Betrayal of an Endangered Species

Status and Management of the Southwestern willow flycatcher

 

SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

Prepared by Noah Greenwald

Endangered Species Series No. 40

May 26, 1998


Table of Contents

I. Rangewide population status

II. Current management status

III. Causes of past and continued population declines

IV. Recommendations

V. Case Studies: the political realities of endangered species management

Agribusiness crushes the USFWS and the flycatcher at Lake Isabella
Bureau of Reclamation calls the shots at Lake Mead

VI. Status of the Southwestern willow flycatcher by river

The Colorado River
The Bill Williams River
The San Pedro River
The Gila River
The San Francisco River
The Little Colorado River
The Salt River
Tonto Creek
The Verde River
The San Luis Rey River
The South Fork of Kern River
The Santa Margarita River
The Santa Ana River
Mill Creek
The Mojave River
The Santa Ynez River
The Rio Grande
Coyote Creek
The Rio Chama
The Zuni River
The Virgin River

Bibliography

Appendix A: Biological opinions

List of Tables

Table 1. flycatcher populations are critically small
Table 2. the majority of flycatcher populations are isolated
Table 3. breeding status of the flycatcher
Table 4. demographic vulnerability classes
Table 5. demographic vulnerability of the flycatcher
Table 6. flycatcher population trends
Table 7. management threats
Table 8. assessing total management threats
Table 9. extirpated populations
Table 10. site names
Table 11. USFWS authorized take of flycatchers
Table 12. unequal mitigation
Table 13. Jeopardy decisions
Table 14. Contemporaneous non-jeopardy decisions
Table 15. Federal Agencies resist consultation
Table 16. Critical Habitat under three proposals
Table 17. Cowbirds and flycatchers
Table 18. Grazing and the flycatcher
Table 19. Tamarisk and the flycatcher
Table 20. Altered rivers and the flycatcher
Table 21. Colorado River Territories
Table 22. Bill Williams River Territories
Table 23. San Pedro River Territories
Table 24. Gila River Territories
Table 25. San Francisco River Territories
Table 26. Little Colorado River Territories
Table 27. Salt River and Tonto Creek Territories
Table 28. Verde River Territories
Table 29. San Luis Rey River Territories
Table 30. South Fork of Kern River Territories
Table 31. Santa Margarita River Territories
Table 32. Santa Ana River Territories
Table 33. Mill Creek Territories
Table 34. Mojave River Territories
Table 35. Santa Ynez River Territories
Table 36. Rio Grande Territories
Table 37. Coyote Creek Territories
Table 38. Rio Chama Territories
Table 39. Zuni River Territories
Table 40. Virgin River Territories


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Appendix A, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biological opinions permitting impacts to the Southwestern willow flycatcher.

Project Area Flycatcher Sites Description Take/ Jeopardy Proposed Mitigation
Lower Colorado River, Arizona Lake Mead Delta Flooding of 465 ha. of habitat on the Lake Mead Delta for flood control. Loss of total population, up to 30 territories.

Jeopardy

Find and protect 1,400 ac. within 5 years.
Verde Valley Ranch, Verde River, Arizona (2 opinions) Tavasci Marsh and Tuzigoot Bridge Golf course and 1,500 unit housing development. Loss of total population, 2-4 territories.

Jeopardy.

