Monthly Archives: April 2010

Endangered Species Act Protection “May Be Warranted” For Mohave Ground Squirrel

Almost five years after receiving a listing petition, yesterday, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service finally issued its 90-day petition finding for the Mohave ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus mohavensis), finding that "listing may be warranted."   The listing petition was jointly filed by the Defenders of Wildlife and Dr. Glenn R. Stewart on September 5, 2005.  Although the Endangered Species Act contemplates that the Fish & Wildlife Service will issue a … Continue Reading

California Legislature Considering Bills to Amend the California Endangered Species Act and Natural Community Conservation Planning Act

Senator Lois Wolk has introduced two separate bills into the California Senate to amend the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) and Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA). SB 1303, as amended, would amend section 2087 of the California Fish and Game Code, which exempts otherwise lawful “routine and ongoing agricultural activities” from the take prohibitions … Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Recommendations on Wind Turbines

The Fish and Wildlife Service announced the issuance of a comprehensive set of recommended guidelines (PDF) on how to minimize the impact of land-based wind turbines on wildlife and their habitat.  The Service transmitted these recommendations to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.  Secretary Salazar will review the recommendations and consider them as he directs … Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Initiates Status Review of Sacramento Splittail; Comment Period Ends May 20, 2010

The Fish and Wildlife Service announced (PDF) today that it will accept comments through May 20, 2010 regarding a status review of the Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthy macrolepidotus), a fish endemic to lower-elevation waters of the Central Valley of California.  Based on the status review, the Service will issue a 12-month finding by September 30, 2010 that will … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces New National Conservation Effort

In a speech at the Department of the Interior, President Obama announced a new national conservation effort titled the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. The President described the Administration’s plans to roll out the Initiative in the following way. "In the months ahead, members of this administration will host regional listening sessions across America. We’ll meet … Continue Reading

Endangered Species Act & Renewable Energy Projects

The regulatory requirements of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") are imposing limitations on the development of renewable energy projects in the California desert. State and federal regulatory agencies are attempting to expedite ESA and other environmental reviews of proposed renewable energy projects. But the jury is out on whether these efforts will succeed. The ability … Continue Reading

Pacific Legal Foundation Petitions to Delist the California Gnatcatcher

On April 13, 2010, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed a petition (PDF)  to remove the coastal California gnatcatcher, specifically, the subspecies Polioptila californica californica, from the Fish and Wildlife Service’s list of threatened species. Considerable controversy surrounded the 1993 listing and subsequent designation of critical habitat for the coastal California gnatcatcher because its range includes prime … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Rejects Claim that Failure to Analyze Potential Future Phases of an Action as Interrelated Actions, Cumulative Effects, or Indirect Effects Violates the Endangered Species Act

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) challenges to the approval of a rail line serving a limestone quarry in Texas. The court upheld the determination by the Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) to limit the effects analysis in the biological opinion to … Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Finds Delta Smelt Warrants Uplisting from Threatened to Endangered

The Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the delta smelt warrants uplisting (PDF) from "threatened" to endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.  However, uplisting at this time is precluded by the need to address higher priority species.  This "warranted but precluded" finding will not have any practical effect on existing protections for the delta smelt.  … Continue Reading