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Viewing recent news releases in program Southwest Region .
Biden Administration Faces New Legal Action Over Chronic Cattle Damage in Arizona National Monument
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society filed a formal notice today of their intent to sue the Biden administration for failing to stop severe damage from cattle grazing to protected habitat for endangered Gila chub and Western yellow-billed cuckoo in Agua Fria National Monument in Arizona.Read more.
Lawsuit Targets Cattle Grazing Damage to Endangered Wildlife Habitat on Arizona’s Gila River
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to protect habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and western yellow-billed cuckoo from cattle grazing damage along Arizona’s Gila River.Read more.
Rare Alabama Snail Proposed for Endangered Species Protections
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— Following seven years of advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect the oblong rocksnail as endangered. The rocksnail was previously considered extinct until 2011, and today only one small population in Alabama remains.Read more.
Arizona Water Authority Must Reduce Groundwater Use to Protect San Pedro River, Conservation Area
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity called on the Arizona Department of Water Resources today to reduce groundwater use in the Upper San Pedro River Basin in order to accommodate newly established federal water rights for the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area.Read more.
Biden Administration Urged to Cancel Border Wall Environmental Waivers
WASHINGTON— More than 100 groups urged the Biden administration to reverse its decision to cast aside legal protections for border communities and wildlife to fast-track border wall construction in Texas.Read more.
Biden Administration Waives Laws to Rush Border Wall Construction Through Texas Wildlands
STARR COUNTY, Texas — The Biden administration announced today that for the first time it will waive environmental, public health and cultural resource protection laws to fast-track construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Texas. The administration says it will take “immediate action to construct barriers and roads” along the border, including through fragile habitat near the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.Read more.
New Red Wolf Recovery Plan Calls for More Reintroductions, Fewer Killings
RALEIGH, N.C.— In response to a legal victory by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued a new recovery plan for the red wolf, the world’s most endangered canid.Read more.
Jaguar Caught on Camera in Southern Arizona’s Huachuca Mountains
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz.— A wild jaguar has been photographed by federally run trail cameras in southern Arizona’s Huachuca Mountains at least twice this year. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service database that tracks jaguar detections lists two photos in March and May 2023.Read more.
Petition Seeks Groundwater Protections for Arizona’s Upper San Pedro Basin
TUCSON, Ariz.― Conservationists filed a petition late Wednesday with the Arizona Department of Water Resources that seeks to curtail rampant groundwater depletion in southeastern Arizona’s Upper San Pedro Basin.Read more.
El Comité del Patrimonio Mundial insta a Estados Unidos a proteger sitio mexicano del muro fronterizo
RIAD, Arabia Saudita— El Comité del Patrimonio Mundial de la UNESCO solicitó hoy que Estados Unidos restablezca la conectividad ecológica del sitio de patrimonio mundial Reserva de la Biosfera El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar, dañado por el muro fronterizo estadounidense. El muro impide el paso de vida silvestre, como el berrendo sonorense, entre Estados Unidos y Mexico.Read more.
World Heritage Committee Urges U.S. to Protect Mexican Site From Border Wall
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia— The UNESCO World Heritage Committee requested today that the United States restore ecological connectivity to a Mexican World Heritage site harmed by the U.S. border wall. The wall impedes wildlife passage, including for the Sonoran pronghorn, between the United States and the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.Read more.
Rare Arizona Springsnail Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection
AJO, Ariz.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect the Quitobaquito tryonia, a tiny springsnail found only at a single spring in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.Read more.
Mexican Gray Wolves Receive More Protections From Government Killings
TUCSON, Ariz.— Wildlife Services, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has released a new set of standards it will use to determine the cause of livestock deaths in Arizona and New Mexico. Conservation groups have sought such changes to ensure Mexican gray wolves aren’t unfairly blamed for livestock deaths.Read more.
Court Petition Seeks Reversal of Water Diversion Threatening Utah’s Green River
DENVER— Conservation groups asked a federal appeals court today to reconsider a decision allowing Utah to divert tens of thousands of additional acre-feet of water each year from the Upper Colorado River Basin at the Green River below Utah’s Flaming Gorge Dam.Read more.
Federal Judge to Hear Arguments Thursday on Mining Exploration in Arizona’s Patagonia Mountains
TUCSON, Ariz.— A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday on conservation groups’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop two mineral exploration projects in southern Arizona’s Patagonia Mountains. In June the groups filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the projects, which could result in around-the-clock drilling in the biologically sensitive habitat for up to seven years.Read more.
Only Four Collared Wild Mexican Gray Wolves Survive in Mexico
TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservationists sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today warning about the severely low numbers of Mexican gray wolves in Mexico. The agency relies on the Mexican population of wolves as a buttress against extinction in the United States.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Massive Habitat Reduction for Endangered Snakes in Arizona, New Mexico
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for reducing critical habitat for two endangered snakes in Arizona and New Mexico by more than 90% from its original proposal.Read more.
Bass Population Doubles Below Glen Canyon Dam, Worsening Extinction Risk for Rare Grand Canyon Fish
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz.— Federal researchers reported Wednesday that despite last fall’s eradication efforts the number of invasive smallmouth bass more than doubled in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam since last year, imperiling the already threatened native humpback chub.Read more.
