Center for Biological Diversity Good-news Roundup

Check out just a small fraction of the Center's recent victories.


With allies, we defeated an illegal attempt to gut the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that would have let polluters off the hook for killing birds.

After a 13-year battle, we stopped the rubber-stamping of permits for coal mining in the habitat of endangered species nationwide.

The Center and allies scored a legal victory that ended the rapid-fire approvals of stream-crossing permits (NWP 12) for pipelines that halted Keystone XL and temporarily halted other new pipeline crossings nationwide. Public pressure and multiple lawsuits led to the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast pipeline, denial of a key permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension, and the shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline until further review.

We launched our ambitious Saving Life on Earth campaign and Energy Justice program.

We helped get legislation introduced that would ban several super-toxic pesticides and transform pesticide-safety reviews.


We upheld protection for grizzly bears around Yellowstone.

Our successful lawsuit blocked federal oil and gas leases across more than 1 million acres of habitat for greater sage grouse.

The Humboldt marten gained federal protection as “threatened” after a 10-year battle, and the Southern Sierra Nevada fisher received protection as “endangered” after a battle that had lasted 20 years.

The black pinesnake got 324,000 acres of protected critical habitat in Alabama and Mississippi. The Sonoyta mud turtle got critical habitat protection in Arizona and the elfin woods warbler gained 27,488 acres of protected critical habitat in Puerto Rico.

Giraffes, pancake tortoises and star tortoises gained protection from trade under CITES. Teatfish sea cucumbers gained trade regulations under CITES.

Leatherback sea turtles and mountain lions received candidate protection under the California Endangered Species Act.

The Borax Lake chub in Oregon was recovered and removed from the endangered species list. The Morro shoulderband snail in California moved toward recovery and was downlisted to threatened. Two wildflowers, the San Benito evening primrose in California and the Cumberland sandwort in Kentucky and Tennessee, were declared recovered and proposed for removal from the endangered species list.

Gray wolves kept their protection under the California Endangered Species Act, which is critically important with imminent federal delisting.

We secured greater protections for Mexican spotted owls in timber sales in Arizona and New Mexico.

We gained more protections for bistate sage grouse from off-road vehicles in Nevada.

We pressured FWS to resume red wolf reintroductions to eastern North Carolina’s Red Wolf Recovery Area for the first time in five years.

The South Carolina Senate introduced a bill that would restrict commercial collection of amphibians and reptiles, joining Florida, Missouri, Texas, Nevada, Arkansas, Georgia and Iowa in enacting some trade restrictions to protect native herpetofauna. 

We secured a deadline of 2021 for North Atlantic right whales orthern right whales to gain greater protection from fisheries entanglements.

The Florida bonneted bat received a critical habitat proposal of 1.5 million acres. The Florida bristle fern got 4,014 acres of proposed critical habitat.

The yellow-billed cuckoo gained 493,665 acres of proposed critical habitat in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

Slickspot peppergrass, a sagebrush-steppe plant in Idaho, got 42,129 acres of proposed critical habitat.

Narrow-headed garter snakes got 18,701 acres of proposed critical habitat and Mexican garter snakes 27,784 acres of proposed critical habitat in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Big Sandy crayfish and Guyandotte River crayfish got 445 river miles of proposed critical habitat in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

The yellow lance freshwater mussels got 319 river miles of proposed critical habitat in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

The highly endemic Georgetown and Salado salamanders around Austin gained a critical habitat proposal of 1,500 acres.

The Sierra Nevada red fox in California, Hermes copper butterfly in Southern California, Big Creek crayfish and St. Francis River crayfish in Missouri, Chapin Mesa milkvetch in Colorado, and Marrón bacora — a Virgin Islands flower, were proposed for Endangered Species Act protection. 

The pangolin, emperor penguin, Pearl River map turtle and Pascagoula map turtle gained court-secured deadlines in 2021 for decisions on their Endangered Species Act protection.

We won a lawsuit that will force reconsideration of federal protection for the Florida Keys mole skink, which is under dire threat from sea-level rise.

12 coral species in Florida, the Caribbean and Pacific islands will get a critical habitat proposal in 2020.

Green sea turtles scored a deadline for critical habitat designation by 2023.

14 endangered Hawaii Island species, including 12 plants, one anchialine pool shrimp and a picture-wing fly, will get a critical habitat designation by 2024 under a court-secured deadline.

We won a lawsuit that will lead to greater protection for northern long-eared bats in the East.

The dunes sagebrush lizard, Oregon Coast spring chinook salmon, Bethany Beach firefly, Gulf Coast solitary bee, Mojave poppy bee, Tiehm’s buckwheat and Las Vegas bearpoppy got positive 90-day findings on listing petitions taking the first steps toward Endangered Species Act protection.

