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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Category Archives: Fish & Wildlife Service

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Federal Government Proposes Revisions to Endangered Species Act Regulations

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service, Regulatory Reform, Uncategorized

While a number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform bills continue to wind their way through Congress (see our May 6, 2015 post), yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced their own plan to “increase regulatory predictability, increase stakeholder engagement, and improve science and transparency” when acting on petitions to list, uplist, downlist,… Continue Reading

National Defense Authorization Act Would Restrict Federal Greater Sage-Grouse Protections

Posted in Congress, Fish & Wildlife Service, Legislation

On April 27, 2015, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the text (pdf) of the National Defense Authorization Act (Act), including language that would ban the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) from issuing its listing decision for the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) through September 30,… Continue Reading

Citing Conservation Plan and $45 Million in Funding, FWS Concludes Listing for Bi-State Population of Greater Sage Grouse is Unnecessary

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Uncategorized

While the larger controversy is far from over, for the California and Nevada populations of the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), the controversy does appear to be put to rest.  In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to list the bi-state population as threatened under the Endangered Species Act… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Proposed Critical Habitat Rule for Zuni Bluehead Sucker

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reopened the public comment period on its proposed rule (pdf) designating critical habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), a fish species that lives in certain water bodies in New Mexico. In January 2013, the Service proposed to designate 291.3 miles of critical… 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

Endangered Species Rule Roundup: April 6-7, 2015

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service

After a relatively quiet start to the year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)  have issued findings and rules regarding the proposed listings of four separate species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) over the last two days.  NMFS issued a 90-day finding on a petition to list… Continue Reading

Outdated requirement results in continued listing of species determined to be recovered

Posted in Congress, Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service

The Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), a small fish with a range limited to northeast California and south-central Oregon, was listed as endangered (pdf) in 1985.  A recovery plan for the species was adopted by the Service in 1992, and in February 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the delisting of the species (pdf).  In… Continue Reading

Court Denies Motion to Dismiss a Challenge to Natural Gas Projects in the Great Barrier Reef

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service

On Friday, February 20, a federal district court denied (pdf) a motion to dismiss, thereby breathing life into an Endangered Species Act (ESA) challenge brought against the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Bank) for funding activities in and around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. See Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Export-Import… Continue Reading

Endangered Species Act Year End Roundup: FWS Issues Findings on A Listing Petition and NMFS Issues A Correction

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service

Coming in just under the wire for the New Year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published new rules today, making December a very busy month for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions. Below are the latest items from FWS and NMFS to be published in 2014. December… Continue Reading

Fish & Wildlife Service Finds That Gnatcatcher Delisting May Be Warranted

Posted in Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Uncategorized

Continuing the quarter century controversy over the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a threatened subspecies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has concluded that a petition to delist the gnatcatcher may be warranted. (Federal Register PDF).   The petition asserts that the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher as… Continue Reading

Federal Court Holds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Violated Endangered Species Act by Delisting Gray Wolf in Nine States

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently held (pdf) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it issued a final rule delisting gray wolves in nine states (Final Rule) because the Service’s interpretation of the ESA, particularly its identification of a Distinct Population Segment… Continue Reading

Endangered Species Act Roundup – Three For the Price of One

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Litigation, Uncategorized

Although there were some notable downperiods when it came to Endangered Species Act news over the past twelve months, the past few weeks have been anything but slow.  Below are a few of the more recent newsworthy items that have rolled off the presses: December 11, 2014 – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues a final rule listing… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate List

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

On December 5, 2014 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its Fiscal Year 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate list.  Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), when the USFWS either receives a petition from a third party to list a species as threatened or endangered, or when the USFWS decides of its own… Continue Reading

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Critical Habitat: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sets December 18, 2014 Public Hearing in Sacramento

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service

As we reported in November, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has been planning to hold a public hearing on the proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) across nine western states.  The Service recently announced that the public hearing will take place on December… Continue Reading

Court Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Take of Intrastate Species that Has No Substantial Effect on Commerce

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service, Litigation

On November 4th, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah invalidated the special rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regulating take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a species that only inhabits the state of Utah.  See People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Re-Opens Comment Period for Cuckoo Under Pressure from Congress

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that it will re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.  The announcement came after 17 members of Congress requested that… 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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is Accepting Comments on Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Bull Trout.

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) posted a Notice of Availability of the Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout (pdf). The plan is intended to manage threats and ensure sufficient distribution and abundance of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) so that protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)… Continue Reading

Court Allows ESA Claims Involving Oversight of Pesticides to Move Forward

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293-JCS (pdf), plaintiffs alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by failing to initiate and reinitiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with respect to its ongoing oversight of 382 active… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Withdraws Proposal to List North American Wolverine as Threatened

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it is withdrawing its proposal to list the North American wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision to withdraw the listing proposal followed the consensus recommendation of the Service’s three Regional Directors for the regions encompassing the wolverine’s… 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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Downgrades Wood Stork From Endangered to Threatened

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) reclassifying the U.S. breeding population of the wood stork (Mycteria americana) from endangered to threatened. According to the Service, when the wood stork was listed as endangered in 1984, the population was decreasing at a rate of five percent per year. The Service… Continue Reading