Thursday, February 06, 2014

Environmentalists Sue Army in Apache Country

The Army's Fort Huachuca is sucking dry the Southwest's last major free-flowing river while government officials drag their feet, environmentalists claim in court. The San Pedro River flows north from Mexico 140 miles to the Gila River, passing through southeastern Arizona. Though in some stretches the river is seasonally dry, it remains the last major free-flowing, undammed river in the desert region. As such, it is an important stop for some 300 species of migrating birds, and provides a rare cottonwood-willow riparian habitat for at least two endangered species - a rare aquatic plant called the Huachuca water umbel, and the Southwestern willow flycatcher, a water-loving bird. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon Society sued the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Defense, the Army and Fort Huachuca, in Federal Court. For years groundwater pumping at Fort Huachuca, an Army base 76 miles southeast of Tucson in the small town of Sierra Vista, has threatened the San Pedro's health, and it continues to do so despite a court order directing the government to do something about it, according to the lawsuit. More than two years ago, a federal judge scrapped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's most recent biological opinion on the river and ordered the agency to consult with the Army on how the fort's groundwater pumping affects the river. So far, nothing has come of this order, the groups say...more

A bird is more important than the U.S. Army.  By golly those Republicans may be on to something.

No comments: