WildEarth Guardians petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Joshua tree as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2015. The Service denied the petition in August 2019, so we took the Service to court. That lawsuit has now been fully argued and is pending a decision from the federal district court in California. Guardians is optimistic for a favorable court ruling directing the Service to reconsider listing the Joshua tree in light of all the available scientific evidence confirming the species’ plight.
But success in court doesn’t mean that the Service will ultimately do right by listing the Joshua tree as a threatened species. Unfortunately, the Biden administration was unwilling to voluntarily walk away from the terrible Trump decision in 2019, so in May 2021, Guardians also submitted emergency petitions to the Biden administration to immediately provide federal ESA protection for both the eastern and western species of Joshua tree given the more we learn about climate change impacts and fire risk to this species, the bleaker their future appears.
Please support Joshua tree conservation by urging the Biden administration to protect Joshua trees.
Photo Credit: Frank DeBonis