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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Conservation

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Rule Regarding Critical Habitat Determination for the Marbled Murrelet

Posted in Conservation, Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service

On August 25, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule relating to the existing critical habitat for the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus).  The murrelet is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed rule does not purport to change the Service’s previous designation of critical… Continue Reading

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Proposes Rules Relating to Nesting Birds and Birds of Prey

Posted in Conservation, Regulatory Reform, Uncategorized

On August 14, 2015, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking relating to nesting birds and birds of prey.  Specifically, the Department is proposing to adopt regulations implementing the prohibitions found in California Fish and Game Code sections 3503 and 3503.5.  In pertinent part, these sections make it… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Survey Habitat Conservation Banks

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service

On July 24, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a notice seeking authorization from the Office of Management and Budget to evaluate habitat conservation banks established under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) through a survey of bank sponsors and managers.  80 Fed. Reg. 44,147.  The Service and the Department of the Interior’s… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Polar Bear Unlikely to Survive a Warming Climate

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service

On July 6, 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) published a Draft Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Conservation Management Plan (Polar Bear Plan).  The Polar Bear Plan identifies the continuing loss of sea-ice habitat as the single greatest threat to the species’ continued survival, and the global reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) as the most important action… Continue Reading

Sage Grouse Status Hangs in the Balance as BLM Moves to Adopt Conservation Plans for Ten Western States

Posted in Conservation

On May 29, 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM),  in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, released Final Environmental Impact Statements for proposed amendments to existing Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for lands in ten western states.  The RMP amendments would establish conservation measures for the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) for approximately 50… Continue Reading

Friday May 15th Is Endangered Species Day

Posted in Conservation

This Friday, May 15th, marks the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day. Events are scheduled throughout the country to recognize conservation efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats, which have occurred primarily as a result of the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. For example, zoo staff at the Naples Zoo in Florida will… Continue Reading

Third Gray Wolf Delisting Bill Introduced in House

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Delisting, Legislation

Last week, Washington State Representative Dan Newhouse introduced the “Pacific Northwest Gray Wolf Management Act” (H.R. 1985), which would remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) within Washington, Oregon, and Utah.  H.R. 1985 is the third bill  introduced in the 114th Congress (2015-2016) proposing to delist the gray wolf within specified states.  H.R. 843 and H.R. 884,… Continue Reading

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Litigation

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service determined that there are several factors affecting the species, but none as severe and immediate to its persistence as the disease known… Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service Accepts Two Petitions to List the Porbeagle Shark

Posted in Conservation, Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service

On March 27, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) accepted two petitions asking NMFS to list the Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act either throughout the entirety of its global range, or as distinct population segments (DPS) occurring in the Northwest Atlantic, the Northeast Atlantic, and the… Continue Reading

Transportation Research Bureau Publishes New Report on Airports and Species

Posted in Conservation, Consultation, Listing

The Transportation Research Bureau (“TRB”), a division of the National Research Council within the National Academies, has released a report entitled Innovative Airport Responses to Threatened and Endangered Species (pdf).  The report is intended to assist airport sponsors and operators in addressing federally listed species issues on or near their facilities.  The introduction to the report includes… Continue Reading

NMFS Proposes Critical Habitat for the Threatened Arctic Ringed Seal

Posted in Conservation, Critical Habitat, National Marine Fisheries Service

On December 3, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published its proposed rule designating critical habitat for the threatened Arctic Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida hispida).  (79 Fed. Reg. 71,714).  The proposed designation, if finalized, would mark one of the largest critical habitat designations in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi seas, consisting of millions of acres.  The… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List African Lions as Threatened

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced that it is proposing to list the African lion (Pantera leo leo) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed listing is the result of a 2011 petition to list the species as endangered. In the Service’s 12-month finding on that petition, the Service… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List 23 Mariana Island Species as Threatened or Endangered

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published (pdf) a proposed rule to list 21 species as endangered and 2 species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Of the 21 species the Service proposes to list as endangered, twelve are plant species and nine are animal species. The two proposed threatened species… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Protection for Canada Lynx

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

 On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) revising the critical habitat designation for the contiguous United States distinct population segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and revising the boundary of the Canada lynx DPS. The revised critical habitat designation consists of approximately 38,954 square miles of… Continue Reading

NMFS Releases Final Recovery Plan for Central Valley Salmonids

Posted in Conservation

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released its final recovery plan for Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead.  The website for the recovery plan is here.  Along with the recovery plan, NMFS released a number of supporting documents on the website.  Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Credit Program for At-Risk Species

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Regulatory Reform

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced a proposed policy establishing credits for voluntary prelisting conservation actions for imperiled species. The policy is intended to establish an additional measure for encouraging and awarding voluntary actions to protect species that may be listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The… Continue Reading

State Governors Urge the Federal Government to Defer to State Conservation Efforts When Deciding Whether to List a Species Under the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Conservation

Last week, the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association (WGA) adopted a resolution urging the federal government to defer to state conservation efforts and to prioritize funding to avoid new listings under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The resolution (pdf) calls for state conservation plans to “give rise to a regulatory presumption by federal agencies that an… Continue Reading

Calling on The “God Squad”

Posted in Conservation

As reported by Kristi Pihl of the Tri-City Herald earlier this week, the Columbia-Snake Irrigators Association has requested that the Governors of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho proceed through the "God Squad" process under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) to seek to exempt those who operate on the rivers from having to provide any further mitigation for the local… Continue Reading

Australian Scientists Call for Country to Focus Conservation Efforts on Most Vital Endangered Species

Posted in Conservation

Last Thursday, several prominent conservation biologists in Australia called on the Australian government to allow certain endangered animals to become extinct in order to focus conservation efforts on reviving more vital species. The biologists argue that current Australian policies, such as mandatory recovery plans for all endangered species, may have consequences if they are not… Continue Reading

New Article Takes Stock of Federal Agency Proposal to Use Surrogates to Establish Take Limits

Posted in Conservation

In an article forthcoming in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Dr. Dennis Murphy and I examine a proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to amend the existing regulations that implement the interagency consultation process set out in Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by codifying their pre-existing practice… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Revised Recovery Plan for the Pallid Sturgeon

Posted in Conservation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced the availability of a revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), a species that is found in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins, has been described as having a "unique dinosaur-like appearance," and has been listed as endangered since 1990.  As summarized by the Service, the revised recovery plan updates… Continue Reading

New article explores structured decision-making for imperiled species

Posted in Conservation

In an article (pdf) forthcoming in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Dennis Murphy and I explore the potential for adaptive management through structured decision-making to improve efforts to conserve imperiled species.  We note the many impediments to effective management, which include frequent default to best professional judgment.  We then explore the potential for… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service To Analyze Stakeholder Plan for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) that it will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposed application for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP), including a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The application concerns the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicintus), which the Service has proposed to be… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals under Section 6 of the ESA for Federal Financial Assistance

Posted in Conservation, Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking proposals (pdf) from states or territories for federal grants from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (Fund) for voluntary conservation projects that benefit candidate, proposed, or listed species. The Fund is authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provides four different grant… Continue Reading