The United States District Court for the District of Arizona entered summary judgment (pdf) for the United States Forest Service in a case filed by Defenders of Wildlife and other plaintiffs alleging the Forest Service failed to fulfill its duty to conserve under section 7(a)(1) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The case focused on efforts to conserve the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) by reintroducing an experimental population of the species into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, which includes portions of east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico ...
The wildfires in Arizona have raged through forests and burned down homes, but as recently reported by the Washington Post, three packs of endangered Mexican gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) appear to have been spared. (Story by Associated Press, June 23, 2011). Firefighters have spotted two of the three packs moving around with their pups, and researchers were able to confirm the survival of at least three wolves from the third pack via radio collar data. It is currently unknown whether pups from the third pack have survived the fires, but a spokesman for the ...
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced its determination to retain the listing of the Oregon Coast (OC) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency's determination was published (pdf) in the Federal Register on June 20, 2011. NMFS first proposed listing of the Oregon coast coho salmon in 1995 and first listed (pdf) the species in 1998. The status of the species has been the subject of considerable controversy and a number of lawsuits. Most recently, a 2008 ...
The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) that it has re-opened the comment period on its August 18, 2009 proposed designation of critical habitat for the Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) under the Endangered Species Act. The Service is reopening the comment period to allow interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed addition of 4,945 acres of critical habitat for the Santa Rosa Plain Unit as described in the January 18, 2011 notice (pdf). In total, the Service is proposing to ...
On June 16, 2011, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a draft of its scientific integrity policy (pdf). The policy comes in response to President Obama’s March 9, 2009 memorandum directing the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to consult with relevant executive departments and agencies to recommend a plan to achieve the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes. Director of OSTP John Holdren issued further guidance on scientific integrity in a ...
As reported on June 15, 2011 by John Ellis and Mark Grossi of the Fresno Bee, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion for temporary restraining order that sought to order the Department of the Interior to lift pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Judge Wanger ruled that the pumping restrictions were necessary to protect migrating fall-run Chinook salmon, explaining that under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) must protect all fish, not just endangered species. ...
On June 13, 2011, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste. As part of that campaign, the Administration is seeking to eliminate a multitude of websites the government now maintains. Both the President and Vice President singled out a website dedicated to the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) – a species native to the southwest and listed (pdf) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act -- as one example of the type of government waste they intend to eliminate. The media has reported frustration in response to the ...
The House Committee on Natural Resources is set to hold hearings on a bill that will allow for the lethal removal of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) caught eating endangered salmon and steelhead just below the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. The Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act (H.R. 946), introduced in March 2011, would allow the states of Washington and Oregon, and four local tribal organizations, to get year-long leases to lethally remove a limited number of sea lions that prey on salmon and steelhead listed as endangered under the Endangered ...
On June 8, 2011, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) filed an amendment (SA 429 (pdf)) to S. 782, the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011, that would amend section 4 of the Endangered Species Act to exempt the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) from protection under the Act. According to Inhofe, if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were to list the lesser prairie-chicken, it would greatly restrict the development of wind energy in Oklahoma.
Senator Inhofe's proposed amendment comes on the heels of Senator Cornyn's proposed amendment (SA 396 (pdf)) to S. 782 ...
On June 7, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule under section 4 of the federal Endangered Species Act revising the critical habitat designated for the Pecos assiminea (Assiminea pecos), and designating critical habitat for the Roswell springsnail (Pyrgulopsis roswellensis), Koster's springsnail (Juturnia kosteri), and Noel's amphipod (Gammarus desperatus). The designated critical habitat for the four endangered species, which occur primarily in sinkholes, springs, and associated spring runs and wetland habitats, is ...
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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