Posts Tagged ‘ESA’
Pima County releases Aquatic Species Management Plan
In July 2019, as part of the continued implementation of their Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSCP), Pima County released a new Aquatic Species Management Plan. According to Pima County Environmental Planning Manager, Julia Fonseca:
“The Plan identifies opportunities for releasing target species on County-managed conservation lands where they do not currently occur.
The Plan inventoried streams, springs, stock tanks and large ponds for opportunities for releasing target species where they do not currently occur. Species with the most release opportunities are the Gila topminnow (15 sites) and Huachuca water umbel (14 sites). The most widespread target species on County conservation lands is the lowland leopard frog; there are eight additional sites available for future releases of this species. Opportunities at small, confined sites also exist, like the recent release of topminnow and umbel species at Mission Garden.
The Plan is a required element of the Multi-species Conservation Plan (MSCP). It supports implementation of Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD’s) priorities for the Santa Cruz watershed, as well as recovery objectives established by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Plan does not direct, authorize or fund any particular action on land owned or managed by Pima County or the Regional Flood Control District. Implementation will depend on partnerships with AZGFD and other conservation partners over the 30-year term of the MSCP.
The Plan includes guidelines prepared by USFWS for construction of wildlife-friendly water features. These guidelines may be of interest to private property owners who wish to maximize benefits and minimize risks to Arizona’s wildlife.”
We commend Pima County for their continued implementation of the MSCP since it was approved by the USFWS in 2016. And thank you for supporting the conservation of our must vulnerable Sonoran Desert wildlife species through our work advocating for the MSCP since 2000.
You can learn more about the MSCP at our Habitat Conservation Planning webpage.
Lesser long-nosed bat removed from Endangered Species List
Last month, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that the lesser long-nosed is being removed from the endangered species list. The lesser-long nosed bat is one of Pima County’s Priority Vulnerable Species and is covered by the Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
More than anything, we are glad the bats are doing well! We support efforts to protect the bats and their maternity roosts and are pleased that this has led to increased populations. However, with climate change and other anthropogenic threats, we are cautiously optimistic that this de-listing was not premature. We’ll keep you updated as any more news is released about this important desert wildlife species. For a recent news article about the delisting, head here.
Action Alert: Speak out today in support of the Endangered Species Act!
The Endangered Species Act is under assault in Congress and we need your help!
A new Farm Bill package just passed out of the House Agricultural Committee and will be going to the full House for a vote soon. This bill contains a provision allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to approve pesticides without analyzing the risks they pose to endangered species.
Will you contact your Representative and express your opposition to any version of the Farm Bill that damages the Endangered Species Act or our National Forests?
Here is some more detailed background information on this Farm Bill package, courtesy of Coalition member group the Center for Biological Diversity:
“Buried in the many-thousand-page bill (H.R. 2) is an unprecedented provision allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to approve pesticides without analyzing the risks they pose to endangered species. This means the EPA could allow dangerous pesticides to be sprayed on endangered species’ habitats, including rivers and streams used by rare salmon, wetlands used by California red-legged frogs, and even marine environments used by orca whales and manatees.
Also in those pages are extreme provisions that would cause irreparable harm to national forests, clean drinking water and wildlife. The provisions eliminate environmental review for logging, roadbuilding and infrastructure decisions on national forests. They also undermine the National Environmental Policy Act and the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.”
Thank you for speaking out and using your voice to make a difference!
Coalition member groups win big lawsuit for pygmy owl protection
April 6, 2017
Last week, on March 29, 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife – both Coalition member groups – won an important lawsuit over the denial of endangered species protection for the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. The new ruling establishes that the federal government must reconsider endangered species protection for this little owl, overturning a 2011 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to a press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity:
“The court also overturned a policy that made it far more difficult for species at risk of extinction in important portions of their range to gain federal protection. The pygmy owl faces serious threats to its survival in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico, but the agency denied protection anyway, arguing it was secure elsewhere.”
This part of the ruling has implications for all Sonoran Desert wildlife species that are vulnerable, threatened, or endangered and we will be keeping a close eye on how this ruling impacts other species in the future.
The cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl has a long and storied history in the Sonoran Desert. The initial listing of this small owl as an endangered species in 1997 was the main spark for the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and the formation of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. We are gratified that, with this new ruling, the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl may once again be granted the endangered species protection it deserves.
For the full press release on this ruling, head here.
And thank you for everything you do to protect all Sonoran Desert wildlife species!
Pima County publishes its first “Annual Report” on the Multi-Species Conservation Plan
March 23, 2017
At the end of February, Pima County published its first required “Annual Report” on the implementation of the Multi-Species Conservation Plan (or MSCP). The MSCP was almost 18 years in the making and provides mitigation for impacts to 44 species in Pima County, seven of which are currently listed as endangered (scientists determined that the remaining species could become endangered over the 30-year life of the plan). The Coalition was an involved partner in the MSCP every step of the way and, with your support, advocated for the strongest conservation measures possible to be included in the plan. We continue to partner with Pima County as they implement the plan – in February, we facilitated an overflight of Pima County conservation lands by Pima County staff so they could do a “saguaro count” to assess habitat conditions. The flight was provided for free by LightHawk, Inc.
A few notable milestones outlined in the Annual Report include:
- In October 2016, Pima County permanently protected mitigation lands owned by the County or the Regional Flood Control District with restrictive covenants. This is something the Coalition strongly advocated for and we were very pleased when it finally happened.
- Private lands voluntary coverage officially began on January 9, 2017.
- The Bingham Cienega property was chosen as the first official mitigation property for impacts to habitat.
To read the full MSCP Annual report, head here.
And thank you again for all your support of the MSCP and the Coalition’s advocacy and involvement in this award-winning conservation plan!