Audubon California Action Alerts

Help defend the Coastal California Gnatcatcher

California Coastal Gnatcatcher

California Coastal Gnatcatcher drawing by Ken Gilliland

The latest attempt by some Southern California developers to have the Coastal California Gnatcatcher removed from protections under the Endangered Species Act is pretty outrageous – they claim the bird doesn’t even exist!

The delisting petition sponsored by these developers relies on a single recent study claiming that the Coastal California Gnatcatcher is not a genetically unique subspecies. But most avian experts say that the study isn’t nearly enough to overturn than a hundred years’ worth of research to the contrary. Moreover, they point out that the new study cherry picks genetic data and downplays significant visible differences and this study has yet to be independently verified.

The fact that the Coastal California Gnatcatcher is a distinct subspecies worthy of protection was established in 1993 at the time of the original listing, and confirmed by an expert panel convened by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2004 – and there’s nothing in this latest petition that casts doubt on that determination.

Now is not the time to abandon this delicate species. The Coastal California Gnatcatcher is still under tremendous threat. Large portions of its range do not have habitat conservation plans in place, and the Coastal California Gnatcatcher continues to lose habitat to development, repetitive fires, and the spread of inhospitable non-native plants.

Not only is the California Gnatcatcher a magnificent bird worthy of protection, it is also inextricably linked to the rich coastal sage scrub of southern California, an enduring remnant of our wild coast that is now the most endangered habitat type in North America. Some researchers estimate that as little as 10 percent of California’s original coastal sage scrub habitat remains today. If we lose the bird, we will lose so much more with it.
Help defend the Coastal California Gnatcatcher today!

Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

February 26, 2014

To the list of powerful reasons why the Keystone XL pipeline is a bad idea, add one more.

The critically endangered Whooping Crane’s journey through America’s heartland—always hazardous—could be made even more dangerous by the infrastructure needed to support the pipeline’s path.

The proposed 875-mile pipeline bisects middle America, crossing the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers on its way south. Pipeline construction will bring massive industrial pollution and waste to fragile wildlife habitats from Canada to the Gulf.

The majestic Whooping Crane, with fewer than 500 surviving in the wild, is at particular risk. The pipeline would run along the cranes’ migration route for hundreds of miles. The pumping stations required to move the dense tar sands oil down the pipe will require enormous amounts of electrical power. Up to 300 miles of new transmission lines will only add to the hazards for migrating cranes. And power lines are already one of the leading causes of Whooping Crane mortality among juvenile birds.

The comeback of Whooping Cranes from near extinction is one of the greatest conservation successes of the past century. But these ancient and spectacular birds are far from safe.

The climate impacts alone of the Keystone XL pipeline should warrant its rejection. But the potential devastation to vulnerable wildlife, including the Whooping Crane, underscores the common sense conclusion that this proposed pipeline and the toxic crude oil it carries is decidedly not in America’s best interest.

For more reasons to stop the pipeline, read my post on the Keystone XL Pipeline at 10000 Birds.

Tell Secretary of State John Kerry that the Keystone pipeline is NOT in America’s best interest.

Send your public comments to the State Department today. Go to the Audubon Action Center now to send the letter!


Speak Up For The Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

February 20, 2014

The Brown Pelican is one of the great iconic birds of the Pacific Coast — we’ve all thrilled to watch it soar over the waves and dive into the water for food. But now it needs our help. We need you to send a note to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service demanding that it follow through on its obligation to monitor and protect this quintessential marine bird. 

The Brown Pelican is already one of our best wildlife protection stories, but recent reports have us worried. Since 2010, we’ve seen starving Brown Pelicans seeking food inland. At the same time, breeding in the Channel Islands has failed five years in a row – the first time this has happened in 20 years. Biologists are attributing the breeding failures to a lack of sardines and anchovies near colonies.

When the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service took the Brown Pelican off the Endangered Species List in 2009, it was supposed to conduct monitoring to ensure continued progress, but this vital conservation action hasn’t begun. If we’re going to figure out what’s happening with this bird – and take steps to protect it – we need the Service to follow-though with monitoring and conservation action.

Audubon California is partnering with International Bird Rescue and the Pacific Seabird Group to get this important message out.

Send a message to the US Fish & Wildlife Service here. You can also sign up for Audubon California Action Alerts and get the most recent news on potential policy changes that impact California birds, wildlife, and habitat. Even better, the Action Alerts give you the tools to weigh in and help make a difference. We know that lawmakers care about your views and opinions.

When you subscribe, you will also receive the National Audubon Society’s Audubon Advisory, which informs you about important conservation policy news from around the country, and helps you tell lawmakers what’s important to you.