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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.”
One hundred years ago on September 1st, the last remaining passenger pigeon – “Martha” –took her final breath, marking the end of a bird species that was once the most abundant in North America. It was America’s first infamous extinction and remains one of the most tragic examples of human-caused extinction in our nation’s history.
Eight conservation organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of Washington residents, are calling on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to rescind a kill order issued earlier this week for wolves of the Huckleberry pack. The order authorizes agency staff and a sheep operator to shoot any wolves seen in the vicinity of a band of sheep that has incurred losses due to wolves over the past few weeks. In a letter to the Department, the conservation groups urged the agency to continue efforts to deter wolves from killing more sheep using nonlethal means rather than killing wolves, as it did two years ago when seven members of the Wedge pack were killed.
Today, a coalition of national and Appalachian conservation groups asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect imperiled wildlife in Kentucky. The groups want the EPA to reassess the dangers posed to wildlife by a new set of water quality standards covering Kentucky’s coal mining and agricultural operations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today denied protections for the rare wolverine under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), potentially jeopardizing the species’ long-term survival in the lower-48 states. Although the Service proposed to list wolverines as “threatened” in 2013 citing a primary threat of reduced habitat and range from climate change, the agency today said wolverines do not warrant a listing due to uncertainty about the effects of climate change on the animals, a claim disputed by conservation groups.
Defenders of Wildlife today opened a new Northwest Office in Seattle to enhance our work on important emerging wildlife and public lands conservation issues with local communities, elected officials, state and federal agencies, tribes and partner conservation organizations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
The U.S. Court of Appeals today ruled that the NC DOT has a duty to provide a plan that analyzes the impacts of NC12 on the environment.
The House leadership continued its ongoing assault on imperiled wildlife and the environment today by supporting the passage of bill H.R. 4315 (233-190) that undermines essential protective provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bill is drawn directly from a sham investigative “report” issued by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings and his self-appointed, partisan “ESA Working Group” earlier this year. The report outlined an aggressive and hostile legislative strategy to weaken or even eliminate key ESA protections for imperiled wildlife.