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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)' Category


07
Aug

Trump Administration Reverses Ban of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges, as California Confirms Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2018) At the same time that a new analysis by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), current neonicotinoid uses in the state expose bees to residue levels known to cause harm, the Trump administration has reversed a 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision to ban neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuges. In 2014, newly passed state legislation required DPR to study the impacts of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran) and adopt control measures to protect sensitive pollinator health within two years. In its report, released last month, DPR finds the highest risk to bees is posed by use of two neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, on cereal grains like corn, wheat, rice, and barley. The seeds of these crops are typically coated with neonicotinoids before planting, where residues persist in the pollen and nectar. Although these findings are not surprising and have been documented in the scientific literature, California’s analysis indicates neonicotinoids can cause much broader harm, including to pollinators commonly found on many types of vegetables, cereal grains, tree nuts, fruits and tobacco. Shortly after a decision in the Pacific Region, FWS announced that all National Wildlife Refuges would join in the phase-out of neonics (while also phasing out genetically engineered […]

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09
Jul

Take Action: Endangered Species Need Protection to Support Biodiversity and Life

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2018) The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to take action to protect 23 wildlife species in the Southeast that are at risk of extinction. Citing deep concerns about unprecedented assaults on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), CBD’s letter reiterates the critical need for FWS to provide timely protection to the most critically imperiled species. Urge FWS to provide Endangered Species Act protection for 23 species in the Southeast. Urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to support the ESA’s scientific review process and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats. CBD’s letter highlights the plight of 23 freshwater animals and plants, including the southern snaketail and the sunfacing coneflower, and the failure of FWS to meet its deadlines for issuing proposals on species determined “may warrant protection.” CBD urges FWS to follow the law –to review and publish species protection proposals. A declining budget and opposition from the Trump administration are stalling these critical protections. The Trump administration has proposed slashing the budget for endangered species listings by half, from $20.5 million to $10.9, and to prioritize delisting species rather than granting protection to new ones. These budget […]

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06
Jul

Illegal Use of Banned Pesticide Responsible for Bald Eagle Deaths in Maryland

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2018) Two years ago, thirteen bald eagles were found dead on a farm in Maryland. Now the investigation has revealed that these birds died after ingesting the highly toxic pesticide, carbofuran. Carbofuran, whose use has been phased out in the U.S., is so toxic to birds that one granule is all it takes to kill. Irresponsible and illegal use of pesticides is still responsible for primary and secondary poisonings of wildlife, as is the case of these bald eagles. According to the necropsy results by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which analyzed six of the thirteen eagle carcasses, five of the carcasses were found to have undigested raccoon remains in their systems. Carbofuran was detected in the stomach and/or crop contents of all birds, as well as on the partial remains and fur of a raccoon that was found nearby. The granular form of carbofuran has been blamed for the deaths of more than a million birds in the U.S. who mistook the granules for seed. The granules were finally banned in the early 1990s, while the liquid formulation was banned on food crops in 2009, although the painfully slow process of cancellation by the U.S. […]

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21
Jun

Group Urges Endangered Species Protection for 23 Species

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2018) In a letter sent by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is being urged to complete status reviews and listing proposals for 23 wildlife species in the Southeast that are at risk of extinction. Citing deep concerns about unprecedented assaults on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the letter reiterates the critical need for FWS to provide timely protection to the most critically imperiled species. Highlighting the plight of 23 freshwater animals and plants, like the southern snaketail and the sunfacing coneflower, and the consideration by the Trump Administration to withdraw ESA findings for dozens of species, CBD submitted the letter, dated June 8, 2018, urging FWS to follow the law, and review and publish species protection proposals. CBD initiated a review of 61 species for which the group had already filed a petition seeking ESA protections. This came after the Trump administration’s unprecedented move to reverse an Obama-era decision to review the status of the species because available information indicates they may warrant listing. CBD first petitioned FWS for their protection in 2010. Hundreds of other highly imperiled species are similarly awaiting decisions, but, according to CBD, a […]

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30
May

Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2018) Six environmental groups have sued the Trump Administration for reversing a long standing interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act (MBTA) that provides migratory bird protections from incidental killing or “taking” caused by industrial activities. The lawsuit, National Audubon Society v. Department of the Interior, was filed May 24, 2018 in the Southern District of New York, challenging as “unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.” The Act’s prohibition on the killing or “taking” of migratory birds has long been understood to extend to incidental take from industrial activities — meaning unintentional but predictable and avoidable killing. Last year, the Trump Administration issued a Memorandum gutting federal protections for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The plaintiffs, including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are seeking to protect waterfowl, […]

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21
May

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Eliminate Pesticide Use on Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2018)  490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges in 2016 The nation’s 562 national wildlife refuges play a critical role in protecting fish, plants, and other wildlife. They include forests, wetlands, and waterways vital to thousands of species of plants and animals, including 280 that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, private chemical-intensive commercial farming of crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum has become common on refuge lands, with the increasing use of highly toxic pesticides that threaten the long-term health of sensitive habitats and the creatures who depend on them. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) estimates that 490,000 pounds of pesticides were applied to commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. Tell FWS to take toxic pesticides out of wildlife refuges. The nearly half million pounds of pesticides used on wildlife refuges in 2016 include 2,4-D, dicamba, and paraquat, all of which are toxic to fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and other animals. Also included are 116,200 pounds of glyphosate, the herbicide that has caused widespread decreases in milkweed plants, helping to trigger the 80 percent […]

