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Fish and Wildlife Service Makes 12-Month Findings, Denies ESA Protections for 25 Species

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced 12-month “not warranted” findings on petitions to list 25 species as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).  It is likely that the Service’s “not warranted” findings represent the Trump administration’s departure from the previous administration’s  90-day determinations wherein the Service … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Three New Species; National Marine Fisheries Services Lists Subspecies of Hector’s Dolphin

On September 20, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) listed three separate species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).  USFWS listed the Sonoyta mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense) as endangered, and the ‘I’iwi (Drepanis coccinea) and pearl darter (Percina aurora) as threatened species under the ESA.  Despite listing all three species, the USFWS deferred … Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service Declines to List Pacific Bluefin Tuna

On August 9, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), concluding that listing at this time is not warranted.  NMFS determined that the species is not endangered throughout all or a … Continue Reading

Hualapai Mexican Vole Removed from List of Endangered Species Due to Erroneous Listing

On June 23, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) promulgated a long-awaited final rule to delist the Hualapai Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis) (HMV) due to the Service’s determination that the original 1987 listing of the HMV under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was in error.  Based upon more recent scientific and commercial … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period for Five Proposed Rules

Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) issued a notice in the Federal Register that it was reopening the comment period on five proposed rules for four plant species.  Specifically, the proposed rules include the following: (1) listing Guadalupe fescue (Festuca ligulata) as an endangered species; (2) designating Guadalupe fescue critical habitat; (3) reclassifying Tobusch … Continue Reading

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Joins List of Endangered Species Despite Delay

On January 11, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule listing the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The rusty patched bumble bee’s historic range encompassed areas of 28 states and the District of Columbia (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, … Continue Reading

NMFS Publishes Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Recovery Plan

On January 5, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published notice of the availability of the final Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas).  The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires the preparation and implementation of recovery plans for all listed species, unless the Secretary of Commerce determines that doing so does … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Annual Candidate Notice

The Candidate Notice of Review is an annual appraisal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection.  A “candidate” species is a species for which there is sufficient information to support a proposal for listing as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, but the formal … Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service Concludes Iliamna Lake Harbor Seals Are Not Distinct Population, Denies Endangered Species Act Protections

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently completed its review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska, a large freshwater lake in Alaska connected to the Bristol Bay region of the Bering Sea.  NMFS concluded (pdf) that the seals do not constitute a species, subspecies, or … Continue Reading
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