WASHINGTON (CN) – A group of dune buggy riders out of Pismo Beach, California who call themselves “Friends of Oceano Dunes” want the brown pelican taken off the endangered species list. They say Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar violated the Endangered Species Act by not delisting the bird after acknowledging that the species had recovered. They want to drive on the beach.
Plaintiff Friends of Oceano Dunes claims to have 28,000 members. They claim the millions of dollars in state and local funds being spent on protecting a species that recovered more than a decade ago should be used to help species that are actually endangered, and that the beach regulations meant to protect the birds diminish the group’s enjoyment of the Oceano Dunes State vehicular recreational area.
The bird that the group opposes, the Brown Pelican, cruises and fishes along the fringe where ocean meets land. The birds nest in locations that vary from from a simple scrape on the ground to a bulky stick nest in a low tree.
The pesticides DDT threatened the bird’s future in the early 1970s. A research group from the University of Tampa found that DDT weakened the pelican eggshells that were as a result crushed by the mothers. Use of the pesticide was outlawed as a result.
The Brown Pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The online dictionary Wikipedia notest that pelicans can live more than 30 years.
The Pismo beach dune buggy group wants an injunction forcing the Interior Secretary to to remove the Brown Pelican from the endangered list and they would like their lawyer to be paid for the work. They are represented by Thomas Roth, a solo practitioner out of San Francisco.