Posts from 2011
Posted in Court Decisions

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has approved (pdf) two settlement agreements among environmental groups and the Fish and Wildlife Service to address a backlog of species that are candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  One (pdf) of the agreements was entered into with Wildearth Guardians, and the second (pdf) was entered into with the Center for Biological Diversity.  On the same day that the Court entered the settlements, it issued a decision (pdf) and order denying a motion by a hunting group to intervene in the matter.  We previously ...

Posted in Listing

Last week, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced (PDF) a 12-month finding to list the Franciscan manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana) -- a plant previously thought to be extinct in the wild -- as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The plant, native to the San Francisco peninsula, had not been seen in the wild since 1947.  As we previously reported here, in fall 2009, a botanist identified a single specimen in an area adjacent to Doyle Drive in San Francisco.  A conservation plan was quickly designed for the plant, which was then transplanted to the ...

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Tags: Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced (PDF) the availability of the 2011 Revised Recovery Plan for the Mojave Population of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) (PDF).  The Plan calls for an adaptive management approach, something the Service says is necessary to "accommodate changing management needs" of the species.  In contrast, an earlier earlier recovery plan, finalized in 1994, focused on traditional mitigation measures to achieve recovery of the threatened desert tortoise.

Key elements of the 2011 Recovery Plan include developing ...

On August 31, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California enjoined implementation (pdf) of a water management action (referred to as the Fall X2 Action), which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) proposed to take pursuant to a 2008 biological opinion (BiOp) for operation of the California State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project in the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta (Delta).  Under the BiOp’s reasonable and prudent alternative, the Fall X2 Action requires a combination of reservoir ...

On August 30, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that it will designate under section 4 of the federal Endangered Species Act approximately 47,383 acres of critical habitat for the Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment of the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense).  The Service had previously re-opened the comment period on its proposed critical habitat designation on June 21, 2011, in order to allow interested parties to comment on the proposed addition of 4,945 acres of critical habitat for the Santa Rosa Plain Unit.  ...

Posted in Litigation

On August 25, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied (pdf) an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal to re-instate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. Environmental groups appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit on August 13, 2011, after a federal district court upheld legislation directing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) to reissue a 2009 rule that removed ESA restrictions on the gray wolf, except in the state of Wyoming. The same rule was determined by a district ...

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The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced a proposed rule (pdf) this week to revise critical habitat for the federally endangered Coachella Valley milk-vetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. coachellae).  The proposed rule would designate approximately 25,704 acres of land in Riverside County, California as critical habitat for the plant, which is endemic to the Coachella Valley. The four geographic units proposed as critical habitat include sand transport and deposition areas associated with: San Gorgonio River and Snow Creek, Whitewater River, Mission ...

Posted in Delisting

The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced a 90-day finding (pdf) that delisting the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) may be warranted.  The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) initially petitioned the Service to delist the beetle in September 2010.  In April 2011, PLF filed a lawsuit seeking a court order directing the Service to issue a finding on PLF's petition.  The 90-day finding commences the Service's status review of the species to determine whether delisting is warranted.  The Service is requesting available data on the beetle.  The ...

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Tags: Delisting
Posted in Conservation

Pursuant to a state law (pdf) enacted in 2010, the legislature required the California Natural Resources Agency to convene a cabinet-level committee to develop a strategic vision for the Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Game Commission, and submit it to the governor and Legislature before July 1, 2012.  The state has established a website that describes the committee, referred to as the executive committee, a citizen commission, and a stakeholder advisory group.  The stakeholder advisory group is holding a series of meetings over the next 10 days to address a variety of ...

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Posted in Listing

On August 15, 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a Federal Register notice (pdf) announcing the five-year review reports for six species of salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS completed reviews for five Pacific salmon species evolutionary significant units (ESUs), and one steelhead distinct population segment (DPS) in California. Specifically, reviews were completed for the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon (pdf), the Central Valley spring-run Chinook (pdf), the Central Valley steelhead (pdf ...

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Tags: Listing

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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