CBD plans to sue over lizard status

Paige

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Not that this is out of the norm for these folks - read on

May 16, 2003
Group plans to sue over lizard status

By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer


The Center for Biological Diversity notified the federal government Thursday it intends to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior because it is not protecting the flat-tailed horned lizard.

The lizard is a native to Imperial, San Diego and Riverside counties and Mexico. It has the most restricted range of any horned lizard in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The notice gives the department two months to reverse a January decision that withdrew the lizard from a proposed listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The CBD, based in Tucson, alleges the action was illegal and denied the lizard protection.

“We feel we have a very strong case if we go to court,” CBD desert ecologist Daniel Patterson said.

In December 2001, an appellate court turned down the same arguments Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton used in January to make the withdrawal, Patterson said.

The flat-tailed horned lizard (Phrynosoma mcalli) is beige or buff colored and looks like a mini-dinosaur. Adults range in size from 2.5 to 4.3 inches, excluding the tail. The lizard eats native harvester ants.

The CBD cites an impending decision to reopen about 50,000 acres of environmental closures in the Imperial Sand Dunes, one of the nation’s most popular off-road recreation areas. The re-opening is further evidence of Interior’s “deadly management” style for the lizard, according to the center.

A report published by the BLM El Centro office in April states lizard population densities in the Imperial Sand Dunes are apparently very low but adds actual densities may be higher.

The report states long-term data on the lizard in the Eastern Yuha Desert is inconclusive but the Yuha, as a whole, supports a viable population of flat-tailed horned lizards. Bureau staff found the Yuha has a moderate level, 8.5 percent, of vehicle impacts.

The BLM report warns lizard reproduction will not be nearly as high this fall due to low rainfall during winter 2001-2002.

Sacramento-based Defenders of Wildlife joined the CBD in the legal notice.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at lauramitchell9@yahoo.com or 337-3452.
 

V8Ranger

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I say we coundersue on behalf of the harvester ants claiming that their flat-tailed horned lizards are killing the ant population.
 

martininsocal

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They will sue multiple times to prevent Glamis to be reopened. If notthe lizard, they are already preparing another suit over the Piersons Milkvetch. And another group is starting in. I think these guys just circulate through whichever group is under the least amount of scrutiny for their actions right now. The Sierra club is riding in the back seat as is the CBD, but PEER is stepping up and now a group from Oregon is too! Oregon? Why would they get involved about Glamis, they haven't stopped the duning on their own coast yet!
 

KTM_rad

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You know, I'd love to find a way to sue the CBD and other groups for infringing on my right to access our public lands and decreasing my recreational opportunities. I often wonder who determines something is endangered, and how accurate that determination is. Anyone have an answer on that or a place I can go to research it ?
Thanks,
 

martininsocal

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Randy- I am sure you know there are ways to fight these suits with suits, but it just saps money out of the economy. Any area that has a financial impact due to a closure is allowed to sue for loss, but they don't sue the environmental group, they have to go after the Gov't. What makes these suits so easy for CBD, Sierra Club, etc... is the fact that the US Gov't has to pay them all costs associated with the suit! Right now there is a study that has been released by the Gov't showing how much and how little has ben spent and done by these suits. The environmentalists are claiming they are doingnothing wrong and they are not costing the people money. That is not what the study reports, but they have never been fans of the truth, just what propaganda they can use to bolster their position. As Paiges article points out, Critical habitat rarely saves anythjing, because studies of actual habitat are not complete. When the CBD filed on behalf of the tortoise a few years back, it stopped virtually everything on public land in the Mojave, even though less than 40% is tortoise habitat. The issue is not species recovery, it is about control. I ask anyone who thinks that designating specific areas works for species protection to go visit the tortoise preserve near Cal City. Count how many Tortoises are in that preserve where vehicles are not alowed, etc...You can count on one hand. Why? Because vehicles are not killing the tortoises, ravens and disease are, yet those 2 items are not addressed by the CBD or any other environemnatl group out there. They don't want the tortoise population to rebound, because then there would be no call for a OHV ban. The threat to them is not the loss of the species of any type, it is the politically incorrect activity of offroading.
 

billymanfroy

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I asked Paige about this a long time ago... Why couldn't we start an enviro-friendly group to call their bluffs and get some real answers? Check this out:

As an example, we are told the problem is the Vetch Milkweed in Glamis... It only grows there and feeds some random butterfly that no on has ever seen or actually verified only eats that stuff. Anyways, we get the gov't (with the greenies blessing, of course) to donate some jillion-acre wasteland near there (Or maybe in No. Mexico?) and start a nursery to grow the frigging things. Once the enviros have provided us with a detailed report of what the proper milkweeds/acre ratio is, (ever seen that number? There must be a target number if we are somehow below that now, right?) then we provide them with as many of the little precious plants as they need to restore it. Then, since that's the reason for the closure, it's back to wide open land w/o restrictions. Think of the clout you would have with the govt, greenies, off-road manufacturers, businesses, private sector, etc. You could get ALL of them to pay for it willingly!

