Posts from 2011
Posted in Conservation

As Peter Fimrite reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, this week a lone gray wolf (Canis lupis) crossed the border from Oregon into California.  This marks the first time since 1924 that a wolf was seen in California.  The species was hunted to extinction within the state, due at least in part to concerns about the risks it posed to humans.  The species is listed (pdf) as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.  It is not listed under the California Endangered Species Act.

Posted in Delisting

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that the Fish and Wildlife Service would remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) population in the Great Lakes region from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The species was listed in 1967 under the predecessor to the ESA.  The final rule delisting the gray wolf is available here (pdf).  The Service released the proposed rule (pdf) on May 5, 2011.  The population of gray wolfs in the Great Lakes region is estimated (pdf) to include 2,921 wolves in Minnesota, 687 wolves in ...

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Tags: Delisting

Federal and state officials have issued proposed changes to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s (BDCP) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to address public comments concerning the language of the MOA and the need for meaningful public involvement in the BDCP process.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) issued the draft MOA on September 6, 2011 and requested public comments (pdf) by November 16, 2011. The MOA is intended to replace in its entirety an earlier memorandum of agreement that was executed in March 2009.

In ...

Posted in Listing

As recently reported by Matt Weiser of the Sacramento Bee, on December 15, 2011, the California Fish and Game Commission named the black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) a candidate species.  Under the California Endangered Species Act, the Department of Fish and Game now has 12 months to complete a status review of the species "based on the best scientific information available" and submit a report and listing recommendation to the Commission.  After receiving the Department's recommendation and all appropriate public comment at a public hearing, the Commission will ...

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Tags: Listing

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (PDF) in the Federal Register that will, if adopted, change the Services' standards for listing and delisting species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  See Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase ‘‘Significant Portion of Its Range’’ in the Endangered Species Act’s Definitions of ‘‘Endangered Species’’ and ‘‘Threatened Species.’’ 76 Fed. Reg. 76,987 (Dec. 9, 2011). 

Under the ...

Posted in Litigation

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a decision (pdf) denying cross motions for summary judgment in a case brought by a non-profit group against State officials in Texas alleging violation of the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) prohibition on take of the federally listed whooping crane (Grus americana). Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, who are officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the South Texas Watermaster, failed to adequately manage the flow of fresh water into the San Antonio Bay ecosystem during the ...

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The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on December 6, 2011 regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The hearing is expected to focus on how litigation involving the ESA is costing jobs, impacting the economy, and preventing species recovery.

According to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the committee’s chairman, the hearing will be the first of many that the Natural Resources Committee will hold to examine both the strengths and weaknesses of the ESA. Hastings has said that the law is failing to achieve its fundamental goal of ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order (pdf) denying a motion for preliminary relief filed by plaintiffs suing the City and County of San Francisco over the management of Sharp Park Golf Course, which San Francisco owns but which is located in the City of Pacifica in San Mateo County, California. At issue in the case is whether San Francisco’s management of the golf course violates the take prohibition of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Plaintiffs sought an injunction that would substantially restrict activities necessary to ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In a decision (pdf) issued on November 22, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision striking the decision of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to delist a distinct population segment of grizzly bears (ursus arctos horribilis) near Yellowstone National Park and retaining protected status for the species.  The court held that the Service failed to articulate a rational connection between data in the record and the Service's determination that whitebark pine declines were not a threat to the Yellowstone grizzly.  However, the Ninth ...

On November 16, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling (PDF) affirming a lower court’s decision (PDF) that two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) biological opinions (BiOp) for a proposed 1500-acre mining project in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness on the Kootenai National Forest met the legal standards set forth in the Endangered Species Act and Administrative Procedure Act. The Court upheld the BiOp’s conclusions that construction and operation of the mine would not adversely modify bull trout critical habitat or ...

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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