Significant progress was made in protecting the habitat of the Mt. Charleston blue butterfly in Nevada and the rusty-patched bumblebee in Minnesota from impending threats from recreational developments.

The Bonecave harvestman in Texas kept its federal protection despite the Koch brothers funding petitions and lawsuits to remove it from the list.

We petitioned for Endangered Species Act protection for Iliamna Lake seals and the Alexander Archipelago wolf in Alaska, the Quino checkerspot butterfly and speckled dace in California, and Suckley’s cuckoo bumblebee across the West.


In Nevada we helped stop a water pipeline to Las Vegas that would have depleted groundwater in rural Nevada, Utah and California and endangered dozens of spring species and other wildlife. We also secured restrictions on groundwater pumping to protect the Moapa dace.

In Nevada we won a ban on new oil and gas leasing in the Ruby Mountains and also halted the expansion of a gold mine that would have harmed the relict dace.

In Ohio new oil and gas leases were put on hold in the Wayne National Forest.

Washington, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Massachusetts banned wildlife-killing contests, joining California and Vermont on the list of states where these cruel events are now prohibited.

In Alaska we won a victory, with allies, vacating the Prince of Wales timber sale on the Tongass National Forest, which would have been the largest old-growth logging project on national forest lands in decades, with a 1.8 million acre project area.

We helped stopped an illegal land exchange in Alaska that would have harmed Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

In North Carolina we worked with allies to secure $45 million for aquatic biodiversity restoration for endangered freshwater mussels and other species.

In Arizona we won legal victories overturning approval for an open-pit copper mine we’ve been fighting outside Tucson since 2007 that would destroy habitat for jaguars, northern Mexican garter snakes, and Chiricahua leopard frogs.

In Arizona we won a ban on new uranium mining across 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon and then defended that ban in court.

In Arizona we stopped a proposed gold mine in the Prescott National Forest that would have harmed Native American cultural sites, a rare agave, and endangered animals including the Mexican spotted owl.

In Wyoming our objection led to the removal of 80,000 acres of roadless areas from a massive proposed logging project in the Medicine Bow National Forest that would have hurt lynx and other species.

In Colorado we got 9,000 acres removed from a logging project to protect lynx and other species.

We helped uphold a ban on collecting Hawaii reef fish for the aquarium trade.

In Hawaii we got the Environmental Protection Agency to designate several water bodies as “impaired” due to plastic pollution, a step that will lead to limits on the amount of plastic that enters waterways in Hawaii.

In Idaho we gained some restrictions on killing wolves and won a ban on the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs” statewide. We halted a road in northern Idaho that would have harmed grizzly bears, mountain caribou, and wolverines.

We succeeded in pressuring the governor of Washington to call for better rules for preventing the killing of wolves.

We got the California legislature to pass a bill that would place a moratorium on super-toxic rodenticides that threaten endangered species including fishers, martens, and the San Joaquin kit fox.

In Utah we helped defeat a bailout that would have led to the construction of an inland port that would increase air pollution and facilitate coal export.  

In Louisiana we helped pressure Formosa Plastics to delay construction of their super toxic new plastic plant.


We got Humboldt County, California, to prioritize nonlethal responses to wildlife conflicts.

We pushed Ventura County, California, to move toward requiring buffers between new oil and gas wells and schools and residences and got the county to adopt a first-of-its-kind ordinance to safeguard wildlife connectivity from new roads and development.

We got Alachua County, Florida, to oppose a plan to build new toll roads through habitat for Florida panthers, black bears and bonneted bats.

We gained protections in a 10-county area around Sacramento, California, that will restrict bird-killing poisons, strangulation snares and beaver trapping.

In Napa County, California, we saved 14,000 trees that were slated to be logged for a vineyard.

We halted a development in Southern California that would have harmed western pond turtles and mountain lion corridors.

We beat back a proposal to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that would have hurt salmon, steelhead and the delta smelt.

We secured greater protections for steelhead trout from water diversions in California’s Santa Clara River.

We stopped Cadiz, a destructive water-mining project that would have depleted an ancient desert aquifer and built a 43-long-pipeline through the Mojave Desert.


We worked with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to pass a resolution to prioritize nonlethal responses to wildlife conflicts.

We got Culver City, California to develop a timeline for the phaseout of oil and gas wells.

We got Fontana, California to agree to protect habitat for California gnatcatchers and to reduce pollution from a new warehouse complex.


A court victory forced the disbanding of the sham “International Wildlife Conservation Council,” an illegal pro-trophy hunting and firearms governmental advisory group.

The Center secured restrictions on seafood imports to help save the critically endangered vaquita.

The Center petitioned for ESA protection for black teatfish sea cucumbers.


Whooping crane photo by Anthony Rue/Flickr