Posts tagged: Fish and Wildlife Service

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Fish and Wildlife Service


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Maggie Caldwell's blog posts
24 February 2014, 12:28 PM
Notes from a trip to the San Francisco Bay Delta

 “The virgin California Delta was so vast wild and confusing—its sloughs meandered everywhere and led nowhere—that John C. Fremont lost a whole regiment in there for several days and some who ventured in just disappeared.A Dangerous Place, by Marc Reisner

At the Bay Delta's Steamboat Slough. (Brad Zweerink / Earthjustice)At the Bay Delta's Steamboat Slough.
(Photo by Brad Zweerink / Earthjustice)

My photographer and I ventured into the Delta region to go to the heart of the fight over who can claim rights to water in California during the worst drought in the state’s history.

The river towns we passed through—Courtland, Isleton, Rio Vista—don’t much resemble the labyrinthine delta that nearly devoured explorer John C. Fremont’s men in the mid-19th Century. The Bay Delta’s source waters—the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers—are dammed and diverted, its sloughs crisscrossed with drawbridges, and its marshes drained and planted with orchards and vineyards. Yet the Bay Delta, the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas, still retains a wildness to its character, serving as home to hundreds of species of plants and animals; some, like the Delta smelt, found nowhere else on Earth.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
14 February 2014, 12:59 PM
Idaho leads the nation in open hatred for wolves, pursuit of wolf killing
A gray wolf peers out from between the birch trees. (Holly Kuchera / Shutterstock)

State officials and some groups in Idaho are continuing their relentless persecution of the gray wolf, with almost 250 wolves killed so far during the 2013-14 season alone. This week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game released its predator management plan for the Middle Fork area of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The plan details IDFG’s intentions to reduce the wolf population in that area by 60 percent through several years of professional hunting and trapping efforts to inflate the local elk population.

In a related action, on Friday Earthjustice was back in court seeking to permanently halt Idaho’s wolf killing program in central Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
17 January 2014, 2:08 PM
Seven wolves dead as Earthjustice seeks restraining order
Two members of Idaho's Golden wolf pack, which is targeted for extermination. (Hobbit Hill Films LLC)

Despite enacting the world’s first and best endangered species law, our hatred toward the wolf continues to loom large in some parts of this country. Consider Idaho, where the wolf lost its endangered species listing in 2011 and faces hostile measures.

During the past two weeks, Earthjustice has been in court asking a federal judge to halt Idaho's unprecedented program to kill two wolf packs deep within the largest forested wilderness area in the lower-48 states. These wolves live on federal land, miles and miles away from ranches and civilization. As of Friday, seven had been killed by a hunter-trapper hired by the state.

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View Nailah Morgan's blog posts
23 December 2013, 1:41 PM
Key deer, loggerhead sea turtle among 233 federally protected species at risk
Nearly all of the Florida land area where the tiny Key deer live will be submerged by this century's predicted average 3–4 feet sea level rise. (Photo by U.S. FWS)

A recent report, Deadly Waters, details a new threat to endangered species: rising sea levels. After analyzing data from scientific literature, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity identified 233 federally protected species in 23 coastal states that risk habitat loss due to sea level rise.

And these species are not alone. Excessive flooding from rising sea levels combined with powerful Atlantic hurricanes, will lead to storm surges that thrust onto the coast, similar to the one that hit Atlantic City during Hurricane Sandy. Many coastal homes will be lost to rising seas. As climate change continues, coastal residents and wildlife will need to move further inland to survive threats from sea level rise.

The United States is home to more than 1,000 threatened and endangered species, and 1 out of 6 of those species rely on habitats like salt marshes and coastal forests that will be affected by rising sea levels. The state of Florida encompasses the fourth largest population of endangered species (120) and more than half are at risk from increasing sea levels, including Key deer and Loggerhead sea turtles which reside in different areas of the Florida coast.

View David Henkin's blog posts
13 December 2013, 9:31 AM
Earthjustice uses the ESA to protect Hawai‘i’s many vulnerable species
The Oʻahu ʻelepaio, a native flycatcher, relies on the forests that ring Mākua Valley. (Eric VanderWerf)

Hawaiʻi has the dubious distinction as the endangered species capital of the world, with more imperiled species per square mile than any other place on the planet. While Hawaiʻi makes up less than 0.2% of the land area of the United States, it’s home to over 400 threatened or endangered species, nearly one of every three domestic species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Hawaiʻi’s native species are so vulnerable because they evolved in isolation. Due to Hawaiʻi’s remote location in the middle of the Pacific, before humans arrived, new species reached the islands only by wind, wave or wing. New plant species successfully colonized the islands only about every 100,000 years.

