Posted on November 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Will the EPA follow through on its new policies to better analyze pesticide impacts to endangered species?
Conservation advocates say new guidelines are a good first step
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Endangered species may get more protection from pesticides under new guidelines that require federal agencies to better assess the risks posed by toxic chemicals.
The policies will ensure that mitigation measures recommended by the federal wildlife agencies are put in place to protect endangered species in agricultural areas, as well as in areas downstream that are affected by pesticide runoff.
According to environmentalists, the EPA has routinely ignored the Endangered Species Act for more than two decades by failing to consult with wildlife agencies on pesticide impacts. In 2011 Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to study this issue and report on ways of addressing the EPA’s failures to fully protect listed species. (more…)
Filed under: endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, endangered species act, Environment, pesticides | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
USGS sampling found that Pacific chorus frogs in many remote Sierra Nevada locations are contaminated by pesticides and fungicides used in agricultural production in California’s Central Valley. Photo courtesy USGS.
Court settlement may ultimately help protect endangered amphibians
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In a classic case of government do-nothingism, federal agencies have known for years that pesticides are killing rare California frogs — but have failed to act to protect the amphibians from the poisons.
But that should change soon, as a federal court this week approved a deal that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prepare detailed environmental studies on the effects of seven common pesticides: Glyphosate, malathion, simazine, pendimethalin, permethrin, methomyl and myclobutanil.
The studies, called biological opinions in government jargon, will evaluate and disclose how the use of those chemicals affects California’s red-legged frogs when they’re used in and near the frog’s aquatic and upland habitats. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment, global amphibian decline | Tagged: amphibians, California, endangered species act, Environment, pesticides, red-legged frogs, Sierra Nevada | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Listing decision part of far-reaching settlement for imperiled species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Chugging ahead on its commitment to make endangered species listing decisions for more than 750 species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced that three native Florida plants — all threatened by sea level rise — deserved protected status.
Most populations of the plants — aboriginal prickly apple, Florida semaphore cactus and Cape Sable thoroughwort are at, or just above, mean sea level.
“These native plants are being squeezed out of existence — pressed between coastal development and rising sea levels,” said Florida-based Center for Biological Diversity attorney Jaclyn Lopez. “Protection under the Endangered Species Act will give them a role in South Florida’s planning for rising seas.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: endangered species act, Florida, global warming, sea level rise | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds reschedule hearings on plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Public hearings rescheduled for November
*More Summit Voice wolf coverage is online here
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s a little more time to comment on the controversial federal proposal to take gray wolves off the endangered species list, and boost protection for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescheduled several public hearings on the plan, and the comment period has been extended through Dec. 17.
The hearings will be held. Nov. 19 in Denver, Nov. 20 in Albuquerque and Nov. 22 in Sacramento. Each hearing includes a short informational presentation. The Service has also added a public information meeting and hearing in Pinetop, Arizona, on Dec. 3. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species act, Environment, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife, wolves | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Recovery team eyes White River Basin
The Colorado pikeminnow is one of four endangered species that could benefit from a proposed new plan to boost flows during critical seasons. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Summit Voice
*More Summit Voice stories on the Colorado River native fish conservation program are online here.
FRISCO — State and federal biologists are considering some changes to the Colorado River Native Fish Recovery Program in the White River Basin after a discussion with stakeholders.
The endangered fish — colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail — are already protected in the White River Basin, according to The Nature Conservancy. The changes would be a firming up of management expectations.
A similar approach has been used in other basins to ensure that current and future water needs are met for people and endangered fish. The White River management plan aims to:
- identify existing and some level of future water depletions;
- develop current hydrology and projected depletions to identify the effects of past and future water development on endangered fish habitat;
- identify the role of the White River in recovery of endangered fish;
- identify flow recommendations for endangered fish habitat in the White River; and
- identify a broad range of recovery actions to be carried out by the Recovery Program to support a recovered endangered fish population in the White River. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, public lands | Tagged: Colorado River, endangered species, endangered species act, native fish, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, White River Basin, Yampa River | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A boreal toad survey team member holds one of two adult toads found in Cucumber Gulch, in Breckenridge, Colorado, during the summer of 2005. Since then, no more boreal toads have been documented in the wetlands preserve. bberwyn photo.
Decline of once-common Colorado high-elevation toad a symptom of global amphibian decline
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — While remnant populations of boreal toads in Colorado appear to be relatively stable for now, federal biologists are still considering whether the amphibians need protection under the Endangered Species Act.
In the latest twist, conservation groups said they’ve reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a timeline to make a listing decision, giving the agency four years to decide whether boreal toads in the southern Rocky Mountains, Utah, southern Idaho and northeastern Nevada should be formally classified as endangered or threatened. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: amphibian decline, boreal toads, endangered species, endangered species act | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Elkhorn corals in the Caribbean are feeling the heat of global warming. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Fisheries Service gets deadline for recovery plan under court settlement
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Two key coral species around Florida need even more TLC than previously thought, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which wants to reclassify elkhorn and staghorn corals from “threatened” to the even more serious category of “endangered” because of their rapid decline.
The agency also agree to speed up finalization of a recovery plan under a court settlement that sets a 2014 deadline. These corals were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2006 because of threats from global warming and ocean acidification but, before today’s settlement agreement, had still not received the legally required recovery plan needed to save them from extinction. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Caribbean, coral reefs, endangered species act, Environment, global warming, national marine fisheries service, ocean acidification, oceans | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Does this look like any congressman you know?
Lots of ruffled feathers and foot-stomping …
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Watching the House Committee on Natural Resources field hearings on greater sage-grouse and the Endangered Species Act was a bit like watching the birds themselves during their magnificent mating ritual — a lot of puffed up rhetoric, ruffled feathers and foot-stomping, but very little substance.
The main take-home message appeared to be that there’s a vast conspiracy of liberal judges, conservation groups and Obama administration officials colluding to destroy the American way of life in the rural West (specifically Montana and Wyoming, where the hearings were held).
That’s probably not surprising, considering the list of witnesses was hand-picked by the committee’s ultra-conservative and anti-environmental GOP leadership, but the inflammatory words used by some of the more extreme committee members still comes as a shock. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Congress, conservation, Doc Hastings, endangered species act, House Natural Resources Committee, sage grouse, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Activists seek to halt drift gillnet fishing altogether
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal officials this week enacted emergency regulations to try and protect Pacific Ocean sperm whale population from California’s drift gillnet fishery, which has been killing non-commercial fish and marine mammals at an alarming rate.
The practice of setting miles of floating nets may be one of the cheapest ways to fish for commercial species, but it’s also one of the most destructive to marine resources. Recent fishery observer data indicates that, for every two swordfish the fishery catches to sell, on average one blue shark, 15 ocean sunfish, and a long list of other fish are thrown overboard dead or injured.
The new regulations issues by the National Marine Fisheries Service will shut down California’s drift gillnet fishery if a single endangered sperm whale is caught dead or injured. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: California, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, marine mammals, national marine fisheries service, oceans, sperm whales | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 31, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Federal agencies want to dial back their requirements to track impacts to endangered species. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Cutting back on take limits could put more plants and animals at risk of extinction
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —Watchdog groups are warning that a proposal to weaken endangered species standards could put some plants and animals at greater risk of extinction.
The new rule would scale back the requirement that federal agencies fully track impacts to endangered species under broad programmatic environmental studies. Cumulative impacts on rare species from actions like oil and gas drilling would be discounted in the decision-making process, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
The change is being proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, both agencies have repeatedly failed to track how the projects they approve are affecting rare and vanishing species. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, NEPA, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »