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Today Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the release of a draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The DRECP is a landmark joint planning effort involving local, state and federal government lands and agencies. Its purpose is to identify lands most appropriate for renewable energy development while conserving areas important for wildlife, wilderness, recreation and other values across the California desert. The DRECP covers 22.5 million acres of public and private land in the desert regions and will identify 200,000 to 350,000 acres as development focus areas, enough to meet California renewable energy goals through 2040.
This week, September 21-27, marks the 12th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week. In addition to raising funds for and awareness of the plight of these important marine animals, this year Defenders of Wildlife has launched a free downloadable education unit for teachers to use in the classroom. The unit includes multiple activities and assignments, all highlighting marine biology and sea otter conservation.
Our children are less likely to see many iconic species, like the polar bear and monarch butterfly, according to a new report.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) over the agency’s denial of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection to the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. The owl was originally listed as endangered from 1997 until 2006 and then improperly removed from the endangered species list by the Service. The groups petitioned to have the pygmy owl’s endangered status restored across the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico in 2007. Although the Service acknowledged that pygmy owls still faced many threats in the Sonoran Desert and that the region is important to the species as a whole, it denied the petition under a new policy that will make it far more difficult for imperiled species to gain federal protection.
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) asked Congress to recognize the importance of wildlife conservation yesterday by introducing a resolution (S. Res. 564) on the September 1st centennial of the passenger pigeon’s extinction to the Senate.
The City Council of Ketchum in Blaine County unanimously passed a resolution yesterday requesting that the State of Idaho use nonlethal tools – guard dogs, strobe lights, electric fencing – over lethal tools – aerial gunning, hunting and trapping – to manage wolf and livestock conflicts in Blaine County.
Five species of sharks and two manta ray species will officially be listed today.
Conservation groups today successfully ended their litigation against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) after the Corps suspended their controversial program requiring removal of all trees and shrubs from levees and after Congress passed a new law requiring the Corps to comprehensively review its guidelines governing vegetation on levees. Friends of the River, Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife dismissed their 2011 lawsuit in federal court that challenged the implementation of the Corps’ policy, on the basis that levee vegetation in California provides important habitat for endangered fish, birds and other wildlife, and its removal would reduce levee safety.
A coalition of conservation groups today put the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) on notice that they intend to bring a lawsuit to hold the agency accountable for failing to produce and implement a valid recovery plan for the imperiled Mexican gray wolf. With only 83 individuals and five breeding pairs in the wild, Mexican gray wolves remain at serious risk of extinction. Recovery planning and implementation, legally required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), are necessary to ensure the lobos’ survival.
Today, September 3rd, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. In 1964, Congress enacted a law “to establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people.” For the past 50 years, the Wilderness Act has legally protected “area[s] where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”