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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Monthly Archives: July 2011

House Natural Resources Committee to Examine Endangered Species Act Reauthorization This Fall

Posted in Regulatory Reform

On July 27, 2011, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings announced that the Committee will "move forward" in the fall to examine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in an effort to reauthorize the law.  Chairman Hastings issued his statement shortly after the House passed an amendment offered by Rep. Norm Dicks to the FY 2012 Interior Appropriations… Continue Reading

Article Describes the Use of Surrogate Species in Conservation Planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Posted in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The journal Conservation Biology recently posted a forthcoming article on their website that I co-authored with Drs. Dennis Murphy and Kenneth Cummins entitled, A Critical Assessment of the Use of Surrogate Species in Conservation Planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California (U.S.A.). The principle purpose of the article is to assess the use of surrogate… Continue Reading

NMFS Suspends Lethal Removal of Sea Lions in Oregon and Washington

Posted in Litigation

The National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) has suspended its letter of authorization (“LOA”) under Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”) allowing the States of Oregon and Washington to lethally remove California sea lions caught eating endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River.  NMFS cited pending litigation in Federal court and limited… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Overturns Designation of Critical Habitat for the San Diego Fairy Shrimp

Posted in Court Decisions, Critical Habitat

On July 22, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) erred when it designated 143 acres of private property as critical habitat for the endangered San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis) based on a single observation of the shrimp on the property in… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Finds Listing Whitebark Pine is “Warranted but Precluded”

Posted in Listing

The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) made a "warranted but precluded" finding (PDF) for the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis).  This finding means that the Service has determined that the whitebark pine should be listed, but that it will not currently list the species because there are other higher priority species in the queue and there… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Revised Work Plan to Address Species Listing

Posted in Listing, Litigation

On July 12, 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that is strengthening a work plan to address a backlog in making listing determinations regarding numerous candidate species.  The work plan is part of a settlement agreement (Agreement) with WildEarth Guardians (WildEarth) and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the two plaintiff groups that most… Continue Reading

Settlement Likely to Result in Additional Critical Habitat for Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles

Posted in Critical Habitat

In a settlement agreement (pdf) filed in federal court on July 5, 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) agreed to issue a final rule by November 15, 2011, likely revising the critical habitat for the endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) to include waters off the U.S. West coast.  NMFS initially designated critical habitat for the leatherback in 1979, issuing a… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Revised Recovery Plan for Northern Spotted Owl

Posted in Conservation

On June 30, 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a revised recovery plan (PDF) for the Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina).  Most people are familiar with the spotted owl because of the intense media attention it received during the 1990s when a fight erupted over whether to continue to allow timber harvesting… Continue Reading

Bill Introduced to Limit Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act

Posted in Regulatory Reform

Over 38 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced the Government Litigation Savings Act (H.R. 1996) to amend provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) to limit recovery of attorneys’ fees and other expenses in cases brought against federal agencies. EAJA was passed in 1980 to help individuals, groups or businesses… Continue Reading

Ashe Confirmed by Senate, Becomes Fish and Wildlife Service Director

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

On June 30, 2011, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dan Ashe as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Ashe has held various positions with the Service over the past 15 years.  His immediate predecessor was Rowan Gould, who served as Acting Director beginning in February 2010 when then-Director Sam Hamilton passed away.  Though the position… Continue Reading