Fish & Wildlife response to CBD's petition

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Fish & Wildlife response to CBD's petition

Post by SailAway » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:54 am

The Fish & Wildlife's response to the Center for Biological Diversity's fringe toed lizard petition was posted in today's Federal Register. I've only had time to read it once quickly and I see good news and bad news in it, but overall nothing that should send us all running for cover. On the other hand, we cannot and must not take it lightly either.

Here's the link to the finding. ... /E8-28.pdf

For some reason I'm having trouble cutting and pasting the portions that really need attention and I'm out of time right this minute. I will address this as soon as possible this morning though and will start posting items I think we need to note immediately.

The more eyes on this the better, of course, so please take some time on this.

Vicki Warren
President of DUNERS and Friends of
Dumont Dunes user groups

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Post by Doc » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:34 am

Can you say Déjà vu?

This is Glamis all over from 1998 when the PMV was listed as endangered and the duners were asleep at the switch.

If this is approved than the closures will not be far behind as the BLM will have to set some land aside to protect the endangered species.

There are only 60 days for someone to come up with some data to refute this petition and supply some factual comments on why this lizard should not be listed as endangered.

The deadline for public comments is 3/10/08.

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Post by Brian_A » Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:24 am

my favorite exerpt

"Dispersal of Mojave fringe-toed
lizards between populations is poorly
, but based on observed
movements and limited ability of the
species to cross unsuitable habitat, it is
unlikely that isolated populations
interact. No specimen of Uma has been
captured more than a very short
distance 148 feet (ft) (45 meters (m))
from wind-blown sand deposits (Norris
1958, p. 257). Population status and
relative density data for the Mojave
fringe-toed lizard is not currently

This states that there is no evidence that OHV has any impact. They are concerned? How scientific is this?

"The petitioners
are concerned that extensive Off-
Highway Vehicle (OHV) traffic at
Dumont Dunes"

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Post by SailAway » Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:30 pm

This is the first step in a process that could put the lizard on the endangered species list and we've all seen what a disaster that creates.

This petition had very little chance of failure. The CBD asked Fish & Wildlife to take a closer look at the lizard and gave their reasons. Their paperwork was in order and backed up their concern just enough that there was no legitimate refusal. Now the closer look begins.

How concerned are they? Hard to say. Their review will take 12 months and they will not only look at whether the lizard is indeed a 'distinct population segment' in that area, but even if it is, they will have to determine if that distinct population segment' needs their protection, before they make any kind of official move (like listing on the ESA).

It would be foolish of us, as a community, to sit back and hope for the best. And so, we are taking proactive measures... meeting with BLM and Fish & Wildlife, discussing all options including how to conserve our riding area while maintaining the health of the species. It's going to be a busy and important period for Dumont.

Here's the press release from Fish & Wildlife:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
2493 Portola Road, Suite B
Ventura, California 93003
Phone: 805/644-1766
Fax: 805/644-3958

January 10, 2008

Contact: Lois Grunwald, 805/644-1766, ext 332


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that it has reviewed a petition to list the Amargosa River population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard (Uma scoparia) and concluded the petition contains substantial information to indicate that listing may be warranted. This particular population of Mojave fringe-toed lizard occurs in the Amargosa River area of San Benardino County.

The Service also found that the petition’s assertion that the Amargosa River population is a distinct and separate population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard species may be warranted.

The finding does not mean that the Service has decided to list the Amargosa population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard. Rather, the Service will now conduct an in-depth review – called a 12-month finding – of all the biological information available on the species to determine whether the Amargosa population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard is a “distinct population” and subsequently decide whether it warrants listing as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

If the lizard is found to be a “distinct” population, the Service will determine whether listing is “not warranted,” “warranted,” or “warranted but precluded” based on other higher priority species.

Today’s decision, commonly called a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in a petition submitted to the Service in May 2006 by the Center for Biological Diversity and a private citizen. The Service also considered information on the Mojave fringe-toed lizard that it had available in its files.

To ensure the status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting scientific and commercial information about the Amargosa population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard, including information related to its biology and habitat needs.

The population of Mojave fringe-toed lizards that resides near the Amargosa River occurs at Dumont Dunes, which is located on Bureau of Land Management land about 30 miles north of the city of Baker, Ibex Dunes, which is within Death Valley National Park, and Coyote Holes, a sand blowout area located a few miles south of the eastern end of Dumont Dunes. The Mojave fringe-toed lizard species is native to southern California deserts and a small area of western Arizona. It is widespread geographically across this region in Inyo, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties. In Arizona, the species occurs in La Paz County.

The petitioners cite extensive off-highway vehicle traffic at Dumont Dunes, and to a lesser extent Ibex Dunes and Coyote Holes, as posing a substantial threat to the Amargosa River population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard.

The Mojave fringe-toed lizard is in the family of North American spiny lizards. It is distinguished from other fringe-toed lizards by crescent-shaped markings on the sides of its throat and a conspicuous dark black spot on the sides of its belly. The lizards are believed to live out their entire lives in sand dunes or other sandy areas. During breeding periods, the bellies of the adults are yellow-green and their sides are pink. At other times, the lizards’ color mimics the sand dunes, rendering them nearly invisible to predators.

The lizard feeds on insects, seeds and flowers. Annual plant species provide important forage in the spring. It derives most of its water from eating insects and plants.

Written comments and information on the proposed rule must be submitted by March 10, 2008, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN-1018-AV02; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA, 22203 or at the Federal eRulemaking Portal by following instructions for submitting comments at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource offices and 81
ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

Vicki Warren
President of DUNERS and Friends of
Dumont Dunes user groups

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