CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER — PHOTO USGS
Forty California endangered plants and animals must better cared says a federal judge who wants efforts stepped up in four SoCal national forests.
Last week, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ordered three federal agencies – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Forest Service – to develop new protective programs within six months. “Take all necessary measures,” she said, to reduce activities that threaten the survival of these on-the-edge species, such as California condors, California gnatcatchers, Stellar’s sea lion and more.
Judge Patel cited failed plans which have harmed the already-imperiled plants and animals that live in the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino Forests.
According to the LA Times:
….[the agencies] were also ordered to report on the impacts that suction dredge mining in the San Gabriel River has had on the Santa Ana sucker, and “explain why such mining should not be immediately halted.” Suction dredge mining, which is used to separate gold from stream gravel, harms water quality by spreading silt and sand.
Concrete river channels, dams and pollution caused by urban runoff have played roles in the suckers’ decline, scientists say. Today, the fish clings to existence in small, shaded stretches of the Santa Ana and San Gabriel rivers and Big Tujunga Creek.
The judge also closed hiking areas around Williamson Rock and Little Rock Creek Road to protect mountain yellow-legged frogs and arroyo toads which have lost nearly all their habitats. Cherry Canon in Los Padres is also closed to recreational shooting.