Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors


Friday, October 16, 2009

Water hogs say Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

They've Got balls: Water Hogs set up an "Endangered Species" Protection Group

excerpted from:

...Executive director Craig Manson said the federal agency should classify the threatened smelt as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Manson said he believes the designation would lead wildlife scientists to find that the smelt are being harmed by a variety of environmental and human threats, including toxic chemicals and invasive species. Pumping out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by state and federal water agencies has largely been blamed for the smelt decline.

"They need to stop loading all of the blame onto pumping because that's an easy target," said Manson, who oversaw the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Interior in the Bush administration from 2002 to 2005...

...Westlands Water District was among the water districts that argued the restrictions (on pumping to protect endangered fish) would harm Californians who depend on water from the delta. Its board president, Jean Sagouspe, is also chairman of the board of the endangered species council.

read their press release:
their goal is to "generate additional support for environmental statutes"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another Defeat for Bush's Calif. eco policies...

Fed Judge Overturns Roads Plan for So-Cal National Forests

excerpted from:

September 30, 2009
San Francisco, CA -- A federal district court judge ruled late Tuesday that U.S. Forest Service management plans for four Southern California national forests did not adequately protect those forests' wildest landscapes. In the ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel agreed with seven environmental groups that the Forest Service failed to assess cumulative damage to those national forests that would be caused by piecemeal road building and other development in most of the forests' roadless areas, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The environmental groups, represented in the suit by Earthjustice attorneys Erin Tobin and Trent Orr, are the Center for Biological Diversity, Los Padres ForestWatch, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, California Native Plant Society, California Wilderness Coalition, and The Wilderness Society. "Some of the most wild and pristine areas of southern California's national forests were given a second chance with this court decision," said Ileene Anderson of the Center for Biological Diversity. "These areas provide critically important strongholds for endangered species such as steelhead, the California condor and the arroyo toad; especially during this time of climate change." "The decision vindicates the public's right to know how our national forests are managed," said Earthjustice attorney Erin Tobin. "It is a victory for southern California's wild areas and wildlife, healthy forests, and clean drinking water." At issue are more than a million acres of roadless areas within the Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests. The four forests, surrounded by some of the most rapidly urbanizing land in the United States, are the last remaining refuge for the region's imperiled species such as the California condor. At the same time, the forests are increasingly subject to disturbances ranging from off-road vehicle abuse to oil and gas development to invasive species, the impacts of many of which are exacerbated by road building. The challenged management plans recommended just 79,000 acres of roadless areas for possible wilderness designation and slotted more than 942,000 acres for possible road building or other development. According to the court's ruling, the Forest Service violated federal environmental law by ignoring the "larger picture" of how allowing more development in roadless areas — while recommending almost no such areas for permanent wilderness protection — would affect the forests' irreplaceable landscapes and wildlife. The court also ruled that the Forest Service's failure to consider alternative approaches for monitoring the health of forests and their wildlife that are harmed by wildfire management, energy development, and substantial off-road vehicle use was a further violation of the law...

Desert Destruction halted...

Fed Judge Overturns Bush's Plan for the West Mojave Desert

Bush-era Plan Authorizing Off-road Vehicles on Federal Lands in Mojave Desert Found Illegal by Court

9/29/2009--SAN FRANCISCO— Late Monday a federal judge rejected a Bureau of Land Management plan for managing millions of acres of public land in the California desert. In response to a challenge brought by a coalition of conservation groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and Desert Survivors, the court ruled that the Bush-era West Mojave Plan violated the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by favoring off-road vehicle use over protection of sensitive desert resources such as endangered species and archeological sites.

“This is a huge win for the California desert,” said Lisa Belenky, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The court’s decision takes the Bureau of Land Management to task for designating thousands of miles of off-road vehicle routes while ignoring the significant damage these vehicles cause to our public lands and the wildlife that depend on these lands for their survival.”

The court rejected the Bureau’s use of a route designation “decision tree” that the agency used to designate areas for off-road vehicles – a decision tree that failed to take into account such legal requirements as the minimization of routes to limit damage to public lands and disruption of wildlife and habitats. The court found that the Bureau failed to provide adequate explanation for many of the route changes and actually added routes beyond the limit expressly set in the agency’s own planning documents.

It also found that the Bureau violated the law by failing to analyze alternatives that would reduce the number or miles of off-road vehicle routes so as to reduce impacts to resources; that the agency’s analysis of impacts of off-road vehicles on air-quality cultural resources, riparian resources, unusual plant assemblages, and sensitive species such as the Mojave fringe-toed lizard was inadequate; and that the Bureau failed to look at the impacts of cattle grazing on sensitive desert soils.

to read the judge's ruling:

"For the foregoing reasons, ...The Court GRANTS summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs on the FLPMA claims, GRANTS summary judgment on some of the NEPA claims in favor of plaintiffs, and GRANTS summary judgment on some of the NEPA claims in favor of defendants, and GRANTS summary judgment in favor of defendants on the ESA claims."


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