Texas Kangaroo Rats Proposed for Endangered Species Protection
WICHITA FALLS, Texas— Responding to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect the Texas kangaroo rat as an endangered species. The agency also proposed protecting 597,069 acres in Childress, Cottle, Hardeman, Wichita and Wilbarger counties in North Texas as critical habitat for the animals.Read more.
Court Dismisses Utah Suits, Upholds Presidential Authority to Establish National Monuments
SALT LAKE CITY— A federal judge today dismissed two lawsuits filed by the state of Utah that attempted to undo President Biden’s restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments and attacked the Antiquities Act as unlawful.Read more.
Habitat Protections Proposed for Endangered New Mexico Butterfly
CLOUDCROFT, N.M.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed designating nine areas in New Mexico, totaling 1,637 acres, as critical habitat for the endangered Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly.Read more.
Biden Designates Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz.— President Biden used the Antiquities Act today to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in northern Arizona, permanently protecting nearly 1 million acres of public land surrounding the iconic national park. Proposed to the Biden administration by the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe, and I’tah Kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” in Hopi.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges National Forest Policies Favoring Cows Over Endangered Species in Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon sued the U.S. Forest Service today to challenge policies that protect cattle grazing at the expense of endangered species and native wildlife dependent on fragile streams in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona.Read more.
Key Private Property in Bears Ears National Monument to Be Protected Forever
BLUFF, Utah— After a 16-month effort, the most important parcel of private land surrounded by Bears Ears National Monument has been permanently protected by The Wildlands Conservancy. The conservancy owns and manages the largest nonprofit nature preserve system on the West Coast.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched Over Critical Habitat Delay for Endangered Arizona Squirrels
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today of their intent to sue the agency for its delay in protecting habitat essential to the survival and recovery of southeast Arizona’s highly endangered Mount Graham red squirrels.Read more.
Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Again Protected Under Endangered Species Act
TUCSON, Ariz.— Following multiple petitions and lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today again protected the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl as threatened under the Endangered Species Act after it lost protections 17 years ago.Read more.
Center for Biological Diversity Rallies for Tribes’ Grand Canyon National Monument Proposal
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— Center for Biological Diversity members are traveling from across Arizona today to support the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition’s proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument at a federal listening session in Flagstaff. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe, and I’tah Kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” for the Hopi Tribe.Read more.
Court Order Sought to Block Mining Exploration in Arizona’s Patagonia Mountains
TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservation groups asked a federal judge today for a preliminary injunction to stop the launch of two mineral exploration projects in southern Arizona’s Patagonia Mountains. Today’s move comes after the groups filed a lawsuit in June challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the drilling projects, which could result in around-the-clock drilling in the biologically sensitive habitat for up to seven years.Read more.
18 Navajo Chapters Oppose Huge Pumped Storage Projects Threatening Arizona’s Black Mesa
BLACK MESA, Ariz.— Tó Nizhóní Ání, Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment and the Center for Biological Diversity submitted resolutions to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today from Navajo chapters and agencies opposing three pumped storage projects on the Navajo Nation’s Black Mesa, southeast of Kayenta. A total of 18 chapters and agencies have passed resolutions opposing the projects.Read more.
Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Proposed for Endangered Species Protection
SILVER CITY, N.M.— In response to more than 20 years of advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the dunes sagebrush lizard is endangered and warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.Read more.
Lawsuit Seeks Endangered Species Protections for New Mexico Chipmunk, Six Texas Mussels
SILVER CITY, N.M.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to finalize Endangered Species Act protections for the Peñasco least chipmunk, which lives in New Mexico, and six Texas mussel species suffering from habitat destruction and pollution.Read more.
Biden Administration Should Remove Border Walls, Keep Wildlife Corridors Open Along U.S.-Mexico Border
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Biden administration should remove border walls in six locations along the U.S.-Mexico border, abandon plans to build new sections of wall and remove stadium lighting from conservation lands, the Center for Biological Diversity said in comments submitted today to Customs and Border Protection. The comments are in response to the agency’s request for input on proposed remediation projects in California, Arizona and New Mexico.Read more.
Lawsuit Targets Mineral Exploration Threatening Arizona’s Patagonia Mountains, Endangered Species
TUCSON, Ariz.— Conservation groups sued the U.S. Forest Service today to challenge its authorization of two mineral exploration projects in Arizona’s rugged and biologically diverse Patagonia Mountains, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The federal agency’s recent approval means drilling operations could begin immediately and continue around-the-clock for seven years.Read more.
Wandering Mexican Wolf Asha Returned to Wild After Capture
PHOENIX— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it returned Asha, a well-known Mexican gray wolf, to the wilds of Arizona. She was captured last January for wandering outside of an arbitrary management zone and heading north into the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. Her journey last winter broke new ground and sent her east of Interstate 25, across Interstate 40, and up near Taos.Read more.
Rare New Mexico Plant Proposed for Endangered Species Protections
SILVER CITY, N.M.— Following a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect the swale paintbrush as an endangered species. The 19-inch-tall, yellowish-reddish flower is known to exist in only a single location in southwestern New Mexico’s bootheel.Read more.
Legal Intervention Defends Protections for Lesser Prairie Chickens
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity and Texas Campaign for the Environment moved today to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to protect lesser prairie chickens under the Endangered Species Act.Read more.
New Mexico Creates School Health Buffer to Protect Against Oil, Gas Pollution
SANTA FE, N.M.— New Mexico Public Lands Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard announced an executive order today that bans new oil and gas leasing on state lands within one mile of schools and other educational facilities.Read more.