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15
May

National Wildlife Refuges Contaminated with Thousands of Pounds of Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2018) According to a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides are sprayed on lands that are designated as refuges for wildlife and protected under U.S. law. Approximately 490,000 pounds of pesticides have been sprayed on crops grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016 alone. Pesticide use in these sensitive areas poses risks to pollinators, aquatic organisms, migratory birds, and other wildlife on refuges that were created to protect them. The report, No Refuge, released last week, analyzes pesticide use on national wildlife refuges using records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report finds that in 2016 more than 270,000 acres of refuge lands were sprayed with pesticides for agricultural purposes. Five national wildlife refuge systems are identified as most reliant on pesticides for agriculture: Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California and Oregon, with 236,966 pounds of pesticides; Central Arkansas Refuges Complex in Arkansas, with 48,725 pounds of pesticides; West Tennessee Refuge Complex in Tennessee, with 22,044 pounds of pesticides; Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Tennessee, with 16,615 pounds of pesticides; and, Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, with […]

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14
Mar

Monarch Butterfly Numbers Keep Declining

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2018) The annual count of Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico shows declines from last year’s numbers—a 15 percent decrease –according to figures from an official Mexican government count in the winter of 2017. These numbers underscore how at risk the iconic animal is, with a possible collapse of migration if populations are critically low. Monarch butterflies (also known as Eastern Monarchs) embark on an impressive migration every year. Roughly 99 percent of all North American monarchs migrate each winter to oyamel fir forests on 12 mountaintops in central Mexico. Scientists estimate the population size by measuring the area of trees turned orange by the clustering butterflies. But for the second year in a row, its numbers are declining — 2.48 hectares of occupied winter habitat is down from 2.91 hectares last winter. Apart from partial rebounds in the winters of 2001 and 2003, numbers have gone down steadily since 1996. Overall monarchs have declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades. Earlier this year, Western Monarchs – those found west of the Rocky Mountains – overwinter in coastal California forests, were also found to be declining at an alarming rate, with scientists and conservation groups […]

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24
Apr

Dow Urges Trump Administration to Ignore Pesticide Impacts on Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2017) After contributing $1 million to Donald Trump’s presidential festivities, pesticide maker Dow Chemical Co. is asking the Administration to set aside previous findings of federal scientists across multiple agencies that confirm the risks that organophosphate pesticides pose to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. This comes after the Administration abandoned plans to restrict the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos, also an organophosphate pesticide created by Dow, despite mountains of evidence that show the chemical’s neurotoxic impacts on children’s brains. In letters sent to government officials, lawyers for Dow urge Administration officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set aside “biological evaluations” that detail how three highly toxic organophosphate insecticides –chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon– harm nearly all 1,800 threatened and endangered animals and plants, claiming the process to be “fundamentally flawed.” Federal agencies tasked with protecting endangered species –EPA, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture– have worked for years to identify the risks posed by pesticides to threatened and endangered species under to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under Section 7 of ESA, states that any agency action must find that it “is not likely to jeopardize […]

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16
Apr

Court Grants Temporary Injunction to Endangered Protect Rusty Patch Bumblebee Habitat

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2017) Local activists in Illinois were handed an exciting victory on Monday when a judge granted a temporary restraining order to shut down a construction project due to the presence of the rusty patch bumblebee, a recently listed endangered species. The group Stop Longmeadow, in reference to the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor project, filed the lawsuit, Case: 1:16-cv-05435, based on the fact that the rusty patch bumblebee has been found in the Brunner Forest Preserve, which borders 5.6 miles of the corridor project. The defendants, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, argue that the scheduled construction will not affect bumblebee habitat. The court rejected their position, however, siding in the plaintiffs by finding “the balance of harms weighs in favor of the plaintiffs and against the public’s interest in reduced traffic congestions.” The restraining order was issued by Judge Sharon Coleman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. Based on the evidence presented by the plaintiff’s motion, Judge Coleman reasoned that “a brief stay to the project is warranted.” She went on to point out that, […]

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24
Mar

Rusty Patched Bumblebee Listed as Endangered

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2017) On March 21, the rusty patched bumblebee’s path to protection cleared political hurdles this week. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on March 21 officially listed the rusty patched bumblebee under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), after months of turmoil due to the Trump Administration’s temporary freeze on federal regulations adopted at the end of the Obama Administration. This listing stands as a landmark decision, marking the rusty patched bumblebee the first bumblebee species, and first bee overall in the continental U.S., to officially be declared endangered by FWS. In October 2016, FWS listed seven species of bees as endangered in Hawaii. The initial decision to list the rusty patched bumblebee as an endangered species came at the very end of President Obama’s term, on January 11, to take effect in February. FWS said in its news release, “Causes of the decline in rusty patched bumble bee populations are believed to be loss of habitat; disease and parasites; use of pesticides that directly or indirectly kill the bees; climate change, which can affect the availability of the flowers they depend on; and extremely small population size. Most likely, a combination of these factors has caused the decline in rusty patched […]

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