Friday, September 2, 2016

Successes from this week!

1.8 Million Sierra Nevada Acres Protected for Frogs and Toads
Great news: After more than 15 years of work by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has protected 1.8 million acres of critical habitat in California for Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, Yosemite toads and a northern population of mountain yellow-legged frogs.

Sierra Nevada and mountain yellow-legged frogs have declined by about 90 percent throughout the Sierras, and more than half of former Yosemite toad populations are now gone.

"Yellow-legged frogs and Yosemite toads were a common sight in the high Sierras until fairly recently," said the Center's Jeff Miller. "Their rapid declines are a warning of the failing health of our high Sierra ecosystems. Critical habitat will help save them and also protect habitat for other species, as well as water sources for Californians."

Get more from ABC News.
Profanity Peak wolves
Snipers Kill 6 Washington Wolves, Target Rest of Pack
Washington state's Profanity Peak wolf pack has been shattered by government-funded snipers who've already killed six of its members and now plan to finish off the rest of the family. State officials put the pack on the kill list after conflicts with livestock on public land -- even though a rancher reportedly had moved his grazing cattle into an area known to contain a wolf den and rendezvous site. Killing the entire Profanity Peak pack would wipe out 12 percent of the state's wolf population.

The Center is on the front lines of the fight to save this pack and establish a safe haven for Washington's fledgling wolf population. We and allies organized a rally today outside the state wildlife agency's headquarters.

Take a moment to watch our video on Facebook or YouTube, sign this petition opposing the killing, and consider donating to our Wolf Defense Fund.
It's About Time: Ancient Nautilus Moves Toward Protection
A unique ocean species called the chambered nautilus, a spiral-shelled relative of squid and octopus, is often described as a "living fossil" -- ironic, since it isn't far from extinction (and then real fossil-hood).

This 90-tentacled mollusk is imperiled by overharvesting for its beautiful shell. But finally, in response to a Center petition, the National Marine Fisheries Service has declared that it may warrant Endangered Species Act protection.

"This is fantastic news," said the Center's Abel Valdivia. "We're lucky to share a planet with this ancient creature." Read more.

New Agreement Will Speed Protection Decisions for 10 Species
Good news for species from fish to fishers: The Center reached a settlement with the Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday requiring the agency to speed protection decisions for 10 at-risk animals and plants.

Over the next five years, the Service must decide whether these species will receive Endangered Species Act protection by the following dates: alligator snapping turtles (2020), Barrens topminnows (2017), California spotted owls (2019), beaverpond marstonia (2017), Canoe Creek pigtoes (2020), cobblestone tiger beetles (2019), foothill yellow-legged frogs (2020), monarch butterflies (2019), Northern Rockies fishers (2017) and Virgin River spinedace (2021).

Under the Center's 757 species agreement with the Service, we can choose 10 additional species per year for expedited protection decisions. So far 147 species have gained final protection and 35 have been proposed for safeguards.

Read more in The Mercury News.
Thank NASA for Making Its Funded Research Free to All
NASA logo
Target: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Goal: Praise NASA for its decision to make all scientific research funded by the organization free to access online.

NASA just launched a new public website allowing anyone to access 831 research articles that were self-funded by the organization. Visitors will not have to pay anything to access this incredible amount of scientific data, which includes articles on climate science and environmentalist topics. Research like this could be used by professional and amateur scientists across the globe to facilitate further research and technological innovations that could significantly benefit the human race and all other life on Earth.

This decision follows an increasing trend of finding ways to make important scientific research completely accessible to the public in order to facilitate scientific discovery. People have become increasingly frustrated by the necessity to pay for research articles that are owned by a small number of for-profit publishing companies. Though NASA can’t publish all of its research, the majority has gone onto the new PubSpace database, and there’s more to come.

Scientific research, particularly on the subjects of the climate and other things that affect every living thing on the planet, should be readily available to anyone who wants it. Science is supposed to be about facilitating curiosity and innovation to make the world a better place, not about profit. Sign our petition to thank NASA for upholding these values by making so much of its research free to the public.

Applaud President Obama’s Creation of National Monument.
The Great North Woods - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
The Great North Woods - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Applaud the designation of Maine’s North Woods as a national monument, the largest along the East Coast.

President Obama designated Maine’s North Woods as a national monument in honor of the National Park Service’s centennial using executive action. Such an action will make North Woods the largest national monument on the East Coast and will protect 87,500 acres of forestland and riverbed that are home to bears, lynx, and rare species of American birds.

The land was donated to the federal government by Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of Burt’s Bees. Until now, the Quimby family maintained the land and even built facilities for visitors on the property. The gift of the land is worth about $100 million, a generous amount for a struggling park system. With miles of hiking trails and camping areas, the park will be open to snowmobiling, fishing, and hunting (though no hunting of bears will be allowed).

The president’s action has not been without controversy. Politicians and some residents of Main view his action as overreach and believe that establishing a national park will be detrimental to the logging industries in surrounding towns. However, thousands of tourists are expected to visit the national monument and that may have a more positive effect on the economy than the environmentally damaging practice of logging.

With the establishment of North Woods as a national monument, President Obama has declared nearly two dozen national monuments under the park system while in office. Thank the President for taking action to protect our nation’s unique environment and rare species for the enjoyment and wonderment of all citizens and future generations.