CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Tucson AZ
NEWS RELEASE: for immediate release Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Conservationists Indicate Lawsuit for Wetlands Dragonfly Critical
Contact: Daniel R. Patterson, Ecologist, CBD 520.623.5252 x 306 or
WASHINGTON DC -- National and regional environmental groups today filed a legal notice of intent to sue the Bush administration over its failure to designate critical habitat for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly, a wetlands-dependent endangered species found in small areas of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri. The dragonfly is endangered by urban sprawl, agricultural development, toxic pollution, logging, water diversions, off-road vehicles, vacation home development and road & pipeline construction.
“Independent research shows that species with critical habitat are less likely to decline and twice as likely to be recovering as those without.” said Daniel R. Patterson, a Michigan-native and ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re noticing Secretary Norton of her legal obligation to designate critical habitat so the dragonfly can recover.”
The Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) was listed as an endangered species in 1995. It has brilliant green eyes, and is distinguished from all other species of Somatochlora by its dark metallic green thorax with two distinct creamy-yellow lateral lines.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized that habitat loss is the primary reason for this species decline, and that a critical habitat designation would help save this unique wetlands dragonfly from extinction and yet, has not proposed habitat protection.” said Andrew Hanson, an attorney and board member of Habitat Education Center.
The Great Lakes Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has established a disturbing pattern and practice of failing to protect habitat for listed species within the region. Of the almost 80 species listed as threatened or endangered in the region, only 4 have critical habitat designated. Of those 4, two were forced by citizen lawsuits or petition; the other two occurred in the late 1970s. The region has not designated critical habitat on its own initiative, as the law requires, for any species within the region in nearly a quarter century.
It is suspected that the Hine’s emerald dragonfly has already been lost in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama. It is still found in Mackinac, Presque Isle and Alpena Counties, Michigan; Door, Kewaunee and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin; Cook, DuPage and Will Counties, Illinois; and Iron and Reynolds Counties, Missouri.
“Although habitat loss is a primary factor in the decline of the dragonfly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to designate and protect the critical habitat needed to help save this endangered wetlands species” said Doug Cornett, Executive Director of Northwoods Wilderness Recovery.
For a species photo, locations map, and/or copy of the notice, please contact Daniel Patterson.
More info on critical habitat: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/Programs/policy/ch/sub1.html