The reason you'd need a jillion acres, is because you'd want the flexability to nip EVERY single desert-related emergency in the bud by having the space and resources to grow, say, 10,000 disease-free tortoises. (For those of you who don't know, ALL restoration efforts - including the outright closure of miliions and millions of acres of YOUR LAND has been completely ineffective because the tortoises are dying from a respiratory "Tortoise SARS" - type disease. I have yet to see the data proving that this virus is transmitted by humans or rubber motorcycle/auto tires.) My nursery idea will force everyone to put up or shut up, AND, the solution that they have all been bumping into each other and spending your tax money to come up with would come from the very enemy they love to hate. We'll even make them do the work! HAHA

BTW, Did you hear the one about the "nature lovers/environmentalists" who tried to save the poor, unfortunate pilot whales who sadly beached themselves in Big Pine Key, FL a few weeks ago? They decided that the weaker ones would have to be sacrificed, so they removed the "healthy" ones in an effort to save them. The ones they "saved" died, and the ones they abandoned freed themselves and lived happily ever after. Let's see, that means "environmentalists" are now responsible for more whale deaths in American waters than hunters/poachers! Go figure! Bet you won't see that on the news! Certainly if we could just rid the deserts of humans having fun, the whales would never beach themselves again, right???

Billy
 

martininsocal

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Billy- CORVA along with many offroad clubs have not only spoken about a program like that, but have offered to fund it. The head starting program for tortoises would do exactly what you are thinking, hatch tortoises and release them into the wild to boostthe population. Why isn't it happening? Not only are the enviros against anything like this, they had the BLM include language in the WEMO and NECO plans forbidding any type of release of bred tortoises into the wild in the Mojave desert. As fro the Piersons Milkvetch, the Algodones Dunes is not the only place it grows, it is founs in Az and Mexico and possibly in Utah. The environmentalists use a form of junk science to separate the species from itself and then designate it on an area basis rather than genetic make up. This is also done with vertabraes. Their theory is that the species is isolated by topography and different ecosystems and therefor cannot be the same plant(even though it is) so it must be preserved because of where it is located. Not because it is actually threatened on the whole, but it MAY be threatened there. There is no proof that vehicles reduce the number of plants and actual counts place plant density higher in the open areas instead of the closed areas, but according to the enviros, that is because of lack of rainfall, not loose soil and easy seed germanation. Just wait, we haven'y seen anything yet, coming soon, the recovery of trout and salmon in every waterway in socal...and the resulting closure of land within 150 yards of the waters edge to do it.
 

billymanfroy

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Martin,

Perhaps they should go kill all those counterfeit condors then, huh??? Heaven forbid we get some healthy tortoises out there in the wild... Dumb asses. Anybody ever notice what type of bear is on the California flag? GRIZZLY! Any true enviro worth his weight in couscous should be suing everyone in sight to bring back the cuddly, fun-loving grizzly to our mountainous areas so the real outdoorsy, Perrier-swilling, Spandex-clad hikers and mountain bikers who have never ventured more than 30 miles from 1 million + people can get an up close and personal reminder of the natural phenomenon known as “the food chain”.

As I started reading your post, I was instantly reminded of the stupidity of the sheeple here in the Bay Area... And the media shepards who feed them.

The Guadalupe River, which starts on the west/north side of the Santa Cruz Mountains - in the biggest mercury/quicksilver mine in history - runs through a reservoir (with a dam and fish ladder), north near my house, and straight through the middle of downtown San Jose before it skirts SJC Int'l Airport and makes it to the S.F. Bay in Alviso (one of the bigger Superfund sites). All of my life it has been a silty, polluted, disgusting toilet and garbage dump for the hundreds of homeless people that live under the bridges and overpasses. Several years ago, they began tearing it up to finally build a road bigger than two lanes that circles the airport. Before that, however, we used to sneak down there an fish it. Salmon and steelhead came up it, but nobody really ever believed us or bothered to check it out. I caught a lot of fish (never a steely or salmon) but I did see a LOT of 10 lb fish over the years.

The enviros finally noticed and started cleaning it up and pulling the makeshift fish traps the bums made out of shopping carts. (I guess the conspicuous signs every 20 feet begging people not to eat the fish because they are LOADED with mercury wasn't enough to deter them) Of course, there’s never going to be any fishing allowed - even though you can’t eat them without dying. But the homless population is doing quite well, thanks. My tax dollars are building them new bridges to live under as we speak! I haven't seen them being rounded up or forced to leave the endangered area, and you can be sure there would be a media frenzy if they were harrassed. The kicker here is, now they have declared every little trickle of a creek around here endangered, and they get away with it because they claim that each creek has its own UNIQUE SPECIES OF FISH since they return to the same river. If anything should happen to any of these storm drains (like building a freeway next to the airport, for example?) then we could have an extinction on our hands. Ooooooohhh! The "E" word! Sounds like what you’re describing in LA.
 

martininsocal

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Billy- I feel for you! I grew up on the other side of those mountains(you F5^kin' Valley!!!) in Santa Cruz. YOu mean to tell me you can still fish in Santa Clara County? Not in Santa Cruz, all running water is off limits to fishing, period. I made the conscientious decission almost 20 years ago to go south where you could still put a wheel in the dirt.
FYI- Check outthe plans for the rewilding of the lower 48 states at sites like Cal Wild, the Wildlands Project, etc... It includes the reintroduction of large predatory species like Mountain Lions, Wolves and ....Grizzly. You, my friend, have the magic ball...
 
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