Lawsuit Launched Over Trump Administration Failure to Protect 9 At-risk Species
Protection Wrongfully Delayed for Longfin smelt, Sierra Nevada Red Fox, and others
From the Center for Biological Diversity:
The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect nine imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act, including the San Francisco Bay Delta population of longfin smelt and the Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly.
The eight animals and one plant live in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Today’s notice also covers the Berry Cave salamander, Hermes copper butterfly, Sierra Nevada red fox, red tree vole, gopher tortoise, magnificent ramshorn snail and a large flowering shrub called marrón bacora.
“The Trump administration’s appalling hostility toward protecting our wildlife is driving these species toward extinction,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director. “We can save creatures like the Sierra Nevada red fox, but we have to act quickly before they disappear.”
This is the second notice to sue the administration that the Center has filed in less than a week. Last week’s notice covered 26 species for which the administration failed to make determinations and provide protection or designate critical habitat.
All nine species in today’s notice have been found to warrant protection as threatened or endangered species. But their protections have been delayed under a provision of the Endangered Species Act that allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withhold protections if they are making “expeditious progress” listing other species.
Yet the Trump administration is not making expeditious progress in listing species, which makes delaying protection for the nine species illegal. To date, the administration has only listed 16 species — the fewest protected by any administration in its first two years since the Reagan administration, when James Watt was Interior secretary.
By comparison, the Obama administration listed 72 species and the Clinton administration listed 196 during their first terms.
“The Trump administration’s foot-dragging is putting rare animals and plants at risk of disappearing forever,” said Greenwald. “Just last year a freshwater snail known as the Ozark pyrg went extinct while waiting for protection. Even if species do finally get protections, the delays are likely to make recovery more difficult and expensive.
If the administration does not list the species under the Endangered Species Act, the Center will file suit in 60 days.
CDFW releases guidance document for Delta conservation planning
From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today released the Delta Conservation Framework as a comprehensive resource and guide for conservation planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through 2050.
The framework provides a template for regional and stakeholder-led approaches to restoring ecosystem functions to the Delta landscape. It incorporates feedback from a series of public workshops initiated in 2016, prior planning efforts and the best available science on Delta ecosystem processes.
“The history, culture, politics and ecosystems of the Delta are complex. The Delta is also connected in many ways to the lands, watersheds and communities that surround it,” said CDFW Delta Policy Advisor Carl Wilcox. “If the Delta Conservation Framework is used as a guide toward future conservation project planning and implementation, it is possible to achieve the vision of a Delta composed of resilient natural and managed ecosystems situated within a mosaic of towns and agricultural landscapes, where people prosper and healthy wildlife communities thrive.”
The Delta Conservation Framework includes broad goals that acknowledge the importance of effective communication, community engagement and education, making decisions based on science, and working collectively on conservation permitting and funding. The framework suggests multiple strategies that could be used by all Delta stakeholders to move conservation forward.
CDFW initiated the process to develop the Delta Conservation Framework to maintain and increase conservation momentum in the Delta.
More information about the process used to develop the framework, materials presented in the public workshop series, and electronic copies of the Delta Conservation Framework, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/DCF
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