Posts from 2013

December 28, 2013 marked the 40th birthday of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. According to Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior: This landmark law has helped to stop the slide toward extinction of hundreds of species. Along the way, we have strengthened partnerships among states, tribes, local communities, private landowners and other stakeholders to find conservation solutions that work for both listed species and economic development. Supporters of the Act credit it for bringing several ...

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced (pdf) the completion of its status review (pdf) of Coleman’s coralroot (Hexalectris colemanii), a species of orchid found in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. The Service determined that listing the orchid as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not warranted at this time.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the Service to protect Coleman’s coralroot under the ESA in September 2010. Originally thought to be part of the Chisos coralroot, the ...

Last week, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a panel consisting of federal, state, local, and tribal representatives, recommended that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) remove the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the Service agrees, it will initiate the rule-making process to delist the species. The Service is expected to make a decision next month.

The Yellowstone grizzly bear population is found in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. When initially listed under the ...

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") announced (pdf) the extension of the public comment period on the proposals to list and designate critical habitat for the the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) along the California-Nevada border under the Endangered Species Act, and also announced the designation of approximately 230 acres in San Francisco County as critical habitat for the endangered Franciscan manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana).  The Service also released the final ...

Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee held its fifth oversight hearing on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Entitled ESA Decisions by Closed-Door Settlement: Short-Changing Science, Transparency, Private Property, and State & Local Economies, the hearing included over a dozen Republican witnesses, with only three Democrats.


At the hearing, critics of the ESA urged reform to ensure that the statute’s focus is on recovering species and science, rather than litigation. Referencing the landmark 2011 settlement between Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the ...

Posted in Listing

On December 11, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a revised special rule (pdf) that would provide for a limited exception to the protections currently proposed for the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The revised special rule incorporates a new five-state rangewide conservation plan for the species, and allows take of lesser prairie-chickens so long as such take is incidental to activities conducted by an individual enrolled in the rangewide conservation plan. Previous versions of the special ...

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Tags: Listing
Posted in Court Decisions

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293 (pdf), plaintiffs sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleging that EPA’s oversight of pesticide ingredients, including trifluralin, triggered a duty to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service about trifluralin’s possible effects on species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA and defendant intervenors representing the farming industry filed Rule 12(e) motions, requesting more definite statements, and alleging the complaint was so vague ...

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, the House Natural Resources Committee (Committee) will hold a full committee oversight hearing (pdf) titled ESA Decisions by Closed-Door Settlement: Short-Changing Science, Transparency, Private Property, and State & Local Economies. This hearing is part of a series of hearings announced by the Committee to review the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and conduct an assessment of the law’s strengths and weaknesses.

As we previously reported, in 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) developed a six-year work plan that would allow it to ...

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) that it will begin a status review of the upper Missouri River distinct population segment (DPS) of the Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus). The status review will allow the Service to determine whether the DPS should be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Arctic grayling is found primarily in the Arctic and Pacific oceans, although some populations are river-dwelling. The fish has a long, thin body with a forked tail and can grow up to 13 inches long. The DPS that is the ...

Posted in Legislation

A bill (pdf) to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—entitled the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act (Bill)—has been introduced in the United States Senate. The Bill, authored by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and by Representative Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), seeks to make two fundamental changes to the ESA: to alter the balance of power between states and the federal government, and to provide new property rights to landowners impacted by the ESA.

First, the Bill would tip the balance of authority to manage protected ...

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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