelator interview with a report coauthor to learn about the opportunities, the technology and more. Also subscribe to The Revelator’s weekly newsletter.

Atlantic herring by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program

Wild & Weird: In Sweden, a Sonic Cold War Mystery 

In the early 1980s, when the Cold War threat of nuclear war loomed, Swedish authorities constantly worried about Soviet submarines invading their coastal waters. For years they scanned for sounds beneath the waves, often hearing suspicious noises they thought could be from Russian subs.
 
“Tschhhh, pop, pfft.” A propeller, maybe? Their own subs, boats and aircraft scrambled to investigate. A major international incident seemed imminent.

But no invaders were ever found. The years dragged on, and the Cold War subsided as the Soviet Union collapsed — yet Swedes still detected the odd sounds. In 1996 they finally solved the mystery: They’d been chasing the sound of fish farts. 

The flatulence of vast schools of herring. 

Get the whole story from IFL Science.

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Photo credits: Polar bears by Marko Dimitrijevic/Flickr; sickle darter courtesy Conservation Fisheries Inc.; Southern Resident orcas by Miles Ritter/Flickr; razorback sucker, Melanie Fischer, USFWS; Mount Charleston blue butterfly by Sky Island/Flickr; gray wolves via Shutterstock; Pacific walruses by Sarah Sonsthagen/USGS; solar panel by Argonne National Laboratory/Flickr; Atlantic herring by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program.

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