Monthly Archives: October 2011

United States Supreme Court Denies Review of Delta Smelt Commerce Clause Challenge

Today, on October 31, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States denied (pdf) review of a constitutional challenge to water delivery regulations regarding the Central Valley Project and California State Water Project intended to protect the threatened delta smelt. The petition for writ of certiorari was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf … Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Affirms Threatened Status of the Coastal California Gnatcatcher

In response to a petition (pdf) from the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to delist the coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a 90-day finding (pdf) that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information to indicate that delisting the species may be warranted.  PLF … Continue Reading

NOAA Task Force Recommends Permitting Lethal Removal of California Sea Lions

A NOAA task force, made up of representatives from state and federal agencies, tribes, and interest groups, voted on Monday to recommend that NOAA Fisheries permit Oregon and Washington to remove up to 85 California sea lions a year in order to protect listed salmon and steelhead.  Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”), NOAA is … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Denies Emergency Injunction to Halt Wolf Hunting

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied (PDF) an emergency motion (PDF) for an injunction pending appeal to the extent the moving parties sought an injunction prior to the court hearing oral arguments, currently scheduled for November 8, 2011.  At issue in the underlying appeal is the constitutionality of a law (Public Law 112-10 section … Continue Reading

Court Vacates Polar Bear Special Rule, Upholds Ban on Importation of Sport-Hunted Trophies

On October 17, 2011, U.S. District Judge Sullivan issued two opinions in the Polar Bear litigation previously blogged about here.  In the first opinion (pdf), Judge Sullivan held that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by issuing a rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regarding take … Continue Reading

House Republicans to Hold Hearing Investigating Impact of Habitat Protections for Southern California Fish Species on Water Supplies and Economy

In response to a letter from two local congressmen (PDF), Republicans from the Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee have scheduled an oversight hearing to examine the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recent designation of critical habitat for the Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae).  As reported on this blog, the Service published a final rule … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Declares Protection for California State Fish Unnecessary

On October 7, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") announced that the California state fish, the California golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), did not warrant listing under the federal Endangered Species Act because "conservation measures throughout the trout’s historic range have done much to protect the species."    In 2000, Trout Unlimited petitioned the Service to list … Continue Reading

House Holds Oversight Hearing on Science and the ESA

On October 13, 2011, the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the nexus of science and policy related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  According to a press release issued by the House, the purpose of the hearing was … Continue Reading

Fish & Wildlife Service Determines Protection Not Warranted for Mojave Ground Squirrel

Last week, the Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced a 12-month finding (PDF) that the Mohave ground squirrel (Spermophilus mohavensis) does not warrant protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service’s finding was in response to a petition from the Defenders of Wildlife and a private citizen to list … Continue Reading