Posts from 2010

On December 14, 2010, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its final rule (PDF) redesignating critical habitat for the Santa Ana sucker, a small fish species occurring in watershed draining the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains of southern California.  The Final Rule designates a total of 9,931 acres across San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange counties and is comprised of 7,097 acres in the Santa Ana River, 1,000 acres in the San Gabriel River, and 1,233 acres in Big Tujunga Creek.  The Final Rule increased the sucker’s net critical habitat by ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On December 14, 2010, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a 225 page decision (pdf) granting in part plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment in The Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases, No. 09-407 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2010).  The matter consists of five consolidated actions that all challenge the December 2008 biological opinion, jeopardy and adverse modification determinations, and reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) for continued operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) issued by the Fish and ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Wild Fish Conservancy v. Salazar, issued a decision (pdf) remanding a 2008 biological opinion for the operation of a hatchery for spring-run Chinook salmon to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).  At issue in the biological opinion was the ongoing operation of the hatchery and its effects on the threatened bull trout due to the presence of a number of barriers to fish passage in Icicle Creek, which is in the Columbia River watershed.  The Service issued the biological opinion following intra-agency consultation, since ...

Posted in Delisting

Introduced by eight U.S. Representatives, HR 6485 (.pdf) provides that the inclusion of the gray wolf on any list of endangered or threatened species under Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) will have no force or effect. Titled the State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act, the bill is one of several (see SB 3825 (.pdf) and SB 3864 (.pdf)) that has been introduced over the past few months with the goal of returning wolf management to the states. The proposed legislation is meant to improve the balance of both wolf and prey populations by allowing individual states to develop ...

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Tags: Delisting

On November 24, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule (PDF) designating 187,157 square miles of on- and off-shore habitat in northern Alaska as critical habitat for two populations of polar bear listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The Service originally proposed to designate 200,541 square miles of critical habitat.  However, the final designation removed land that turned out to lie beyond the U.S. territorial waters, five U.S. Air Force (USAF) radar sites, the Native communities of Barrow and Kaktovik, and all existing man-made ...

On November 30, 2010, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") designated approximately 783 acres of land in Riverside and San Diego Counties, California, as critical habitat for the plant San Diego ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila).  This is approximately 329 acres less than the Service had previously proposed.  The Service's designation excluded approximately 118 acres of critical habitat that fell within the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.  In its final economic analysis, the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On November 23, 2010, in Humane Society of the United States v. Locke, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held (pdf) that NMFS violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) by failing to adequately explain its finding that sea lions are having a significant negative impact on the decline or recovery of salmonid species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Columbia River. The ruling invalidated NMFS’s decision authorizing the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to lethally remove California sea lions from the Bonneville Dam area. The 2008 decision

Following the release of an incomplete draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), numerous stakeholders issued statements outlining their perspective on the status of the planning effort.  Statements were issued by a number of public water agencies that have provided most of the funding for the planning effort to date including Westlands Water District (pdf)Kern County Water Agency (pdf), Metropolitan Water District (pdf), and the State Water Contractors (pdf).  They were also released by other interested stakeholders, such as the Bay Institute and Environmental ...

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is a long-term conservation strategy designed to improve the status of species and natural communities covered by the plan and provide the basis for the issuance of endangered species permits for the operation of the state and federal water projects in California.  For a number of years, federal and state agencies, numerous public water agencies, and non-governmental organizations have worked to develop the BDCP.  On November 18, an incomplete draft of the BDCP was released to the public amid controversy as reported by numerous news outlets ...

The National Research Council (NRC) announced the formation of an ad hoc panel to review the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).  The NRC explains that "[t]he panel’s review will be related to but be conducted separately from the on-going, more broadly focused NRC study entitled 'Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta.'"  Provisional appointments to the panel, including Dr. Henry J. Vaux of the University of California, Berkeley as Chair, are provided here.  There is a 20 day public comment period on the appointees that commenced on ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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