Monthly Archives: February 2012

President Obama and Department of the Interior Signal Potential Shift in Critical Habitat Policy

In two recent actions, President Obama and the Fish and Wildlife Service have signaled what may be an important shift in the Obama Administration’s position on the designation of critical habitat for endangered and threatened species. On February 28, 2012, the President issued a memorandum (pdf) directing the Interior Department to propose modifying the Department’s … Continue Reading

Groups File Petition to List Gray Wolf under California Endangered Species Act

As Dean Kuipers reported in the Los Angeles Times, on February 27, four environmental groups petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list the gray wolf (Canis lupis) as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.  The petition is available here (pdf).  As I previously reported, a lone gray wolf briefly crossed the border from … Continue Reading

Status of Spikedace and Loach Minnow Changed to Endangered

In a final rule (pdf) published today, the Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") uplisted the spikedace (Meda fulgida) and loach minnow (Tiaroga cobitis) from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The Service also revised the designation of critical habitat for both species.  In total, approximately 630 miles are designated as critical habitat for … Continue Reading

Two headlines highlight the challenges associated with integrating scientific information into public policy

Two stories covered in recent news highlight the challenges associated with integrating scientific information into public policy, including in the arena of agency decision-making respecting threatened and endangered species.  One, available here (The Observer, Feb. 18, 2012, by Robin McKie), covered the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  At that … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Invalidates National Fire Plan Regulations

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of the District of Columbia invalidated regulations designed to streamline the consultation process required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in preparing fire management plans. The judge found (pdf) that there was no evidence in the record that the ESA consultation process “actually resulted in any delay to any National … Continue Reading

Department of Fish and Game Set to Challenge National Levee Policy

On February 7, 2012, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) issued a 60-day notice of intent to sue to the United States Army Corps of Engineers over its national levee vegetation removal policy.  This notice follows a United States District Court’s recent refusal to allow the Department of Fish and Game to intervene in a similar lawsuit brought by … Continue Reading

California Fish and Game Commission Moves Ahead with Listings of Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog

As the Department of Fish and Game(DFG)  reported, at its February 2012 meeting the California Fish and Game Commission "moved to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) as a threatened species and the southern mountain yellow-legged frog (R. muscosa) as an endangered species."  The latter is listed (pdf) as endangered under the federal … Continue Reading

California Fish and Game Commission Rejects Proposal to Alter Striped Bass Limits to Reduce Predation on Listed Fish

At its February 2012 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously rejected a recommendation by the California Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to initiate environmental review of a staff report and proposal (pdf) jointly developed by those agencies to alter the striped bass sport-fishing regulations in … Continue Reading

North Dakota District Court Rejects Criminalization of Incidental Take of Migratory Birds

The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a decision (pdf) granting the dismissal of criminal charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) based upon a finding that the MBTA was not intended to criminalize incidental "take" of migratory birds by lawful commercial activities.  The United States had charged seven oil … Continue Reading