Modification of development plan and monitoring.
Tuzigoot Bridge, Verde River, Arizona Tuzigoot Bridge Bridge repair and concurrent increasing traffic. One flycatcher per year anticipated. Project actually extirpated population. Repair bridge during non- breeding season. Speed limit.
Tonto Basin Allotment, Arizona Tonto Creek inflow to Roosevelt Lake. Grazing. Left undetermined by USFWS, but take expected. Exclude cows in breeding season, trap cowbirds, monitor.
Solomon Bridge, Gila River, Arizona Sanchez Road. Replace old bridge, 7.4 acres lost. Loss of 2 territories. Some construction non-breeding season, re-vegetate habitat, monitor.
Five Grazing Allotments, Arizona Salt River Inflow to Roosevelt Lake. Grazing Left undetermined by USFWS, but take expected. Cowbird management and monitor SWWF.
Windmill Grazing Allotement, Verde River, Arizona Tuzigoot Brigde, Tavasci Marsh Grazing Loss of one nest annually. Cowbird trapping and exclude cattle from SWWF occupied habitat.
Glen Canyon Spike Flow, Colorado River, Arizona. Grand Canyon National Park Managed flood for habitat creation. Loss of up to 2 territories and adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. Limit and monitor flow at occupied sites. Reinitiate consultation on Glen Canyon Dam.
Modified Roosevelt Dam, Colorado River, Arizona. Tonto Creek and Salt River Inflows. Raise Dam (77 ft.) and reservoir (>15 ft.) Loss of total population, 45 territories and up to 90 SWWFs. Jeopardy Purchased habitat on the San Pedro, which had 3 territories in 1997.
Safford Resource Area, BLM Lower San Pedro, Gila River Grazing Left undetermined by USFWS, but take expected. Remove trespass cattle from the San Pedro NRCA.
Prado Dam, Santa Ana River, California (2 opinions). Prado Basin Raise reservoir level to increase storage. Destroy 228 acres No expected take of flycatchers, but take of Least Bell's vireo. Create 228 acres of replacement habitat.
Lake Isabella, Kern River, California. (2 opinions) Lake Isabella Raise reservoir levels to increase storage for agriculture. Loss of 9 territories and up to 1,100 acres of native habitat. Protect 360 acres of habitat. Establish team to possibly require additional future mitigation.
Camp Pendleton, Santa Margarita River, California. Camp Pendleton Destructive military training activities and construction projects. Take of 4 territories per year, eventual loss of over 20 territories. Exotic species removal. Cowbird trapping. Restoration of destroyed areas.
Temescal Wash Bridge, California Prado Basin Construction of a levee and a bridge to protect road from flooding. Take of 2 flycatchers. Create replacement habitat.
Sweetwater Resevoir, Sweetwater River, California. None Construction of a diversion canal and storage ponds. No flycatchers present. Loss of potential habitat. Revegetate habitat.
Fenton Sand Mine, San Luis Rey River, California. San Luis Rey River population. Sand mining in the floodplain and construction of a levee. In critical habitat. No take, but modification of critical habitat. Cowbird trapping, control exotic species, refill pit.
Mesa Grande and Lusardi BLM Grazing Allotements, San Luis Rey River, California. Near populations on the San Luis Rey. Grazing Left undetermined by USFWS, but take expected. During the breeding season, exclude cattle from occupied or unsurveyed potential habitat, cowbird trapping.
Rio Puerco Resource Area BLM, New Mexico. None Primarily grazing (BLM). Habitat degradation. No RPMs
Farmington Resource Management plan BLM: Animas, San Juan and LaPlata Rivers, New Mexico. None Grazing, mining, oil and gas leasing. Loss or degradation of migratory habitat and potential nesting habitat. Jeopardy. Exclude cattle from occupied or unsurveyed potential habitat, during the breeding season.
Caballo Resource Area BLM, Rio Grande River, New Mexico. None Grazing, mining, oil and gas leasing (BLM). Loss or degradation of migratory habitat and potential nesting habitat. No RPMs
Taos Resource Area BLM, Upper Rio Grande River, New Mexico. Tierra Azul, Toas Junction Bridge, Orilla Verde. Grazing (BLM) Anticipated take of 1 pair. Jeopardy. Exclude cattle from occupied or unsurveyed potential habitat.
Mimbres Resource Area, Gila River, New Mexico Gila Lower Box. Grazing (BLM) Anticipated take of reproduction from 2 pairs. Jeopardy. Exclude cattle from occupied or unsurveyed potential habitat, during the breeding season.
Corrales Unit of the Middle Rio Grande Flood Protection Project, New Mexico. None Construct 10.6 miles of levee. No take. Loss or degradation of potential migratory or nesting habitat. No RPMs
Water operations Middle Rio Grande Rio Chama, San Marcial to Elephant Butte, Isletta Water diversion, dam operations 1997 Not likely to adversely effect No RPMs
Forest Plan ammendments for 11 National Forests Alpine, Greer, Tuzigoot,

Tavasci, Cliff-Gila

Grazing Claimed no take because of USFS mitigation No RPMs