Tag Archives: Endangered Species

Devil’s Hole pupfish losing struggle for survival – News – ReviewJournal.com

A depressing take on the Devils Hole pupfish by Henry Brean in the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Ted Koch, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada, said this week he doesn’t know whether the tiny fish can be saved.

“I’m worried it may be an emergency,” said Koch, “and I don’t know whether there are enough of them left to still be viable. We’re definitely very concerned.”

I wrote a bit of the background of this piece a couple weeks ago at Pharyngula. Sad all around.

Sign the petition: Grijalva for Interior Secretary

Four years ago Baja Arizona’s Congressional Representative Raul Grijalva was a contender for the incoming Obama Administration’s first Interior Secretary. He was turned down in favor of Ken Salazar. Scuttlebutt has it that Grijava was rejected because he was tough enough on mineral extraction, especially offshore drilling, that he made Obama’s team uncomfortable. Apparently they feared he would place too high a priority on environmental protection, interfere with the mining and fossil fuel extraction industry, and generally make things hard for companies like BP as they drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

So Salazar got the nod instead. About 15 months later the Deepwater Horizon disaster happened, a disaster that could have been prevented had Interior aggressively enforced common-sense safety regulations.

In the meantime, those of us in the desert protection world were learning that Obama’s Interior Department was quite likely the worst threat to the California desert any Presidential administration had ever been, as a record number of acres of public land were offered up for effective privatization for renewable energy development. Salazar muzzled agencies within his Department, forbidding staff to criticize or oppose even the most egregiously destructive projects, and so industrial projects went in on the margins of National Parks with NPS staff unable to object. Fish and Wildlife staff wrote biological opinions saying no, the fact that you found a hundred times as many tortoises on the construction site as we expected doesn’t make this project a threat to the species.

And that’s not meant to imply that Interior was biased in favor of renewables on public lands. Salazar’s been a good friend to the oil and gas industries as well.

Salazar is likely to step down for Obama’s second term, and the list of possible successors — David Hayes, architect of the desert solar policy; Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal is a Big Wind cheerleader; former Washington governor Chris Gregoire is a fan of welfare ranching on sensitive wildlife habitat — is bleak.

Raul Grijalva is one of the best friends public lands have ever had in Washington. In any sane society he’d be the front-runner for Interior.

A number of grassroots public lands and anti-fracking advocates agree, and have put together a petition urging the White House to appoint Grijalva Interior Secretary. As the petition says;

The selection of the next Interior Secretary is an important moment to place renewed emphasis on some of the most critical issues of our age – climate change, the protection of endangered species and preservation of water and wild lands. As ranking member and former chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Rep. Grijalva has been an effective leader on conservation and land management issues. His expertise with Native Americans issues, his strong understanding of border issues, his pragmatic conservation ethic, and his wealth of experience in addressing funding challenges make him an exceptional choice. We urge you to select him as our next Interior Secretary because he embraces the urgency of this mission and practical paths toward real-world solutions.

Sign the petition and spread it around.

Google Ads: Biodiversity does not exist

Another data point for arguments that Environmentalism has been redefined as “all about climate change, and never mind habitat destruction, air and water quality, invasive species, or any of those other non-climatey things.” I was attempting to change what kinds of advertising I see via Google Ads, to see if I could make those ads more relevant to my interests. I was offered a pull-down menu listing a whole lot of possible interests, and drilling down to find the interest I find most interesting, I found it interesting that I could not find the interest I find most interesting. Screenshot:

Pull-down menu in which the only category in topic environmentalism is climate change

I wrote a piece for KCET a couple months ago that talks about why this is a problem. Short version: Climate change is one huge facet of the larger problem of biodiversity erosion, and if we focus on climate change to the exclusion of other facets of that larger issue, we do so at our peril. And more importantly, at the peril of the millions of other species on the planet, of which we are but one.

Democrats and mice

GOP Talking Point: “The Stimulus Package includes ludicrous and wasteful porkbarrel spending such as 30 million dollars to help preserve the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco Bay.”

Democratic Talking Point: “Actually, the stimulus package does not include any ludicrous and wasteful porkbarrel spending to help preserve the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco Bay.”

Responses from progressive bloggers pointing out that protecting the wetland habitat of the salt marsh harvest mouse is neither ludicrous nor wasteful, but is in fact our goddamned moral obligation, are detailed below the fold.

Continue reading

Tortoise alert: letters needed

From the Center for Biological Diversity:

Last year, the Army moved more than 750 tortoises off of pristine desert lands in order to expand its Fort Irwin army base in California’s Mojave desert. Not all tortoises were monitored, but of those that were, more than 90 of them died—many eaten by starving coyotes who had lost their typical prey base of squirrels and rabbits due to epic desert drought. Also, the Army moved healthy tortoises into populations known to have the often-deadly upper respiratory tract disease, against the recommendations of epidemiologists. Because of the high tortoise death toll and legal action by the Center, the Army temporarily suspended the translocation of tortoises in 2008.

Now, the Army and the Bureau of Land Management are rushing to move more tortoises in 2009 in order to rid the expanded Army base of more of their tortoises. The federally threatened desert tortoise population cannot withstand yet another ill-conceived and hastily implemented translocation. Please write to the Army and Bureau of Land Management today asking that they implement a full environmental review process based on a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement.

The accelerated comment period is a joke. It was announced by press release on the weekend of February 7, set for February 18 — eleven days’ notice.

Take action here.

Using Google Earth, researchers find unmapped Mozambique wilderness

From Birdlife.Org:

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…scientists who recently discovered a hidden forest in Mozambique show the uncharted can still be under our noses. BirdLife were part of a team of scientists who used Google Earth to identify a remote patch of pristine forest. An expedition to the site discovered new species of butterfly and snake, along with seven Globally Threatened birds.

Obama administration reprieves wolf protection

A bit of promising news from the Obama administration after its first full workday:

With a new administration in charge, federal regulators Wednesday promised a second look at a recent decision to drop gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Northern Rocky Mountains from the endangered list.

The Interior Department said it was withdrawing at least temporarily a rule announced last week changing the wolf’s status in both regions. The rule never formally took effect.

More here.