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.”

Tennessee Aquarium To Open Southeast's Only Independent Freshwater Science Center Oct. 27

The Tennessee Aquarium will open the Southeast’s only independent freshwater science center next Thursday at 10 a.m. This new home for the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute will be the base of operations for their research scientists, and a central location for other freshwater scientists to convene. (click for more)

TWRA Announces Availability Of Riparian Tree Planing Grants For 2017

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announces the availability of grant dollars to assist cities, schools, community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations, and conservation groups, etc., with riparian tree planting projects.  All seedlings must be purchased through the Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry. Tree planting season in Tennessee is ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)