Yellow-billed cuckoo could affect Rosemont Mine

Photo from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Photo from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on Thursday, announced it was proposing to make more than 5,000 acres in the upper Cienega Creek a critical habitat to protect the yellow-billed cuckoo, which in October 2013 was recommended as an endangered species.

The proposal could affect Rosemont Mine, which has been in the works for eight years. Rosemont has faced numerous delays created by the Center for Biological Diversity.

According to Jonathan Duhamel, in his article, Rosemont Mine and the Cuckoo scam, “about 20 cuckoos inhabit Pima County’s Cienega Creek Natural Preserve downstream from the proposed Rosemont copper mine. Radical environmentalists are making an issue of this in their failing attempts to stop the mine. The cuckoo also is being used as an excuse to stir up trouble along the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista.”

Duhamel concluded, “In my opinion the proposed listing of the cuckoo is not justified by science; it is purely politics.”

Critical habitat is a term in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species, and which may require special management considerations or protection. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge or preserve, and has no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

On October 3, 2013, the Service proposed to list the western DPS of the yellow-billed cuckoo as a threatened species under the ESA in the western United States, Canada and Mexico. The listing proposal cites threats from loss of riparian habitat and habitat fragmentation as a result of conversion of land to agriculture, dams and river flow management, bank protection, overgrazing and competition from exotic plants as key factors in the decline of the western yellow-billed cuckoo.

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