July 21, 2015 -- One of the threats to Lange's metalmark is potential exposure to dust from a nearby gypsum plant. We investigated this potential impact on surrogate species a number of years ago and finally wrote up the results: Effect of exposure to gypsum dust on survival of Behr's metalmark.
February 17, 2015 -- The City of Los Angeles is attempting to raise limits on the number of owned cats at residences without a coherent plan to keep the cats indoors as promised. Along with Endangered Habitats League, UWG submitted a letter commenting on the proposal, and the proposal has been delayed sixty days. Quoting the Los Angeles Times:
Some opponents say the proposal would promote hoarding, and many find the enforcement system infeasible or nonexistent.
"It provides no mechanism to ensure that additional cats beyond three are kept indoors," said Travis Longcore, science director for the Urban Wildlands Group, and Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League. The pair submitted an opposition letter addressed to Koretz and other committee members.
“Any scheme that mixes indoor, outdoor, and indoor/outdoor cats at an address is clearly not meant to be enforced," Longcore and Silver wrote in their letter.
November 1, 2014 -- A Los Angeles Times editorial quotes our letter on synthetic turf:
“The city will be a lifeless and desolate place if parkways are replaced with artificial turf made of fossil fuels or replaced with rocks and gravel in place of a lawn or other living groundcover,” Travis Longcore, science director for the Urban Wildlands Group wrote to the city, opposing an effort to make it easier to install synthetic grass in public parkways.
September 30, 2014 -- We submitted a letter to the Los Angeles City Council opposing a proposal to make it easier to install artificial turf in in the "city strip" between the sidewalk and street. Artificial turf performs worse on a life-cycle basis than living grass and breaks down into tiny pieces of plastic that contaminate stormwater runoff.
September 1, 2014 -- Our Lange's Metalmark team at Moorpark College brought four new female butterflies in from the wild at Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge to establish the next cohort in the captive breeding project.
August 5, 2014 -- The Urban Wildlands Group joins 137 conservation organizations nationwide to petition the president to issue a proclamation commemorating the death of the last Passenger Pigeon on September 1, 1914.
July 26, 2014 -- Science Director Travis Longcore is quoted on the recovery of the El Segundo blue butterfly (Sacramento Bee).
April 24, 2014 -- Alternet reports on the health impacts of artificial night lighting, including an interview with Science Director Travis Longcore.
February 17, 2014 -- UWG submits comments with the City of Los Angeles on the adverse effects of poor tree trimming practices by contractors to the City. The letter points out that the City of Los Angeles does not have a goal for tree canopy coverage and has in fact lost tree canopy over the past decade.
December 12, 2013 -- A big restoration project is underway at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, with a new sand dune being constructed from scratch. Butterflies from our captive breeding program will likely be released here when the plants are mature.
October 17, 2013 -- UWG's comments critical of the City of Los Angeles' proposed Citywide Cat Program, which would allow unlimited unowned (stray/feral) cats to be fed outdoors and would remove the right of property owners or land managers to remove unowned cats, are reported in the UK's Daily Mail. See also local coverage in the Daily Breeze.
October 3, 2013 -- UWG joins 70 other organizations to urge the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to take further steps to protect people, pets, and wildlife from second generation anticoagulant poisons.
September 20, 2013 -- Mt. Charleston blue butterfly, which UWG petitioned to list as endangered in 2005, has finally been listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, thanks to the legal action of the Center for Biological Diversity. Here is our original petition to list.
July 15, 2013 -- UWG has completed an assessment of the potential recovery strategies for the federally endangered Miami Blue Butterfly for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Based on interviews with species experts, their rankings for species recovery actions are: 1) research on species ecology, 2) reintroduction to expand occupied range, 3) monitoring of existing populations, 4) re-establish a captive colony as a refugium, and 5) improve agency coordination.
Longcore, T. 2013. Assessment of recovery strategies for the Miami Blue Butterfly (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agreement No. F12AP00812). The Urban Wildlands Group, Los Angeles, 44 pp.
July 5, 2013 -- Paul Bogard's new book The End of Night: Searching for Darkness in the Age of Artificial Light is a sprawling travelogue/exploration of night, lighting, and its effects on nature and society. The work of The Urban Wildlands Group features prominently in the chapter on ecology, including both the book Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting and research on towerkill of birds.
July 4, 2013 - Science Director Travis Longcore was quoted by the LA Weekly in two pieces reporting on a controversial proposal to place a combination visitor center/animal adoption center in Area C of the the state-owned Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. The articles are "Annenberg Foundation Can't Grasp Disgust Over Its Wetlands 'Interpretive Center' and Dog Pound" and "Wallis Annenberg's Controversial Visitor Center at Ballona Wetlands: Money Matters."
May 2013 -- Read about the plight of Lange's metalmark and the people working to save it in Jon Mooallem's new book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America. Includes Jana Johnson and The Butterfly Project crew, Ken Osborne, and Travis Longcore and Catherine Rich's essay "Invertebrate Conservation at the Gates of Hell."
March 2013 -- Earth Island Journal has a short article quoting UWG research on night lighting, including on avian mortality. Read "And Incredibly Bright" by Holly Haworth.
February 11, 2013 -- UWG's work on feral cat issues was featured in an investigative report by KCET's SoCal Connected, "L.A.'s Proposed No-Kill Policy Raises Hackles on Both Sides." Science Director Travis Longcore's quote in the piece was meant to communicate that there is in truth no such thing as a feral cat policy that is "no kill." If cats are left out in the environment, then birds and other wildlife will be killed by them. This view was articulated in his invited op-ed for the newsletter of the American Bird Conservancy, Bird Calls. Read the October 2012 essay, No-Kill Movement Means Death for Birds.
Artificial Night Lighting
Ecological Consequences of
Artificial Night Lighting (Island
Press), edited by Catherine Rich and Travis Longcore
See reviews in
Science, The Quarterly Review of
Biology, Biological Conservation, The
Auk, The Condor, and
VIDEO: Lights Out! For Nature
Pollution" in Frontiers in Ecology and the
Vincent Thomas Bridge, San
Protection and Restoration
Ballona Wetlands Biota and Historical Ecology Resources
Vision for El Segundo dunes at
Successful Opposition to Waterview
Street Landscaping Project at LAX
Bluffs Restoration Project
Ecological Effects of Fuel
Modification (Fire Clearance)
Spiraling Roots (collaborative project on
phytoremediation of urban soils with native
UCLA's Campus Forest: A Community Resource
and Trends in Recovery Unit 5
Verdes Blue Butterfly
Segundo Blue Butterfly
Laguna Mountain Skipper
Miami Blue Butterfly
Monica Mountains Hairstreak
Primrose Sphinx Moth
INCA (INsect Count Analyzer for
Considerations in Wildlife