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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Federal Circuit Sends Case to Lower Court to Determine Whether Application of Endangered Species Act Can Result in a Taking

Posted in Court Decisions

On February 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded (pdf) the decision of a lower court, finding that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s implementation of a reasonable and prudent alternative may have resulted in a taking requiring just compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Pursuant to congressional… Continue Reading

Proposed Lizard Listing Sparks Protests

Posted in Listing

A public rally to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard (formerly known as the sand dune lizard) as endangered is being sponsored by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association in west Texas.  That proposal has drawn sharp criticism from Congressmen Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Mike Conway (R-TX).  Both the… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Flooded with Petitions to List Species under the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Listing

The New York Times reported that the number of petitions to list a species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) received by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has skyrocketed in recent years. "Over the last four years, a few environmental groups have requested that more than 1,230 species be… Continue Reading

Chinook Salmon Harvest Rates Set by Pacific Fishery Management Council

Posted in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On April 20, 2011, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) issued its final management measures for the 2011 salmon fisheries season. The report, titled Preseason Report III: Analysis of Council-Adopted Regulatory Measures for 2011 Ocean Salmon Fisheries (pdf), covers the period of May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012, and is the last in a… Continue Reading

NMFS Designates Critical Habitat for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale in Alaska

Posted in Critical Habitat

This week the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) designated (PDF) 3,013 square miles (nearly 2 million acres) of marine habitat in Alaska as critical habitat for the Cook Inlet beluga whale. NMFS listed the species as endangered (PDF) in 2008 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Critical habitat was subsequently proposed (PDF) in 2009. The final rule includes several… Continue Reading

As Part of Budget Deal, Congress is Poised to Remove Gray Wolves from the Endangered Species List

Posted in Listing

As reported by a number of news outlets including The New York Times, Congress is poised to pass an appropriations bill (pdf) to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2011, that includes a provision to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species protected… Continue Reading

Federal Judge Denies Proposed Settlement to De-List the Gray Wolf

Posted in Listing

A federal judge has denied a proposed settlement agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) and 10 conservation groups that would have lifted Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) protections for the gray wolf in Montana and Idaho. In the decision (pdf), U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy cited the court’s lack of authority to put… Continue Reading

NMFS Finds that Listing May be Warranted for Chinook Salmon in the Upper Klamath Basin

Posted in Listing

In response to a petition to list the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Basin as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a finding (pdf) that "the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating the petitioned actions may be… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds that Forest Service “Approval” of a Notice of Intent to Conduct Suction Dredge Gold Mining Does Not Trigger a Duty to Consult

Posted in Court Decisions, Litigation

On April 7, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a United States Forest Service (USFS) District Ranger’s decision that proposed recreational suction dredge mining in the Klamath National Forest may proceed according to the miners’ Notices of Intent (NOIs) without a Plan of Operations is not an "agency action," and therefore… Continue Reading

Federal District Court Approves Striped Bass Settlement

Posted in Court Decisions

As reported by The Sacramento Bee, on April 5, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California approved (pdf) a stipulated settlement agreement (pdf), over the objections of intervenors, potentially ending the ongoing dispute over the alleged impacts of striped bass predation on listed salmonids and delta smelt.  (The Sacramento Bee, April 6, 2011,… Continue Reading

Representatives Cardoza and Costa Introduce Bill to Alter Restrictions on Water Project Operations in the Delta

Posted in Legislation, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On March 30, Representatives Cardoza and Costa introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1251, entitled the More Water for our Valley Act.  The purpose of the bill is to "provide congressional direction for implementation of the Endangered Species Act as it relates to operation of the Central Valley Project and the… Continue Reading

Federal District Court Issues Final Judgment in Delta Smelt Litigation

Posted in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On March 29, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California entered a final judgment in the litigation challenging the 2008 biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regarding the effects of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project on the delta smelt. Previously, the Court issued… Continue Reading