The Fish and Wildlife Service recently published an updated list of plant and animal species native to the United States that are candidates for listing as threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The list, referred to as a Candidate Notice of Review or CNOR, is published periodically by the Service. A press release announcing the release of the CNOR is available here. Each species on the list is assigned a listing priority number (or LPN) based on its status and threats. The CNOR includes five new candidates, changes the LPN for four existing candidates, and ...
In 2008, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") authorized Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to "lethally remove" individual sea lions that congregate below the Bonneville Dam and continue to eat listed salmon and steelhead after non-lethal deterrence methods prove unsuccessful. Under the current program, after a sea lion is identified and trapped it is either transported to a new location or euthanized. Earlier this month, however, a task force convened at NOAA's request recommended that the controversial program ...
On October 29, 2010, the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation filed a complaint (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against the U.S. Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for actions approving a 709-megawatt solar project in the Imperial Valley between Octotillo and El Centro in southern California. The complaint challenges the BLM’s final approval of Tessara’s (formerly Sterling Energy Systems) 6,144-acre Imperial Valley Solar Project on BLM land under the Federal Lands Policy and Management ...
In a decision that could have profound implications for listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act, on November 4, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia remanded (PDF) the Polar Bear Listing Rule to the Fish & Wildlife Service for "additional explanation for the legal basis of its listing determination" that the Polar bear is a "threatened" not "endangered" species.
In essence, the court has asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to provide the court with its agency interpretation of "endangered species." As previously discussed here, the Fish & ...
On November 2, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed (PDF) the Georgia pigtoe mussel, the interrupted rocksnail and the rough hornsnail as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and designated 160 miles of stream and river channels as critical habitat for the three species in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
The listing followed FWS’s determination that the species have experienced a significant curtailment in their freshwater habitats. FWS attributes the habitat loss to fragmentation and isolation of free-flowing rivers and tributaries, as well as ...
On October 18, 2010, Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced the State of Idaho would no longer manage wolves as a designated agent under the Endangered Species Act. According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website, a January 2006 agreement between Idaho and the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the State as an agent for day-to-day wolf management for the Fish and Wildlife Service, but efforts to renew the agreement were unsuccessful. In response to the Governor's action, the Service issued a press release (pdf) indicating it would once again be the lead agency for ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (PDF) this week to reclassify the spikedace and loach minnows from threatened to endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed rule also designates approximately 796 miles of streams and rivers in central and eastern Arizona and western New Mexico as critical habitat for the two fish.
Both the spikedace and the loach minnow are small fish that measure fewer than three inches in length. They inhabit shallow water in perennial streams. According to the Service, prolonged drought ...
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has denied protection for spotted seal populations in Alaskan waters. NMFS did, however, formalize protection for smaller populations of spotted seals in Liaodong Bay, China and Peter the Great Bay, Russia. This region is home to a population of approximately 3,300 seals.
Spotted seals primarily inhabit waters of the north Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas. During their breeding season, they are often spotted in the outer areas of ice flows, where they use the edge of the sea ice away from predators as safe habitat breeding in ...
On October 20, 2010, at a hearing on a motion for summary judgment filed by Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Center for Biological Diversity, a federal judge indicated that he intends to remand to the Fish & Wildlife Service its controversial decision to list the Polar bear as a threatened species rather than an endangered species. See Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing and 4(d) Rule Litigation, No. 1:08-mc-00764-EGS (D.D.C. filed Dec. 4, 2008).
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service made history two years ago when it listed the Polar bear as a threatened species because it identified the devastating impacts of climate change on the bear's habitat as a major factor in the species' alarming decline. In addition, the Polar Bear is the first, and so far, only mammal to be listed specifically due to climate change impacts.
Environmentalists had hoped that the listing would force the federal government to use its considerable regulatory authority under the Endangered Species Act to impose strict limits on emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). But a controversial rule issued by the Department of the Interior under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act placed strict geographic limits on the authority of federal agencies to require projects in Alaska to curb or mitigate their GHG emissions. As previously reported here, much to the dismay of environmentalists, the Department of the Interior under the Obama Administration chose not to overturn the polar bear rule. Instead, the Obama Administration has called for new legislation to address GHG emissions, and the EPA may use its authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate GHGs.
Environmentalists immediately challenged the Polar Bear Listing Rule, arguing that the species should be listed as endangered, not threatened. If they prevail on that issue, and the bear attains endangered status, then the Department of the Interior will no longer have the power to issue a 4(d) rule for the Polar bear. Without the limits in the existing 4(d) rule, the wildlife agencies could, in theory, impose limits on GHG emissions from facilities and projects that receive discretionary federal funding or approvals anywhere in the country based on their impacts on climate change, which impacts the Polar bear.
The environmental plaintiffs have also challenged the validity of the 4(d) rule itself. Thus, if the Polar Bear Listing Rule is ultimately upheld, their challenge to 4(d) rule will remain to be decided in subsequent proceedings.
On October 19, 2010 the San Francisco Superior Court issued an order requiring the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to reconsider its determination that the American pika is not threatened with extinction. Center for Biological Diversity v. California Fish & Game Comm'n, No. CPF-090509927 (San Francisco Superior Court).
In 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a petition to list the pika as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). CBD argues that the pika is threatened with extinction because climate change in ...
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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