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Protecting At-Risk Species and Ensuring Biodiversity

Orca L87 breaches at sunset in Washington's Puget Sound with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background.

Orca L87 breaches at sunset in Washington's Puget Sound with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background.

Photo courtesy of Susan Berta / Orca Network

Earthjustice is working to reduce the pressures that are driving endangered species towards extinction—including the greatest of all threats: climate change.

Overhunting and habitat loss due to human development have driven many species to the edge of extinction—now, unabated climate change threatens to push them into oblivion. For scores of species large and small, the decisions we make in the coming years are literally a matter of life and death.

The Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species it protects since it was passed in 1973.

Earthjustice's Biodiversity Defense Program fights to reshape our relationship to lands, water, and wildlife everywhere by confronting the major drivers of the decline in nature, including habitat destruction and over-exploitation of wildlife. Our work to protect at-risk species and ensure biodiversity, includes:

  1. Fighting for the survival of iconic terrestrial species such as the gray wolf, polar bear, wolverine and bison. All face pressure from habitat loss, unsustainable hunting or other environmental stressors. Moreover, climate change is placing these vulnerable species under even greater pressure. Earthjustice is defending the ESA status of these creatures and pushing back against forces placing them at risk, with the ultimate goal of securing stable populations that have ample habitat to survive.
  2. Holding governments accountable to curb the impacts of coastal and off-shore development, including underwater sonar tests and offshore drilling, which is harming fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds, and key underwater ecosystems.
  3. Saving west coast salmon from extinction by advocating dam removal in the Columbia/Snake River basin and ensuring enough water exists in key West Coast rivers—the Sacramento, the Klamath and the San Joaquin—for salmon runs to spawn healthy populations year after year, work we’ve been engaged in since 1989.
  4. Defending the Endangered Species Act from political assaults in Congress that seek to weaken or dismantle this bedrock environmental law.