Items by Tony Davis

Cougar hunt creates uproar
Following a flurry of sightings and a much-publicized, ill-starred hunt for mountain lions in Sabino Canyon near Tucson, Arizonans push for changes in how the state manages its big cats
Biologist busted for moving endangered cacti
Tucson environmental consultant Mary Darling pleads guilty to illegally moving endangered Pima pineapple cacti, in a complicated plan to raise the value of local real estate
Fires take toll on San Diego’s wildlife
The October wildfires in Southern California burned rare trees and may have caused the extinction of a butterfly -- proving, some say, that San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program did not protect enough habitat to save imperiled species
Behind the scenes, pressure and doubt
Two former Fish and Wildlife Service biologists had early doubts about San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program, criticizing the limits of the program’s science and its inability to protect a population of endangered willowy monardella
Amid smoke and sprawl, some success
It’s too early to know the impact wildfires have had on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and the Crestridge wildlife preserve, two of the successes of the Multiple Species Conservation Program
Vernal pools fall to a shopping mall
A shopping center and apartment complex destroyed over 60 of the vernal pools necessary to endangered San Diego fairy shrimp, and despite the Multiple Species Conservation Program, only one of the pools was saved
San Diego’s Habitat Triage
San Diego, Calif., adopted its groundbreaking Multiple Species Conservation Program to protect wildlife habitat while allowing for continued community growth – but critics say endangered wildlife is the loser in the deal
Pygmy-owl may lose protection
A court ruling may lead to the removal of the endangered status currently assigned to Arizona’s cactus ferruginous pygmy-owls
Will bulldozers roll into Arizona's Eden?
Anti-grazing activist Joe Feller is leading the fight against BLM-approved projects in Arizona's Arrastra Mountain Wilderness that include an improved access road to a rancher's inholding.
...while another quietly moves ahead
Alma, N.M., rancher Sewell Goodwin believes that removing cattle from riparian grazing has actually improved their health.
One rancher stands in defiance...
New Mexico rancher Hugh B. McKeen continues to battle the federal government over grazing restrictions on his Gila National Forest allotment.
Healing the Gila
Three years after cows were banned from some Southwestern rivers, the San Francisco River in the Gila National Forest shows signs of recovery, but struggling ranchers and uneven wildlife numbers prove that the struggle over desert grazing is still alive.
Neighbors get nasty in New Mexico
An armed encounter erupts between environmental activist Deirdre Wolf and local rancher Alex Thal over whether a road through her property near Silver City, N.M., is public or private.
Court helps candidates
The court overturns the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's ban on citizen petitions to list candidates for endangered species protection.
Luxury homes torched in Tucson
In Phoenix, Mark Warren Sands is charged with burning down eight trophy homes, but the June arsons that burned three brand-new, vacant luxury homes in Tucson's Pima Canyon Estates remain a mystery.
A seminal sprawl fight ends in compromise
A six-year fight over the Canoa Ranch south of Tucson ended in compromise, with development to take place but 4,800 acres of open space to be preserved.
County unveils pioneering protection plan
Tucson's innovative Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan will protect hundreds of thousands of acres of virgin desert while still allowing newcomers to build on less environmentally sensitive land.
Service leaves endangered species in limbo
Environmentalists fear that a listing freeze at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - which the agency blames on a much-reduced budget - will lead to a host of endangered species going extinct.
Feds fight chaos in a desert playground
Off-road vehicle users are upset by the BLM's decision to close to ORVs about half of Southern California's Algodones Dunes.
In Arizona's growth fight, advertising defined reality
Arizona's anti-growth Proposition 202 failed largely because its well-heeled opponents blanketed the airways with often inaccurate advertising.
On the trail
Ariz. polls show anti-sprawl initiative losing; in Wash., anti-tax business Tim Eyman has 2 new initiatives on ballot after measure last year ruled unconstitutional; OR Voters Guide 376 pp. long; Sen. Slade Gorton, says media hurts re-election chances.
Arizona's 202 takes aim at sprawl
In Arizona, developers are battling Proposition 202, The Citizens Growth Management Initiative, which would rein in large-scale, "leapfrog" developments.
Bush camp backpedals on toppling monuments
Republican vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney backs away from his earlier statement that George W. Bush might rescind the national monuments Clinton created.
Subdivision approved in owl habitat
The federal Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing a Tucson, Ariz., developer to build in habitat critical for the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl.
Los Alamos races against time
In the wake of the Cerro Grande fire, Los Alamos faces a new problem: how to prevent summer rainstorms from flooding the fire-denuded canyons and washing the laboratory's hazardous wastes into the Rio Grande.
More trouble waits in the wings
The Cerro Grande fire is only the beginning of trouble, forest managers say, warning that summer monsoons on the burned hillsides could cause floods that send toxic and radioactive wastes into the Rio Grande.
The West's hottest question: How to burn what's bound to burn
The forest fire that ravaged Los Alamos, N.M., stemming from a Park Service prescribed burn that swept out of control, has everyone debating the whole concept of prescribed burning in the West.
Tough but threatened
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has proposed a new national monument near Tucson, Ariz., to protect the ironwood trees that are threatened by development and logging.
Wildcat subdivisions fuel fight over sprawl
In Arizona, "wildcat" subdivisions such as Picture Rocks are springing up everywhere, and lawmakers and antigrowth activists are fighting over how to bring the sprawl under control.
Endangered species must learn to wait
Environmentalists are fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to no longer accept petitions seeking to move species off the agency's candidates list and up to formal threatened and endangered status.
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