Lawsuit Launched To Protect Northeast Songbird Threatened By Climate Change

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Biknell's Thrush
Biknell's Thrush
- photo by T.B. Ryder, USFWS

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent on Tuesday to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to make a decision on the Center’s 2010 petition to protect the Bicknell’s thrush as an endangered species. The thrush breeds only high in the mountains of the Northeast and eastern Canada, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. As with many mountaintop species, climate change threatens to push the thrush’s habitat right off the top of the mountain.

“Scientists predict that 98 percent or more of Bicknell’s thrush habitat in the United States could disappear with climate change,” said Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate at the Center’s Northeast office. “Without swift government action, this icon of our wild Northeast mountains is on track to disappear in our lifetimes.”

Bicknell’s thrushes are olive-brown, migratory birds that nest in dense, coniferous forests near timberline in the Northeast and also breed in Quebec and Canada’s Maritime provinces. Scientists identified them as a distinct species in 1993.

Last summer the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged in a “90-day finding” that the Bicknell’s thrush may warrant protection as an endangered species. By law the Service must produce a final “12-month” decision a year after a petition is filed. That decision is now more than a year overdue, and the thrush was not included in the Service’s multiyear species-recovery work plan released this fall, meaning review of the species’ status has essentially stopped.

The overriding threat to the Bicknell’s thrush is climate change. Widely accepted climate models show the species’ breeding habitat shrinking dramatically in the Northeast. If the climate of the Northeast warms by approximately 6 degrees Fahrenheit, the bird’s habitat in the United States will virtually disappear. Scientists have already documented annual population declines of up  to 19 percent in parts of the bird’s range.

“Last year was the warmest year on record in the United States, with record storms, drought and fires. The disappearance of a plucky brown bird nesting at the tops of mountains may not be as dramatic, but all these events point to a world increasingly hostile to life as we know it,” said Ms. Matteson. “Our fate is not separate from that of the thrush or of other species at risk from climate change, and we need to start acting like we know that.”


Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Fireside at Greenway  Oct. 30 Erin Medley and a starry night Outdoor Chattanooga will finish our 2014 Fireside at Greenway Farm series with a special evening of guitar folk and stargazing this Thurs., Oct. 30, 7 ... (click for more)

Governor Haslam Dedicates Trail At Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area

Governor Haslam joined staff from the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas, Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation last Friday to dedicate a new trail at Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area. “Tennessee has incredible natural areas that offer something for everyone, and this partnership will help protect and preserve these lands for future generations ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Cold, Wet Front To Make For Chilly And Damp Trick Or Treating; Snow Showers Possible Saturday

A surge of cold, moist air will make for less-than-ideal trick or treat conditions on Halloween night. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing this weekend. There is a possibility of snow showers in Chattanooga on Saturday. Here is the latest forecast: Today Showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)