This week on June 28, 2011, U.S. District Court judge Marilyn Hall Patel ordered the U.S. National Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to take “all necessary measures” to better protect 40 endangered species. The order specifically covers the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernadino National Forests in Southern California.
The agencies have been given six months to develop a long-term strategy to protect 40 endangered species. The order came as a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, who claimed the Forest Management Plans for the respective forests failed to provide adequate protection for these endangered species. The species include the Santa Ana Sucker, the Arroyo toad, the California Gnatcatcher and the California Condor, among others.
Recently hopes had been raised for the opening of the Williamson Rock closure which has been in effect since 2005 to protect the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog. That is now highly unlikely and construction that was taking place in the area has been halted. There are less than 200 known individuals of this species left in a few select pockets in the San Gabriel mountains. The Williamson Rock closure affects Hikers, and has shut off access to climbers who regard the rock as one of the premier sport climbing destinations in Southern California.
CORBA will work with the Forest Service to determine which trails in the San Gabriel Mountains, if any, may be affected by this federal court order.