Thirty-six organizations, including Appalachian Voices, have signed on to a letter supporting the addition of 404 species of aquatic wildlife to the endangered species act.
The letter, delivered to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was in support of a petition (pdf), submitted to Fish and Wildlife last spring by the Center for Biological Diversity and six other regional and national organizations, included aquatic, riparian and wetland species in the southeastern part of the country.
“Thanks to pollution, development, logging, poor agricultural practices, dams, mining, invasive species and other threats,” says the Center’s website, “extinction is looming for more than 28 percent of the region’s fishes, more than 48 percent of its crayfishes and more than 70 percent of its mussels.”
Twenty-nine percent of the petitioned species are threatened by coal mining and oil and gas development. The original petition (pdf) included a section on the affects of mountaintop removal (aka strip) mining on aquatic species (page 18-21).
Read the sign-on letter below, or visit the Center for Biological Diversity’s special “Southeast Freshwater Extinction Crisis” section for a detailed look at the species list.
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Cynthia Dohner, Regional Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30345
October 1, 2010
Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
We the undersigned are writing in support of the petition submitted on April 20, 2010 by
the Center for Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Clinch Coalition,
Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, and West
Virginia Highlands Conservancy to protect 404 aquatic, riparian, and wetland species of
the southeastern United States under the Endangered Species Act.
Our organizations work to protect natural resources in the southeast and have an interest
in protecting the petitioned species and the habitats they need to survive. We have
reviewed the petition and believe that these 404 species are indeed threatened by one or
more of the five listing criteria, are at risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future,
and thus qualify for protection under the Act.
Please accept this letter of support for the timely listing and designation of critical habitat
for these threatened or endangered freshwater species.
Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club
American Rivers, Southeast Region
Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment
Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club
Black Warrior Riverkeeper
Coastal Conservation League
Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club
Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice
Pleasant Hill, TN
Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club
New Orleans, LA
Georgia Botanical Society
Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club
Kentucky Waterways Alliance
Mississippi Chapter of the Sierra Club
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, United Church of Christ
Pleasant Hill, TN
North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club
Oconee Rivers Audubon Society
Omni Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology
Protect Ozark Wildlife & Rivers
Save the Cumberland
Sierra Club Florida
South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club
Southern Environmental Law Center
St. Johns Riverkeeper
Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club
Tennessee Clean Water Network
Tennessee Environmental Council
Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club
Virginia Forest Watch
West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club