Once in Hawaiʻi, these pioneers encountered little competition and evolved into a multitude of new forms, filling empty ecological niches. Scientists believe a single seed, likely carried from North America stuck to a bird’s feather, evolved into a family of 28 entirely new plant species, occupying diverse habitats from wet to dry forests and from near sea level to alpine shrublands.

View David Guest's blog posts
13 November 2013, 11:27 AM
Yet, industry group seeks to removed endangered species status
The manatee deaths have been linked to toxic algae outbreaks.
(David Hinkel / U.S. FWS)

I’m sad to report that 2013 has become the deadliest year ever for Florida’s endangered manatees.

So far this year, 769 manatees have died (Jan. 1 through Oct. 29), the largest annual manatee die-off in Florida since record-keeping began, according to the Save the Manatee Club.

“That means more than 15 percent of the estimated population of about 5,000 has already been killed, and as the year goes on the total will continue to climb,” environmental reporter Craig Pittman wrote in the Tampa Bay Times.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
01 October 2013, 10:09 AM
National wildlife refuges closed until funding is restored
National parks, like refuges and other public lands, are closed during the government shutdown. (National Parks Conservation Association)

(Editor's note: What does the federal government shutdown, starting today, mean to you? Tell us in the comments, and check out this news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will suspend most programs and operations, including public access to all National Wildlife Refuges and all activities on refuge lands including hunting and fishing.

"Closing off public access to our national wildlife refuges and public lands is the last thing we want to do, but is consistent with operations called for during a government shutdown” said Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe. “This is difficult news for the families, birdwatchers, hunters and anglers, and recreationists who enjoy the great outdoors on the refuges—as well as for the many local businesses who depend on the tourism and outdoor recreation economy they generate. I think it’s most difficult for the thousands of furloughed Service employees who are impacted in carrying out their mission to protect our nation’s resources and providing for their families.”

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
16 August 2013, 7:46 AM
Mega-farms would exterminate Puget Sound whales' main food: salmon
Orca L87 breaches at sunset with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background, Oct. 15, 2010. (Susan Berta / Orca Network)

Something special is swimming in Puget Sound—84 unique whales found nowhere else on earth, who might have disappeared altogether if not for Earthjustice’s work to protect them from a far-distant threat.

Early this month, the government rejected a misguided proposal to strip protections from this dwindling species: Southern Resident orca whales. Visitors to the Pacific Northwest likely know these orcas well; they attract wildlife enthusiasts from around the world with their intelligence and playful displays of agility. They also attract curious scientists—this pod of fish-eating coastal orcas is genetically distinct and isolated from its mammal-eating and offshore cousins, diverging more than 700,000 years ago.

The ill-conceived attempt to push these few animals closer to extinction was made on behalf of California industrial-scale farms by the Pacific Legal Foundation—a big-industry bosom buddy that receives funds from the infamous Koch Brothers. PLF and its clients refuse to accept that the orcas deserve the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Fortunately, science indicates otherwise.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
02 August 2013, 1:07 PM
Earthjustice files suit to answer that question
Sea otters face many obstacles in the swim to recovery.  (Steve Lonhart / NOAA)

Should sea otters be allowed to repopulate Southern California?

Seems like a strange question, right?

When a highly imperiled species starts to recover in its native habitat, we should all be grateful and welcome them back. This has certainly been the story of the American bald eagle.

First off, let’s establish that these guys are undeniably cute. Did you know otters hold hands while they sleep so as not to be swept away from their loved ones?

And they’re not just adorable. They are also key to the health of California’s kelp forests and the many other marine critters—including shellfish and finfish—that depend on kelp forest habitat.

But being a cute keystone predator hasn’t protected the sea otter. Consider the history.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
14 June 2013, 12:01 PM
Federal agency proposes handing protections to the states
The famed wolf OR-7.
(Richard Shinn / DFG)

If the Obama administration has its way, one of Oregon’s most popular travelers—OR-7—could be a goner. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed eliminating federal endangered species listing for wolves across nearly the entire continental U.S., handing protections to the states. This is bad news for wolves since many states are more interested in catering to powerful hunting and ranching interests than protecting this species that hasn’t yet recovered.

OR-7, a male gray wolf born in Oregon, left his pack in September 2011 to cross state lines, perhaps seeking a mate. He captured the imagination of school children and wildlife enthusiasts throughout the country as they followed his path—tracked by a radio collar. He’s traveled through ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests, shrublands and woodlands and even crossed agricultural lands. He’s been caught on cameras planted in the wilderness.

Not one public sighting or run-in with ranchers or livestock has been reported. Nonetheless, OR-7—and untold numbers of other wolves—could be shot on sight if the FWS lifts federal protections.

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