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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good

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January 25, 1992 – The Center and a coalition of environmental groups submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to place the southwestern willow flycatcher on the endangered species list. The Service refused to process the petition.

February 27, 1995 – In response to litigation from the Center, the Service listed the flycatcher as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

1996 – The Service found that critical habitat for the flycatcher was “not determinable,” and the Center filed a lawsuit challenging that finding.

July 22, 1997 – In response to an order from a federal judge, the Service set aside about 600 river miles in Arizona, California, and New Mexico as critical habitat for the southwestern willow flycatcher.

2001 – The flycatcher’s critical habitat designation was struck down by the courts for having an inadequate economic analysis. The Fish and Wildlife Service made no move to conduct a proper analysis.

2002 – The Center filed suit to reinstate critical habitat.

October 19, 2005 – The Service designated 120,824 acres of critical habitat in Arizona, Southern California, southeastern Nevada, New Mexico, and southwestern Utah. This designation included more than 250,000 acres less than that which had been proposed.

August 28, 2007 – The Center submitted a formal notice of intent to sue the Bush administration over the southwestern willow flycatcher’s inadequate 2005 critical habitat designation, as well as 54 other illegal Endangered Species Act decisions. Three months later, the Service announced that it would not change the bird’s critical habitat designation.

October 2, 2008  – The Center sued the Bush administration over six politically tainted Endangered Species Act  decisions, including the unlawful reduction of the southwestern willow flycatcher’s habitat protections.

December 12, 2008  – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for failing to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service on the invasion of an imported beetle. The tamarisk-defoliating leaf beetle had invaded nesting areas of the southwestern willow flycatcher in southern Utah and northwestern Arizona — and any further spreading could seriously threaten the bird’s survival.

March 27, 2009 – The Center and Maricopa Audubon Society filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service and APHIS over the detrimental effects of the leaf-eating beetle on the southwestern willow flycatcher.

May 13, 2009 – The Center filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Bureau and the Service over a faulty land-management plan for east-central Nevada that would allow activities such as off-road vehicle use, grazing, mining, and energy production to harm the southwestern willow flycatcher and other species.

January 14, 2010 – In response to the Center’s critical habitat lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to reconsider designating more critical habitat for the southwestern willow flycatcher.

April 22, 2010 – As a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, a 1,100-acre wildlife preserve in western Riverside County was saved from industrial development. The preserve is home to numerous imperiled species, including the burrowing owl, least Bell’s vireo, and southwestern willow flycatcher.

July 20, 2010 – The Center sued the U.S. Forest Service for failing to monitor and protect habitat and endangered species in Arizona and New Mexico national forests — including the southwestern willow flycatcher, New Mexico ridge-nosed rattlesnake, Chiricahua leopard frog, Apache trout, loach minnow, Mexican spotted owl and spikedace.

Photo by Suzanne Langridge, USGS