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GROUP PUSHING FOR RENEWAL OF ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

Fish, plants, mammals and birds are healthier in Utah because of the Endangered Species Act, says a group campaigning for the act's renewal.

The Endangered Species Coalition, made up of groups claiming a combined membership of more than 5 million Americans, listed the following success stories for Utah:- Bald eagles occupied two breeding territories in the state in 1990. Nine years before, none reproduced in Utah.

- The Utah prairie dog was listed as endangered in 1973. But the species recovered enough with the protection given by the act that by 1984 it was reclassified as threatened.

- A native Utah wildflower, the Rydberg milk vetch, has recovered and is no longer listed as endangered or threatened.

- Rare cutthroat trout were successfully bred in captivity, and June suckers were stocked.

"Despite the attention given to a handful of endangered species controversies, the fact is the act's many successes have been achieved with remarkably little conflict," writes David S. Wilcove and Michael J. Bean of the Environmental Defense Fund.