Action timeline

March 1, 2000 – The Center reached a landmark legal agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to protect more than 50 endangered species — including the Smith's blue butterfly — in southern California's four national forests. The Forest Service was required to amend forest management plans to address endangered species protections and to remove livestock from several sensitive areas.

December 21, 2001 – The Center appealed (for the first time) a Forest Service decision to allow renewed cattle grazing on Smith's blue butterfly habitat in Big Sur.

2002 – The Forest Service withdrew its decision (for the first time) to increase livestock grazing on eight federal grazing allotments along the Big Sur coast. A Center appeal temporarily kept about 30,000 acres — including habitat for the Smith's blue — cattle free. The Center led a group of environmental organizations, scientists, and technical experts in presenting a visionary plan for management of southern California's four national forests that would enhance protections for the Smith's blue and other listed species living in the Los Padres National Forest. In keeping with a court order obtained by the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service designated 18,830 acres of critical habitat in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties for the Monterey spineflower, which coexists with the Smith's blue and thus shares its protected habitat with the butterfly. Finally, under threat of legal action by the Center, livestock grazing was suspended on 5,700 acres of the Big Sur coast in order to protect Smith's blue butterfly habitat on two Forest Service grazing allotments.

July 18, 2003 – Threatening to pursue legal action over grazing impacts on the Smith's blue and other listed species, the Center forced the Forest Service to remove livestock from the Gorda grazing allotment on the Big Sur coast.

January 24, 2005 – The Center and central California coast conservation groups filed two sets of appeals of a controversial Forest Service decision to expand livestock grazing in endangered species habitat along the Big Sur coast in the Los Padres National Forest. The Forest Service withdrew (for the second time) its decision to re-authorize and dramatically expand grazing leases on six grazing allotments covering more than 24,000 acres along the Big Sur coast, including Smith's blue habitat.

October 18, 2006 – The Center and a coalition of conservation groups appealed the Forest Service's approval of flawed land management plans for four southern California national forests, which would allow harm to numerous listed species, including the Smith's blue.

Photo © Richard Arnold